puzzle

Assemble the Team!

Now you've got all your pieces, so it's time to Assemble them and put everything together. This is an Excise task through and through - all the Revenue work is done, and you're just getting everything into the right order and snapped together. Now, the critical part of this is that you don't want it to look like you just put lipstick on the pig, smacked its butt, and sent it out into the world. You want a coherent look and feel to your stuff, which means you're going to have to do some editing. The easiest stuff to edit is your text material, so go there first. If you've had additional audio or video material produced for you - or if you've done it yourself - there are three things you want to do.

  1. Add things to your text material that isn't covered in the audio or video material. You want the written part of your product to have its own specific value that can't be replaced by the audio or video component.
  2. Remove some of the material in your text that is adequately covered in the audio or video material. You want the multimedia components to have their own specific value, too.
  3. Where you have removed material in your text, tell the reader which audio or video component contains the material you removed.

This creates a clear sense with your customer that the product isn't "just" a video with the audio track saved separately and a transcript thrown in as an afterthought. Ideally, you present 2/3 of your product's information in each element - audio, video, text - so at least two of them need to be consumed for all the information to be available. The core intent is to teach your customers that every piece of the product has value, and therefore when you say "text + audio + video" it really is an additive process of meaningful information... not just three different copies of the same thing.

Essentially, every different piece of your product is a member of your team, and while some crossover among team members is good, each member of the team needs to have a unique and specific job that the other team members aren't doing. (TEAM is an acronym for Talent, Experience, Aesthetics, and Mechanics. I will cover that at some future date.) Otherwise, why have that member on the team at all?

As you Assemble your components, keep in mind that your ultimate aim is to Package all of this in a single unified group of things that accomplish a specific goal. They need to interlock and interrelate in a way that makes sense. If they don't, your product will feel disjointed and haphazard, which will reduce its value.

This is why someone can produce a one-hour podcast and it has to be free, but if he just transcribes it and adds a few production elements it can be out there with a $97 buy button on it. The production values matter.

And that's without even asking how valuable the content is - if that podcast is more than just two guys shooting the shit over Skype for an hour, the price starts rising dramatically even before you add the production values. The FIDIL method can produce $200 products in a few hours without any of this production value bullshit. And that's what it is - bullshit. The product doesn't really become more valuable when you put a slick little graphic on the cover, but it feels more valuable.

It's what we call a signaling device. You can tell whether the publisher thinks a book is good by the amount of shelf space it gets and whether it's faced out. If it gets its own special display with a logo and the author's name and fifty copies of the book in there, that doesn't actually make the book any better, but it acts as a signal that the publisher really expects this book to do well and sell a lot of copies.

Similarly, your product needs to be assembled into a package that looks like you expect it to do well. This signals that you have put the work into the product, and that you are confident in the value of that work. This is not to make the product better, but to be Assistive in other people's determination that yes, this is a good product on which they should spend their money.

Tomorrow we'll talk about Packaging the product. Well, in an hour or two, really; I'm well behind and time-traveling right now. Stick around for it.