The most common mistake you’re likely to make when trying to create your own information product is not having a good understanding of the subject you are writing about. You might have strong writing skills. But if you lack mastery of your topic, your writing will be vague, unfocused, and have little value, credibility, or authority. To prevent this error, use the following four-step formula:

1. Accumulate knowledge.

Before you can write, you need to have something to write about. This means acquiring in-depth knowledge – through a combination of research and experience – of a subject people will pay to learn.

2. Organize your content.

What’s the best way to present your subject? Is it a process with definite sequential steps that must be performed in a specific order? Find a logical organizational scheme that fits the subject matter. For example, an e-book on vitamins and minerals could present each one in alphabetical order, starting with vitamin A and ending with zinc.

3. Teach your subject.

Use illustrations, stories, examples, case studies, photos, diagrams, tables, analogies, metaphors, comparisons – whatever it takes to make your subject clear to the reader. Provide plenty of worksheets, resources, and model documents that the reader can copy so he does not have to reinvent the wheel.

4. Polish your prose.

Here’s where your writing skills come into play. Write in a natural, conversational style – like one friend talking to another or a patient teacher looking over the reader’s shoulder. Use small words, short sentences, and short paragraphs. Avoid jargon. Write in plain simple English.

[Ed. Note: For more multimillion-dollar advice about how to be a top-notch marketer, pick up a copy of Breakthrough Advertising.]

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Bob Bly

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in business-to-business and direct marketing. He has been hired as a consultant by such companies as Sony, Chemical Bank, J. Walter Thompson, Westinghouse, and Prentice-Hall. Bob is also the author of more than 50 books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Direct Marketing (Alpha Books), Targeted Public Relations, Selling Your Services, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Keeping Clients Satisfied. A phenomenal public speaker, Bob will share with you how easy it is to start your own business. Whether you’re ready to quit your job or are just looking to make a little money on the side, you’ll want to hear Bob’s advice.