Hi and welcome back!
This is Lesson 5 of my Tpt Sellers University Series. These articles walk you through starting a Teachers Pay Teachers store step-by-step. So far we’ve covered whther or not selling on Tpt is for you, how to start a store, choosing your niche, creating your first resource, and creating a title, cover and preview. Now it’s time to actually post your product!
The important steps to uploading your Teachers Pay Teachers resource are the title and the description. Writing an effective description is known as copywriting, the art of writing sales copy. An effective TpT resource will inform a potential seller of both the benefits and features of your product. If you do this well your lesson will have a much higher conversion rate, which means it will sell more often.
How to title your resource
The title for your lesson should do the following:
- Be as desciptive as possible
- Use all the space provided
- Highlight any differentiation
It should Not:
- Be cutsey
- Be overly general
I’ve covered this in previous posts, but it’s really important to do your research on TpT before you list your product.
What would a teacher type in the search bar if they wanted what you have to sell? Ask teacher-friends what they would search. There are often many names for the same item and it’s hard to see the forest through the trees.
Also, try to identify a unique feature of your resource and include it in the title. Is it for English language learners, a simulation, gamified, scaffolded? Any way you can differentiate will help.
If you’re a female, what do you call the vessel that you keep your wallet and keys in (guys, you can try this, too)? Is is a purse, a bag, a pocketbook, a sachel, a clutch, a tote? Same thing, many names.
You need long tail keywords in your title. That simply means using a multi-word description. Instead of titling a resource World War 1 Lesson, Causes of World War 1 Simulation or Effects of World War 1 Primary Source Analysis is much better.
Try different titles and see how many results show up in Teachers Pay Teachers. If you get hundreds rather than thousands you’re warm. If you can get it under a hundred you’re on fire!
The steps to effective descriptions
Here’s the thing with descriptions: most teachers will NOT read the whole thing. After all, they’re on TpT because they don’t have any time and are willing to spend their hard-earned money to purchase done-for-you lessons.
However — however — you need to write the description as if every potential customer will pour over each word. There will be some who do.
Create a Google doc and start writing everything you can about your product. What exactly is in it, how long is it, what grades is it appropriate for, how long should it take to implement, what kind of activities are included?
“But, Joan, there’s a place to indicate appropriate grades and lesson duration!” Don’t care, say it again. They may not read it one place but notice it in another.
Have you ever read reviews on an Amazon product? Some of them are ridiculous! “I gave it 2 stars because the bowl was much smaller than I expected.” Then you look at the listing and it says in the Title AND description the exact measurement AND has a picture of someone holding the bowl to show perspective.
That’s who you’re writing for.
It is much better to take the time to CYA (you know what tht stands for I hope) than to get even 1 poor review. This is especially true with a new resource. If one of your first couple of reviews is bad forgetaboutit; it goes straight to the TpT home for washed up resources.
“BE THOROUGH, LEAVE NOTHING OUT”
How to Write the First Paragraph
Your first few lines are crucial. That’s because the TpT algorithm uses both your title and first paragraph to check for relevance during a search.
So if a teacher searches for quadratic equations worksheet for 9th grade the TpT computer brain will serve up all resources with any of those terms. The lessons that most closely match the query will show up at the top.
There are other ranking factors that effect the results as well, such as reviews. You can’t do anything about the fact that you don’t have any yet, but you can do your best to use as many keywords as possible.
So if you titled your lesson Quadratic Equations Student Activity, then in the first few sentences use synonyms. “This worksheet includes problems with varying levels of difficulties to support all your learners.”
One caveat: don’t “stuff” your first paragraph with so many keywords that it’s awkward to read. You’re writing for the algorithm but also for a human.
Are you doing okay? This will become second nature as you progress. You’re learning completely new marketing skills unlike “normal” teachers ever encounter. You don’t learn this in teacher college.
It’s kind of fun, I swear!
Wordsmithing Your Description
Once you’re brainstormed all the details of your product and carefully compiled the first paragraph it’s time to write the rest of the listing.
Use clear, concise language. I’m always annoyed when shopping for a TpT resource (I buy them ALL the time!) and the description is unnecessarily folksy and wordy. “Hey, teacher, get to the point and leave out the blahblahblah!”
For example, “my students enjoyed the gallery walk because I placed the documents in the hallway rather than in the class. It felt more like an adventure than simply being in the classroom.” That’s fine for social media or a blog post, not for a description.
Formatting Your Description
Once you’ve gotten all the words down it’s time for the formatting. The main idea when formatting your listing is NOT to have a block of text.
Teachers Pay Teachers allows you to bold words, use italics, and underline. Use them all.
And skip spaces between parts of your listing. White space is important for ease of reading. Make lists with bullet points.
If you’re really savvy you can add html to add emojis and other eye catching tidbits. I haven’t taken the time to do that as of yet and you don’t really need to.
Don’t forget Other Important Information
In addition to outlining the actual resource don’t forget to include everything and anything that may be pertinent to a buyer.
What grades is lesson appropriate for? I’ve read several times that the TpT algorithm does not like more than 4 grades listed. The exception, of course, are things like clip art, bulletin board decorations, etc.
How long should the resource take to complete? I’ve seen negative reviews with comments like, “my class was finished with this activity in only 10 minutes.” It’s okay to sell a short assignment, but make it very clear.
What is included? Is there a PowerPoint or Google slide deck (or both)? How about a student handout? An answer key for the teacher? Is it digital, print or both? Is there any ancillary supplies needed for the lesson (colored pencils, scissors, etc.) Add all of this information to your listing (ad your preview).
Add-ons that Make a Difference
Can you add a digital version of a print product or vice versa? If it’s possible you just added to your buyer pool.
Creating an answer key, even for resources that are seemingly easy, is always a good idea. Even if you save the teacher 5-10 minutes of having to read and answer the questions himself it’s appreciated and they will remember you and your store.
How about differentiating? Can you modify your resource to support English language learners and students with learning challenges? Again, this will make you stand out.
You’re not buying a drill, you’re buying a hole
I know, I know, you’re sick of me and all my, “add this, write that, yadda, yadda, yadda” by now. But I would be remiss not to discuss sales psychology for a minute.
When someone goes to Home Depot to buy an electric drill they don’t want a drill. They want a hole in their wall in order to hang a picture. If they’re buying a toaster oven they don’t want an oven; you guessed it — they want delicious golden toast or crispy hot pizza.
A world-class salesman, Elmer Wheeler, a hundred years ago said, “don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.” This is the difference between descriptors and benefits.
Yes, a buyer must know all of the details of what they’re buying. But you should also sell the benefit. “No prep lesson”, “modified to support all your students”, “engaging and rigorous”, “your administration will be impressed if they observe this lesson,” none of these phrases describe details of the resource. They do, however, list some of the benefits of buying your product.
So be sure to include a couple of benefits in your description (without adding too much fluff)
You’ve spend a lot of time creating an awesome resource for teachers; it’s just as important to do the same for your listing.
Once you’ve crafted an amazing listing you can use all or part of it over and over again. I’m currently working on a series of lessons that are similar in nature. It literally takes me 5 minutes to list each because I’m only changing a few words.
So, fellow teacher author, it’s now time to celebrate! You have created a resource to help other teachers, designed a cover and preview and crafted an effective listing.
Treat yourself to an ice cream when the truck comes by, or with a nice glass of wine, or your favorite Netflix show that you’ve been missing thanks to all this TpT stuff!
Take a day or 2 off.
Then get back to work. Make another resource, and another and another. The “magic” number that’s thrown around is 50. I know that’s a long way off, but you’re on your way.
In order to not burn out and quit it really is important to celebrate every step along the way. Your first product listed, enjoy it. Your 10th resource done and up on TpT, time for another celebration. Again for your first sale, and your 10th and your first payment into your PayPal account.
Final thought: Don’t worry about marketing, social media, Pinterest or anything else for a while. Just make each resource a little better than the one before.
What are you planning to do with your profits? Don’t forget to imagine that, too!
Warmest wishes, Joan
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