AskPat 260 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hey, what's up, everybody? Pat Flynn here, and welcome to Episode 260 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today.
Have to apologize a little bit for my voice. I had lost it for the last few days, but I got it back a little bit and I just am able to record this in time, the night before it goes live. I also just got back from Disneyland for the Star Wars half marathon weekend. And, I just completed my half marathon today with my wife, April, and also a 10K on Saturday. So, we completed what was called a rebel challenge and ran 19.3 miles in two days. So, I put my body to the test over the last few days, and I'm feeling great, actually. I did a lot of training beforehand so everything's good, and I'm just really happy to be here. So thank you all so much for being here. No sponsors today.
I just want to get into today's question from Ryan, so here it is.
Ryan: Hey, Pat. This is Ryan Kanick. I noticed that the “Smart Passive Income” ebook is written in three columns, kind of like a newspaper. Would you recommend that somebody writing their ebook do the same? Appreciate all you do. Thank you.
Pat Flynn: Ryan, thank you so much for the question. And for those of you listening, Ryan is referring to my book Ebooks the Smart Way, which you can find at EbookstheSmartWay.com. It's completely free, and I formatted it in a three-column format, meaning each page has three columns that has content and sometimes images; sometimes there's a pop-out that sort of overlaps some of the columns. And, it's very unique in the space and I did that for a few reasons. I did it because, like I just said, it's unique in the space and a lot of people were giving away ebooks at the time I created this. This was back in 2010, although all the content is still completely relevant, and a lot of people have been downloading it still—hundreds of people a day, and it's been downloaded over 120,000 times up to this point. So, the three-column format has worked really well for me, because it is specifically unique in the space that I'm in. That's the first and most important thing.
So, what you want to do is when you're researching how you want to make your book look—this is specifically a giveaway. You know, if you have a traditional book coming out, of course you want to have it in a very traditional manner or something that would make sense for the publisher that you're working with. If you're self publishing, again, you want to look at some more traditional types of models in terms of what would look good on Amazon and things like that. And those typically have one-column formats, maybe two. But, the three-column format was something that was completely different, and I saw and got inspiration from in another niche, actually.
So I did a couple things there. One, is I looked at a lot of the ebooks that were given away, lead magnets that people were using to drive people in their email list, which is the purpose of this book at EbookstheSmartWay.com. And, I just wanted to do something completely different. That's always been a strategy that has worked really well for me. “Hmm, okay, let me follow what everybody else is doing and see what they're doing and do the complete opposite.” And by follow them, I mean just, you know, subscribe to their email list, see what their lead magnets look like, follow what they do, and then do, actually, the complete opposite, and that has worked so well for me. So I recommend you do the same thing.
But then, I also looked at other giveaways in niches that were outside, or niches, outside of the space that I was in. And, I actually picked up a book in the photography space. It was a free giveaway, and it had this three-column format that I thought was really really cool, and so I adopted it for my own content. Now, another thing about the three-column format that I liked was, like you said, and actually I did think about this when I was writing it, or formatting it at least, because all the content was already written, that it did look like a newspaper. And I like that, because what do you do with a newspaper? You open it up and you look at the bold headlines, and that's where you start. And that's kind of the same idea when you pop open Ebooks the Smart Way. So, you can see maybe two or three headlines on one page, because you can see it all there on a column format, and you can pick and choose and sort of see what sticks out to you and use that information if it seems to be relevant to you and what you're doing.
Now, I will say that you definitely have to do what makes sense for the content that you have for your particular audience. So, if you're going to have a lot of images, if you're going to have a lot of things that is going to have a lot of detail or steps, and it just makes sense to kind of space things out a little more, then a three-column format is probably not going to be the right thing for you. But, there are programs out there like Adobe InDesign; you could even use things like Word or Pages for Mac, which is what I used. You could experiment. What I would do is, actually, I would test your content on all those, you know, on a one-page column format, or excuse me, a one column format, a two column format, and a three column format. Just the same content on one page with that type of column format and see what looks better and see what works for you. And also pay attention to and obviously know what's coming later in your content in terms of what visuals might be needed and things like that. But it was really cool to sort of pull different quotes out and highlight them in little boxes in between the different columns.
Again, the three-column worked for me. Now, I will say that not a lot of people complained, but there were some people who complained. They were like, “There's too much content on this page. I feel like my eyes are busy going down the page because there's too much to look at.” It's definitely not a minimalistic approach, which I know is popular in some spaces and is, you know, sometimes less is more. But, the idea here … excuse me, wow. My voice can only handle one podcast today. I hope Mindy doesn't mind that I'm going to not batch this set and hopefully be better by tomorrow and give her the rest of this week's by tomorrow. But anyway, so now you get a little glimpse of how we work. We batch process except when Pat's voice is gone; I cannot do that.
Okay, so we're closing in on the end here, and I just want to recap for you what has been mentioned already. So, when it comes to the creation of your ebook or your lead magnet, which again, you could format in terms of a PDF file, but what does it look like? It can be any number of columns or style that you want. What I would do is I would look at the giveaways that are in your niche already. And maybe an ebook is actually not the right thing for you. Maybe everybody's already giving away ebooks. You want to do something else and give away a two-page report or a resource list with all the tools you have available for your particular audience that can help them. Those are all great lead magnets that work today as well. And sometimes they work even better than an ebook because they are much shorter and easily consumed. But, for your ebook, or even when it comes to your resource page or this two-page report that you're going to come out with, whatever the case may be, look at what everybody else is doing and do something completely different. Do something that stands out and that is unique, that's going to get noticed. My three-column format was noticed enough for Ryan to come on and ask a question about it. I mean, that makes a huge difference, and it obviously shows. Two, look at the format of giveaways in other niches as well and see if you can pull inspiration from some of those, too. Three, make sure you do, whatever the case may be, do what works for your audience and the type of content that you're going to put in that particular report or PDF file. And number four, just know that you're not going to please everyone, and the more you worry about this decision, the less you're going to get done and the more you're just going to wait.
And people are out there; they need your content. They need you to provide them with this information that you have in some format. So, just put it out there. You can always change things later. Just make sure you save the file and make sure you back it up because Ebooks the Smart Way was actually backed up and it was on a back up that failed. So my computer crashed. The Time Machine backup that I had was not able to recover, and I had lost the original Ebooks the Smart Way, but you'll be happy to know that early this year, I am doing an SPI or Smart Passive Income brand audit, and certain pieces of the brand such as Ebooks the Smart Way will be reformatted, updated with even more content and redone in terms of the branding so it all connects to everything else that I've since built. So, that's kind of what's ahead.
And, I'm at the end here, so thank you so much for joining me again today. Kind of glad there's no sponsor, because I wouldn't be able to mention it, due to my voice. Actually, I probably would, but that's okay. Anyway, thank you guys so much for your time. I appreciate it. And if you have yet to catch me and Chris Tucker's new podcast, please check it out. We got up to number one in business and number 12 overall in all podcasts in the world on iTunes last week, and I would love for you to check it out if you haven't yet done so. You can go to 1DayBB.com, like “B” as in “Boy.” 1DayBB.com. Check it out.
Thanks guys. I appreciate it, and I'll see you in the next episode of AskPat right after, because I almost forgot, the quote of the day. And this quote is from Bob Marley. He says, “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” Cheers, and I'll see you in the next episode, hopefully with more of a voice. Peace.