Over the past few vlogs, we have been talking about getting clear about the content of your info product and exactly what you are going to create.
I know, it’s not as easy as people say it is to create a course or other digital info product!
Maybe you can get all of your knowledge out of your head and onto paper in an outline.
Maybe you already figured out exactly what information you are going share.
The big question now is, HOW are you going to share it?
By the end of this vlog, I hope you have an epiphany moment and understand why technology, is only a small piece of the course creation puzzle and why don’t have to be a tech wizard to create a digital product!
What Happens When Tech Comes First…
I remember one of my first jobs as a course development consultant.
Being new, I had no involvement in the earlier parts of the project, but I was being brought in specifically to help sort out some technical problems the business was having as they were trying to wrap up the product and get it out to their customers.
First, the developers or the people making the actual course used some crazy new technology to create the course, and when it was deployed online using the business’s existing systems, it kept crashing everything… the product could not even deploy out for testing!
Next, when they tried to take the English files and translate them, (this program was going out in multiple languages), it turned out that the new technology was not very translations friendly, and the cost estimate was way beyond what they originally thought it would be… which meant the product cost for customers, was now going to increase.
Finally, it turns out that half the audience, couldn’t even access the content online due to different security set-ups and the product would have to be supplied on a disc… the business forgot to check with the audience to see what how they even wanted to access the training!
I walked into a cobweb of a technological mess!
And this wasn’t even the worst of it! The greatest problem… had absolutely nothing to do with technology!
Upon the initial pilot of the program, the customers were extremely dissatisfied with the product. They felt that the content was disorganized and confusing. They didn’t learn what they needed and wanted to know.
They rated the product very low quality.
How do you think this impacted confidence in the projected sales of the product?
What do you think this meant for gaining customer trust and loyalty?
When I realized what was happening, I immediately felt overwhelmed and questioned myself as to why I even decided to go into this project!
Sure, I was good at technology… but not that good to fix this kind of situation!
Even I felt like I needed more information, more training and that there was just no way that I could talk the talk and walk the walk required to fix this project. I was overwhelmed with where to start first and what to do.
And you know what?
This is a very common problem, even for the best of us!
Vision… Versus Reality
When people start to create their first info product they often jump straight into the technology and how they are going to create the vision they have in their heads.
They start asking the questions “HOW can I share my valuable information?” or “WHAT tools should I use?”
The problem is, this quickly leads to the feeling of overwhelm and even anxiety because they don’t know how to start… or they start but don't know how to finish.
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Take a deep breath.
Yes, you do have to figure out how to create things… like videos, PDFs, quizzes, interactions, etc.…
And yes, then you have to figure out how to distribute it within confusing learning management systems, membership platforms, complex payment portals… and automation.
(Wait… what does that even mean???)
Here’s the Secret… It’s Not About the Technology!
Technology is a tool that can help you spread your message, but even the flashiest courses created with the latest tech tools can fall drastically short meeting the customer’s expectations.
If you launch a prototype build... without a firm plan of what you want to build, your ideas will be shaped by what that particular tool prompts you to do. (Elucidate, 2018)
The success of your info product depends on your message; it's clarity and how you empower your customers to embody the lessons you are teaching.
This means, when your audience learns from you, they are then able to go out in the world and create an impact as a result of your teaching.
Yes, I am a self-proclaimed systems, tools and technology geek… I love exploring new tools. But even I’ve gotten lost in them, went into a rabbit hole and lost my focus.
Even I've gotten so wrapped up in using this or that tool, that my message was skewed and didn't match the customer expectations.
And when that happens… it’s a loss.
You lose credibility, leadership, and trust.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way!
Create a Good Design, and THEN Create Your Product!
Every successful online course has one thing in common: a solid foundation. If you don't have a stable structure in place when you begin creating your deliverables, every aspect of your course will suffer as a result (eLearning Industry, 2018).
Designing your info product is the process of creating a general product outline, including the details of structure, order, activities, evaluations, participation and more!
Developing your course is the process of creating the resulting deliverable; the product your customers will access and use.
When you jump straight into development, it’s likely you have not developed a clear, strategic path for your audience.
It would be like going on a road trip with a map, but not a pre-planned route. It's very easy to turn left instead of right and end up in the middle of nowhere because you didn't decide where you are going first.
Pre-planning and designing your course first is important to:
Look Before You Leap
Before jumping into any course creation, create a solid game plan so that you have a solid roadmap for knowing where you are going.
Define your 9 Events of Instruction and what strategies you are going to use to get your audience to the end goal.
Create a storyboard to be clear on what you are creating and how it should be created (this is especially important if you will outsource any of the product creation work).
Use mind-mapping tools, such as MindMeister to outline your product.
Create content so that your customers can develop their own higher order thinking skills… THEN decide on the tools and technology that will make it happen.
(Note: you do not have to add IT Department to your team, either. But, you can still find some slick tools to make people think you did! You’ll really look like a pro, without spending a fortune!)
When you start with your message and create clarity first, then make technology decisions, it's so much easier! In fact, it's rarely a decision at all… it’s common sense. Creating your info product becomes easy and exciting.
Are you ready to discover how to create an info product with ease, flow, and far less stress?
It’s not about the tech, but it's ALL about your message!