Information Product Creation – Using the Mind’s Limitations to an Advantage

When creating your information products you should always take into account your audience’s ability to process information. This is true whether you are talking about chunking information or simply displaying it.

The cognitive limit — the rule of seven plus or minus two — is one expression of your audience’s ability to absorb and process information. It affects everything you do when creating your information products. Now there’s nothing that forces you to pay attention to this limitation — after all it’s your product. But it will greatly affect how your audience perceives the quality of your product.

So what does this seven plus or minus two mean?

Above nine items the brain needs to process the information through long term memory. Short term memory can’t hold more than nine items. Below five items the brain will decide that the information isn’t that important and will process it and discard it from short term memory. As the number of items approaches the limits the brain begins to flip between the two situations.

So how do we use this mental trait in our products?

The first use is in the recognition of the concept of mental noise. Basically, as the amount of information clamoring for a person’s attention increases, their ability to process information falls.

What does this mean to us as information product creators?

First, it means that all the numbers in the rest of the article should be considered as maximums. As your audience is bombarded with information you need to reduce the target number in order to achieve the same level of information. For example, today, three items not four is usually considered optimum.

Second, it means that when you are training (i.e. presenting a live product), you need to consider the environment — both immediate and overall. Your audience will always learn better if you give them a quiet, calm, low extraneous information environment. However, their environment outside the training area will also affect their ability to absorb information.

Third, it means that we need to modify our presentation based on the environments. You may need to overcome the external stimulus in order to be heard at all. Figuratively, you may need to shout to be heard!

Going on to the cognitive limit itself, the next obvious use is at the low end of the cognitive limit. The brain will begin to pay attention at three, four and five items. Traditionally, it was suggested that four points was optimum for most slides. Why? Because at four points the brain says, “pay attention, this might be important”. That allowed the presenter to ride the wave and drive the actual information being presented home without overloading the audience. Five was too many because then the audience will pay too much attention to the slide.

The third use is at the high end. When organizing an information product we might be tempted to identify more than nine chunks of information in our product. Unfortunately, our brains can’t handle that much information in short term memory. But we also cannot process information directly into long term memory. Result? If you present a slide with more than nine items on it the audience will ignore the slide. They’ll go to sleep. You’ll lose them. The optimum number of chunks of information — chapters, modules or sections — is always less than seven. However, when presenting in a non-written mode — for example, a seminar or webinar — you actually should limit the modules to no more than five.

Can You Make A Living As A Freelance Information Product Creator?

Do you need to sell information products in order to make a living as a creator of learning content? I mean, that seems to be the impression you get if you hang around the internet marketing business long enough.

Wanna make money? Create an infoproduct. Wanna build a reputation? Create an information product. On and on but underlying it all is that you need to sell those self-same learning courses.

Is there another way to create learning products and make a living without having to sell those information products?

The answer is yes!

There are four basic roles in the supply chain of learning content products.

1. The creator

2. The presenter

3. The packager or publisher

4. The seller

Frequently the presenter and the seller are the same person — at least on the internet. But the creation of high quality infoproducts is a specialty. And it’s a task that can be done from the background, without anyone being the wiser. And that situation — high skill specialty and a background task — makes information product creation fertile ground for a freelance business.

In this article, I’m going to identify three markets that are perfect for the freelance information product creator.

1. Large companies

Large companies are the traditional market for most of the training industry. After all, one of their primary critical success indicators is how up-to-date their employees are. In other words, how often they train their people. So most large companies spend a great deal of money in supplying training to their people. Some of that training is contracted — the training company provides both content and trainer and sometimes facilities. But a large portion is internal — provided by internal or contract training staff. Companies often prefer to own the course material and so they will hire freelance learning content providers to design their courses.

2. Large Training Companies

Large training companies such as Learning Tree International or Global Knowledge usually hire contract trainers who are responsible for both content and delivery. However, they also maintain a set of courses which are their property. This type of learning content is often provided by freelance course designers.

3. Information Product Marketers

New information marketers are told to design their own information products. After all, they are the experts and if they are going to go beyond the minimum they need to have their own information products. But many of the infoproduct marketers are large multi-million dollar companies. The owner no longer creates his own products. In fact, he or she may not even bother to act as presenter. The creation of information products is often one of those tasks that are outsourced very quickly. Why? Because doing it well is a specialty involving many years of training. These large publisher/marketers often release several new products a year. Freelance staffing can prove to be cheaper for these companies than hiring employees.

Develop an Online Business Selling Information Products

Building a business around information products has become a bit of a hot topic in recent years. Many online businesses were developed selling other peoples digital downloads of information, but what information products could you develop with your own knowledge, and how can you sell them?

Information products are things like ebooks, ecourses, teleseminars, audio programmes, online training programmes. It is simply a product whereby you deliver information to your customer in an electronic format, so a downloadable file. You can of course package your information as a hard copy and send out things like a folder containing printer material, cds, dvds, etc but most people deliver information products online, to keep production costs to a minimum and the efficiency of the business high.

For example, if you are delivering your information in a written format, such as a Word document, you might turn that into a pdf file and call it an ebook. Of you might decide to deliver that written information over a series of emails, delivered over a period, and call it an ecourse.

If you prefer the spoken word, you might record an interview or telephone conversation, turn that into an mp3 and call it an audio programme. You could also have that information transcribed and turn it into another written information product, an eBook or ecourse.

Don’t be put off by thinking you have to write a book on a subject either, most information products are relatively short in length, so rather than books, think guides or tip sheets. Internet users want concise, easy to consume products that answer their questions or solve a particular problem and you shouldn’t need to write reams in order to do that. If you do, serialise the information and turn it into an ecourse.

For more information about how to build an online business go to

3 Reasons to Create Your Own Information Products Business Online

As an online marketer, you can see how many thousands of information products are created to serve this niche alone. Some of the most successful online marketers make their living by promoting courses and e-books that teach various internet marketing skills. You can find information products, though, on every imaginable subject, so the field is wide open. You can also find plenty of info products on topics such as “dating tips” and “dessert recipes,” as well as thousands of others. One of the main functions of the web is to deliver information to people, and this will always be the case. If you’ve ever considered entering the information products business, the following three benefits of doing this might be all the convincing you need.

1) When you sell information products online, you have no guarantee of success, and this is, of course, true of any business. Yet failure in this case, which usually results from not doing proper preparation, doesn’t have to be costly, so it’s easy to try again. Whereas with an offline business you might be investing your life savings, there are many low cost and free online marketing strategies.

In other words, you can create lots of info products in various niches and proceed with the ones that are successful. Testing out new ideas with info products is a walk in the park. One of the best aspects of an information business is that digital products, unlike physical ones, don’t require any shipping or storage. This solves the biggest hurdle businesses face when starting out, which is having to take care of these recurring costs. Your info product can be downloaded by your customers right away, without having to wait – instant gratification!

2) Information products can be created in a single day when you know how. The fact is, experienced information marketers do this consistently.

3) When you have this business model in place, you can simply release products when you want and sell them to the people on your email list. What’s more, when you have your list of buyers, your market research becomes as simple as shooting them an email and asking what they want. As you release more products, you’ll eventually be seen as an authority in your area of interest.

As we’ve seen, if you’re committed to doing what it takes to succeed, selling information products can be the ideal business. Some of the largest and most profitable info product businesses that are raking in huge profits today were started from scratch. It’s not necessary to understand everything perfectly to get started.

The more action you take, the easier it will be to know what to do next. All you have to do is find a topic that excites you, do some research and launch an information product!