Do you know how to package your expertise?
In a way you do it every time you publish a blog post. You think of an idea then decide how to describe it. Write it. Publish it and promote the post to your audience.
Now I want you to take it to the next level. I want you to create an “Expert Product” to promote on your blog. Take a deep breath, it's not as hard as you think.
What is an Expert Product?
For our purposes, an Expert Product builds your email list or earns money.
You won’t be giving it away for free. Your audience will need to give you something in exchange for great value.
Ebooks, special reports, private membership sites, customized service, or physical products are great examples of Expert Products.. You are only constrained by your imagination.
The hardest part is getting started. We’ll tackle that now.
Why You Need an Expert Product
Unfortunately, many bloggers are popular and broke.
If they could trade comments for cash they would be millionaires, unfortunately blogging doesn’t work that way. At some point, you, as a professional blogger, will need to “monetize” your audience and trade visits for a profitable action.
My research shows that all A-List blogs offer an Expert Product and they use their products to create a competitive advantage in their niche.
For example, bloggers who use their products to build email lists have an automatic market for revenue producing products. They also can include relevant promotions in email newsletters for advertising revenue.
Bloggers with revenue can hire designers to customize their blog and pass the Golden Thread test. They can hire programmers to create apps, plugins, and standalone products. They also can use virtual assistants to multiply their productivity. Over time these little benefits add up to a dominant blog.
Even if you don’t plan to start the next HuffingtonPost.com you still can use your Expert Product to grow your blog.
A Quick Plan to Create Your Expert Product in a Weekend
Let’s get you started right away. Here’s my quick and dirty plan to taking action and getting your Expert Product finished in just a day or so.
1. Identify a Problem:
Pick a problem that is a particularly frustrating one that your audience wrestles with every day.
2. Solve the Problem:
Write a blog post in a tutorial format that demonstrates how to solve the problem. Be detailed. Use screen captures, photos, illustrations to make sure you are as clear as possible. This is an “epic” post that you pour out all off your tricks and shortcuts. Don’t hold back.
3. Edit, Edit, Edit:
Go through your blog post, it probably will be about 2000 − 3000 words at this point. Read it as if you are completely new to the subject. Eliminate jargon, simplify steps, and make your instructions as user-friendly as possible.
4. Title Time:
Create a great title for your product that is: 1) Specific, 2) Describes a Benefit. I suggest you download Copyblogger’s Headline Hack special report for ideas. (By the way the Headline Hacks special report is an excellent example of an Expert Product)
4. Package It:
Create a graphic of the cover for your special report. You have a few options for this:
- Create it yourself: If Photoshop is your second language then go for it.
- Online Service: I use a service called eCoverCreator3D that make it simple to design a cover online with zero graphic skill. You’ll get a file that you can use for your promotion
- Hire Someone: The easiest and the most expensive way to get a cover. If you have the cash then do it.
5. Set-up Your HQ:
Once you have your product ready to promote, set-up a landing page to detail it’s benefits. You don’t have to get fancy here.
If you use WordPress, just create a page with your default layout. Describe the benefits as if you are sitting next to your reader on a bar stool. The fancier you try to sound the worse you will do.
Go ahead and place your opt-in form or payment buttons on this page. Everything that references your product should link to this page.
I prefer to use a landing page because it makes testing and tracking much easier.
Promoting Your Expert Product
Be subtle and relevant. Readers, almost universally, hate to be “sold” anything. The rule of thumb is simple, if your product is presented out of context then you are selling. That’s why pop-ups and Adsense ads have a bad reputation.
So, only mention your product when it makes sense in your blog posts, email newsletters, and tweets. Also place a link to your landing page in your sidebar. Create a headline to go with your sidebar link to promote the product’s #1 benefit.
From here use the same process to create new expert products. I often tell my students to immediately create a product to offer in exchange for email addresses. After that, developing a free ebook offered without an email address requirement makes sense if you have an offer within the product.
Remember that your blog is a platform for promoting your thought leadership, creativity, and unique perspective. Packaging your expertise into products and offering them from our blog is a perfect way to accomplish this mission.
What’s On Your Mind?
What’s holding you back from creating your first blog product? Have you already tried? What did you learn?