What Format Should Your Products Use?


Creating digital products – whether they’re a giveaway for lead generation or a complete product – is something you should strongly consider.

Sure. you can use PLR (private label rights) products but the quality is variable at best and even the top quality products won’t be in your style or voice unless you spend a considerable amount of time modifying them.

One clue as to the amount of effort this takes is that content mills like iWriter don’t allow their cheapest writers to re-write content. So a freshly written article (albeit maybe not written by as experienced a writer as the re-write) is more expensive than having someone rework an existing piece of content.

That alone should tell you that re-writing is nowhere near as easy as it seems at first glance. Personally, I’ve near enough given up trying to re-write PLR, I find it quicker and easier to start from scratch.

You also need to decide the format…

Unless you’re producing software, there are three main product formats:

  • Written – usually website content (behind a password protected area) or a downloadable PDF. The days of an executable file that wrapped up the written content – ostensibly to reduce illegal sharing – are fortunately long gone. And most people don’t password protect their PDFs either as it causes more hassle for users and more support tickets when people forget the password.
  • Audio – usually in MP3 format as that can be played almost anywhere, is usually a smaller file size than video and is perfect if you’re camera shy and not a fan of using slides.
  • Video – usually in MP4 format as that’s become the standard. These can be slide presentations (my favourite), screen grabs/demos, a talking head (your camera or webcam pointing at you) or any other format that works with what you’re demonstrating.

Weirdly, video content doesn’t take much longer to create than any of the other formats but has a higher perceived value. Probably because we’ve been trained that way with the difference in cost between books, radio/audio books and television/movies.

As a consumer, I’m not a big fan of video information products. I find them too slow – I can read quicker than I can watch & listen and I can skim easier – but I seem to be in a minority with that perspective. When I’m creating a product, I tend to read out slides, ad libbing occasionally, and usually make the slides available as a download. So my preferred video format caters for people who prefer to read.

If you create a video on a more ad-hoc basis, you can still include a quick start guide that’s just a series of bullet points, maybe with a short piece of extra information below each point.

Written content takes longest. Unless you’re comfortable using a voice to text program – and have trained it for long enough to cope with your accent – then you’ve got the option of typing away at a keyboard or recording your content and sending it away to be transcribed.

Personally, I find I don’t speak the same way as I write – it’s similar but nowhere near similar enough – so the idea of recording something and then turning it into written content doesn’t appeal. If you’ve ever bought a product that includes a two-way “interview” or conversation and also includes a transcript, you’ll probably recognise that. There seems to be too much fluff and filler versus real content.

If you’re super organised, maybe you can do better.

But I’d suggest that it would be better to go straight to an audio or video product.

Even though it’s not my preference, audio has a lot more portability than any of the other formats. And it can be used as a secondary option – when I was commuting, I’d often listen to audio products in the car. Other people put on an MP3 and listen to it while they exercise, jog, cook, commute or near enough anything else. It’s the closest most people get to multi-tasking.

And you can use those thoughts in your sales letter or the bullet points on your squeeze page, reminding people of the versatility of audios.

Video can be morphed into both the other formats.

  • If you use slides, you can export them as a PDF
  • If your presentation is less scripted, you can get it transcribed on a site like Fiverr and then save the document that comes back, maybe edited in the places the transcriber wasn’t entirely sure what you were saying
  • You can take out the audio track using a program like VLC and include that in your product

So potentially your video product can become written and audio as well. Which is the best of all worlds and adds more value to the final product, whether it’s a giveaway or a complete, for sale, product.

Personally, I’ll usually create a series of slideshow videos and turn the slides into PDFs. The videos are usually downloadable so the people who want an audio version can download and run them through VLC. Maybe I’d get more sales by doing that part of the process – it’s something I probably ought to try.

But the real trick with any form of product creation is to do it.

You can learn and improve as you go along.

But you can’t do that if your product creation is purely theory. Because until your product is created, you won’t know whether or not it’s something your market wants.

So overcome your fears, write out some slides, fire up your screen recorder and start recording.

Then upload the resulting files and launch your new product to a largely unsuspecting world.


2 thoughts on “What Format Should Your Products Use?

  1. Jean Tracy

    What a great article, Trevor.

    I make videos through Easy Sketch Pro. They are mp3’s first.

    How do you make mp3’s that are just audios into a product. Do you have a video or article on it?

    Many Thanks,


    1. Trevor Dumbleton Post author

      Thanks! Not done a video or article about putting MP3s as a product but it’s exactly the same as putting any other file onto a download page – upload it (in WordPress or via hosting control panel or FTP), put in a link to it.

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