If you’re reading this post, you’ve probably thought about how to create a special report for your business, but if you’re like most business owners you’re not sure how to get it done, how much work is involved or even if it will be good enough.
Here are a few things I’ve found useful for getting me started and some added tips for how to create special reports quickly, what you can do with your reports and tips for making them appeal to your readers.
Special reports should be full of meat and to the point, but they don’t have to be long, wordy and dry either. Your report can be anywhere from 15 to 30 pages and still be informative and useful.
If you’re writing a short report to give away, it shouldn’t be any longer than about 15 pages. If you’re selling a report, don’t feel it has to be hundreds of pages to be better. Readers don’t look for quantity, they want quality. In fact a buyer will more than likely buy a quality 25 page report for $17 than a 150 page report for $65. Wouldn’t you?
Buyers want valuable ideas and information they can use. It’s when report writers pad their content to give the perception of value that the punch of the report is lost.
What Should Your Special Report be about?
So what do you write about? The best reports, guides and e-books are things that help people find solutions to problems. (BTW, Jonathon’s ‘Write That Report’ helps you with this as well).
Take for example my worry free C-Section blog, when creating e-books for my readers I look for areas of interest that women having a C-Section might have. One of them is pain, so I wrote a guide on how to minimize pain after surgery.
The ‘How To’ report is always popular. It gets a reader’s attention. We can all use help for how to make our lives easier or learn how to do something better, this is especially of interest if you can provide step by step instructions.
Interest generating ideas for formatting your special report.
- 10 tips to _____
- 5 best ways to _____
- 7 top ideas for _____
- 9 problems to avoid when _____
- 10 popular things every _____ should have
Here’s How To Create Special Reports that Reader’s Want to Read
Back when I wrote my very first report, I spent hours on it and filled it with great information, but the hardest thing for me was organizing my thoughts and ideas. They didn’t flow and I would repeat information. After I finally finished the report and sent it to my readers I had a wake up call when a lady wrote me and said:
“This would be a great report if it weren’t for the fact it’s hard to read, it doesn’t flow and you repeat yourself “.
I knew what my problem was. I didn’t use an outline, I simply wrote. That’s OK as you start to write, but creating an outline is what puts your ideas and information into a logical and organized format that readers can easily read and follow. That important for keeping your readers reading.
Unfortunately writing outlines was never my favorite thing, but I now make good use of Jonathon Ledger’s Write That Report. I simply gather my information and follow the outline in the guide. For $7, it’s a solid process that saves me time and gets all my ideas out on paper in a flow that’s easy to read.
I create my reports in Openoffice.org which is open source software meaning it’s free, but I love it because it contains a fully functional word processor which is every bit as good as MS Word. But what makes OpenOffice particularly useful is that it has a PDF conversion tool. With one click I can instantly convert my document to a PDF. Once that’s done, I’m ready to publish my special report.
The next part of creating your special report is creating a great looking report cover.
You can hire someone to create a cover for you or you can create a cover yourself using Photoshop. Honestly, I don’t like either of those ideas. Hiring a designer has cost me about $40- $75 a cover in the past, and I don’t use Photoshop because I don’t know how, nor am I particularly creative so my option of choice has been to use Ecover Creator which is a graphics software. Because it’s software and not an action script, I don’t have to have Photoshop to make it work. It does all the work for me. It’s super easy to use and I don’t have to be creative myself to get a professional looking cover, I need that.
That’s it! Your special report is done.
Make Writing Your Special Reports Even Easier
If you’re overwhelmed with all the writing, don’t be. You don’t have to do all the work yourself.
I don’t mean have someone create the report for you. You could, but that gets expensive and it could take months. Instead use ready made, quality reports that you can easily customize with your own ideas, facts, thoughts and commentary. There is customization involved, but within just a few hours of concentrated effort you’ll have a meaty report that you can give away, sell or leverage for whatever your business needs. I love these kinds of reports because they’re not only affordable but they get the job done in half the time.
There are hundreds of services to get content reports from, but there’s a lot of junk out there too. Melissa Ingold of the Special Report Club provides the best quality I’ve seen. She’ll even give you your first 2 reports for free, so you can see the quality first hand yourself, which is the way it should be.
Here are a few more ideas of what you can do with special reports?
- Sell them to your customers
- Give them away in your email autoresponder as a bonus
- Add them to a membership site
- Create e-books on Kindle (very popular right now
- Use them as a bonus for signing up for one of your programs
- Create physical products from the content
- Create lessons or training for your coaching programs
- Create a free report to build your email list
- Use the give away report to create Facebook “like” giveaway products
- Create content for your affiliates to promote your products
Whatever your online business, if you understand that giving your readers useful content is what builds up your expertise, traffic, sales, and followers, then learning how to create special reports will save hours of your time, keep you within your budget and provide your readers with the information they crave.
Graphic courtesy of David Castillo Dominic & Freedigitalphotos.net