Thursday, March 31, 2011

Getting E-Book Ideas from Amazon (Second in Three-Part Series)

This is the second in a three-part series of blog posts designed to help you get ideas for e-books to supplement your income as a resume writer. The first post in the series focused on Google.

Next up:

From the world's largest search engine we move to the world's largest bookstore.  At you'll really get your creative juices fired up.

Again, you'll want to search the listings by entering a keyword or keyphrase into the search box on the main page at

You'll get a returned listing of numerous books, courses and other periodicals. Search these listed items for ideas for your own ebook.

--- Example ---

If you were to search for "Job Interview," you'd find a variety of ideas just waiting in the listing of books 
available, including: an ebook with common interview questions & answers, how to research an employer before a job interview, preparing for an interview using LinkedIn, creating a portfolio to use in a job interview, preparing for a virtual job interview (Skype, by phone, etc.), and avoiding the most common job interview mistakes.

Any of these ideas (and the dozens of others listed) would be great ideas for the topic of your next ebook.

Pay particular attention to the first page of the listing.  Amazon ranks their listings based on popularity of actual sales volume.  In other words, #1 is a better seller than #50.  This is a ready-made indicator of demand!

Jimmy D. Brown is the author of, "5 Keys To A Big-Profit, 
S.M.A.L.L. Reports Business."  To download your free copy, 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Career Directors International Global Career Empowerment Summit 2011

Just saw the e-mail from Laura DeCarlo announcing the lineup and speakers for the CDI annual conference ... ahem ... I mean the "Global Career Empowerment Summit 2011," scheduled for Oct. 20-22, 2011 in Savannah, Georgia!

Once again, CDI has put together an impressive lineup of topics and speakers. You can learn more here.

Just a few of the notable subjects being covered:
  • Magic Bullet to Six-Figure Success: Strategies in Packaging & Pricing (panel)
  • Your Clients Are Leaving You! How to Win Over and Keep a Transient Audience (with Tim Tyrell-Smith!)
  • The Bullet Train to Job Search Success: Best in Class Online Identity Model (with Susan Guarneri and Laura DeCarlo)
Plus, they offer 3-, 5-, and 7-month payment options (as low as $77/month!)

I have to say, I loved Savannah when I was there a few years ago. Be sure to come in a day early and head up to Hilton Head Island. It's gorgeous. You may also find cheaper fares by flying into Jacksonville, FL. That's what we did, and then just drove up to Savannah.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Getting E-Book Ideas (First in Three-Part Series)

This is the first in a three-part guest-author series on coming up with ideas for e-books. Resume writers who only trade their time for dollars (the "time-for-dollars trap!") are missing out on the opportunity to made additional income. The blog post series is by Jimmy D. Brown.

I've always been impressed with those who seem to always be ahead of the pack when it comes to new ideas.

When I first started publishing information products online, I thought that certain people had a crystal ball they gazed into.  Or some top-secret contact who was providing them with inside information.

Over time, I realized that it wasn't magic that allowed these people to come up with red-hot ideas on demand.  It was simply that they knew where to look.

I soon discovered many places where ideas seemed to always be found.  I call these places "idea hangouts."  In this blog series (this is the first of three posts), I'd like to share three of my favorites "idea hangouts" where you can find ideas for your next ebook anytime you want.  Almost like a genie granting you three wishes...

Today's blog post focuses on

Google is the ultimate "idea hangout."  There are so many ways to mine the gold in Google's amazing search database that it would take another article to graze the surface of this enormous iceberg.

What I want to mention are just two quick ways to find ideas by searching Google.

- Identify Listings.

Search for a broad topic related to your area of interest or expertise  (i.e., "resume writing" or "job search" or "job interview"). Look at all of the web sites listed in the index of returned results.  You'll likely find some ideas for information products right there in the first couple of pages.

Here's some e-books I came up with when I Googled "job search":

  • "Find a Job Faster Using Job Boards"
  • "Ten Tips for Getting a Federal Job"
  • "Using Social Media to Find Your Next Job"
  • "How to Successfully Change Careers"
  • "Find Your Next Job Using Craigslist"

- Identify Advertisers.

You'll probably notice small ads on Google -- either at the top of the page or to the right of the page (or both!).  These advertisers represent your competition.  They also represent your thermometer for taking the temperature of your market and gauging interest in specific topics. Chances are, what they're selling, you should be selling.

In both of these examples, you can click through to the web pages of the sites listed and study their respective sales pages.  Look specifically at the "bullet points."  Each of these represents a potential idea for your next ebook.

Here were some of the products/services being advertised with "Job Search" on Google:

Next up: Getting E-Book Ideas from (Part two in a three-part series.)

Jimmy D. Brown is the author of, "5 Keys To A Big-Profit,
S.M.A.L.L. Reports Business."  To download your free copy,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Five-Part Series on Affiliate Marketing: Promotion

This is the last post in a five-part series on affiliate marketing. The fifth thing you need to make affiliate relationships work is a promotional plan. 

Banner ads and text links are the two most common ways to promote your affiliate relationships. You can use these in a variety of formats. Using an e-mail list to sell the product is also a great way to promote your affiliate links (see the first post in the series, on list-building). Less common are print pieces.

As I talked about with steps 1 and 2 — building your list and developing additional online venues to showcase your affiliate relationships, you’re likely to generate little or no affiliate income if you don’t have a promotional plan in place.

For example, if you have a website, blog, and e-newsletter, you want to develop a schedule for when you will promote which affiliate relationships, and in which medium. You might have a banner ad on your website, which stays pretty constant over time. You might decide to run an ad in your e-newsletter every issue. But you should also plan your content. For example, writing an article on using the product or service for your blog and then excerpting pieces of that article in a couple of issues of the newsletter. If you don’t plan this out ahead of time, when it’s time to put your newsletter together, you might forget to include the ad and/or excerpt.

You can expect some support from your affiliate marketing partners when rolling out your promotional plan. Many of them offer pre-developed “creative” -- which is basically the “artwork” you’ll put on your blog or website. This is often in the form of customized code that you can copy-and-paste into your website code or onto your blog. Some offer affiliate newsletters, which alert you to new offers they are promoting, or provide you with articles that you can customize for your customers.

Some affiliate programs offer contests and other special bonuses. For example, last year, Ellen Britt, of Marketing Qi (pronounced “CHI”), who offers information products for social marketing, had a promotion for her affiliates called a “Ice Cream Social Media Sale.” She put together a package of information products from herself as well as a couple of other social media gurus and offered it over a multi-day promotion. You could purchase it for as little as $57 the first day, and it went up each day, until on the last day, you could purchase the same package for $197. She mobilized her affiliates to promote the program, offering them 50 percent commission on the sale … but also offered a couple of additional prizes. The affiliate that sold the most packages received one day of hands-on training with Ellen in Atlanta (it included one night’s lodging at a resort, but the winner had to pay his or her own transportation), and the second prize was an ice cream maker. You can see this promotion at

You might also get ideas on how to market your products and services from the affiliate advertiser. Some will provide you with case studies of their most successful affiliates. Others offer tutorials or videos.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Five-Part Series on Affiliate Marketing: The Agreement

It’s important to have a formal agreement, which is the fourth thing you need to make your affiliate marketing relationships work. 

It’s important to understand what your rights and obligations are. Some affiliate marketing relationship agreements are only a few paragraphs long. Others are pages. One is not necessarily better than the other. What is more important is clarity. Do you understand what you can — and cannot do — to promote the relationship? Do you understand how, and when you will get paid? Is there anything prohibited by the arrangement? 

For example, some affiliate programs (like domain name registrar will allow you to use your own affiliate link to purchase products and services, and you’ll get paid on the order — basically, giving you a discount. Others strictly prohibit you from using your own affiliate code. AdSense, for example, will kick you out of the program if they find that you click on the ads that appear on your content, because this artificially inflates the income you receive from the advertising program. It’s important to know this!

Payment is also an area that isn’t often examined too closely by resume writers and career coaches. You might be thrilled to learn you’ve earned a couple of 30% commissions — until you see that the payment is still “pending” in your account. It’s one thing if your payment was just held up a bit while you submitted a tax identification number form to the affiliate network — it’s quite another if the affiliate provider has a $250 payment threshold…and you earn about $25 per month. Do you want to wait almost a year for your payment?

So there’s a balance. You might choose to affiliate with an independent program that pays a healthy commission on a regular basis — OR you can choose to go with an affiliate network that offers multiple affiliate opportunities, but at a smaller commission, because it’s easier for you to hit the payout threshold if you’re promoting multiple products.

The fifth, and final post in this series: Your promotional plan.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Five-Part Series on Affiliate Marketing: What Not to Promote

This is the third article in a five-part series for resume writers interested in affiliate marketing.

A key part of the affiliate marketing process is an understanding of what you want to promote and not. This is the third thing you need to make affiliate relationships work. There are certain things that you should not be promoting. This brings us into the discussion of what you shouldn’t be selling.

For example, have you ever visited a resume writer’s website and he or she had Google Ads on the home page — and the ads are promoting low-cost resume writing services? (I tried finding an example for this blog post, but fortunately, the majority of resume writers realize this is a huge "no-no.") If you do use Google Ads on your site, did you know there is a setting you can adjust on Google AdSense to eliminate your competitor’s ads from being shown on your content?

However, if you’re looking for complete control of what appears on your website and/or blog, don’t affiliate with Google AdSense. Even though you can exclude direct competitors, you still can’t control exactly which ads, from which companies, will appear on your content.

When working as a direct affiliate (that is, not just hosting ads on your blog or website or in your newsletter), you don’t want to promote any product that you don’t have personal knowledge or experience with. After all, as an affiliate, you are basically endorsing these products. You are staking your reputation on the products and services you choose to affiliate with. One definition of the word affiliate is: A company in which another company has a minority interest; more generally, a company which is related to another company in some way. So when you become an affiliate of a company, you are tying your brand to their brand. This is why it is important to carefully consider which products and services you choose to promote.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Five-Part Series on Affiliate Marketing: Your Online Presence

The second step in developing effective affiliate relationships is having a website, blog, or online presence. 

E-newsletters are nice, but you’re not going to get everyone to opt into receiving your e-newsletter. So if you don’t have some other online presence — and most often that is a website or blog — you’re missing out on the opportunity to talk to non-clients — or prospective clients — about your services — but also your affiliate marketing services.

The same content-to-advertising ratio used in e-newsletters applies to your website and blog. Make sure you’re providing useful content in both of these forums — and don’t­ let it overshadow your primary marketing focus — whether that’s resume writing or career coaching.

And make sure you disclose your affiliate marketing relationships. (But that's a whole other blog post!)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Five-Part Series on Affiliate Marketing: Your List

This is the first in a five-part series on Affiliate Marketing, building on our "Introduction to Affiliate Marketing for Resume Writers" post last week. The first post focuses on your list.

Those in the affiliate marketing world believe the list is the Holy Grail. But it’s not just the size of your list that matters. Frankly, the quality is more important. If I gave you a phone book, you’d have a list. But it wouldn’t necessarily guarantee you any sales, whether for resume writing or affiliate marketing products. Sure, you could probably get 1% of the folks you contacted to buy, but the return on the time and money you’d have to invest to make that happen probably wouldn’t justify the effort.

On the other hand, what if you could get 20% of your existing resume clients to purchase a resume distribution service or recruiter targeting service?

A few years ago, I conducted an interview with Steve Shellist, of ResumeSpider, which bills itself as the “E-Harmony” of job search. He gave this example of the kind of revenue that a resume writer could expect promoting ResumeSpider:

If you write 5-7 resumes per week, and convert 5-6 of them each month to become ResumeSpider clients, you will earn $100 to $120 per month (based on a $65 average sale price, resulting in a $20 commission per order). But remember, they don’t have to be one of your clients to be a client of ResumeSpider — meaning, every visitor to your website is a potential sale. You can easily double your affiliate profits if you have a web site that gets decent traffic and you promote ResumeSpider visibly to visitors.

If you’re the type of writer that generates a resume each day (and/or you get 5-10 job seekers looking at your website each day), you could conceivably convert 20% of them into affiliate marketing product users … and you’d make that $100 per month goal.

Next up in the series: Establishing your online presence.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Finding Strategic Partners and Referral Relationships

Have you considered cultivating referral relationships with other service providers? These can be providers who write resumes, provide career or interview coaching, career testing services, or life coaches.

When choosing possible partners, look for individuals or companies that share a similar work style. Get to know enough about them that you would feel confident in recommending them to your clients.

In this blog post, I’m going to focus on how this process applies to selecting resume writers to partner with, but the process is the same for whichever type of provider you’re interested in working with.

The two most important factors when selecting a referral partner are whether they can do a good job and whether they can handle your clients well.

The process starts with identifying likely candidates. There are lots of options -- local providers, regional or national providers; direct competitors; colleagues.

The obvious choice is to look in the Yellow Pages or online listings. But don’t stop there -- you can also find possible candidates through networking in local professional associations -- Society of Human Resource Management chapters (for example, mine is the Human Resource Association of the Midlands). Depending on where you live, you may also have local associations of resume writers — for example, the Resume Writer’s Council of Arizona.

The advantage of working with existing résumé writers or career coaches in your local areas is that you can meet them personally and observe their operations firsthand.

Most of the service providers you consider will probably already be in business. They should have existing business structures — phone, computer skills, recordkeeping systems — to handle referrals you send their way. If they’ve been around a while, they probably don’t need much hand-holding either — which means you could set up a partnership agreement pretty quickly.

On the negative side, these are usually your competitors — meaning your prospective client may have already contacted this person or company and decided not to work with them, for whatever reason. So then you’re put in the position of “selling” your competitor to the prospective client, which may or may not work.

Are you interested in pursuing a strategic partnership or referral relationship? Purchase the "Developing Strategic Alliances and Partnerships with Recruiters" special report from Resume Writers' Digest.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent Special: Best of the Conferences Special Report

During Lent, I'm offering a special bonus for any Resume Writers' Digest purchases made. You'll receive a free copy of my "Best of the Conferences: 2000 to 2002" special report.

Here's the description of the report:
60-page report; delivered electronically. Contains summaries of the sessions from the 2000 PARW Conference in Toronto, the 2001 NRWA Conference in San Antonio, the 2001 PARW Conference in St. Petersburg, the 2002 CMI Conference in San Diego, and two career-related sessions from the 2002 AJST conference in Orlando. Great information on marketing, pricing your services, add-on services, sales techqniues, and great resume writing tips from Jan Melnik, Louise Kursmark, Wendy Enelow, Susan Britton Whitcomb, and more.

See below for a half-dozen screen shots of the great (and timeless!) information included in the report:

This special offer is valid only until Saturday, April 23 at midnight. When the Easter Bunny arrives, this offer disappears.

Within 48 hours of your purchase, you'll receive a separate e-mail from Resume Writers' Digest with your gift.

You can view actual article samples in this 12-page "Best of the Conferences Preview" issue I had put together as a special bonus in 2008. 

Just want to buy the report, you can do that too! Here's the link.
It's on sale during Lent too -- just $8 for immediate electronic download.

Questions? E-mail editor(at)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Introduction to Affiliate Marketing for Resume Writers

I get a lot of questions from resume writers about how to avoid the "Time for Dollars" Trap -- that is, how to unlink your income from billable hours. Affiliate marketing is one way to start this journey.

You may be doing affiliate marketing without even knowing it. For example, if you write a resume and refer your client to Bob Bronstein at Profile Research to research employers and distribute the resume and cover letter, you’re engaging in affiliate marketing. If your client mentions that you referred them to Bob, he will send you a check for a percentage of the order. That’s affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a revenue sharing opportunity between two companies. Business one (the “advertiser”) pays business two, the “publisher” (that’s you) for sending new customers to them. They may pay you for “traffic” — which is visits to your site; they may pay you for “leads” — which are qualified customer names who may end up purchasing their products or services; or they may only pay for sales, or when a purchase is actually made.

You can choose to be an affiliate for an individual company (on their website, look at the very bottom of the page and you might find a link for “Affiliates”) or join an affiliate network. Affiliate networks connect advertisers with publishers. Companies that offer their affiliate programs through networks often are making a significant commitment to their affiliate program, because they’re paying anywhere from $500 to $6000 or more to be a part of that affiliate network. Advertisers that also have a dedicated individual to serve as their affiliate relationship manager are also more committed to the success of their affiliate program — which means more support for you.

You can also work with individual providers. Profile Research is an example of this. Bob tracks the business you refer to him without the use of an affiliate network, and without a formal affiliate program. If you are a resume writer, you might also set up this type of relationship with a career coach, if you don’t offer career coaching yourself. The client mentions they were referred by you, and the career coach might pay you a flat fee or percentage of the client’s order. The same might be true if you are a career coach who refers to a resume writer. (If you're interested in pursuing this type of informal relationship, I suggest the "Developing Strategic Alliances and Partnerships with Recruiters" Special Report, which also covers developing referral relationships with other third parties, including career coaches.)

There is also a third type of affiliate program. I mentioned the terms “advertiser” and “publisher” to describe the companies. The placement of ads on your online content is also a type of affiliate marketing. The most common of these relationships is with Google’s AdSense program. Any business can purchase ads through Google’s AdWords program. If your website or blog matches the demographics of the customer the advertiser is looking to reach, his or her ads will appear on your content, and you’ll get paid for people who look at the ad … and you’ll get paid more when they click on the ad.

P.S. One of my most popular blog posts was an interview I conducted with Steve Shellist with on affiliate marketing for resume writers. Check it out here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Career Directors International 2010 TORI Award Nominees/Winners

Each year since 2000, Career Directors International (CDI) has sponsored the Toast of the Resume Industry(tm) (TORI) resume writing competition. Here are the 2009 winners.

The director of the TORI Awards is Gayle Howard, of Top Margin Career Marketing.

First-tier judges include:
Cheryl Lynch Simpson, Executive Resume Rescue
Robin Schlinger, Robin's Resumes
Tamara Dowling,
Barbara Safani, Career Solvers

Second-tier judges are:
Susan Guarneri,
Tony Deblauwe, HR4Change
Susan Joyce,
Marty Weitzman, Gilbert Resumes
Sharon Williams, JobRockit

The 2010 Toast of the Resume Industry Nominees and Winners are...

Best Career Change Resume Nominees
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
Mary DeLuca, Preferred Résumé® Group, LLC
Maureen McCann, ProMotion Career Solutions
Wayne Pagani, W.P. Consulting & Associates
August Cohen, Get Hired Stay Hired, LLC

Best Cover Letter Nominees
Holly Reslink, EmpowerLink, LLC
Karen Bartell, Best-in-Class Resumes
Patricia Duckers, CareerPro Global Inc.
Surranna Sandy, Resume Solutions
Camille Roberts, CC Career Services
Doug Morrison, Career Power

Best Creative Resume Nominees
Rosa Vargas, Creating Prints
August Cohen, Get Hired Stay Hired, LLC
Jeri Hird Dutcher, Workwrite
Kris Plantrich, ResumeWonders Writing and Career Coaching Services
Michelle Riklan, Riklan Resources

Best Executive Resume Nominees
Alexander Kofman, Resume Pros 4 Less
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
Rosa Vargas, Creating Prints
August Cohen, Get Hired Stay Hired, LLC
Erin Kennedy, Professional Resume Services
Holly Reslink, EmpowerLink, LLC
Jennifer Rushton, Keraijen

Best New Graduate Resume Nominees
Ginger Korljan, Take Charge Coaching
Jennifer Rushton, Keraijen
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
August Cohen, Get Hired Stay Hired, LLC
Barb Poole, Hire Imaging, LLC

Best International Resume Nominees
Beverley Neil, d'Scriptive Words
Debra Mills, Pro-CV Writing Services
Kim Mohiuddin, Movin' On Up Resumes
August Cohen, Get Hired Stay Hired, LLC
Peter Hill, P.H.I. Consulting

Best Military Conversion Resume Nominees
Mark Holmes, CareerPro Global, Inc.
Michael Kranes, Resume Slayer
Terrie Osborn, Resumes Etc.
Camille Roberts, CC Career Services
Debra Mills, Pro-CV Writing Services
Fran Sheridan, CareerPro Global, Inc.

Best Sales/Marketing Resume Nominees
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
Surranna Sandy, Resume Solutions
Karen D'Anna, Write On Resume Services
Holly Reslink, EmpowerLink, LLC
Jennifer Rushton, Keraijen

Best Technical Resume Nominees
Cheryl Milmoe, Career Management Solutions
Jennifer Rushton, Keraijen
Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume
August Cohen, Get Hired Stay Hired, LLC
Alexander Kofman, Resume Pros 4 Less

* * * *

Winners were announced at CDI's Award Ceremony at the 2010 Career Empowerment Summit last October in San Diego. First-place winners are identified in bold-italics (above).

Learn more about the TORI Award competition.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday, Justin Bieber!

Okay, so I'm not 14 years old. But I have seen Justin Bieber's movie (in 3D, no less!) -- Never Say Never.

I didn't know much about JB before I saw the movie -- other that what I read in People magazine, for the most part. But my brother has five little girls (ages 4-13) and they've seen the movie seven times now, so Jon and I came along to see it for my niece (& goddaughter) Lauren's birthday in mid-February.

I have to say, I'm impressed. The kid has talent -- and beyond that, he has something to teach resume writers about branding, social media, and (client) relationship management.

As a brand, he's a force. Seven million+ followers on Twitter. More than 6,000 Tweets sent (I'm sure by now he has a social media team helping him with it, but in the early days, it was all him!) More than 22 MILLION Facebook fans for his brand page. And when he cut his hair, he (reportedly) lost 80,000 Twitter followers. Amazing.

A guest post on the TechCrunch blog today gets it: "What Every Entrepreneur Could Learn from Justin Bieber." The BrittInspired blog opines on "What Justin Bieber Taught Me About Social Media."

My favorite bit of wisdom from that post:
 The Bieb’s career started when a talent manager found a video of him singing on YouTube. That’s all it takes. One great piece of content. One person to notice you and unimaginable things can happen. No one is going to notice you if they don’t know you’re there.

Plus, the kid is inspiring. So is the movie. Go see it.
Happy 17th Birthday, Justin Bieber!