Info Product Creation – Utilizing Video In Creating Your Info Product

On the other hand some individuals state the exact opposite. It’s very difficult however to fast forward an internet video which is still loading to see if it contains the appropriate details than it is to check out the contents page of an ebook. So your video must be well-crafted and get to the point right away, without any nonsense or lengthy introductions, or you will upset individuals and get a lot of refund requests, and individuals won’t be very likely to order from you again.

In a written product, individuals are a bit more forgiving, because they can page forward quickly to get at the data that they need. If you are referring to the way to design an online site, for instance, they might already know some of what you are talking about. In an eBook they can skip what they already know; in a video they can’t, because they don’t fully understand where on the video to find the part of the video that they are searching for.

Making your information products can be carried out very cheaply and easily. Your computer may currently come with a word processing program which can save a document in Portable Document Format. (pdf) If not, there are various paid choices, or you may download Open Office, that is free and works with both Macintosh as well as PC platforms. CutePDF will work with a number of Windows platforms which includes Vista. To make a video, there are a number of free and low priced programs available. Macintosh users can use imovie software, which also comes with Garageband software that would be ideal for podcasts and audio recordings. It will cost you about $79. Videospin is a free video editing program that works well with Windows XP. A lot of Windows computers include the program Windows Movie Maker, which may be all you need.

Truthfully speaking, the programs that cost money are going to have a lot more features obtainable as opposed to the free programs, but for the purposes of creating an information product, the free products are more than sufficient. Whenever you make a written information product, like an eBook or short report, you are going to want to save it both in regular format as well as in PDF, so that you can export it.

Video editing programs will help you to add in titles and transition effects to your information product creation video, like fading from one screenshot to the other. Keep in mind that if you add in transition effects it can take longer for the product to download. Don’t be anxious about making the perfect video; customers of information products don’t expect a Hollywood production. They have a problem; they need somebody to inform them how to solve it, quickly and with no distractions. They’re not searching for fancy special effects.

Effective Online Forum Usage

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.
- Herbert Simon

Online forums, message boards, and newsgroups are now ubiquitous. These powerful communication tools offer many strong benefits. However, forum participation can also become a destructive addiction, where the benefits are overshadowed by negative side effects.

Here are some potential benefits of regular online forum participation:

* Intellectual exchange

* Learning new ideas and refining old ones

* Enjoying community membership

* Influencing the forum’s evolution

* Contributing to others

* Making new friends and contacts

* New business leads

* Keeping up with current events

* Learning about new opportunities

Here are some potential negative effects of excessive forum usage:

* Reduced concentration and focus

* Reduced productivity

* Chronic procrastination

* Increased pessimism and/or apathy

* Being distracted by endless debates and idle gossip

* Gradually substituting tribal group think for your own intelligence

* Impaired social skills, neglected relationships, and a weakened social circle (a consequence of substituting online socialization for face-to-face conversations)

* Reduced energy (forum participation is sedentary compared to more active social outlets)

* Reduced self-esteem

* Career and income may suffer (including loss of employment)

* Forum addiction

Since the early 1990s, I’ve participated in many different online forums, message boards, and newsgroups and have experienced many of these positive and negative effects at various times. I ran a popular game developer forum for almost two years, so I’ve had experience both as a participant and a forum operator. On the positive side, I’ve learned many great ideas, made valuable new business contacts, and even met my wife on a local computer bulletin board system. On the negative side, I found excess participation to be a huge time drain (and very addicting as well).

Here are some suggestions for using forums effectively and avoiding the negative side effects:

1. Take a Forum Fast

First, if you’re currently active in any forums, go on a forum fast. Stop visiting all forums for a while; don’t even lurk. I recommend a fasting period of 30 days, with a bare minimum of 14 days. This will help you break any unconscious habits and regain your perspective, so you can intelligently evaluate the role forums should play in your life. Otherwise, you may be coming from a place of unconscious habit and will likely overestimate the value of continued participation. If you’re currently a forum moderator, take a forum vacation, and enlist someone to temporarily assume your moderation duties. Redirect the time you would have spent in online forums to something positive like exercising or reading books. If you don’t think you have the discipline to do this, simply make a post in each forum explaining that you’ll be taking the next 30 days off, and if any forum member catches you online, you’ll pay the first person that emails you about it $100. This should give you enough leverage to stick with your fast.

2. Reassess Your Forum Usage Habits

Once you’ve completed the initial fasting period (and not before), take a fresh look at your forum participation habits. Imagine that you just discovered each forum today for the first time. What are the pros and cons of participation? Is this the best use of your time, or can you imagine something better? If you’re using forums to get specific information, would it be better to simply read books, articles, or blogs? If you’re using them as a social outlet, would it be better to join a local club and meet people face-to-face? Looking back on your previous pattern of behavior, would you say you were addicted? Did your usage pattern become unconscious? If so, how do you intend to prevent that from happening again?

3. Clarify Your Expectations

If you decide to participate in online forums, clarify your expectations. Whether you intend to use forums for market research, to make new contacts, or as an outlet for your humorous wit, get clear on why you’re there.

4. Establish Reasonable Boundaries

To limit the risk of forum addiction, set clear boundaries for yourself and write them down. You can limit the number of times per week you check each forum, the total amount of time you spend participating, or the number of posts you’ll allow yourself to make each week. Track your weekly usage on a scrap of paper to keep yourself consciously aware of your participation habits. Don’t go dark and succumb to unconscious habituation. Establish clear boundaries such that if you cross them, you know you’re at risk of falling into a pattern of addiction. And if that ever happens, it’s time to immediately begin a new fasting period.

5. Let It Go

If you find yourself repeatedly succumbing to forum addiction or other negative usage patterns, you may decide it’s best to simply do without. At the time of this writing, I no longer regularly participate in any online forums or message boards. When I clarified my intentions, I realized my #1 reason for participation was to contribute and to help people. But using forums as a contribution outlet was inefficient, since it would too often lead to lengthy (and mostly unproductive) debates. I found that sticking with one-to-many outlets like writing articles and maintaining a blog were a much better use of my time. Blog comments still allow some interactivity, but the time required to manage them is reasonable and the personal relevance of most blog comments is extremely high.

6. Replace Online Socialization With Face-to-Face Contact

Regarding the social aspect, online forums are a poor substitute for meeting people in person. While there’s certainly some social benefit to forums – many people have met their spouses in online forums, including me – it’s important to physically spend time with human beings instead of via a computer screen. If you need a new social outlet, join a local club or association, especially one that meets weekly. I found that when I joined Toastmasters International and began attending meetings and competing in speech contests, my interest in socializing via online forums fell dramatically. Even the best online communication pales in comparison to face-to-face, belly-to-belly contact.

7. Be a Dabbler, Not a Fixture

Another tip is to treat forum participation as temporary. If your goal is to make new business contacts, then dive in and participate actively for a while, maybe 30-90 days. Make new friends and contacts, collect private contact info, and then abandon the forums. Continue to develop your new relationships via one-to-one communication like email, phone calls, and if possible, face-to-face meetings (such as at industry conferences). Temporarily dabbling in many different forums is a more effective way to build contacts than pushing a single forum far beyond its usefulness.

You can also use the dabbling method to gather general information on a subject. Seek out a number of relevant forums and bookmark them. Then spend a few hours scanning each forum once every six months to soak up the current wisdom. Whenever you have a specific question, pop in and search the forum archives. If searching turns up a blank, feel free to post a new message, harvest the answers, and disappear.

8. Avoid Addiction

Online forums are tricky beasts. At the time of this writing, my feeling is that ongoing daily participation in any single forum for more than a few months is almost invariably unproductive. Eventually the initial benefits like gaining knowledge and making new contacts produce diminishing returns. And then the negative effects like forum addiction set in. Regular participation (even from unconscious habituation) will still provide some benefits, but the longer you participate, the less efficiently those benefits are realized.

Close cousins of forum addiction include online gaming addiction, web surfing addiction, blog addiction, email addiction, and news addiction. The common pattern is that unconscious habituation overrides conscious, clear-headed decision-making. If you ever find yourself with such an unproductive habit, take steps to reassert conscious control. Use a period of fasting to regain your perspective, reexamine your motives, set clear boundaries, and find alternative outlets. Manage your forum usage consciously to serve your goals, and avoid the trap of addiction.

How to Leverage Online Forums For Blog Traffic

There’s a very good chance if you are a regular Internet user that you spend a fair amount of time at online forums. For the people reading this article who don’t know what a forum is, here’s a brief introduction.

Online forums or “community forums”, are dynamic websites that allow users to start discussions by posting new topics, which other members of the forum can reply to. Forums are available for any topic with a following from hobbies, to business, to gossip, entertainment – virtually anything!

While forums come in different sizes, from the brand new that resemble ghost towns because no one uses them (yet), to large uber-communities, with tens of thousands of new posts made every day.

I won’t go into more detail because forums, while being simple in concept, are complex in features, you really need to go check some out if you have never seen one. Forums bring together like minded people with a common interest. If you are a forum virgin I think you will quickly become addicted once you join one full of people who share your interests and passions.

HOW TO USE FORUMS TO PROMOTE YOUR BLOG

Let me start with how not to use forums to promote your blog. DON’T join a forum and make your first post something like this

Hey check out my blog, it’s great -

www.myblog.com
Blatant self promotion doesn’t go down well in forums, especially if you are a new member. Forum communities have rules for conduct and won’t tolerate bad behaviour. Often rules are available as “sticky” posts, which are at the top of each forum page, so read them if you are unsure of what is expected from members. Even if there are no specific rules, it’s never a good idea to start off your membership in a community by trying to sell or promote something. Would you start a new friendship by trying to get a person to buy from you? No you wouldn’t, so don’t try it in a forum either.

Credibility, as I’ve mentioned before, is important, and when using forums as a traffic tool for your blog, your credibility is important again. Forum communities often have what I like to call “elders”. These are members who have made thousands of posts and have a lot of respect in the forum. They may be moderators who have been members of the forum for many years. Elders have a lot of credibility since they have devoted so much time to the forums.

ADDING VALUE TO A FORUM

You don’t have to become an “elder” in a forum, although if you find a forum which has the perfect audience for your blog, becoming an “elder” it may be one of the best traffic strategies for you to aim for long term.

The important concept to grasp is — to actually get someone to click through from an entry you make in a forum to your blog you need to have credibility and add value. The more often you add value, the more credibility you gain.

Adding value to a forum is just like adding value to your blog. If you help people to solve problems, gain insights or make money, you add value to their life. How you eventually gain traffic is simple – you leave links to your blog in posts you make in forums.

Here’s how I do it

Step 1: Forum signature and photograph

Your forum signature is the most important tool for gaining traffic from forums. In your signature you leave a link to your blog and for most forums your signature can be automatically added to the end of every post you make. Once you set it up you’re done – every post you make to a forum is a little advertisement for your blog.

Make sure, if the forum rules permit it, that you set this up first. Some forums only allow you to have a signature after you have made a certain number of posts or restrict what content and style you can use in your signature. Be aware of signature policies before creating your signature.

You should also include an avatar/photograph in your profile which is displayed in every post you make. If you are into personal branding like I am, and you should be if you want more blog traffic, it’s important you start exposing your image and name in as many places as you can. Posts made to forums help increase exposure and public awareness of “you”.

Step 2: Add Value

Once you have the basic profile data set up you need to start adding value to the forum. This means you can’t be a lurker – just reading the forum isn’t going to get you traffic. You need to start making posts, demonstrate your knowledge, expertise and personality by helping people, interacting and making friends.

Step 3: Indirect Self Promotion

Once you have built up a little credibility you can start to subtly self promote your blog outside of your signature. It’s still not acceptable to spread links to your blog everywhere, but what I like to do is offer links to my blog pillar articles when one of them is relevant to a question or discussion in a forum. This is a great way to add value to a forum and send traffic to your blog – just remember you have to get the context spot on or you will appear to be self promoting.

SIGNATURE POWER

If you just focus on making 10 value adding posts to forums every day by the end of the year you will have over 3500 links pointing to your blog, sending a nice consistent trickle of traffic to your blog. The more credibility and respect you have in a forum the greater the potential for that trickle to become a stream or even a torrent of traffic.