SUMMARY - How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit_ Your Guide to Writing and PubliArticles, Special Reports, Audio Programs, DVDs, and Other How-To Content - Bly, Robert W_



Here are the key points summarized from the book summaries:

  • How-to writing is a niche that can be lucrative with the right strategy, despite competition from free online information. Specializing in valuable niches and becoming an expert is important.

  • Formatting content for different media and channels allows reaching broader audiences. Adding value through personalization, interpretation and other techniques helps monetize information effectively.

  • Choosing the right niche is critical - aim for specialized micro-niches with an audience of 100K+ people. Conduct thorough research to become highly knowledgeable in the niche.

  • Non-fiction writing requires solid expertise developed through various research methods over time. Narrow specialization grows credibility and pricing power. Adjacent or micro-niche strategies help expand scope.

  • Reference books face challenges due to free online information. Effective how-to writing involves a research process and mixes information, knowledge and wisdom to teach tangible skills. Different formats and packaging can make specialized content valuable.

The overall message is that how-to and non-fiction writers need to carefully choose profitable niches and conduct extensive research to gain expertise, then creatively package and deliver value-added content across multiple channels to build sustainable careers. Specialization, continuous learning and adaptation to new mediums are emphasized.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Trade/business publications cater to specific industries and occupational groups rather than a general readership. Their content needs to be directly relevant and useful to professionals in that field.

  • Technical skills and industry experience are important for writers to establish credibility. Understanding industry terminology, trends, and pain points of the target audience is essential.

  • Topics commonly include new products/services, best practices, profiles of successful companies/individuals, research reports, case studies, and commentary on industry news/policy.

  • The writing style is straightforward and fact-based rather than flowery. Jargon is expected to be used correctly within context.

  • Quantifiable results or data that demonstrate the impact or value of a topic make for engaging articles. Interviews with industry experts provide valuable insights.

  • Pitching tailored story ideas aligned with the publication's goals and reader interests increases chances of getting commissioned work. Building those industry connections is important long-term.

The key is focusing on practical, professionally relevant content while demonstrating subject matter expertise through industry-specific experience and language.

Here is a summary of the key points about developing bait pieces and using them in direct marketing:

  • Bait pieces are free content such as white papers, reports, guides, booklets, etc. that are used to generate sales leads by providing valuable information to prospects.

  • The format and name used can impact perceived value, with terms like "report" or "guide" implying higher value than just a "white paper". Including a fake price further enhances value.

  • Bait pieces should solve problems or address needs, not just provide information. The marketing goal should be defined upfront.

  • Alternative formats beyond standard papers, such as videos, podcasts, webinars and software, can make bait pieces stand out.

  • Length can vary from short tips to book-length, depending on the content and marketing goal.

  • Bait pieces are used to build the brand and generate leads that can then be followed up on through other marketing communications to close sales.

    Here is a summary of the key points about how to maximize revenue from existing content:

  • Writers can compile previously published articles, newsletters, reports, etc. into new products like ebooks and collections to generate additional income without much new work.

  • Recycling content into different formats allows readers access in new ways and justifies higher prices compared to individual pieces.

  • Newsletters in particular provide recurring subscription revenue streams that can last for years.

  • Building an email list through a website and free content allows direct marketing and repeat sales of related paid products.

  • Membership sites offer paid access to collections of proprietary content and resources, generating ongoing membership fees.

  • It's important to continually add fresh updates to retain subscribers and members long-term while also leveraging existing back catalogs of content.

  • Testing marketing strategies and page copy helps optimize conversion rates and revenues from existing creative works.

    Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Understand the training department's role in buying training programs and how they work with functional managers.

  • Market to both training directors and end users/managers, as managers can request specific trainers.

  • Speak the language of training professionals by having clear learning objectives that describe what students will learn and be able to do.

  • Joining the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) provides access to a prospecting list of training managers. Get involved in your local ASTD chapter for exposure.

  • Define a niche specialty and provide informational materials to training directors. Make referrals when outside your specialty to build credibility.

  • Treat training managers professionally, research how programs tie to business objectives, and focus on outcomes when selling your services.

The key aspects discussed were understanding the customer perspective, properly marketing to decision-makers, speaking the client's language, networking, defining specialty expertise,credibility-building, and selling based on objectives.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • Consulting services should focus on solving business problems rather than using "training" language. Use results-oriented language to describe how programs can impact key metrics like revenues, costs, efficiency and time-to-market.

  • Describe program benefits in terms of tangible business outcomes rather than abstract concepts. Emphasize the impact on the bottom line and key performance indicators that corporate managers care about.

  • Taking this approach frames the consulting offerings in a way that is directly relevant to the client's goals and priorities. It shows how investing in the programs and services can translate to meaningful returns for the business.

  • By speaking the client's language and addressing their most important concerns, this approach makes the consulting more appealing and valuable to corporate managers seeking solutions to real problems impacting their business metrics and performance.

    Here is a summary of the key points provided:

  • Writers can establish a lucrative freelance business by offering newsletter writing and production services to business clients on a recurring basis.

  • In addition to writing the content, these services may include newsletter design, layout, printing, and mailing. Successful writers treat it as a full business operation.

  • Several books provide guidance on starting a freelance newsletter business, including how to find and keep clients, set rates, and earn a full-time living.

  • Professional organizations and trade publications can help writers locate clients and stay current on industry trends.

  • Presented as a viable option, writers can generate ongoing income by developing custom newsletter solutions for business customers and setting it up like an independent service business with recurring clients.

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