Hey everyone! So after 4 months I have finally managed to get to Part 2 of my mini-series – ‘Teacherpreneur Tips’. Please accept my sincere apologies!
PART 2 – CREATING A PRODUCT
Let’s assume you already have an idea for the content of your product. It is worth noting here, that whatever you do create, I would recommend staying within your comfort zone, especially if you are a relatively new seller. For example, I have seen stores run by high school teachers who also sell resources for Kindergarten. Personally speaking, I believe you should try to create an identity for your store – you want to encourage repeat buyers. If a potential buyer is a first grade teacher, she will want to go to a first grade teacher’s store. She will trust that this seller has experience with first grade and quality resources to fit her needs.
Find your niche – whether it be classroom décor, clip art or a specific subject area – play to your strengths – you want to offer resources of the very best quality.
Let’s break down what a finished resource should have and the areas I think I may be able to help with.
1. A Product Cover
2. A note to the educator, if relevant
3. A Contents Page, if relevant
4. Your content (& what program will you use)
5. Terms and Conditions
1. PRODUCT COVER
Your product cover is like a shop window display. If it is not eye-catching or interesting, a potential buyer will pass your product over. As a teacher, think about how you search for products – the best covers catch your eye and make you want to explore further. Of course a good cover doesn’t make a product good quality, but at least it gets eyes on what you have to offer.
Some people make their cover at the beginning before they have even started their resource, because they have a clear idea in their mind of the type of images that will best showcase the content. However, many leave it as the last job to do, as only then will they know what kind of visual they would like to represent their resource.
Also – this is personal preference - I always create my product cover in portrait format – I like my resource to look like a book – I have no idea why, but I have never been tempted to create a landscape cover. I do each element separately, then combine together later, (I will explain how to do this at a later stage) so the format of the actual resource has no bearing on the cover I create. You will notice in some marketplaces that a square cover will get you most bang for your buck, nothing is cut off and potential buyers get the full impact. Some sellers have chosen to get around this by creating a square template and inserting the portrait cover and uploading that thumbnail separately (this is something I do – I will show you an example at the end of this section).
From what I have seen, there appears to be 3 design types doing the rounds!
Example 1: tends to be the traditional format – the cover has a digital paper, a frame and some clip art. If you are just starting out and don’t have much clip art, check sellers’ stores for freebies – there are loads! I am linking to Mel from Graphics From The Pond as she has a lot of free papers and frames/borders.
Example 2: is especially useful for non-fiction type products. There are many photographs in the public domain, but searching and finding them can take an age. It is best to buy good quality photographs from a reputable source, so you can be assured that you are not breaching any copyrights. I personally have a monthly subscription to Dollar Photo Club as I find it is very reasonably priced. There are many other such as GraphicStock or Dreamstime. Some are more expensive than others, so check their deals carefully. There are also some great free sites out there - photos are public domain, so should be copyright free. Morguefile usually has a wide range of choice and quality, as well as Pixabay.
Example 3: can often be used for products that really don’t require visuals, for example, a bundled resource. The use of 2 or 3 bold colors can really make the cover page pop, especially combined with a striking font. Sometimes adding clip art can take up valuable real estate when you really need to get as much text on the cover as possible. (Also: it may be hard to match a resource with a visual; or it may be that you just can’t afford to buy that clip art at this time).
Remember - your product cover will probably not be perfect the first time around (or the second or third......). I have lost count of how many times I have revised a cover, because I just wasn't happy! I look at some of my earlier products and well......just cringe - eek! A couple of friends kindly gave me permission to use some of their product covers to show how they had developed their eye for cover design through time and practice. They also realised that developing a 'unique to you' style was also important. I can often tell who has created a product just by the cover, as they have made a particular style their own. So here are some comparisons - thanks so much to Lesley from Practice Makes Perfect and Renee from Share2Learn for allowing me to share these.
Below is the type of template I was talking about earlier. I still have my cover page in portrait format, but inserted into the square template as this suits some marketplaces better.
This blog post would be way too long if I was to include all 6 points, so I will stop here for today.
The video below will show you some useful tricks about adding digital papers and clip art to your resource – things you may not yet know. (Might be wise to turn down the volume!)
I hope today’s tutorial was useful and you have learnt something to help you move forward. I will be back soon to cover Points 2-6.