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If you’ve spent any time reading about online marketing over the last few years, you’ll have heard about content marketing. But what exactly is content marketing?
‘Content marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers. Content marketing is also defined as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action’ – Wikipedia
Done right, content marketing can be a very effective way of building trust, demonstrating your expertise and ultimately attracting and converting clients. But without a solid plan you could end up doing a lot of writing or recording, editing and formatting, but not get any real business benefits.
Making sure you plan your content effectively from the beginning is crucial
So exactly what kind of content should you create? The trick is to listen hard and to really understand your target audience. And you may be surprised at just how many opportunities you have to do that. Here are some ideas:
Ask them for their questions
A dead simple way to find content ideas is to simply ask your readers what questions they have on a particular topic. Not only do you get great content ideas, it helps your readers feel involved in the process. You could set up a simple survey using Google Forms or Survey Monkey, or you could simply drop people you know well an email or give them a call.
Track your links
If you send a link to content or a product in an email, track it. Do the same on your websites. Pay attention to what interests them and what they just pass by and modify your content plan accordingly. An email marketing service such as Aweber will allow you to track how many clicks an email gets.
Tip: Don’t just track product sales… gauge interest in the content you provide as well. By doing this, you’ll learn what types of information your readers are interested in (ie – articles, PDFs, videos, etc). You’ll also learn what format they like and whose information they respond to best. For example, if you’re promoting products as an affiliate, promote products from different vendors and note who gets the best response.
Observe your audience on ‘your patch’
If you have a blog, forum, Facebook group or some other type of interactive site, you have a lot of research opportunities right there. Pay attention to your reader comments, the questions they have and click through to their websites to see what their interests are and what problems they might need help with. Spending just a little time doing this on a regular basis can be a real eye-opener.
Observe your audience in their natural habitat
If you don’t have a blog, forum, etc, you can go elsewhere to observe your market. But keep in mind that if you watch the response of people who already know and like what you do, you will get the best picture of what your particular audience wants. The risk with with going outside your own network is that we all attract a particular type of person and we may get slightly different impressions by observing our intended targets elsewhere.
Try out new ideas with affiliate offers or PLR
If you’re considering creating a digital product (e.g. an information product), test your idea out first by offering similar products using affiliate links. There is no sense in creating something your readers have no interest in buying. Knowing exactly what your audience will buy is priceless marketing information. You can also create a small product quickly using PLR content.
Watch your competitors
Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. What types of content do they give their readers and what do their readers respond to? Again, your audience may be slightly different from theirs but look for competitors who share a similar style and focus to you and you’ll get some great ideas.
The more observant you are, the more likely you are to deliver what your readers – and buyers – really want.
How do you research what your audience really wants? Leave me a comment and let me know!
Here on the Totally PLR blog I want to give you some seriously useful, easily actionable ways you can use private label rights content. Because I know how precious time is and I’d love to help you save some that you can use on other activities in your business.
To keep me accountable, I joined Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day blogging challenge and I have to say that it’s giving me some great practice at creating good content, fast. It’s also been great to get feedback on my posts, especially from people who previous had no idea what PLR was, because they were able to show me all the places where I was assuming readers already knew what I was talking about!
One of the questions that came up was “do you have a post on when not to use PLR, Helen?” I didn’t, but I immediately set about writing one and here it is…
Hmm….when should you not use PLR? Actually I struggled to come up with a definitive list, and that’s not just because I sell PLR. I really do feel you can use it in most situations, because the quality and relevance of the end result that matters, not where it came from.
(Assuming you’ve respected copyright laws and haven’t stolen the content, of course.)
Possibly on your own blog
I’ve read a few articles now stating that you should never use private label rights content on a blog, but I don’t think it’s that clear-cut. It depends on the blog, the PLR and what you do with it. If you have a blog which has a very personal style where you mainly share your thoughts and opinions, then posting a ‘5 ways to…’ – style PLR article, unedited, on your blog is going to be really jarring. So I agree that’s a bad idea.
But if you have a blog with more of a ‘how to’ style, which may also include a lot of opinion, you could easily fit PLR into it seamlessly. Just put your opinion and personal experience at the top and bottom of the post and use the lightly edited PLR for the step-by-step part in the middle, for example. This way, you’re simply using the PLR to speed up the writing process.
You could also use PLR just now and then, for a series of posts on a particular subject or to help you schedule some posts a few weeks ahead if you have a busy period coming up. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
If it’s a guest blog post
Don’t use PLR for guest posts on other people’s blogs. This is considered bad etiquette because the blogger has given you a spot on their own blog and in return you’ll be expected to give a valuable, original post that you have written yourself.
If you’re faking it
One use of PLR that does make me uneasy is when people use it to pretend they have experience that they don’t really have.
This isn’t too much of a problem in my own area, for example, someone who owns a coaching program on starting a home business could buy my WordPress PLR videos to go in their module on setting up a website even if they weren’t a WordPress expert themselves. I doubt anyone would feel that was being dishonest. In fact, I’ve even been part of a membership myself when the owner has stated “Here are some tutorial videos on setting up a website. They aren’t by me, obviously.” And it was no big deal because the videos were helpful and accurate. It didn’t really matter who had recorded them.
But where it would make me uneasy is if someone bought some health PLR and used it to suggest they had expertise in an area they actually didn’t. To me, that’s very different to an expert in that subject buying PLR to speed up content creation.
If you’re building a writing portfolio
If you’re promoting yourself as a writer or copywriter, I think you’d be on shaky ground if you passed off even an edited PLR article as your own. The private label rights license may well allow this, but if your future clients found out they may not be happy about it.
There are a few exceptions, though. I believe there’s a difference between explicitly stating that you wrote an article and posting an article on a blog that could have been written by anyone. The line between the two becomes hazier if you set up a blog specifically as a writer’s portfolio, I guess.
But a writer could certainly set up a blog of tips and tutorials for other aspiring writers using private label rights content. Being a writer doesn’t necessarily mean you can never use PLR.
Being able to re-write PLR well is a skill in itself (it took me a bit of practice to do this!) so a writer may even be able to offer this a service?
If it’s bad private label rights content
There’s no doubt that bad PLR is harder to work with. It might even take longer to knock it into shape than it would to write it from scratch, so you need to decide on a case by case basis whether to bother using it.
But even then you can sometimes use a bad pack to prompt new ideas. In a ‘5 ways to…’ article, the grammar might be dodgy and the content boring, but you could use it as list of bullet points and write around those. You just wouldn’t want to pay much – or anything at all – for it.
Bad video PLR would be much harder to knock into shape and I doubt it would be worth the bother.
If it’s against the rules of the platform
If you’re planning to upload PLR to a third party platform always check the terms first. It’s not allowed in Kindle books and at Udemy, for example. In fact, using it could get your account closed for good with no chance of opening another one so it’s just not worth the risk.
Any other reasons not to use PLR?
I honestly can’t think of any others. If you can, please do drop me a comment!
If you’d like me to recommend you some good PLR, join my mailing list – just add your email address on this page to join.
Why did I decide to create WordPress PLR videos in particular? Good question!
I’ve been a software trainer for many years. I started out back in the nineties when projectors cost several thousand pounds (that’s about $5000) and you carried them around very carefully in a large suitcase! Laptops were also really expensive, so if none of my computers worked in a training session, I got out a series of A4 printouts and demonstrated using those.
Ahh, happy days.
Well, maybe not… I wouldn’t want to be back in 1997 because things have improved dramatically since then! So when technology moved on to the point where I could create online courses fairly quickly and easily at home, without a team of developers, I was ready to go. And I have to say I love the whole idea of teaching and learning online (you can see my Udemy courses here.)
Although I learned loads from becoming an online tutor, my main role in my work before that had been ‘translating’ how technical things work for non-technical people. In other words, explaining how software works and how to get the people and the technology working effectively together. This is a little different from teaching, especially as it was a two-way street and I often went back to the developers with requests for updates from the users.
So in the summer of 2015 I decided I wanted to put my online teaching on the back-burner and get back to making tutorial videos for other people. But who for? And what subject?
I’d been active in a number of Internet marketing Forums for a few years as I wanted the latest advice on how to promote my courses. One of the members of one of these forums said he’d been struggling to find WordPress PLR videos that he could post on his blog. I was surprised by this – surely there was tons of WordPress PLR out there? But I did some research and he was right. There are other WordPress PLR videos out there, but every license I saw stated that the content couldn’t be given away for free on a blog.
I realised I could fill that gap. As well as my training experience, I’ve been blogging for years, so I also had a good understanding of what a beginner WordPress user needed to know and where they would get stuck.
At around the same time I had a surprising number of people tell me not only that they loved my voice, but that they found it really helpful in tutorial videos because it’s calm, easy to listen to and not distracting. This was great news for me, but it’s really odd being complimented on a voice you’ve had all your life and take completely for granted!
The great news was that I now had my subject, my audience and the right tools for the job (voice, Camtasia and a mic!). So I cracked on with making the videos and promoting them, and it all went really well. If you’d like to know more about my first launch, I’ve put all the details in this video:
I’m now planning my second WordPress video PLR launch, so if you’d like to know when that’s ready just join my mailing list by downloading my free PLR here or my current courses are still available here.
So my top tips if you’re looking for your own niche or product to sell are…
- Listen to what people really want and can’t currently find. That’s where you’ll find the opportunities are.
- Focus on how you can help people
- Think about what you can do fairly easily (either through previous experience or natural talent – or both 🙂 ) and others can’t. How can you make this process easier, faster or less hassle for them, or even do it for them?
- Then do it. Test it out. It’s the only way you’ll find out if your idea works.
Good luck and if you have any requests for other PLR videos that you can’t find, please do drop me a message!
I’ve made a good few online courses now myself, as well as hung out online with plenty of other course creators. Some are seasoned online tutors, some are professionals in other areas who want to stop exchanging hours for money or maybe add a little passive income to their business.
Making online courses is easier than it has ever been, but there are still plenty of mental barriers that get in your way. Will it be good enough? Am I expert enough? How am I going to get to grips with the technical side? But for me, the biggest mental block I’ve had to deal with is ‘Will it sell?’
My fear was that I’d invest lots of time and effort – and sometimes money, although you can make courses very cheaply – and hardly anyone would buy my course. And I’m sure I’m not alone. So here are some really useful resources to help you be sure your course sells before you set about investing time and energy in making it.
(Click the green links to read the articles)
This article is from Derek Halpern of Social Triggers, who knows a thing or two about selling courses. In fact he’s the owner of membership plugin Zippy Courses. One of the tips I like here is that you shouldn’t worry if your first course doesn’t look that great. Perfectionism can stop many digital products in their tracks. And it’s better to have an imperfect product out there for sale than an near-perfect on stuck on your hard drive.
Sharyn Sheldon of Content Sparks is a training consultant and provider of customizable marketing content. Just one of the great tips in her article is to have three or five subject ideas and then ask your customers which one they would like to learn about the most. She also makes the distinction between people wanting your course and wanting to PAY for your course.
If you’ve not checked out the Elearning Industry blog yet, do take a look. This post is a useful list of tips on selling courses, including some tools you could use.
This Forbes article features Udemy instructor Lili Balfour who share her experience of selling courses. Althiough her experience is of Udemy, there are some good tips for selling courses and building an audience before you begin.
– Test it out with a webinar first
How about a different approach? Run a webinar to test how much demand there is for your course, then if there is a demand, make the full course. Or you could turn the webinar into a course! Here’s how to do that with Camtasia, from Michelle and Lon of LearnCamtasia.com
– Test it out with PLR first
You can speed up the course creation process dramatically using PLR. Even if you want to ultimately create your course yourself, promoting a PLR product will allow you to test the market for that subject before you invest time in creating your own material. Here are my tutorials on how to add your own branding to the PLR you buy and here are my WordPress PLR video tutorials to buy.
So there you have it, lots of great information to give your online course the best possible chance of success before you even create it!
If you’re in a hurry and need to put some good content on your website or blog, you could find good quality PLR is the ideal solution. Although you do need to balance how much content you publish against your other marketing activities, in many ways the more content you have out there the greater the chance of someone reading it.
Creating that content yourself can take up a lot of time, which is where using PLR can buy you time to spend on other aspects of your business.
The quality of PLR can vary a lot, so it pays to shop around and find the best. You’ll definitely want to review the standard of the PLR before you buy it, so take a look for PLR sellers who allow you to download a pack for free. Your website is one of your biggest business assets, so you need to make sure any content you publish there gives the right impression.
Another solution is to ask around where other people buy their PLR. You’ll find recommendations in Internet marketing Facebook groups and forums, such as the Warrior Forum. You can also join the mailing list of a PLR seller you trust and you’ll find he or she will recommend quality PLR from other sellers. You don’t have to buy from just one PLR site, of course. In fact, combining content from several packs on the same subject can give you a bigger, more valuable product to sell or a longer series of blog posts.
While you’re thinking about putting content on your website, don’t forget that there are forms of PLR other than articles and ebooks. Here at Totally PLR I mainly offer video PLR and you can also get audio PLR, graphics, images and ‘printables’ such as checklists and planners, too.
A quick mention here, too, about software that comes with private label rights. While software usually has some customer service issues, you can really add value to your site if you can find software that helps make the customer experience more enjoyable. For example: an interest calculator on a financial website, a calorie calculator on a weight loss site or WordPress plugins on a site with WordPress tutorials.
The licence of the PLR you buy will almost certainly allow you to use it ‘as is’. But I recommend that you edit it – at least a little – to add your own branding and voice. If you’re posting content on your blog then your site will perform much better in terms of SEO if you edit it, too. Since your PLR could have been offered to hundreds, if not thousands of others, it’s well worth taking the time to add your own opinion and anecdotes.
For audio and video PLR, make sure you to listen to or view it before publishing. Add an introduction and a call to action at the end if appropriate. For the videos, some quick editing will allow you to add an intro, text and a watermark with your domain name.
So if you’ve never used PLR before, why not give it a try?
You can find PLR packs created by me personally here, and I regularly recommend packs from other good PLR sellers by email, too. To sign up for my mailing list – and get a pack of free PLR to try out – click here.
Welcome to Totally Courses! Here I have two goals: 1) to share content that’s a great fit for your website and helps you to save time, as well as boost your marketing and your profits and 2) to teach you to make online courses the simple way.
If you’re not sure exactly what PLR is then let me explain. (You might also like to take a look at this page.)
PLR stands for ‘private label rights’. I often call it done-for-you content as I found many of my readers were confused by the term ‘PLR’, but the two terms mean the same thing. PLR can be as simple as a pack of articles or as complex as a complete marketing package with e-books, videos, images, social media updates and more. What makes it PLR is that it comes with a license granting the new owner the right to use the content as her his or her own.
Here at Totally Courses I make video PLR but also recommend PLR from other vendors in different formats (sign up here if you’d like my recommendations). I do also offer some text and images as you tend to need this to support and promote videos, even if its just a transcript.
But with all PLR, someone else has done the writing (or recording), and possibly put a website template together with sales letter and graphics. Then, rather than trying to market it themselves, make it available for sale to many others.
Some PLR sites limit the number of buyers of each pack, others don’t. Some are also subscription based so that you pay a monthly fee and get fresh PLR each month. You might get a lot more content with a membership, but some of it may not be relevant to your niche or subject area. With a non-membership PLR site, you pick the pack of content that best meets your needs and this can prevent PLR from gathering dust on your hard drive.
With PLR, you’re given a license that tells specifically what you can and can’t do with the package. Check your license before you buy the PLR as they can vary quite a lot. Some PLR comes with an unconditional license that allows the new owner to use and redo the product any way they like. You can add your name as the author, add, edit and rearrange sections, sometimes even sell it on to others with and choose your own price. It’s as if you’re the original author without all of the work of authoring.
It’s worth noting that many PLR licenses don’t allow you to sell that PLR on to others as PLR. Always pay attention to the wording in the license and if you don’t want to agree to the terms, don’t buy it.
Another great tip before you buy is to Google (in quotes) a small sample of the text to see how many times it’s been used already on the Internet. This way you can get an idea of how many others have purchased the same package.
Master Resale Rights (MRR) is another type of license which is similar to PLR, but the difference is that with MRR you buy the right to re-sell the content but you don’t have the right to edit it first. For this reason, MRR is not as flexible as PLR as you can’t add your own touches to it. Also, with MRR, there will be many people selling an identical product. This is still possible with PLR, but less likely as buyers will have the opportunity to edit the content before they sell it.
Adding your own touches to PLR needn’t be much work, by the way. Take a look at this post on how to transform your PLR without re-writing it for some useful tips.
There’s no doubt that PLR can be a huge money and time saver. From as little as $27 you get top quality content that you would otherwise spend many hours producing yourself or shelling out for a freelancer to do it for you.
So if you’ve never given PLR a try why not take a look?
It doesn’t make sense to completely rewrite your private label rights content. The main reason for buying PLR articles is to save time, so why pay for PLR then spend tons of time changing it?
Alice Seba and Mel Spiers of All Private Label Content have some good advice on how to tweak your PLR so that it has your own touch but that won’t take you very long. Here are five ideas from their PLR to Profits course:
1. Brand your reports with your logo and other unique images. This is simple to do and only takes a few minutes, but gives your report a polished and branded look. You can even create a template that you use for all your PLR reports.
2. Case studies and personal stories. If you’ve got clients who have experience with a specific topic…or if you have that experience…share it in your content. People love to hear stories about other people who have gone through or are going through same thing as them.
3. Current events and news. Make your content more relevant by using current events to further illustrate a point. Not only is it helpful to your readers, but it also shows you as someone who is aware of what’s going on and what matters.
4. When it comes to reports, add an introduction and conclusion specifically from you. This can make all the difference when getting your target audience’s attention and showcasing you as an authority in your market.
5. Create worksheets or checklists to complement the content you publish. If you’ve got a how-to article or report, taking a few minutes to give your readers an extra like a worksheet or a checklist will go a long way.
The above tips are aimed mainly at text-based PLR, such as articles, e-books and reports. As most of my own PLR is video-based, here are a few more tips for transforming video PLR:
6. Add a custom intro and outro. The easiest way to brand PLR videos is to add a short intro (and add the same as an outro too, if you like). This could be as simple as an animation of your logo and you can get these made for as little as $5 on Fiverr. If you don’t have the time or inclination to edit a batch of videos, you can also find video editors at a great price on freelancing sites such as Fiverr or People Per Hour.
Alternatively, you can easily add your own intro using Windows Movie Maker or Camtasia.
7. Make the videos into a course or membership site by adding checklists, reports, workbooks, images or any other type of content. That way you increase the value of the the product and you don’t have to edit the videos at all (unless you want to, of course). Why? Because you can put your branding in the text and image elements of your course – see points 1 to 4, above.
8. Make a custom promotional video. In my WordPress PLR Essentials PLR course I include a promo video you can use ‘as is’, plus I include the script, the voiceover file and the PowerPoint slides. So in PowerPoint you could add your branding to the slides, record your voice as a narration and then export it to a video. Yes, all in PowerPoint!
Alternatively you could get a freelancer to make an explainer video using the voiceover mp3. Either way, you’ll have a promo video which is unlike any others out there for very little time or expense.
9. Add a call to action. If you’re using a video for content marketing rather than adding it to a product then you need to tell viewers what to do next. It’s easy to add a slide to the end of your video with your choice of call to action, such as ‘For more download my free report [insert your link here]’.
This should be a feature of any video editing software you may have, or here’s a demo of how to do it using YouTube’s editor from Kate Reiger.
As Alice and Mel say, “the great thing about all these methods is they make the content better and help you serve your audience more effectively, which means more opt-ins and sales for you. Win-win!”