At this stop, you will learn how to review your information product so that you produce a quality product that you can be proud of.
Consider also the options available to you for protecting your amazing information product and all your hard work.
Producing quality information products is a must for successful Online Entrepreneurs. Failure to review your information product and correct errors prior to launching your product can have a negative impact on your reputation, trust of your customer and future sales.
You're almost there. It is now time to iron out any wrinkles before you begin the launch of your amazing product into the world.
At this stop we will focus on:
Stage 9 - Review Your Information Product
Review Your Information Product - Get it Ready to Launch
Reviewing your work is an essential tool for achieving a quality product. You may have the prettiest, most amazing content ever invented, but if you let yourself down with obvious errors, incomplete material or it just doesn't flow, all your great work is undone.
Have you ever purchased an e-book from Amazon and once downloaded you eagerly browse through the material only to find spelling mistakes and formatting errors in the first few pages. I'm not talking about differences in American vs British spelling. We are used to the differences and adjust our minds accordingly. I'm talking about careless spelling mistakes that you would expect any basic word processor to pick up. I don't know about you but I find it difficult to read and absorb.
My brand new shiny information product turns out to be a shoddy shadow of what was promised. It also doesn't instil trust in the material presented. My initial enthusiasm reduces and I'm left feeling disappointed. I'm also unlikely to purchase another product from the seller.
Poor quality impacts on your reputation and future sales.
Tips for a Quality Review
- be methodical
- review when refreshed
- use a printed copy to do your final proofread
- review in a place free of distractions and interruptions
- if possible get a friend or professional proofreader to review your product
- use tools like Grammarly to check spelling, grammar and punctuation
Check for Errors
Prepare to Review Your Information Product - Get in the Zone
Setting yourself up in a quiet, comfortable environment without distractions, will enhance your ability to focus and uncover errors.
Remember the Pomodoro Technique we covered at our Essential Preparation stop? This useful time management method helps with managing flow and focus, as well as helping to improve your attention span and concentration. Focusing for short periods without the 'brain drain' will help you to maintain your energy levels as well as your brain's ability to focus.
Allow time between finishing the creation of your product and reviewing it. Changing from your 'creative brain' to your 'logical checking brain' takes a mind shift. I find leaving the final review until the next day useful as my mind is refreshed and I'm more likely to spot errors with a fresh pair of eyes and a re-energised brain.
"Quality is for free, non-quality costs you money"
Spelling errors. When creating written content make sure you review your copy for spelling errors. If you are a Microsoft Word user this is where that little squiggly red line becomes your friend to help you spot spelling errors. When you review your information product beware that if you have spelt a word correctly but it is the incorrect word, your spell checker will not pick it up.
Example: 'The bare caught a fish in the stream.' This should have been... 'The bear caught a fish in the stream.'
Grammar and punctuation errors. Think of grammar as the roadmap to the English language. The rules of grammar guide us to ensure that whatever we write or how we speak is understandable to others. Otherwise, we could end up sounding like Yoda from Star Wars.
Incorrect use of commas, apostrophes, periods and semicolons can change the meaning of whole sentences. When you review your information product try reading your text out loud. It can often help you identify the need to add commas or where they may have been incorrectly placed. There are too many rules around the use of commas to include here. Grammarly has produced a very useful article with examples on the Rules for Comma Usage which you may find useful.
Broken and incorrect links. Check that all references that use hyperlinks are valid and take your customer to the intended location. This is particularly important for products used mainly online. Often creators of videos will also provide a list of useful links as well as a link back to their website or opt-in / freebie within the description. Wherever you use a hyperlink make they work as expected.
Because you have been working so intensely when you review your information product you can become blind to your own mistakes. If possible get someone else to do the final proofread and walk-through of your product. I often call on my helpful elves to review my material, not only for unearthing errors but also for identifying things I may have missed out. It is a lot harder for you to find what is missing in your own material as your level of knowledge and experience will automatically fill in the gaps for you. This is definitely a case where two pairs of eyes are better than one.
Check for Style and Formatting Inconsistancies
Use the Style Guide that you created at the Essential Preparation stop. In the guide, you will have noted formatting such as headings, font types to be used, font sizes, bullet point styles as well as the colour palette to be used throughout your product. Check style and formatting of your product against the Style Guide to identify any differences between what you planned to use and what you actually used. You may find that you want to tweak the Style Guide based on your output. That's ok.
Review your information product from end to end to ensure that the formatting has been applied consistently. Make corrections as you go.
Tone and language style. Check for the application of a consistent tone and language style throughout your product. If you wanted a more formal style check that you haven't slipped into a less formal conversational style and vise versa. Refer back to your Style guide which included notes on the tone and language style you were aiming for.
Recording levels and distractions. Check the volume of audio and video recordings. You may need to adjust the volume in parts that are too loud or too soft. Also, listen out for distracting background noise. There have been a few times during a recording session that a noisy bus passed by my house. However, because I'm used to them passing by I didn't notice it at the time of recording.
Reviewing my recording enabled me to identify an overzealous bird singing as well as the bus passing by. You can either edit out the distractions or you may have to rerecord that section of your recording. It is better to find the issues out now before you launch rather than receive complaints afterwards.
Check for Completeness and Flow
This is where you need to edit, tweak and massage your product content.
Check planned vs actual included content. At the product design stop, you produced a Design Brief. Use the Design Brief to check that you have included all the features of the product that you intended. You also noted the customer's pain point or desired outcome during the design process. As you review the product check that you have created a solution that will either resolve the identified pain point or deliver the desired outcome. In other words that your solution meets your intended goal.
Check the flow. A product 'walk through' is a method commonly used in IT development to identify both errors and features that may need tweaking. when you review your information product be sure to put yourself in the shoes of the customer. Use the product as if you are the customer. As you use the product you created note any areas where the process flow is impeded or the order of steps needs to be adjusted.
Check for plain language use. Keeping the theme of creating products using plain language, review the content for any terminology that may need to be adjusted. It is very easy as a person knowledgeable in the topic to slip in a few acronyms or terminology that is 'technical speak'.
Other aspects to look out for is the need to
- add additional facts
- add links / references
- add or remove points
- break up long sentence structures
- check for readability
- check it makes sense
- adjust the use of white space in printed works
- add visuals to reduce 'text walls' and aid in understanding
Protecting Your Work With Copyright
What is Copyright and Why Does it Matter?
Copyright is a legal right that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution. Copyright applies to original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. Examples include books, other writings, music, sculptures, paintings, photographs, films, plays, television and radio programs, and computer programs.
Copyright is a tool to protect the creator of a piece of intellectual property from it being reproduced or performed in part or whole and then distributed without your permission. Unlike patents and other forms of intellectual property protection, copyright protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself.
Without copyright protection, it would be easy for others to exploit your works without paying anything or potentially claiming your work as their own and selling it for profit.
Who Owns the Copyright?
You as the creator of an original piece of work has copyright automatically. Copyright in most jurisdictions is automatic without the need for any formality once a creative work is 'fixed' (i.e. the minute you put pen to paper, take a photo, record a sound or type some text then, 'save' it onto your computer). There is no cost of marking something as copyright.
Although you do not have to apply a copyright notice for your work to be protected, it is a useful tool to clearly signal to people that the work is yours. It also tells the public who to contact about the work. The international symbol for copyright is ©.
The formal requirements for registering copyright were largely eliminated in many countries when they became signatories to the Berne Convention. However, in some jurisdictions creators may be required to register with a local national agency in order to enforce copyright in court. For example, in the U.S. you may not be able to bring an infringement lawsuit against someone unless you have registered your copyright first. Always seek legal advice to ensure you understand the implications of copyright decisions and how they may impact you within your own country, now and in the future.
Under the Berne Convention, there is no official registration required and copyright comes into effect immediately. 'The author need not "register" or "apply for" a copyright in countries adhering to the Convention'. It also enforces a requirement that countries recognise copyrights held by the citizens of all other parties to the convention.
The World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty (WIPO) was adopted to address the issues raised by information technology and the Internet, which were not addressed by the Berne Convention. WIPO seeks to "promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world".
There are over 175 member states who are parties to the Berne Convention and 191 member states who are members of the WIPO. Among the member states of both agreements are Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Limitations and Exceptions
Typically, the duration of a copyright spans the author's life plus 50 to 70 years after the author dies, depending on the jurisdiction. The length of the term can depend on several factors, including the type of work (e.g. movie, applied art, novel), whether the work has been published or not and whether the work was created by an individual or a corporation. While the international agreements established minimum terms for copyrights the signatory countries have the option to grant longer terms. The United States and the European Union are among the signatories that extended the copyright length.
Limitations and exceptions to copyright vary from country to country due to particular social, economic and historical conditions. The international agreements aim to find a balance between the interests of the copyright holders and the user of the protected works. The main focus groups where exceptions or limitations have been proposed is on educational activities, libraries and archives and on disabled persons, particularly visually impaired persons.
Exceptions also exist where you are an employee or were engaged to create the piece of work for others. You should seek legal advice if you have questions about copyright ownership or exceptions and limitations.
What is Creative Commons?
'Creative Commons is a global nonprofit organisation that enables the sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools'.
The Creative Commons organisation released several copyright licences known as Creative Commons licences free of charge to the public. These licences allow copyright holders to offer certain usage rights to the public while reserving other rights. Creative Commons licences do not replace copyright but are based upon it.
If you want to reserve all of your rights under copyright law then do not use Creative Commons licences.
What are Creative Commons licences?
The Creative Commons copyright licences and tools give everyone from individual creators to large companies and institutions a simple, standardised way to grant copyright permissions to their creative work. By combining a set of conditions you indicate whether or not you want to be credited for your work, how it may be shared or altered and whether it can be used commercially or not.
The following table details the set of conditions that as the creator you may choose to apply to your work.
Creative Commons Licence Conditions
- You must give appropriate credit,
- provide a link to the licence,
- indicate if changes were made.
You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
Please Note: Tools for Online Business does not provide legal advice. The information presented on this page is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for legal advice. It may not cover important issues that affect you. You should consult with your own lawyer if you have questions.
Continual Improvement - Capture Lessons Learnt
As you went through you online information creation journey you will have discovered things that worked and things that didn't work so well. It is important to capture the lessons learnt and adjust your plans, templates, guides and other collateral you created along the way.
Through a process of continual improvement, you will enhance your product creation processes and reduce your product creation time, enabling you to get your product to market quicker. Incorporating improvements into future product development will improve the quality of your products.
As your business grows you will also be able to identify opportunities to outsource work that you are not suited to. We can't be the master of everything but in the beginning, we make the most of the talents and resources we have.