Thinking about creating a special report for your online business?
Smart Move! Special reports improve traffic, label you as an expert and can help sell or promote your products or services.
That’s what you want!
Now all you need to do is get it done.
Here are ideas on what you can do with special reports, topic ideas and help with formatting your report as well as free products to create your report quickly.
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
Writing Your Special Report
Special reports should be concise and full of meat. They don’t need to be long but they do need to contain useful information that’s easy to read and digest. Your report can be anywhere from 15-30 pages. I don’t recommend it be any longer.
If you’re writing a short report to give away, keep it at about 12-15 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. It’s been proven that buyers are more interested in a short to the point, meaty 30 page report for $17 than a 150 page report for $65.
Buyers want valuable ideas and information they can use. Report writers that pad their content giving it the perception of value is what buyers hate.
What Should Your Special Report be about?
The best reports, guides and e-books are things that help people find solutions to problems.
Take for example my worry free C-Section blog. When I created my special reports and e-books for my readers I looked for areas of interest that women having a C-Section might were concerned with the most. One of them was abdominal adhesions, so I wrote a special report on how to minimize surgical adhesions.
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, especially if you can provide step by step instructions.
Ideas for 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
How To Create Special Reports That Readers Value
when I wrote my very first special report, I filled it with great information, but the hardest thing for me was organizing my thoughts and ideas, they didn’t flow and consequently I would repeat information.
After I finally finished the report and sent it to my readers I had a wake up call when a customer 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 “.
How could I fix that? The experts recommend creating an outline. An outline is what puts your ideas and information into a logical and organized format that readers can easily follow. That’s important for keeping your readers reading.
But I’ll admit, I’m not great at outlining, but something that helped me was Jonathon Ledger’s Write That Report. This simple little guide helped me easily gather my information and format it logically so that my content flowed; obviously something I sorely lacked. For $7, this was a welcomed process that saved me tons of time and frustration. Today I use it for all my reports. I highly recommend it if you’re like me and love step-by-step instructions 😉
I create my reports in Openoffice.org which is open source word processor meaning it’s free. What I especially love about OpenOffice is that it has a PDF conversion tool. With one click I can instantly convert my document to a PDF.
Once you’re PDF is created your report is ready. But we’re not quite finished yet. We need to give your report some curb appeal by giving it a nice professional cover.
Create a Professional Looking Report Cover
You can hire someone to create a cover for your report or you can create a cover yourself using Photoshop or some other graphics software.
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 know how to use Photoshop . Instead 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 need Photoshop to make it work. It does all the work for me. If you don’t expect to create many e-books, then hiring someone is probably the best idea. But if you’re planning to create several special reports or a series of reports, Ecover Creator is the way to go.
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.
You could have someone create your report for you but that gets expensive and it could take months.
I personally like to create my own content but to help with ideas I will sometimes use ready made, quality reports that I customize. By customize I mean I add ideas, thoughts, personal experiences and commentary.
I never use pre-written content without customization. The only reason to use it is to help with structuring content and formatting ideas. It gives me a way to overcome writers block when I’m having trouble getting those first pages written. Using quality pre-written reports will also have content ideas that you may not have even considered. I’ve gotten some great writing ideas this way.
There are hundreds of services to get content reports from, but there’s also a lot of junk out there. I only use content provided by Melissa Ingold of the Special Report Club. Melissa provides the best quality I’ve seen for report writers. When you sign up your first 2 reports for free, so you can see the quality first hand yourself, which is the way it should be.
Giving your readers useful content is what drives traffic, sales, and followers and creating special reports is how to deliver detailed, useful content people look for. It’s one of the most effective online business strategies for website owners, bloggers as well as email and article marketers.
Graphic courtesy of David Castillo Dominic & Freedigitalphotos.net