Posts tagged training
One of the problems I have is that I’m often forced to squeeze my time. I’m also an insatiably curious fellow. That’s why I leave research to my business partner. Frankly it plays to my weaknesses — time and terrier learning.
One of the solutions I have found to that problem is to play videos and audios in the background while I write. Or at least put words to pay since I typically have written the piece long before. It saves time, and I learn and work at the same time. For most of my findings the amount of attention I pay to the background is sufficient to learn the material.
Unfortunately, every once in a while I find my self stopping and paying attention to the background “noise”. Even worse sometimes I end up putting my work aside and picking up another page to begin work on an idea that the “noise” has burned into my brain.
That is the nature of this video I found on the TEDxWaterloo site.
One of the core elements of the Content Mapping system is determining what it is your reader wants to read. You never want to bother writing anything that your reader has no interest in. It doesn’t matter what media you choose. In fact, you need to do this no matter what business you are in (it applies outside of the Expert/Information Product/Training business too).
In the full Content Map system, there is a whole process associated with identifying and building upon this. In the Content Map itself, one half of the map is concerned with documenting and communicating that information to your hindbrain.
In the discussions on delivery, I regularly bring up the concept of presenting as though you were conversing with your audience. You want to sound like a conversation around the kitchen table. Or a bar if you’re more comfortable there. Or your living room Chesterfield. You need to talk to your audience in the natural way that you speak with your friends.
It is seldom that I have heard these ideas brought together and spoken of in quite so succinct and well thought out way.
So I present to you The Walrus … (in the much more agreeable and entertaining form of Shelley Ambrose)
One of the biggest problems that writers face is having to sell their book after they’ve written it.
In fact, selling your book afterward is probably one of the worst things you can try to do.
What? Am I crazy … what in heaven’s name am I trying to spout here. After all, the whole point of writing is to be read and without selling your book you won’t be read!
No I’m not crazy. In fact, you do need to sell your book. But you need to start the process before you even begin to write. In fact the first thing you should be doing is to identify who is going to read your book and why.
Once you’ve written your book (and incorporated your reader’s hot buttons), edited and refomatted your book it’s time to actually get out there and sell it.
Selling on the internet is actually pretty simple in theory. You drive traffic, give them something in return for their email, use emails to build a relationship and then along the way sell your book (or other product including audio, video, CD, DVD, webinars etc.).
In practice, however, building that initial list is a lot more difficult than it seems.
Now I’m the last person to claim that I’m an expert marketer. And while I can speak to it and teach people about it — I think you can do much better than myself (even if you can at least trust what I have to say). Unfortunately, to build my own business I’m sort of forced to become an expert marketer.
So how did I become an expert (internet) marketer?
Well, I started out by taking a number of courses. But eventually I reached a point where I realized I needed a coach. Someone who could help me get ahead using this distribution channel. After a fair amount of research I settled on a chap by the name of Sean Mize. Sean came with three key ingredients … he actually was able to build a business on the internet from scratch (most started from web design companies), he produced his own training materials (most outsource both coaching and course development) and he told the truth (press a button and get tons of traffic isn’t his style). And to boot he was the number 1 author on EzineArticles.com.
So why am I telling you all this?
I’ve arranged with Sean to make his courses on internet marketing available to you my loyal subscriber. The first of these is his List Building MP3 Series. This is a 10 MP3 training course that will turn you into a list building machine. Plus there are bonuses!
If this sounds like something you might need check it out here!
So here’s the thing. I’ve created this category for public speaking. And yet, if you search around LearningCreators.com, LearningCreators.ca and TrainingNOW.ca, and even our sister site ContentCreators.ca you’ll find almost nothing about public speaking. Literally all you’ll find is a newsletter on TrainingNOW.ca (now dead but awaiting changes to the site to be removed) and an old book. But no course. And no reference to another site. (No, no more sites, please no more sites! )
Why do we have a Public Speaking category and why do we think we can talk about it? (And why aren’t we teaching it now?)
So why do we have the category?
First off, we have a book that is being published shortly … Yes, in physical form. So to support it we’ve added this category.
Also we really do believe that public speaking is a core skill. One of those skills that we need in order to function at a basic level anywhere in the learning content space. And while we’re going to presume you have those skills (at least from a course perspective) we expect to bring it up in these blog posts time and time again.
So why do we think we’re qualified?
We actually did teach a public speaking course at one time. You see TrainingNow was originally your typical small training consulting organization. We wrote content for other companies, did courses for our clients and other companies and so forth. Mostly in the IT and Management skills with a little Accessibility Awareness thrown in for good measure. And Management skills is where public speaking and using MS PowerPoint fits in.
And of course, how can you do live teaching without being good at public speaking? (Don’t answer that — I’m hoping poorly is the exception)
So why aren’t we teaching it now?
Both Paul and I are disabled and for that matter so are our wives. If you’ve read through our sites you’ve heard that before. Life sucks, you get over it.
Unfortunately, the last few years have been hard on everyone. But especially Paul and his wife. Their health and mobility has gone downhill quite severely.
Which translates to no more public speaking seminars (or any other subject for that matter).
As a result, we were forced to look for alternatives to live seminars. And the internet was an obvious alternative.
What we didn’t count on was how much work was involved in repositioning TrainingNOW into an internet based company. We also didn’t count on Paul being unavailable to the extent he has been.
So frankly, we aren’t teaching public speaking a) because we can’t do everything we want and b) because we’re no longer able to demonstrate what we would need to teach.
So for now, we’ll just settle for articles, and blog entries. But on the other hand, we don’t have to hold anything back!
I forget what the other terms were so until I remember I’m going to take off and discuss a related topic … so there! If you won’t suggest topics you get to put up with my eccentricities. ;-)
One of the ways that learning content (or more correctly the tactics of delivery) can be classified is by the direction and nature of the communications.
For example, an event’s communications can be either:
- one way (facilitator to student)
- both ways (facilitator to student to facilitator)
- Exploratory (facilitator starts discussion and keeps discussion going)
- Practice (facilitator starts, students discuss in small teams, students report to all, discussion with all)
One typical terminology for this is:
A lecture is what we traditionally think of when we think of teaching. One person stands at the front of a group and spouts their knowledge.
A seminar is closer to the Socratic ideal of mutual exploration. It is characterized by feedback and development of the information by the “student”. However, it is still very much a case of the facilitator dispensing information out to the student. In fact, there is a saying that until someone asks a question, a seminar is just a lecture.
A tutorial on the other hand is the Socratic method. By this point the information should have already been disseminated. Although the facilitator may spark discussion by repeating the information the focus is on the group expanding and questioning the information.
A workshop is a practice session. The facilitator may start the process but the process occurs primarily inside the student. Break out sessions are a great example of this tactic. In this tactic, students break apart for the practice then return to discuss and explore the results. The individual versions of this may include homework or software practice which may be discussed, may be self-evident or may be self-evaluated.
Now I have no idea why all this is important … but it seems to be and I’m short of something to talk about. So Friday, I’ll continue the discussion by looking at training media and it’s relationship to these tactics.
Okay, we’re almost finished.
So far we’ve covered the cost of producing different types of information product, we’ve covered the reputation value and we’ve covered the training value.
Today we’re going to discuss a type of value we as internet marketers like to discuss … money. Bucks, dollars, lira, pounds, pesos … $$$$$$$ (got the pic?)
So how much is a customer willing to pay for a product?
Frankly, that’s a question that has stumped many a marketer. The answer is typically “more than you thought!”. And there are a number of factors involved. Like, how good your sales copy is, did you position your information product as a system or just a book, are you targetting the affluent or the rest of us … and so forth.
However, once you’ve established a price you should get a relative price that looks along these lines (for comparable amounts of information, well presented and professional in appearance):
So for example (and these numbers are made up but reasonable), a multi-DVD set which has been repurposed into a book and into an audio set might sell for:
- Live Seminar (1 day) $1500
- Video (4 DVDs) $297
- Audio (4 CDs) $97
- Book (200 pgs) $49
Did the relationship surprise you?
It should have … and to be honest it was a bit of a cheat. You see the relationship between live, video and audio is reasonably stable (and in that order). This corresponds to our previous discussion of value in terms of training quality.
However, books have an established market. And the price needs to correspond to that price point which your customer has established in their mind. That’s why the ending dollar amount of $7 is not as key. People are used to the $9 ending point.
So if I redo the prices (still being reasonable and still providing the same information) I might get the following:
- Live Seminar (2 hrs) – $250
- Video (1 DVD) – $97
- Book (60 pages) – $19
- Audio (1 CD) – $7
Notice that the relationship between book and audio switch places. Why? Because people expect a book to have a minimum cost which is higher than that of the audio.
Now how much is your information product worth?
In real terms you’ll need to estimate that based on your knowledge of the market. And don’t forget that some products will be worth more to you without a dollar figure. HUH???????
Remember that even FREE live seminar can sometimes make you more money than one you charge for! So when you are predicting the price for the purposes of determining what formats to use for your information products, don’t forget to figure in giveaways. For example, by providing a FREE live seminar you may get a large, interested and active audience (you might not but that’s another issue). Just perfect for background to create a DVD set for you to sell at the back of the room. In this case, the dollar values are all messed up because you traded dollars today for dollars tomorrow.
Similarly, books are often given out as free samples (e.g. opt-in and bonuses) as are MP3s. Once an audio is given out for free, the physical version (a CD) has little if any value. But of course, building a list is often of far more value than the audio.
Despite the difficulty of identifying a price point, the price is a major component of the decision to create an information product in one format or another.
We’ve now finished the discussion of the various elements involved in the decision. It’s now time to discuss the decision itself. Which we’ll do in the next web entry.
My background is in IT. I’ve been creating websites since the web was initially opened to the public. I even know why HTML is scripting not programming, what the initials mean and where it came from. (HyperText Markup Language was a subset/supraset of Standard Graphics Markup Language. SGML was a statndardized set of codes which controlled the big printing presses. Think typsetters marks).
In fact, my consulting business is in IT. Most of the training we do is in IT (or management skills).
But in this business I am first and foremost a business manager. An entrepreneur.
And at some point I need to decide. Is the work that needs to be done worth my time to do it? Would I be better off hiring someone and letting them do the work for me? Even though I can do it, it may not be worth my time. Better to throw $$$ at it than the one asset I can’t replace or increase – my time.
Lesson Learned #9:
Money or Time
If you want to play, you’ve got to pay. Your time is always more valuable than the guy beside you. The key to success is to know what you need to do, what you shouldn’t do and who to hire to do it instead. The corolllary is that hiring the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best way to get the job done. Sometimes, paying more is a better investment.
Well, that was fun NOT! :D
So here’s what happened. We originally set up one site — TrainingNOW.ca. It was meant to be a simple brochure type site advertising our company, its services and our courses.
Unfortunately, things change … (bad word, bad, bad, word) … and we realized that a) we needed to sell our training over the web rather than live b) that we needed to sell other products and c) we were trying to sell too much through TrainingNOW.ca.
Cool. No big deal. Sometimes it takes a bit of convincing. A little learning. We’re not all born marketers, after all. ;>
So we set up a couple of new sites (learningcreators.ca, contentcreators.ca) to promote the extra services beyond the actual courses. No big right? Basic brochure sites. (Okay, so we started to …. it’s a work in progress. Work with me here).
Then we realized that LearningCreators should be doing more than just creating learning content or info products for other people. Better to teach people to fish than to do the fishing ourselves! So we set up LearningCreators.com.
That’s where the first of the problems came in. You see we started out by testing the waters using MyBestCopy.com. When it looked like the market was viable, we created the LearningCreators.com site. Including the blog.
But one of the things we learned was … in order to improve your SEO ratings you really, really need a blog.
No biggee. We created a blog on MyBestCopy.com. It worked. It drew viewers. Just copy it over and we’re set. Right! Nope.
Try as I might, I couldn’t convince any of the sites that www.LearningCreators.com and apps.LearningCreators.com were the same site (domain). So nothing I did on the blog helped the main opt-in & sales pages.
Meanwhile, we’ve been approached to host the training courses of another company. Great. That’s what TrainingNOW.ca is all about. Publishing training and training materials (e.g. books, DVDs etc.). But that meant we needed to upgrade from the basic Doteasy package to the fancy, dancy, super-special Unlimited plan.
Fine. Couple of headaches but no big woop! Cool so far….
But if we did that then there was no need to use the somewhat limited blog facilities provided by Doteasy for their basic customers. We’d be better off switching to WordPress like everyone told us to.
Silly sods … we believed them!
Sit back, grab a coffee. There’s enough material here to keep this blog alive for a week!
For those of you who were hoping I’d start keeping this blasted blog up to date …. sorry.
So what’s happenin’ now?
We’re changing again. We’ve updated the TrainingNOW site to better capabilities and are now going to host LearningCreators.com on it.
Why? Mostly because the site we have now is a proprietary blog tool (DOTEASY provides it) and is actually located in a different location. So Google et al. thinks this is a seperate site.
We, on the other hand, think it should be part of the main LearningCreators.com site.
By moving this site over to the upgraded TrainingNOW site, we get to use WordPress (much more powerful) and also to include it inside the LearningCreators.com site.
But of course, there’s a heck of a lot of work involved. So that’s my focus over the next week. New blog entries need to wait until I can move the site over.
But I will be back …. probably with some comments on spending money.
Keep Learning & Get Earning
Glen Ford & The LearningCreators team.
There are many reasons you might want to write how to books. But from a business viewpoint there are two key ones:
- Making money by selling the book
- Making money by giving away the book
We’ll deal with the first tomorrow. Today I want to talk about giving the book away.
One of the concepts that bricks and mortar businesses find hard to understand with internet business is the concept of freemiums.
There are three things that you can sell with any business. You can sell the product or service, you can sell your relationship with the customer or you can sell your expertise. (If you want more information check out this free webinar on Expert Marketing – not even an opt-in).
I’m not going to get into it but while the first two are possible on the internet only selling expertise really fits the media. After all people can’t see or touch the product over the internet. As for relationship — it’s hard to convince someone that you’re their local neighbourhood supplier from another continent!
But convincing potential customers that you really know what you’re doing is easy. All you have to do is give them a sample. A freemium! Think grocery store samples. But rather than selling the product you’re selling the ability to identify a solution — your expertise.
Books are perfect for this. They’re high perceived value, they explain points of view, and if done well can impress.
For a bricks & mortar business they can be a great introduction. But don’t just think business card. Think resume. Think salesman.
A free book costing less than $10 can easily generate thousands of dollars in business. How? By convincing your client that you are the one to call!