Hello there, and I want to thank you for welcoming me on this platform. Sté and myself come a long way online. We met when I launched a product three years ago to try an build my own online authority and failed at executing it properly. He was very disapointed with me then, but through the years we were able to connect and collaborate on a few small other things.
Truth is, I have always wanted to write for Dukeo, because he quickly became an online authority, but the right time has not presented itself until now. This introduction actually has a lot to do with answering the question posed in the title of this post. Hopefully you know the Dukeo story and how it rose to becoming SO popular. If not, you can read about it in the “Who Is” Case Study.
1. The online authority question answered in one word
The lesson that we can learn from Sté is that you simply need one thing to make a success of online ventures…
…when you are not famous, or you don’t have established online online authority or some kind of celebrity status.
The answer is coming :) Let me first discuss authority and why it’s important to have it.
Being an online authority is simply being a thought leader in a specific niche or field. It allows you to stand head and shoulders above everyone else and have the trust of people. You’re acknowledged for your knowledge and recognized online as a trusted resource by search engines, peers and reference sites online. This will have numerous different results, including a greater influence.
I shared with you about being an online authority because it will give you the ability to easily launch and sell a product. This is possible through the following means:
- You have trust with your audience.
- You have a large reach online.
- You influence people online and your opinion matters.
- You have a large, responsive subscriber list you have built a relationship with.
- You have a large following on social media channels.
- You provide great, valuable content on a consistent basis.
- People follow you and interact with you online.
- Your metric stats are great, meaning you have good traffic to your authority site/blog.
- In other words, you are an online authority…
Can you see how the characteristics of an online authority can help you sell a product? Can you see how not being an authority could be a problem when launching a product? A problem in the sense that your sales are going to be poor, if you have any?
Well here is that word you were waiting for:
You can sell, produce and market products successfully online without being an online authority by using online authorities as leverage. Contrary to popular belief:
- Not all online authorities make good money.
- Not all of them know how to leverage their knowledge to make a good income.
- Not all of them know how to build an online platform that works.
- Not all of them see their own potential.
- Not all of them have the time to develop their income.
All the above are interesting to note, because they are general misconceptions people have about being an online authority. Here are some startling facts about online authorities; you may not know about them, and I hope it serves as inspiration to you to dream again and go for what seems impossible:
- Many online authorities don’t make great income from their blogs/websites, even if they have great metrics.
- Lots of them have full time jobs working for companies they don’t own or have shares in.
- They generally make their money from services and not from products of blog income.
The above poses a great opportunity for you, if you’re an entrepreneur looking for opportunities online. Here are some reasons why the shortcomings of online authorities are great opportunities for you:
- They want to make more money.
- Affiliate commissions suck, especially on Amazon and generally most products being sold.
- They don’t necessarily have time, which you may have plenty of. If someone came to me today and gave me a solution through services, software or business systems that could save me time, I’d hire them immediately.
- They don’t want to work harder for the money they want more of.
Inspired? Great. Let’s talk about how leveraging an online authority could assist you in making money from and launching a successful product.
2. How to make money from and launch a successful product leveraging an online authority
Let’s recap a little bit of what we’ve learned so far: Online authorities don’t make as much money as we think they do, they want to make more, but they don’t have the time to do it, or necessarily want to. They may already have a good following online; people trust their opinion and their material and they have a large subscriber base. You know what that looks like to me?
Money sitting on the table.
There are TONS of opportunities like that online. You only have to find them. So I want to, at the best of my ability, teach you how YOU can do this. But first, let me tell you why I feel confident in sharing this with you:
- I failed a couple times before. . Very few people become successful before failing a couple times before that.
- I created a product that failed because of its challenges in deliver-ability.
- I have created a product of my own before which failed miserably, not because it’s a bad product, it’s a good product, it didn’t have what an online authority could give me.
- I created an information product successfully leveraging the authority and experience of others.
- I am busy on two products, joint venturing with 2 high profile and successful bloggers/platform owners who have a lack in some of the areas I identified online authorities may have.
3. A little more about my projects
Without divulging too many details about these projects, I’d like to tell you a little bit about them and why I do them.
A traffic blueprint
Ever since 2011 I have been OBSESSED with traffic. This is one of the reasons I have always been so intrigued with the Dukeo story. Sté leveraged other online authorities to give him space on the map. So I went to the authority on traffic (according to me), who fortunately for me, was someone I’d worked with on some smaller projects together before. I approached this person about doing a product together, and the first response was positive. I’ll talk a little about why that was a little later in this post. So we made an agreement and I started working on it.
Here’s why I am doing this project:
- My name will be featured alongside my JV partner, so I get to piggy-back off of my partners’ audience, increasing my brand and independent online authority.
- Being involved in the creation of the product will increase my knowledge of traffic. I’m essentially studying the persons’ material and then presenting it in the course.
- Having more products to my credit will be great for my credibility, especially within this niche.
- Being aligned with this authority figure will align me with the person and let me share in their credibility.
- I am making a large percentage, much bigger than what I would make as an affiliate of a similar product. That means I reap great financial benefits form my efforts.
- Besides my partners’ authority, I also get access to two things I don’t have a great deal of, large traffic and audience, as well as a large list of subscribers.
Onto another example.
A training course for a blogging network
Once again, I have relationship with the platform owner, which you’ll see is a big part of this strategy’s success. Piggy-backing on the back of an online authority. The owner also respects me as well as my experience on his platform, therefore when plugging another platform of mine on a social media channel, he commissioned me to do the work.
I’ve been begging this individual for YEARS to work with him, and he finally gave me an opportunity. Here are a couple reasons why I am doing this particular project with this online authority:
- I have already got credibility on this platform.
- People on the platform are already familiar with me and either respect me or trust me. How do you monetize something like that? This is the way.
- I get access to his email list, which I’ve been dying to get to for years.
- This is an easier way to get an endorsement than with my own products.
4. How to find the right online authority you can leverage for your product
So, you’re sold on my idea and strategy on making money online with a product leveraging other online authorities? Then I guess your next question is “How do I find an online authority I can leverage?” Do not fear, below are a few simple steps:
- Preferably, you should have a pre-established relationship with the person. This is achieved through working on projects together on previous occasions, guest posting valuable content on their blog/website, being a community member on their platform through commenting and interacting on their blogs, social media channels, videos, podcasts etc.
- Being familiar with the prospective partners’ core focus when producing the material. Ask yourself questions like; Can you pinpoint the one thing this online authority specializes in? Is this online authority known for that thing? Is this online authority perceived as an expert in that field/niche? Does this online authority have the needed authority and trust what their content is concerned? Do this online authority have extensive, tested experience in this field that you can produce a valuable course/product from? These simple questions can assist you greatly in seeing if your prospective online authority is suitable.
- What is their reach? Monitor and engage on their social media platforms. The response and activity on these is a good indication if your prospective candidate is worth your time.
- Evaluate their subscriber newsletter: The best way to do this is to sign up for the newsletter of your prospective online authority, read the report of your prospective online authority (if they have one), see how many emails you get in the autoresponder series of your prospective online authority. What value do the broadcasts of the online authority provide? How many affiliate products does the online authority promote? Are the products the online authority is promoting all over the place or is it supportive of and relevant to their niche? (products all over the place shows they don’t have focus or great resources). Does the online authority use a personal approach within their autoresponder? Can you guess what size their list is? Is it known? Asking these questions will assist you in ascertaining if your prospective online authority is worth your time.
- Do you like the niche or field they have expertise in? If yes, it’s a great fit; if not, you’re better off looking for someone else to JV with. You have to be passionate about the topic of the prospective product, otherwise your heart won’t be in its creation, and therefore it will suck.
5. How to get an online authority to agree to work with you
This is probably the biggest challenge in this strategy: getting them to work with you. Although there are a few simple things you can do to get them to work for you, let me first share some insider tips on why people WILL NOT work with you on a joint venture project (and these come from my own experience – you can bank on it):
- You don’t have a previous product or no successful stats to show on a previous joint venture. These include things like subscriber list size, open rates, click-through-rates, ROI etc. They want to know if it’s worth working with them. In this case, I’d say they do not have a shortcoming as detailed earlier and it’s probably not a right fit anyway. You’re looking for someone who needs you. Look for another prospect, or if you really want to work with this particular one, do another project first and come back.
- Your product pitch is not a direction they are going in with their own business or endeavors. Nothing you can do here. Go on to the next one.
- They don’t trust or know you; if you followed my previous steps in this post, you should know better than to approach someone you don’t have some kind of relationship with.
- They develop products in-house – with large, pace-setting blogs this is completely understandable. Some blogs like Copyblogger, Problogger etc. have internal machines that run them and produce content. If you can’t launch your products on your own, these guys won’t be interested in you.
- They’re just plain rude. I did proper pitches before where the prospect replied “No, sorry…“, or “Not interested“, or “Not for me“. Although those responses are probably ok, it’s not very nice. Grow a personality, will you? You’re better off not working with them anyway.
So, on to the juice. Let’s look at how you can get an online authority to work with you:
- It helps to have an already established relationship. If the person knows you it’s easier for them to accept your offer. You can establish this by offering your service as a guest poster, commenting and interacting on their platform, forums, engaging on their social media channels, offering your assistance with something they may need help with (without charging for it).
- With the previously established relationship in place, work on a pitch first. Answer the main question for all online endeavors: What’s In It For Me? If you can answer this question for them, it will form the basis of your pitch, maybe even a great subject line for your email. Find something you can offer them that they don’t have, and in most cases it is that they don’t have the time. Know your stuff, know their platform and content and your pitch should be great. Remember, the premise for most successful products is to solve a problem. Solve his and you’ve probably got a deal.
- Make sure you know exactly how you’re going to execute your plan. Each product should have an outline; have yours in place before you approach your prospect. Share this plan with your prospect. This happens after the pitch. Don’t throw your prospect all the details in the approach email, or you’ll scare him off.
- Put an agreement in place. This is very important as it serves as an agreement between the two of you of exactly what the one expects of the other, and what each one brings to the table. Things to mention in this agreement are details like: What are each person’s responsibilities? How will the profits be split in percentages? How will the costs be paid? Will a separate affiliate account for the venture be set up? How and when will affiliates be paid, and what are the percentages? And very importantly, what happens with the dissolving of the partnership: who owns what, who gets what etc. Some other things that can get mentioned are guest posts, who will run the platform etc.
Do you have a better idea of how this works? Bottom line, make it as attractive to the prospect as you possibly can.
6. What you should know about creating online, information products
I have some experience with this, as you can probably tell. So I’d like to share with you a little bit on what you should know about creating online products:
- It takes a long time to do. The process will be explained to you below, but it will probably sound simpler than it really is, so I’m warning you that it’s not.
- It doesn’t matter how good your preparation is, you’re gonna face challenges. Difficulties between you and your partner, technical difficulties and constraints as well. Work it into your expectations, because it’s going to happen.
- You’ll need the proper tools and a creative team. Try and have a team ready and standing by, even if you’re using freelancers. Prep them before the project starts so everyone knows what is expected of them. It doesn’t matter how gifted you are, you cannot do everything yourself. If you insist on doing everything yourself, you’re going to have a crappy product.
- Communicate with your partner how your work schedule works and when you’re on leave, taking a break or struggling. Sometimes a partner may expect delivery you’re not able to do, so communicate that with them.
7. The skinny on how to create products leveraging an online authority
So, some of you may have been waiting just for this, so without further adieu, here it is. I hope the previous information has been helpful to you.
- Create an outline on what product topics should be included. Divide them into easy-to-understand sections. Imagine you’re writing a report or a book where each section becomes a chapter where the information fit it.
- When creating the content, do everything step-by-step. I hate it when I’m told to do something and I don’t know how to do it. Compensate and accommodate the newbies as well as experts.
- While you’re setting up your product, have graphics made: these include a logo, site banner, affiliate banners, avatars, social media graphics etc.
- Your content can be presented in different formats, including videos, screenshots, text and podcasts (audios).
- I use Snagit to produce screencapture videos with.
- You’ll also need to edit your videos; I use Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate for mine.
- Then you’ll need to convert your AVI’s to Mp4’s because of space. Use Freemake Video converter as its MP4 format is conducive to online video players compatible with HTML 5.
- Upload your MP4’s to a dedicated folder in your products domain.
- Deliver your videos by installing the Jplayer plugin.
- Present your videos with a custom thumbnail. I create mine in Microsoft Office Powerpoint, using Snagit to capture the image.
- Screenshots: This would be done with Snagit as explained in the last point. Snagit has an editor to circle things, add arrows highlight things and even blur parts of the image for sensitive information.
- Text would be delivered the same way you would a normal blog post or page within WordPress.
- Podcasts can be delivered within posts by just posting the link to the MP3, no matter what you call it in the anchor, and using or installing the Audio player you can find and download from the WordPress Plugin Depository.
- Process your payments using Paypal. It integrates well with…
- Digital Access Pass which is great to protect your content. The setup is lengthy, but easy as Veena supplies proper instructional videos and posts as well as offering great support.
That’s the skinny on creating a product. Obviously there’s a lot more involved, but that’s the basic framework. From here on out it’s onto promotion and that’s for another post. This will depend on the agreement you have with your JV partner, because if you use this specific strategy, you’re leveraging their traffic, subscribers and social media following.
8. Your Turn
Have you found value in the information I supplied in this post? Do you have anything you would like to add to my information here? Are you inspired to go out into the wild world wide web and make a success, even if you’re not an online authority yourself? I would love your feedback and additions in the comment below.