5 Digital Products You Can Launch with Your Writing Skills
You’re chugging along as a freelance writer, making a good living — but working hard for every penny. Wouldn’t it be great to start generating some passive income to complement your freelance work? Something you can create once that will make you money over and over in the future and cushion your income for shaky freelancing months?
Maybe writing a full-length book is out of the question at this point in your career, but there are a lot of smaller, low- or no-cost products you can create and sell to readers through your blog, Amazon, or other means (depending on your audience and niche). The best part is you can create all of these products with the major skill you already possess: writing.
1. eBooks or e-guides.
For some, the work “ebook” conjures an image of self-published novellas on Kindle, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about non-fiction books or guides that offer readers something of value in your niche, like The Renegade Writer’s Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Freelance Writing, which Linda created by updating already-written blog posts from The Renegade Writer. Depending on your goals, you can sell these to make money on the side, or you can give them away free to help build your audience and secure your place an expert in your niche.
2. Reports or white papers.
If you’re freelancing for businesses, you may already be a star writer of B2B white papers, so why not apply that skill to your own industry and gain a little personal benefit? Come up with a list of tips, a unique FAQ in your niche, or an irresistible list of resources (like Sophie Lizard’s Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs at BeAFreelanceBlogger.com). These reports make great giveaways as an incentive to join your email list, or a bonus to push readers over the edge into buying another product.
3. Checklists or worksheets.
These simple handouts are a great way to allow readers to take some of your tips and knowledge with them. Like free reports, they also help readers remember you as an expert, as your name will come to mind every time they need help outlining their to-do list for a particular task. Longer checklists can be sold as a full-blown ebook, and you can give away shorter ones as freebies for your email list, etc. You can also use them to gain visibility by allowing readers to “Pay With a Tweet” (like Alexis Grant is doing with her Social Media Strategy Checklist).
At Writing-World, Moira Allen shares simple step-by-step instructions for creating an ebook (or report, or worksheet) using your word processor and PDF.
Don’t be scared by the term! An e-course can involve multi-media elements and require some technical know-how, but it doesn’t have to. An e-course can be as simple as setting up an autoresponder email series (like Jeff Goins’ 12-week Intentional Blogging course).
Writing these emails is similar to writing blog posts or how-to articles, except that you want to use a little more personal tone. Getting started requires little technical knowledge, as services like MailChimp and AWeber offer you templates and step-by-step help through the process, including easy ways to charge for subscriptions.
Not likely to generate income directly, but a great opportunity to get more eyes on your content, sharing information through a slideshow makes it easier to digest for some readers than sharing through an e-guide or blog post. Creating a slideshow presentation can make great outlines or samples for paid speaking gigs, as well. You can keep it simple, and focus on the written content — don’t go crazy trying to add transitions or graphics if you don’t know what you’re doing! Creating a slideshow is as a simple as:
- Write your slides in Word or OpenOffice (in landscape orientation).
- Convert those to one PDF file.
- Upload to Slideshare. Learn more from SlideShare 101.
If you’re not sure where to start, just take an old blog post and refresh it by turning it into a slideshow, like I did with this one: “5 Tips for Freelancing Success” slideshow, and original blog post.
Depending on your background and various skills, you might need a little assistance with formatting and some technical stuff for some of these products, but don’t be intimidated. At the core of all of these products is your knowledge and writing skills — which you’re already a pro at capitalizing! Focus on that, and keep it simple, and you can learn the rest as you need.
Have you ever used your writing skills to launch digital products? Do you have any tips for other readers? Let us know in the Comments below!
Dana Sitar is a freelance journalist and indie author. Her latest ebook, A Writer’s Bucket List, is a launching point for all of the possibilities of being a writer, a kick-in-the-butt for those who don’t know what to do next, and a simple guide to help writers forge their own unique career/life paths.