Creating Your Own Products Using PLR
Welcome to the fourteenth unit in the ‘Journey Into Internet Marketing’ tutorial series. In this module, we look at how you can create your own products using ‘Private Label Rights’ content materials.
As always however, if you have not read through the previous unit in this series, Part 13 – Tracking And Testing, or any other unit before it, I would recommend that you do so now because this ensures that you are fully ‘up to speed’ before going any further.
It was mentioned very briefly in a previous tutorial (unit 11 – ‘Resell Rights Products’) that whenever you buy or otherwise obtain a digital information product, there will be a license that dictates what you are allowed to do with it. This license should be provided in writing but this is not always the case.
At one end of the license ‘range’ there are ‘personal use only’ products. As the name suggests, these can only be used by the person who buys them. At the other end of the range, you have ‘Private Label Rights’ (PLR) materials, content that you can do anything you want with.
The thinking behind the PLR concept is not one that originated with online business. As an example of PLR goods in the real world, most ‘white label’ (‘own-brand’) foods or cleaning products on the shelves in your local hypermarket or store are PLR goods. They were produced by a nameless manufacturer for the store before being rebranded as if your local supplier made them.
The idea of PLR in online marketing is broadly similar to this.
Assuming that your PLR product has a completely unrestricted license attached to it (you will occasionally see ‘restricted PLR license’ products), you can do anything you want with it. For example, you can take a PLR product and republish it as if you created it (just like your local hypermarket does).
You can legally do this without modifying a single word of the original content if you want. On the other hand, you can change literally every word, the choice is yours.
With any unrestricted PLR license product, you have a resource from which it is possible to create your own products very quickly and easily.
In this tutorial, I will highlight several ways that you can use PLR content to create your own products starting from this premise. Before doing so however, let me to remind you that the license dictates exactly what you can and cannot do with the product. You must therefore establish exactly what is and what is not allowed before starting work (because otherwise, all your work could be wasted…). It must be your own product.
As suggested, if you have access to unrestricted PLR content, there is nothing to stop you republishing it under your own name without making any changes to the original materials whatsoever.
In this scenario, although you claim this as your own product, the reality is that you have created nothing. You have added your name to a product that you effectively had nothing to do with.
In theory, this means that you can launch ‘your own’ product in five minutes flat. You take a PLR e-book (as an example), add your name and website details to it, paste a nice looking graphic on the cover and, hey presto, you have a product of your own to sell.
You can do this, and there is nothing legally or morally wrong with it whatsoever. The basic concept of PLR materials is that you can do whatever you want with the content, including claiming it as your own work.
There is however one major problem with this approach. It is a problem that could cause a great deal of harm to your business and your reputation. The problem is that there are an awful lot of lazy marketers out there.
If you publish this product as your own, I am willing to bet that in 99.99% of cases, you are not the first marketer who has done so. Hence, what you are selling is a non-unique product. Yours is a product that is unfortunately a fairly valueless duplicate of something that is already on sale, a product that many people have already bought.
At some point, one of your customers who has bought your book will discover that they already have exactly the same thing on their hard drive.
When they do so, you can be absolutely certain that they will be less than pleased. You claimed that the book you published was your own work and they bought it on the same basis. When they discover that this is not the case, things could get very unpleasant!
You can be certain that the news will very quickly get around. Consequently, you will be swamped with refund requests and your growing online business reputation will be shot to pieces.
The lesson here is obvious.
Whilst you can in theory republish the PLR content as it is under your own name, it is a very bad idea to do so, from a branding perspective. Furthermore, this is not the way to profit from PLR content either.
Instead, you need to make enough changes to the original PLR content to be certain that the final product is uniquely yours.
In short, it is acceptable and a sound business practice to use PLR as the basic cornerstone around which you build your own product. On the other hand, the final product must always be something that is unique to you. Hence, you can never succumb to being a lazy marketer who uses PLR materials as they are if you are serious about online marketing.
In simple terms, there are two ways you can obtain PLR materials from which you can fashion your own products.
The first option is to buy appropriate PLR content or you could scour the Internet to find suitable materials that don’t cost anything.
Under normal circumstances, I am as much a fan of using free stuff as the next person. When it comes to PLR content however, there are advantages and disadvantages to both free content and materials that you buy.
Given what you know about the importance of creating a unique product from any PLR materials you use, understanding the pros and cons of both is vital.
Starting with free PLR content by stating the blindingly obvious, it does not cost any money (doh!). You can download and use any PLR content materials you want once you find a suitable PLR content site.
This ‘easy access’ to content is however the root cause of one major difficulty that always rears its head when using free content. If you have access to these PLR materials, so does every other Internet user.
Consequently, materials on a free PLR site have been downloaded hundreds or even thousands of times by countless other operators in your niche. One fact in your favor is that the majority of people who download this content will do absolutely nothing with it.
But this still leaves a significant minority who do take action. There are therefore dozens of different ‘versions’ of this content published somewhere on the Internet already. If there are hundreds of products all created from the same source materials, it stands to reason that you will have to put in a lot of work to create something that is unique.
Consequently, although this product creation strategy does not cost money, it certainly carries a significant cost in terms of time and effort. If on the other hand you pay for PLR content, the opposite is true.
There is almost always a degree of exclusivity attached to paid-for PLR materials. This happens either because the download site only releases a limited number of content ‘packages’ or because people who are searching for PLR content are not willing to pay for it.
One way or another, this means that there are less people who have the same PLR content. This in turn means that there is less work needed to create your own unique product.
In this case, there is a financial cost. Balanced against this, the amount of time and effort you need to dedicate to creating your own product is also considerably reduced.
There is no right or wrong way of creating your own product from PLR materials. What is best for you will be dictated by which you are happy to spend, cash or time.
If you are looking for paid PLR content, the Heron Academy has a number of PLR materials available to its members, taken (with permission) from many other “paid for” PLR content sites.
Once you have decided on the best way of sourcing the PLR content which will form the central pillar around which you construct your product, the next thing to consider is the kind of product you should create.
There are many different types of products that you can create using PLR materials. I will highlight some of them to give you an indication of the opportunities that PLR content enables you to take advantage of. This is not however intended to be an exhaustive list that covers every product that you could make using PLR content.
In truth, the only limits on the range of products which you could fashion from PLR is the limits of your imagination. Any ideas you have that are not covered here are every bit as valid as the suggestions that are detailed here.
Nevertheless, these are some of the ways you might consider using PLR content as the foundations of your own product (s).
Rewriting a PLR e-book: This is probably the most obvious and straightforward way of using PLR content. If you have a PLR e-book, you can rewrite it to create a version of the book that is uniquely yours.
What you now have is a product wherein the words on the page are not duplicates of something else available elsewhere on the net. This is not however likely to be enough to keep your customers happy.
Changing the words of the original PLR content does create something that is unique. However, it does not add value to the finished product, which is a crucial difference. Your customers buy from you because they want to buy a high-quality product which offers value. Adding value to the finished product is therefore fundamental to your long-term success.
It doesn’t matter how you have created it, the key to keeping your customers happy is always to ‘over provide’ them with value and quality.
This it is as true with a product fashioned from PLR materials as it is with any other product you make. An example should clarify exactly why this concept of ‘added value’ matters so much to your customers.
Imagine that your business is involved in the dog training niche. You have an established dog training site with a mailing list of people who are interested in dog training information.
Consequently, you plan to create a dog training e-book from PLR content. Quite naturally, once it is completed, you would first market your book to your list subscribers. Every one of those individuals is a dog training enthusiast, so a significant proportion of subscribers will buy it.
Okay, so you hunt around for a suitable PLR e-book to use as your basic source content. You would have no difficulty finding something appropriate because there are plenty of dog training PLR e-books and reports available.
You download one of these books and rewrite it but don’t add anything extra. Changing the words has ensured that the product is unique but all you have really done is recycled old ideas.
Do this and it’s a certainty that a subscriber or several of them will buy your book, recognize that they have read it all before and ask for their money back.
A customer who does this is never going to buy from you again as they feel cheated. They may even unsubscribe from your list. You have therefore lost money (refunds take cash back out of your pocket) and upset someone who might have bought from you again in the future.
From this, you can see why adding extra content is so vitally important. Instead of just changing the words around, you need to add more to it in terms of additional ideas, concepts, advice and suggestions.
In every form of online marketing, ‘over providing’ your customer with value and quality is the key to success. They buy your product because they want usable information that they cannot find elsewhere. You cannot afford to regurgitate the same information they can find anywhere else.
Add extra value and your PLR based product will be a success. If not, it’s more likely to be a major headache.
Using your e-book for articles: If you have access to PLR e-books, an alternative approach is to use the content as a source of articles. You can use these articles in many different ways.
The first (and probably easiest) strategy is to build a niche targeted blog site where these articles form the central core of the site content. Each section of the book that you use as an article must be rewritten so that it is unique. This takes a few minutes, but this is still a very quick and easy way of populating a site that you can monetize.
A niche blog may not be an obvious ‘product’ but what if you were to build lots of them which are subsequently sold through a site like Flippa.com?
If my experience is anything to go by, you can build a very profitable business using this model because as long as your blog is getting traffic and making money, someone will buy it. It’s also a very quick way of making money as well.
As an example, I built a niche blog last year that I kept for only two months. It was making $100 a month in AdSense income after this time and it sold for $1200.
When I built that site, I used Mechanical Turk to find writers who could write 300 word unique articles based on keywords I supplied for $4 a time.
Another option is to submit your PLR-based articles to directories like EzineArticles and as a basis for mini-sites at Squidoo and Hubpages (as per the ‘Article Marketing’ tutorial #7).
But if you do this, you need to be a little careful. The EzineArticles editorial staff is not very keen on PLR-based articles. Articles used in this way will therefore need a significant degree of rewriting to disguise their origin.
On the other hand, you can use your rewritten material as Squidoo and Hubpages site content without any worries.
PLR content for a membership site: If instead of breaking your PLR e-book down into a series of articles, you use it to create (say) a series of a dozen special reports, you could build a 12-month membership site around these reports.
The advantage of this approach is that you make one membership site sale which thereafter generates a monthly income for a whole year!
Furthermore, if you can find several PLR e-books that you can use in the same way, your membership site could run indefinitely instead of being limited to just 12 months.
I know many very successful marketers who run membership sites where a significant percentage of the content supplied to members is based on PLR materials, and it works very well.
Videos and audios: If you have a PLR book or even a series of PLR articles and/or special reports, you could turn these materials into a video or audio series. For instance, you might take your PLR dog training e-book and use the content to show people how to train their dog on camera.
Publishing a video or an audio (by reading the book for podcasting) in addition to giving a unique e-book produced from PLR content would significantly elevate the value (and price) of the product package you offer to your prospects and customers.
How about doing the same for your membership site? If you are looking for a way of noticeably increasing the value on offer without having to invest in additional content material, this is a very cost effective way of doing so.
If the e-book that you are rewriting is focused on something relevant to online marketing, something that you do on your computer, you can use a free program like CamStudio to record the on-screen ‘activity’.
Even knocking together a few PowerPoint slides which you can record on video works extremely well and can be based on PLR content that you have picked up for nothing.
There are many different ways of using PLR content as a central pillar of your online marketing activities, as you have seen.
As long as you follow the guidelines in this tutorial, you can make a lot of money when you do so as well.
Just remember that when you publish your PLR-based product, it must offer additional value over and above that which formed an integral part of the original PLR materials.
As long as you stick with this advice, you can build a whole business around the idea of publishing your own products based on materials that started life as PLR content!
It is now recommended you proceed on to Part 15 – Profiting After The Sale.