Category Archives: eBooks

Information Marketing – 3 Profit Generators

There are only three kinds of information product:

  1. Text
  2. Audio
  3. Video

There are all kinds of combinations for these three. We see them all the time. But these are the 3 profit generators of information marketing.

And those 3 profit generators take one of two forms:

  1. Free
  2. Paid

Whether it’s the free-on-free offer for a newsletter with a report, the monthly payment of a membership site, or the hefty fee of a conference, all information products are either free or paid.

Looks pretty simple, doesn’t it? Can information marketing really be that easy?

Well, I’ve written 6 books in 20 months that have combined revenues of Continue reading

Information Marketing – Does it Work?

Bob Bly is making around $1,000 per day from information marketing. I’m making a little over $100 per day.

So whether you’ve been in business for more than 30 years and have a ton of experience, or you’re a newcomer like me, the answer is yes.

Yes, information marketing increases revenue and profits.

Just so we’re clear, infomration marketing has two parts:

  1. information marketing – where you use information to promote a product or service; and,
  2. marketing information – where you sell an information product.

You can see how they go together. For example, we’re giving away a big piece of my new book How to Profit with Social Media – The 2010 Social Media Directory at

The information we’re giving away solves the biggest problem business owners have to Continue reading

E-Books – Create a Few Bonus Reports

Bonus reports increase both the real and perceived value of your information product. They show customers that buying your e-book gives them extra value and extra information.


Everyone likes getting something for free – a bargain. Short bonus reports enable you to give customers both. They get a bargain by getting extra stuff when they buy your e-book, and they are getting it for free.


The most important element of a Bonus Report is that the information must be relevant to your topic.


An e-book on hiring an honest contractor might have a Bonus Report telling you how to get a low-rate on a home equity loan or second mortgage to pay for your expensive home renovation. That could be useful to people buying houses to renovate and resell. Another bonus report would be one that shows customers how to locate their local building code, and how to speak with building inspectors. Everyone doing a renovation will need that information.


The number of reports, or premiums, you include isn’t as important as what is in those premiums. To continue with the renovation example, Home Depot gives away a CD that allows you to get updated material prices electronically. This CD is normally given only to contractors, so you can see how it would make a valuable premium if Home Depot allows you to include it with your e-book.


Here are three tips for creating  bonus reports as premiums for your e-book:.

1. Use bonus reports to add detail.

Use your reports to give more information on a particular aspect of your topic. For example, you might have one section that is very long – 15 or 20 pages. Shorten it to five or six pages, and use the more detailed information to produce a bonus report.

2. Vary the Size

Bonus reports can be anything from a single page to a complete e-book. It could also be a piece of software, a CD or DVD, or a free one-month membership to a subscription web site.


Using physical items as premiums enables you to collect mailing addresses. This is excellent for introducing direct mail to your business model.


3. Make Your Bonus Reports Worth Having

Allow me to be blunt. If you hand someone something for free and it’s crap – do you think they are going to give you money for something else?


Imagine going into a car dealership. They offer you a cup of coffee, and hand it to you in a dirty mug.


Imagine going into a different car dealership. They offer you a cup of coffee, and ask you to have a seat in a comfortable chair. When the coffee arrives, it is on a small platter with cream and sugar packets and three or four cookies.


Which dealer cares about the customer?


Bonus Tip

Make double use of your research file by including relevant material you could use in a report.


As you’re doing research, keep in mind that articles and reports help to promote your e-book. My preference is to use two tabs – one for articles and one for bonuses.


When I come across information that’s good for the e-books and might be useful elsewhere, I make a second copy and put it under the appropriate tab.

E-Books – Write Your e-Book

You’ll be happy to know that completing the steps from previous articles can make writing your e-book significantly easier. You’ve prepared and planned, so now you can  enjoy the process of putting things together and producing a high-quality information product.


Keep your list of keywords handy as a custom thesaurus. Be sure to give a copy to your writer if you hire one. The list of keywords can help you avoid repeating one key word over and over, which becomes stiff and monotonous.


Substituting a word is more than just an issue of keeping things interesting. Each time you introduce a new keyword, you have an opportunity to address a different aspect of your topic. And, you make it possible for Internet users searching on that key word to find you. For example, an e-book about writing e-books will include keywords like e-books, outline, keywords, information marketing, and online publishing.


What Your e-Book Should Give Your Reader

There has to be more in it for the reader than the comfort of knowing that she paid for your Friday night pizza and beer.


There are three things you should do in every  e-book you create, publish, and sell:

1. Answer their questions.

The only reason it’s possible to market information products is that people want to know more about a topic. You don’t have to have all the answers, and you don’t have to put all of your answers into one information product. What you must do is provide the information your marketing materials promise you will deliver.


That information can be more than just answers to questions. Your e-book can give readers motivation to take action. Whether it is for goal setting, weight loss, or business start up, your e-book can answer the relevant questions while motivating your readers to achieve their desires.


2. Use your e-book to boost your reputation

Writing an e-book can help establish your status as an expert on your topic. Show readers things they didn’t know before and you will be acknowledged as an expert.


Remember that being an expert on your topic is not a requirement for writing an e-book. Writing on a topic you want to learn is an excellent source for an e-book.


You can find an expert on your topic and ask him to be the editor for your e-book. Aside from getting him to comment on the content and use his material for reference, the big advantage is being able to borrow his credentials to add credibility and authority to your e-book. You can also have a known expert coauthor, write, editor, write a preface, or endorse your book, thus borrowing their credibility.


3. Write clearly and simply

While you are writing, avoid using a lot of jargon or really big words. You want your work to be friendly and easy to read so work at writing the same way you speak.


It’s called conversational writing, and it allows you a great amount of freedom in building your sentences. You can’t quite throw grammar out the window, but you can be a little more relaxed about it.


Mostly, it means avoiding big words and jargon.


Introduce bits of jargon, and use big words, when they are necessary. Then go back to using more familiar words and put the jargon in brackets when it comes up again. This allows you to remind readers of the useful term, and allows readers to glide over the useful term rather than stumble.


When you have a topic that uses a lot of jargon or acronyms (computers are a great example), you should include a glossary as one of your appendices. Your readers will appreciate it, the glossary adds authority to your e-book, and it is a great selling feature to add to your sales page.


You can find a good e-book on conversational writing, written by Scott McDougal, titled How to Write Better and Faster at This can help you improve your writing skills.

New Web Sites Book Is Done!!


First, I apologise for missing yesterday. I have been working to get the last draft of a new book over to my editor and I chose to forego posting yesterday.

Please don’t beat me…

And today – it’s done. All ready to send over to my editor…

only the file is too big to send by e-mail – just over 13Mb. Big file. Big book.

158 Pages including both appendices. More screenshots than you can possibly imagine.

And while I”m thinking of it – doesn’t this look like a bunch of one liners? – no, that wasn’t what I was thinking of. I am thinking of the screen capture software I use. It’s made by the same people who make Camtasia. The software is SnagIt. It costs $50 US, and it’s a great piece of software.

You can capture any scrolling window – even 20 or 30 page sales letters. You can capture as plain text, export as jpg, tif, pdf – all kinds of file types. There are lots of effects you can apply.

You know what? You need to buy my new book just to see what this software let me do with the screen captures. (Okay, I’m half joking.)

Anyway, the book is done. I’m so happy – and a little tired, actually.

Tomorrow I’ll go back to serial the serial articles on e-books.

By the way, have you heard about The Obama Protocols? The site isn’t live yet – it goes live in a couple of weeks. You want to talk about some amazing stuff about information marketing and how to do it. Wow. Of course, I’m a little biased – I’m the one developing the project and writing the copy. You’re supposed to like what you write about, right?

Still, when this site goes live, I’ll tell you about it here and you need to go take a look. I think I might even get to do the landing page video. How cool is that? It all depends on finding someone to edit the video for me.

Okay. That’s all for today. Remember: watch for the Obama Protocols.


E-Books – Research your topic


We’re back to the cereal – I mean serial – articles. (What can I say? It’s Friday afternoon…you want comedy – go to YukYuks.)   😉

Here’s today’s post…

Research is all about learning, finding new ideas and new information. It means speaking with people, reading books and magazines, and examining your own experiences.


We are going to look at six ways to research your topic.

1.      Start a research file.

2.      Brainstorm.

3.      Visit a bookstore.

4.      Go to the Web.

5.      Discover the library.

6.      Interview a subject matter expert.


Start a Research File

When you find something relevant to your topic, clip or copy the article and put it in the file. If it’s a web page or online document, print it and drop it into the appropriate chapter file.


By all means keep electronic copies of everything. Having a hardcopy is a way to make sure you never lose your research, and it gives you something to easily refer to and make other notes on while you accumulate more ideas and data.


Start a research file as soon as you get the idea for an e-book – even if you are not committed to publishing it. By the time you get to the point of writing, you’ll find you have almost all the research materials you need BEFORE you even start actively looking.



Talking to yourself may not be good behavior in public, but it is an excellent place to start when you are writing a book. What do you think you were doing when you chose a topic, thought about keywords and developed an outline? After all, brainstorming can be done with a group or on your own.


Now you get to talk to yourself about the topic you have chosen. What do you know about your topic? What do you not know that you want to learn?


Make note of questions that occur to you as you write. It’s a good bet that  your readers would like to know the answers, too. Keep those questions with you as you do the rest of your research.


Visit a Bookstore

Visit a big bookstore so you can get a feel for what is currently selling on your topic.


Another good place to look for books on your topic is a used book store. Older and out-of-print books can still contain useful content and ideas. They can also provide information other authors don’t have access to because those other authors skipped this research step.


How many books are there on your topic, and when were they written? Having a lot of books on your topic in the bookstores is a good thing. It means your subject is popular, and there is a large market for your information.


Consider the outline methods other authors have used. Are they generally the same, or are there two or three that are arranged differently from the others? Are any of the outline methods the same as the one you want to use?


While you are in the bookstore, take time to look through the magazine racks. Search for articles on your topic, and consider which magazines you find those articles in.


Current articles are a beacon to what is of interest to other readers of your topic. Combining this information with your analysis of books on the shelves is an important part of bringing focus to your efforts.


Go to the Web

Begin by understanding that some information on the internet is inaccurate. You are responsible for verifying the facts you gather


One thing to be aware of is that there are more search engines than Google and Yahoo. A different kind of search engine is the Vertical Search Engines. These allow you to search for information on a specific subject.


An example of a vertical search engine can be seen at The search box at the top of the site looks just like any other search box. The first indication that it is more specific, and targeted, is that it’s labeled Industry Search. Then directly under the search box is the sentence: Filtered results from News, Companies, Products/Services & The Web in a single search.


This kind of search engine can be a great way to find information on your topic. Let’s say you are looking for blogs by people interested in your topic. You can access a vertical search engine for blogs at blogdigger. Just keep in mind that all vertical search engines only look through a selection of databases related to the topic. You should still use the broad search engines like Google to check for other sources.


An excellent means of discovering what people interested in your topic are talking about is to join a discussion group. You can find these at sites like Topica and Yahoo. You can also search sites like LinkedIn, ExecuNet, and Facebook to find individuals interested in your topic. You probably won’t get a lot of quotes, but the people you meet can tell you about other sources of information.


Use the Web to look for associations related to your topic. These can be a source of current information, and a lead to finding an expert on your topic. We’ll discuss that more in a minute.


You can also use the Web to prepare for using the next research tool – the library. You can search library collections and databases, and reserve materials, from the comfort of your home. This can make your time in the library much more effective and productive.


Discover the Library

The library is where you can verify information collected from the Web, expand on information from you own experience, and assess the value of information gathered from the bookstore. The library also has books the bookstore does not. It can also be just a quiet place to work.


Older sources often aren’t online. You can find out-of-print books at the library, and libraries maintain special collections not available  online.


Borrow the books you find to read what other authors are writing about your topic. Glean information and new ideas from their work.


Another valuable resource in the library – one often overlooked – is the research librarian. Their help is free for the asking, and you can be sure there is no one more familiar with all the resources in the library than the librarian.


Interview a Subject Matter Expert

From the associations you found on the Web, the books you saw, and the magazines you read, you can find a wealth of experts to interview.


The information you gather by interviewing experts can be used as background, or you can quote the experts directly. A direct quote can be useful to emphasize a point or validate a position.


Start your search for an expert in the material you have already gathered. Look for authors of books and articles, members of associations, or instructors at a college or university. You should also consider museums, government agencies, local industries, and newspapers.


The International Center for Journalists has experts available for interviews on a variety of topics. Zondervan, the book publisher, also maintains a list of experts available for interviews and speaking engagements.


Be sure you are prepared for an interview before contacting an expert. Have questions written, and be prepared to offer alternatives to a telephone or in-person interview. When an expert is particularly busy, your only way to get an interview may be to submit questions by e-mail or letter.


The research you do for your e-book is more than gathering facts and organizing information. Research is your opportunity to assess the focus of your project, add to your outline, and think about ideas for future projects.

E-Books – Create an outline

An outline is the roadmap for getting from blank pages to a finished book.


The outline is made by deciding how you want to organize the information. Here are the four most common outline methods:

1.      Alphabetically

2.      Process Steps

3.      List

4.      Q & A


Every outline should include a Table of Contents and chapter divisions. Together, these make it easy for readers to find information in your book. Now let’s look at some specifics for each outline type.


Alphabetical Order

This means using letters, in alphabetical order, to arrange and present information.


The dictionary is the obvious example of alphabetical order. Another example would be arranging a cookbook with “A” for asparagus soup, “B” for beef stew and down to “Z” for zucchini bread.


The primary guide to choosing any letter arrangement is that it must make sense to the reader.


Process Steps Outline

This is a common approach for how-to books. Whether the subject is goal setting, selling a house, or re-finishing furniture, each follows a process with distinct steps that can be described.


This outline type is more likely to result in the use of sub-divisions within chapters. There is often more than one way to accomplish each step of a process – just as there is more than one way to set up an outline. Those options are what give you the sub-divisions.



A list outline is useful for information that doesn’t need to be organized in any particular order. A great example is Jon Kremer’s self published paperback book 1,001 Ways to Market Your Book (now in its 6th edition at


This method gives you a series of chapters that are capable of standing alone. That makes it easier to both write and read because your reader can start with any chapter, and and you don’t have to worry about connecting the chapters.



A Q&A, or questions and answers, outline is often associated with someone who has a great deal of experience with a topic. The author lives and breathes the topic, and can simply make a list of questions, write out answers to each, and the result is an e-book in Q&A format.


The defining characteristic of this type of book is that the author has the answers to the questions. It is also very easy to write and to read.


One way to develop the material for a Q&A book is to use an Ask Campaign.


An Ask Campaign (a.k.a Probe Campaign) is based on asking people what their questions are on a particular topic. Where a Q&A approach says “here are the questions I have answered throughout my career,” the Ask Campaign says “here are answers to questions you submitted.”


Writing from Your Outline

The outline is the roadmap for your e-book. Keep it handy while you are writing.


Here’s how you use your outline to write your book:

1.      Type the outline in Word.

2.      Add four pages in front of the outline. These are for the title page, copyright page, acknowledgements and dedication. (You can always delete or add pages as necessary.)

3.      Put “TABLE OF CONTENTS” in a boldface heading at the top of the outline.

4.      Add a page break at the end of the outline.

5.      Paste a copy of the outline (minus the TOC heading) onto the new page.

6.      Set the typeface for the copy into bold. These will become your actual section headings.

7.      Use page breaks to spread out the section headings and sub-headings.

8.      Now, writing the e-book is a matter of filling in explanatory text under each heading and sub-heading.


The best way to fill in the spaces under each heading and sub-heading is to use the outline for filing all your research notes. Then you recompose your research notes to make each chapter.


Come back for the next article. That’s when I’ll be covering how to do your research and fill in your outline.

E-Books – Keywords Determine Market Size

You have a topic, and you know there must be some interest in it. After all, you can’t be the only person interested in your favourite pastime, can you?


That’s what keywords will allow you to discover.


A keyword is a term or phrase that captures the essence of your topic. For example, “model airplane” is a good keyword phrase. To focus more clearly on your interest, “radio controlled airplane” might be more helpful.


To start using keywords for determining the size of your market, make a list of six words that spring to mind when you think of your topic. This is a large enough list to get you started.


Whichever keyword research tool you choose to use, what you’re looking for is a particular volume of monthly searches for each keyword or phrase. Every tool will also help you develop a longer keyword list. (I’ll give you three free tools to choose from later in the article.)


The search volume you’re looking for is between 4,000 and 40,000 searches per month. Of course, that’s a broad range and there are things to consider about being at either end.


Being at – or over – 40,000 monthly searches means the market is huge. Getting into that market with the keywords you’re using means you risk being just one more voice in the crowd. You can probably get better keywords by being more specific about your topic.


From the model airplane example, “model airplane” has a monthly search volume of 135,000 and “radio controlled airplane” has a monthly volume of 6,600.


The lower the monthly search volume the more tightly niched you are in a market. Getting below 4,000 searches per month means your moving into a market that just doesn’t have enough volume to be truly profitable.


The next step is to choose a keyword research tool. There are lots available, but there are three free ones I’d like to bring to your attention. One is from Google, another is from WordTracker and the third is supplied by Howie Jacobson (author of Adwords for Dummies, 2008).


You can find the Google keyword research tool at It’s easiest to use when you sign in to your Google account and open an Adwords account. The account is free to open – you don’t pay anything unless you run an adwords ad.


You can find the free Wordtracker keyword tool at


The tool from Howie Jacobson is at


As you research those six keywords you started with, be sure to keep track of other keywords that come up with good search volumes. You’ll want a few hundred keywords when you’re ready to promote your e-book. Plus, each keyword you add starts to build a chain – a.k.a. the long-tail keywords.

Writing e-Books – 4 Ways to Find a Topic

The most important choice you’ll make about anything you write is choosing the topic.


First we’re going to look at four ways to find a topic you want to write about. Then, as a bonus, we’ll take a look at the Evergreen concept.


The easiest way to find a topic is to look at what you do every day. Whether you’re a plumber, accountant or forest ranger, you have knowledge other people don’t. That makes your knowledge valuable.


You might think the knowledge for your profession is too routine or boring to be worth writing about. After all, who wants to know about working on an assembly line or being a mail clerk?


A recent search for “personal organization” showed 19.6 million related web pages. You can see how working on an assembly line or in a mail room require the person doing it to be well organized, and to pay attention to detail.


Sometimes it takes just a little imagination to see the knowledge you have that other people want, too.


A similar place to find a topic to write about is what you do for recreation.


As you explore your own hobby, you may be surprised by how many variations exist. Let’s take riding a bike as an example.


You could write about how to have a picnic with bicycles. Do you live in an area with a lot of cycling trails? Are there trails through town and through the woods or countryside?


Lots of people want to put their bicycles on their car and explore another town by bike. This translates to writing about travel destinations, how to transport a bike, and even how to choose bikes and vehicle bike racks.


While you’re thinking about all the things you know from work or from pleasure, take a moment to think about some of the things you don’t know but want to.


This is the third place to look for a topic to write about. As an example of how effective this can be, let me share the story of Jerry Buchanan’s first information product. It was about how to get rid of gophers.


Jerry Buchanan’s first information product was a result of his quest to get rid of the gophers that were destroying his gardens. He had a problem, but no solution. Jerry made his own solution by visiting other farmers and golf course groundskeepers who did have solutions. He interviewed experts.


When he had collected their answers, it occurred to Jerry that other people might have the same problem and be in need of the solutions he had found. That led to Jerry writing his first information product.


Do you think one or two of the things you’d like to know are popular enough for you to turn into an information product? Well, after we look at the fourth source for topics, I’ll show you how to find out.


The fourth source for topics is writing about something that has been around for a while and putting a new twist on it. The best example of this might be the highly successful Chicken Soup series of books.


Motivational books and Thought-for-the-Day books have been around for years. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen developed the chicken Soup for the Soul phenomenon by writing in a new direction.


Your new direction might be to collect and compile scattered bits of information that fill an information gap. Maybe you would like to write about the ten best sources for investment information. This could include newsletters, investment clubs, online trading, and traditional banking establishments.


The last thing to touch on is the Evergreen Concept.


Jerry Buchanan’s first topic was evergreen. Evergreen means that people will always want information about that topic. People still need to get rid of lawn vermin. A later product Jerry  produced, titled Profitable Self Publishing, is almost ideally evergreen.


What makes a topic evergreen is its ongoing relevance to an audience through several generations. For example, everyone wants to know how to invest their money wisely, but investment advice changes because of new regulations, new investment products and changing market conditions.


That a topic is evergreen means you will have a lasting audience for your information products. Your audience will demand a supply of updated, current information. You can meet that demand, and increase your revenues, by supplying updated, expanded editions of your e-book.


Put it all together –  something you want to write about (from work, pastime or desire to know) with a good monthly keyword search volume and you’ll have a winning topic for your e-book. Finding a topic that’s evergreen will give you the gold at the end of the rainbow.