Connect with us

Business Principles

People are Confused about Content Curation

www.BusinessEmpires.com

I had a customer that decided he wanted to do blog curation … but he became very frustrated quickly.

He studied all the information he could find online, including asking some basic questions about content curation at several marketing forums.

It seems he came away from his investigations much more confused than he was when he began his research.

People just don’t really understand the curation business model.  Many say it is nothing more than stealing content and putting it on your own site.

Others believe curation is simply quoting another site on a particular topic and giving a link back.  This practice, by the way, is called “attribution.”

I think a lot of IMers have trouble understanding the curation model because many do it wrong and still call what they’re doing “curation” even though it’s not even close.  I have noticed more than a few “gurus” who even teach curation – but what they teach is not correct.

Curation is not ripping off other people’s content, spinning content, or syndicating others’ content.

Think of a curator in a museum.  That’s the person that chooses what displays are going to be seen by the public and often lays those displays out with original added explanation in an editorial style.

Curating content is much the same.  As the curator in a niche, you aggregate (bring together) valuable content in the niche and add your own commentary, voice, or “take” on what you’re presenting.

A niche curation website would function the same way.  The site owner would (usually on a daily basis) set up “alerts” for his email inbox so that he could review the latest niche happenings and news, highlight certain articles and then provide his own comments and insight.

“Fair use” allows a person to quote a short passage or two from the article he finds, then add his own review, editorial, take, analysis, or related content without infringing upon the copyright of the original author.

When you curate you don’t use someone’s whole article, spin their article, or in any other way resort to stealing their content.  You always give a link back to the source of the content you curate (again, called attribution.)

By far, the biggest time drain with curation is reading all the articles you find, analyzing what you’re seeing, then preparing intelligent, thoughtful comments of your own that will add value to what you’re presenting to your audience.

Many gurus get this all wrong.  They teach that you simply “copy and paste” a few quotes from other sources, add copy like “Check out this great article” and then quote the source.  What they are teaching is not true or valuable curation.

Curation software is available to help automate parts of curation; however, in my opinion, it is only very marginally useful.

Anyone can grab a post, add “check out this article, blah, blah, blah” and call it curation.  But that’s not what your audience wants to see and I wouldn’t call that curation by any stretch of the imagination.

Being a curator is all about being the person that is able to quickly assimilate a large amount of information and provide quality article snippet “choosing” (to re-post), thoughtful narrative that is unique and most likely some type of editorial or niche analysis of the quoted article, and a compelling reason for prospects to want to stay on the web site.  No software can take a human’s place in doing this … despite the claims of the software creators.

Yet software products abound with claims like “this push-button solution will curate for you” without the curator adding the human element.  The creators of this kind of software don’t understand, in the least, what content creation through curation is really all about.

When you curate, you are the important part of the equation. Your analysis, your voice, your personality, your knowledge in the niche … in sum … everything you add to the short snippets you refer to, those are the critical elements of the curation model.  Those are elements that so-called automatic curation software leaves out!

The reasons curation is so successful when done properly are that it saves people (the blog readers) in the niche the time it takes to hunt down all the latest and best news and it offers a unique and thoughtful perspective from someone skilled and experienced in the subject.

Advertisers in your niche will love your curation when done properly because, once you’re generating a lot of traffic, your curation site becomes a gathering place for your niche audience – a place that advertisers will pay handsomely to put their products on display for sale.

I hope this clarification will help anyone that chooses to curate niche content.

To your online business success!

Steve Browne

www.BusinessEmpires.com

www.BusinessEmpires.com

Save

Save

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Business in General

What Should I Sell Online?

www.BusinessEmpires.com

Many would-be entrepreneurs get stuck on the most basic of questions before they’re even out of the gate with a new business.  They know they want to make money online but they have absolutely no idea how they’re going to do it.

Often these same entrepreneurs will have a list of niches and maybe business models that they’ve been thinking about trying but they’re not sure how to narrow that list down to the top choice that they’ll eventually focus on for their new business.

When you get right down to it, this same stumbling point and resulting paralysis is actually felt by most people when they contemplate going into business for themselves.  They ask questions like:

  • Am I getting into the right niche?
  • Am I choosing the right business model?
  • Is this something I am going to enjoy?
  • What kind of income can I expect from this niche?
  • How much competition is there going to be?
  • How much time will I have to spend to reach my income goal?
  • Will I be able to establish myself as an expert in this niche?
  • How much is it going to cost to start my business?

These are fundamental questions that you’d better answer before you think about products to sell or you start building a web site or spending money on promoting your business idea.

So here are my suggestions to begin narrowing down the field if you haven’t decided on your business topic yet.  These ideas aren’t new, they’re not secrets and they are not my original ideas . . . but they are universally effective:

1- Have you visualized what kind of business you want to create?

Are you going after a million dollar business or will you be happy making $5,000/month?  Do you visualize having employees working with you or are you a committed solo entrepreneur?  Do you see yourself working 50-60 hours per week in your business or do you want a lifestyle business that takes 20 hours per week or less to run?  You see, the answers to these questions are going to allow you to cross some subject ideas off your list right now.

2- Have you done your niche research?

If you haven’t, you’re not starting in the right place.  Some niches will support the kind of business you envision; other niches won’t.  Some niches are extremely competitive and present a great challenge to entry.  Others will be easier to break into.  Again, the likelihood of success in any of the topics you’ve been considering will become more apparent as you thoroughly research the niche market.  I would think a 30-minute dive into niche research in each of your subject markets would be time well spent and you will see where the best opportunity lies.  After you’ve identified the one niche that you’re going to enter you should jump into the marketplace again and do more thorough research knowing that this is the place you’ll be setting up shop.

3- What do you really enjoy doing?

Could you be happy immersing yourself in every one of the topics you’ve included on your list?  Surely, some of these topics hold your interest better than others.  You see, entering a subject niche that you really enjoy will help you to focus on becoming an expert in that topic without feeling like it’s an agonizing drudgery.  You will look forward to working in the niche every day.  It’s critical that you keep up your spirits and enthusiasm for the subject … especially in the early lean times when the business isn’t producing much and as a new entrepreneur you are more likely to give up or question if this career is really for you!

4- Where does your past training, schooling, and work experience lead you?

One of the key elements of a great business is owner knowledge and expertise for his/her business subject.  Granted, you can learn what you need to know in most niches in order to become an expert.  But believe me, it really does help and give you a tremendous head start if you already know and understand the topic.  Do you already speak the industry jargon?  Do you have experiences and dealings in the niche that you can share with other?  Do you have friends, contacts, sources of information in the niche that could be an advantage to you as a business owner?  If so, the niche is a prime candidate for your consideration.  But don’t be blinded by your mastery of the subject because lots of people have specialized knowledge in subjects that don’t monetize well.

5- Where does your passion lie?

This is related to #3 above, but a little different.  Are you really jazzed up and excited to get going on a particular business?  Is it something you like to delve into anyway (despite wanting to create a business in the topic)?  The fact is this: business owners that really have a passion for what they do seem to be contagious.  It’s easy for prospects to get excited about something if they see the genuine love and excitement that an owner has for what he/she does!  Passion for your subject means you’ll willingly keep up with the latest news, events, changes, and happenings in the niche and want to share those with your like-minded customers and prospects.

6- What is the outlook and trend for each of your potential topics into the future?

You don’t want to sign on as the captain of the Titanic in your chosen niche!  You don’t want to invest you time, energy, and resources into creating and running a business in a niche that is dying or even slowly drying up.  If you’re really in business for the long haul, you need to understand that your efforts are going to be rewarded for years to come.  Some niches are evergreen.  Subjects like health, exercise, travel, relationships, dating and marriage, small business, self improvement, making money, etc, are always on people’s minds.  A great resource for determining subject appeal to the masses is Google Trends.

7- What are the barriers to entry in these niches?

Finally, it’s critical to be aware of barriers that could potentially thwart your business creation hopes in particular niches.  Are there licenses that need to be gained in order to become respected or qualified in the niche?  Is the cost of entry for needed software or product creation going to be more than I can comfortably handle?  Is the niche already saturated to the point that I can’t identify a unique position in which to place my business?  Is the business subject seasonal, limited in any way (geographic, cultural, etc), or not socially acceptable?  Is the business subject something that is blackhat, underground, sleazy, hateful, discriminatory or of bad taste?  (I would caution everyone to stay far away from subjects like porn, gambling, lotteries, anything illegal, immoral, or in any way in poor taste.)

So I’ve given you seven “filters” to run your ideas through.  If you are serious about starting a real business, apply each of these filters to your list of potential subjects and it will soon become quite apparent which topics you should eliminate and which you can confidently move to the top of your list.

After you finish this little exercise, you may still have two or three ideas that have risen to the top and pass all the tests.  Don’t fret.  It may be that any of them that you choose will lead you into a nice profitable business.  What you’ll have confirmed is that any of these remaining topics can serve you well.  Just choose one and be on with doing some detailed market research!

A word of caution:  Don’t try to juggle two or more new businesses at the same time.  Sure, you can add multiple streams of income later, but only focus on one until it is running profitably and giving you the income you want.  Don’t dilute or water down your efforts at the outset.  It’s very difficult to divide your attention and become profitable when you’re trying to figure out how online business works!

To your online business success!

Steve Browne

www.BusinessEmpires.com

www.BusinessEmpires.com

Save

Continue Reading

Advertising

What to Do if Folks Just Don’t Respond

www.BusinessEmpires.com

One of the most frustrating aspects of web business is trying to figure out problems to customer response rates on your web site. Why are my customers getting lost online? Why are they not responding to my ads? Why are my offers being ignored?

The challenge of this puzzle is figuring out what parts of the web site need to be fixed.

Is it the offer itself? Are my navigation signals unclear? Is my offering price too high? Is my offer language boring or uninspiring? Is there a problem with my ordering system?

You see, it seems that there are an endless number of little variables that could be hindering sales at the web site. Often, trying to figure out where the roadblocks are is a difficult and frustrating exercise.

If you are not getting the kind of customer web site response you think you should have, there are a number of starting points that you should consider in order to get to the root of the problem.

  • First, know your web site. Be aware of the traffic patterns of your online visitors. You can track where the clicks on your site are happening. You may find that your navigation is confusing – a real problem. Confused visitors are frustrated visitors who are not in the mood to buy anything. If your customer is confused about your web site, she might believe that your products will be confusing as well.
  • Lead your customer by the hand into taking the action that you want. Tell them or show them where you want them to go next. The “call to action” is one of the most important parts of your visitor ordering system. There should be no doubt about the progression of your intended path through the sale.
  • Make buying easy. If you have a long sales page, strategically place “buy now” buttons throughout the text. Sometimes the customer is ready to buy early on, sometimes mid-way through the offer, and often, not until the very end. Most of your clicks to purchase will come from the first and last opportunity, but your intermediate buttons will also get clicks. The point is, you want the customer to be able to pull the trigger when he is ready, regardless of where he is on the sales page. If he has to wait until the very end of the dialogue, there is a good chance the sale may be lost.
  • Be dramatic and bold with your buttons. Don’t leave any doubt as to how to respond to your offer or your direction to a resource or link. Don’t hide these jumping off points in ordinary text or tiny graphics. Leave no doubt about where the prospect needs to click to get somewhere.
  • Many web businesses don’t take the opportunity to follow up on a customer action with an email. Whether it’s a “thank you” email for subscribing to a mailing list or a “this is what to do next” follow up to a download, you need to take every opportunity to maintain and enhance your contact with the customer or prospect. So many businesses fail in this regard. Customers will notice your concern if you always follow up on their actions. This practice alone will set you apart from 95% of the competition. Yes, it’s a little more work to do this, but the results will be more than worth the extra effort.
  • Remember to offer options. Maybe your customers aren’t buying because they would like to try something out before committing to high price tag. Can you give them a two-week trial offer as an alternative to the full price offer? Can you give them a price point that’s significantly less than the regular price for a “lite” version? Sure, you want to try to get full price for a sale – but getting something is always preferable to getting nothing. And if the customer is pleased with his initial purchase, it will be that much easier getting her to come back to order the full version and even more!
  • Always test, test, test. It is really surprising what a little testing will do. Sometimes simply changing a color, a button placement, a new headline, or a little added text will mean a 100% increase in a response rate. It’s true! The only way you’re going to know what little tweaks will help your conversion is to test one thing against another and track results. Of course you know that there is a proper and a wrong way to test variables. That lesson is for another day . . . but just remember . . . testing and tracking will often turn money losing offers into money winning offers. Likewise, good results can be tweaked into becoming outstanding results.
  • Don’t be afraid to up-sell or cross-sell once a customer has pulled the trigger. Don’t be shy about taking advantage of the immediate time following a web site sale. To simply tell the customer “thank you” and leave him on a dead end page is to lose the opportunity to make additional money. The best strategy is to offer a very related product, a longer term, a deluxe version of what was just purchased, a greater supply of the product, a customer discount to an affiliated service, or membership in a “club” or user group.
  • One good way to jump into the customer’s shoes is to actually ask the customer for feedback on varying aspects of his web or buying experience. Ask if she has questions about a product or service. Ask if the price was the reason a prospect didn’t buy. Ask if any of your instructions were unclear or hard to understand. Feedback on why a prospect didn’t buy is invaluable because the chances are very high that other folks are feeling the same way.
  • Have a path to follow for those that say “no.” In other words, if a prospect is not ready to pull the trigger with your call to action on this visit, you should have an alternative path for him to get something else from you. Don’t let the customer leave empty-handed. Surely there is some kind of value that you can give the non-buyers for stopping by your shop. It could be a free download of “tips” in your niche, it could be a trial offer of a product, or it might simply be direction to a related resource. Whatever you decide, make sure the customer feels that her visit was worth the time and effort. You want the prospect to have a reason to come by again.
  • The internet is a great place to scan, but often a lousy place to read long copy. Given the choice, most people would rather read a physical book than sit at the computer screen and scroll through an online book. Think about it – when you come to a computer screen with lots of text, what do you do? Don’t you tend to do a quick scan to see if there are headings or bullet points or underlined text so that you can get the jist of what’s going on without having to suffer through reading everything? Most folks are that way, by far! I’m suggesting you cater your delivery of information to the style of the reader. Offer summaries, headings, bullet lists, shortened text, etc.
  • Here’s my last point for this installment: keep everything simple and brief. Don’t force the customer to do too much. Remember “easy,” “short,” “simple,” “summary,” “brief,” etc. When you ask for information, keep it to a minimum. When you give directions, make it simple. When you ask for a sale, make it happen in one click. When you want a question answered, give one to three options and ask which they would prefer. Remember what we said earlier: when a customer is confused or frustrated, he is not in a buying mood.

I hope you’ll remember some of these suggestions so that solving the non-response puzzle will be easier and faster for you than ever before. Often, you will find what the problem is sooner than later and you won’t have to scrap your whole project idea or offer because it’s not converting.

To you online business success,

Steve Browne

www.BusinessEmpires.com

www.BusinessEmpires.com

 

Continue Reading

Backend Products

PLR Sales and Uses – Pros and Cons

Like many of my fellow Internet marketers, there was a time when I was very enamored with the thought of owning and operating a large PLR vending business.  It seemed like a great way to make money.

Other people did the work of creating products (mostly ebooks, audios, and videos) and all I had to do was gather them up, feature them on a large “catalog” type e-commerce site, and sell them to a hungry crowd of business owners looking for content.

Or so I thought …

I purchased my share of digital resale rights products, licensed to sell products, and private label rights products; and to this day, most sit on my hard drive collecting pixel dust because I never did get around to using them.  In addition, a large percentage of these products that I purchased proved to fall way short of the desired level of content quality that I wanted.

There are some notable exceptions, mind you, but that is a discussion for another day.

Still, I love the PLR model of selling digital information.  Think about how perfect it is . . .

  • You don’t have to create products
  • You don’t have to make graphics (typically)
  • You don’t have to write a lengthy sales letter (sometimes)
  • You don’t have to identify a hungry market (usually)
  • Everything is basically done for you … all that’s left is for you to do the selling of the product
  • It’s easy to come up with many related products if you want to “bundle” several together
  • You can set your own price point and you can claim incredible “total value”

I didn’t really think much about the negatives of this PLR business model … but I learned over time that there are several big ones which are substantial drawbacks to using PLR.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though.  Let me explain …

In case you don’t know, “PLR” stands for Private Label Rights.  It is a phrase that has come to be quite popular among Internet marketers.

The idea is simple.  Someone else (not you) creates a digital product, for example, an ebook.  The product could also be a video, an audio recording, a set of images, or just about anything else that is delivered digitally online.

The creator then sells that product for whatever he chooses, not once, but over and over again to PLR buyers.  The purchaser gets a “license” to turn that product into his/her own (private label) product(s) and sell or use it however he chooses.

The buyer of the product is sold a “non-exclusive right” to basically do whatever he wants with the product.  He can sell it “as is”, modify it, split it up into parts, add his own name as the author, change the title, add his own affiliate links, pretty much do whatever he wants with the original product.  Usually the creator will spell out the license rights in a separate document that is sent to the buyer along with the “source” copy the product itself.

Resale or resell rights (people use these terms interchangeably) is a similar concept except that you can’t usually change or modify the product – you agree to sell it “as is.”  Everything remains in the “label” of the product creator.  Thus PLR is a more flexible solution – you can make it your own private label (some call it “white label”) and differentiate the product from everyone else’s version.

It is a novel idea and one that appeals to a lot of folks simply because it gives them something to sell without having to go through the effort and time of creating the product themselves.

Product creators do well (usually) with a top quality product.  Imagine creating an ebook over the course of a week’s time, then selling the license to use it (PLR) to 250 buyers.

If the product sells for $19, that gives the creator a nice payday of $4,750 (less expenses of course).

Some smart marketers have learned that they don’t even need to do the labor of writing the ebook themselves since it can be outsourced to a ghost writer for a few hundred dollars.

So, why didn’t I follow through with implementing this business model?

I learned (over time) that there are some major disadvantages to PLR products:

  • Once sold, you can’t control the distribution or sales price of the product – which means it typically gets devalued almost immediately.  Why? Because everyone selling the same product tries to undercut all the other sellers in order to make a sale.  What you sold for $19, you will now see selling online for $17, or $15, $11.95, $9.97, $5.97, $2 or even being given away without cost.  The point is, you have no control of the future value of your creation.  Often a PLR seller will state in the product license something to the effect that “In order to maintain the value of your purchase, please do not sell this product for less than $14.95.”  That’s what the creator hopes … but in reality … he can not police or force the issue once the product has been sent to a purchaser.
  • Almost no one modifies the product.  Most PLR sellers are only interested in adding the product to their ebook line-up as quickly as possible.  Very few, in my experience, like to rework PLR ebooks or other products (even though that’s really what they are meant for and it’s the best way to make money with them.)
  • Digital products have a typically short shelf life.  That is something I learned quickly online.  New products are surfacing all the time and PLR creations don’t seem to have a very long life in most niches.  That means you must get them “live” and selling fast as they will be flooding the market very soon.  There are some exceptions of course when the PLR creator purposefully designs the product to be “evergreen” (timeless) and it has not been sold extensively.  Some PLR creators will only release a limited number of copies of a product in order to keep the value high.  Others sell PLR with a high price tag which can also have the effect of limiting the number of copies of the product in the marketplace.  If you join the mailing list of someone specializing in creating PLR products you will probably notice that the creator releases one product after another after another in order to keep the cash flowing in.
  • Everyone is competing selling the same thing.  Remember, very few sellers will modify a PLR work – not even to change the title and add a new e-cover.  Since there are so many competing sellers, the price drops and drops and drops.  Soon you will see folks giving the PLR product away freely (or as a bonus for another product.)
  • Finally (and this is the biggest disadvantage I have seen with PLR creations), the majority of the PLR products I have seen are poorly  researched, hastily written, and without unique and cutting edge information!  Sure, there are some great products coming out every once in a while, but for the most part, the industry is full of re-hashed, copied, or already available material.  I have seen PLR products that are nothing more than a compilation of other PLR products – PLR from PLR!  Is that what you want from a PLR product?

It’s typical that a buyer will not get to read the copy of the product until after making a purchase … so you can’t determine before hand what is good and what is useless dribble.  Sometimes a seller will reveal the table of contents or a single chapter as an example of the work.  What I have learned to do is to keep track of the PLR creators that produce top quality work – usually they will produce that same quality again and again.

It is a lucrative business to create products, devise a motivating sales pitch, maybe add a bonus report or two, and a copy of the license, then sell the PLR rights very quickly without further commitment for follow-up, customer service, etc.  Some PLR creators have a number of affiliates on board who are waiting to promote whatever the creator releases.  Then it’s on to the next PLR product.

But this lucrative business has led to a lot of outsourcing of authorship to people who don’t even have command of the English language and certainly aren’t experts in the niche they are writing about.  It usually shows in their writing.

Let me ask you … who is going to review the content in these PLR books – both in terms of the grammar and language, but also for sound and usable advice in the niche?  Who is going to assure that only quality niche content is published?  No one.  Compounding the problem is the fact that even though a PLR creator advertises the product as “top quality” it is a very subjective thing – judging the quality of a written work with regard for both grammar and content – and in my experience (I was an English minor in college) many folks really don’t have a good sense of what is quality writing and content and what is not!

I believe that most PLR buyers and Internet marketers that take action with their purchase immediately try to market their PLR products without even reading the content first before they offer it to others for sale.  Remember, speed to the marketplace is often an important selling advantage.

So, junk content flies under the radar while sellers and their affiliates push this garbage on to their customers without a clue about how good or bad the content may be.

Here are my “take-aways” if you want to get into the PLR game:

  1. Only buy top quality PLR products if you possibly can.  It comes with experience and knowing who the best PLR creators are at any given time and in specific markets.
  2. Look for “evergreen” products – those whose information will stay current for a long time to come.
  3. It’s best if the number of licenses available is controlled and small.  If you’re 1 of 25 – 50 others that can sell a product, that would be great.  Since many buyers won’t do anything serious with their product, you may actually be competing against only 10 or fewer other sellers.
  4. Don’t delay in getting your product to market – being the first to offer it is sometimes a real advantage.
  5. By all means, modify the product, especially the title, chapter headings, introduction and summary, and cover graphic so that it looks unique and no one will be competing with your branding of it.  It’s a good idea to modify the chapter order (if it doesn’t hurt the “flow” of the book), the transitions from section to section, and add at least some original content.  Add your own graphics and formatting style if you can.
  6. Think of a way to target your product to a specific crowd, a subset of the overall market.  If, for instance, you have a product about how to get traffic to a web site, put a twist on the product and make it specific to a subset of the larger universe … like how to get traffic to a real estate agent’s site.  You will lose all or most of your competition that way, those in the target audience will feel that the product was designed specifically for “me,” and you will then be able to easily “repurpose” the material for other specific market audiences as well.
  7. Combine a number of similar or related PLR products into a bundle or into a larger composite product.  All the original products will lose their identity and you will come away with a more comprehensive and valuable “bang for the buck” single offering.

I will tell you that there are a few marketers that make a very good living selling PLR products.  But there is a much greater pool of sellers that can’t figure out why their PLR site doesn’t do a good business.  Often, the best PLR sellers have a subscriber list of PLR buyers just waiting for the next product release.

If you stick to the suggestions I have given you, and try to avoid the disadvantages we spoke of, you may be able to make a nice living with PLR – either as a creator, a PLR marketer, or both.  Some product creators make good money selling their own creation for awhile then they release it later to the marketers and business owners as a licensed PLR “white label” product that can be sold by a niche business.

If the idea of PLR or content licensing appeals to you in your business, be sure to keep in mind that you are in control and it is up to you to understand and maintain the quality and type of content that your business releases!  Junk products will brand your business in a very negative light!

To your online business success!

Steve Browne

www.BusinessEmpires.com

www.BusinessEmpires.com

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading

Trending