Writing Short Info Reports
by: Dan J. Fry
People want information, they want it quick, frequently in short form, and straight to the point. Its no wonder that they go straight for a computer connected to the internet to find anything from how to grow tomatoes to choosing a web host.
As a home business owner, this “information revolution” as I like to call it, is only to your benefit. After all, you are in the business of trying to give people what they want time and again. So, give them the information they crave.
Now, e-books are a wonderful way to , but in the spirit of the Infopreneur, short high content reports which I like to call info-reports are perhaps even better. If formulated carefully, they can even be put to use to literally explode the size of an opt-in list of subscribers. To proceed you simply develop several high content short reports, targeted at a specific market which you would like to add to your subscriber base, and give it away free just for subscribing to your newsletter. With content, and the word “free”, many people will flock to subscribe. Best of all this is a win-win situation: You pick up valuable subscribers to interact with on a weekly basis, and your subscribers receive valuable information from you.
So, how is it done you ask?
Almost any idea you have can be made into a short report. However, not every idea is in demand.
Try this out.
Sit down with pen and paper in a quite location. Yes, you read correctly. I said pen and paper. It is easier from a work perspective to sit in front of your monitor, but past experience has taught me that the creative side of my brain works better with pen and paper. Of course it is up to what ever works for you.
Now, write down a short list of topics that you are semi-familiar with. I say “semi” because you can always perform a bit of research to learn more. These topics can be on anything: gardening, cooking, computer programming, specific hobbies, construction, research, medicine, etc.
After you have made your list, weed out the topics that are not associated with your business. For instance, if your business is computer programming, you probably don’t want to focus on creating a short report on gardening. The reasoning here is to target your market. Gardening info is not targeted to the computer programming market.
Now pick one or two topics, open a word processor, or even your notebook, and start writing every little bit of information you know on the subject.
Putting It Together
I recommend structuring your report similar to a book report. Remember writing those in school? Why a book report? The focus here is short and informative. This isn’t creative writing. You don’t want to go off on some tangent about literary prose. Short, concise, and highly informative information to guide others is what works here.
Format And Packaging
Format is somewhat of a personal preference. But, keep computing platform in mind. There are numerous e-book compilers, many free, that can be used to create a small exe file of your report. The advantage here is that it can be created in web page format and then compiled with links that when clicked will actually open in the e-book window. One downside however is that as far as I have been able to tell they only compile in PC format. So, anyone with a Mac will not be able to view the file.
I have used Easy e-Book Creator for several short reports. It is simple and easy to use. I create the pages in HTML format using Microsoft Frontpage and then compile. If you want the full version without the Easy e-Book Creator logo and with added security features, you can purchase a license for about $20. The resulting e-book is in exe format. e-Book Compiler also has a free trial version. I however was not as happy with it.
PDF is essentially universal. Just about anyone these days can open a pdf. The problem is that pdf file creators are rather pricey. An alternative is the Microsoft Reader plug-in for Word. Microsoft is attempting to compete with Adobe in creating a new standard. The software is free to download from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/reader/developers/downloads/rmr.asp .
After all else is done, its time to get your report to market. Now, there is not a single definitive way to do this. I use e- zine advertising, classified ads, pay-per-click, and traffic exchanges to advertise short reports in the hopes of pulling interested readers to sign up for the e-Kinetic E-Zine. What is great about this method is that it truly is win-win. I gain new subscribers who I get to share interact with through the e-zine, and subscribers receive valuable information at zero cost.
Dan J. Fry ©2004, All rights reserved
About The Author
Dan J. Fry is an independent researcher and owner of e-Kinetic.com, a site devoted to providing resources for small budget home businesses. He has a PhD in Physics and is married with two daughters and two cats. Subscribe to his free E-Zine on home business resources at mailto:e-kinetic@GetResponse.com or by visiting his Infopreneur site at http://www.e-kinetic.com. He can be reached at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was posted on June 01, 2004