The staying power of a great product

Jun 5, 2014 | Profit

I love “The Shawshank Redemption,” and so do a lot of other people. It’s number one on IMDB’s list of the top 250 films. But as much as I love that movie, the studios and the actors love it even more.

The product that keeps on giving

Shawshank is still paying residuals to the performers, after more than twenty years.  It’s good for the studios, too. As Russell Adams writes in his Wall Street Journal article, “The Shawshank Residuals:

“In a shifting Hollywood landscape, film libraries increasingly are the lifeblood of studios.’Shawshank’s’ enduring appeal on television has made it more important than ever—a reliable annuity to help smooth the inevitable bumps in a hit-or-miss box-office business. When studios sell a package of films—many of them stinkers—a ‘Shawshank’ acts as a much-needed locomotive to drag the others behind it.”

The product as annuity

You already know that you should developing products will help secure your future. What you’re going for is an information product that keeps on selling with little or no marketing effort. I call those products “annuity products.”

I’ve got two of those. One is a niche information product that’s now in its third decade of revenue generation. The other is a digital product for supervisors called “The Working Supervisor’s Support Kit.” That one’s been selling for almost ten years.

There’s no secret formula

I used to think that there was a formula for making this Shawshank kind of success happen. Now, I’m sure there isn’t.

My experience and the experience of my clients is that there’s no one way to create that annuity product. But there are some guidelines.

Guidelines for creating an annuity product

  • Create the best information products you can.
  • Create a lot of good products.
  • Promote them.
  • Spot the big and the steady sellers.
  • Promote them just enough
  • Repeat