Updated May 1, 2018
I’m always hunting for blogging resources that wow me. Many of the 90+ resources in the 2017 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit fall short, but a few genuinely do. After 14 years of buying and selling digital products, I’m cautious and anti hype. In this post, I will explain my approach to vetting products like this and what I think of the 2017 Toolkit.
My referral links are in this post, meaning, if you click through and purchase the Toolkit, I will be paid a commission, at no additional cost to you. If you want to read my full disclosure policy, it’s here.
The 2017 Toolkit is back, but only for 2 days!
Update: If you missed the 2017 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit, I have good news! There is a 2-day flash sale going on now, May 14 & 15. Check it out now.
There are 90 resources for less than $100. (Total value is over $5000.) As is always true for products like this, it’s not for everyone but for many it’s a genuinely great deal.
To clear up some confusion, this Toolkit is entirely different than the 2016 version sold in October 2016 and April 2017.
Get my top picks
I’ve gone through every single item in the 2017 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit, so you don’t have to. I took notes along the way and will point you to only the best parts. I’m excited to offer this free, time-saving companion guide to those who buy this year’s Toolkit through any of my referral links in this post.
My guide is called Shortcut the Toolkit and it’s filled with my top picks, additional resources worth a look (and why), and a few things to watch out for.
I never recommend products like the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit to everyone. The best way to determine whether or not it would be helpful to you is to know which topics it covers best.
Topics covered well
After going through the entire thing, the topics I feel the 2017 GBTK covers best are:
- Writing & publishing
- Affiliate marketing
- Monetization / working with sponsors
- Legal and taxes
- Branching out to other content formats (video, audio)
- Getting organized (productivity & setting up business systems)
- Creating a product (tentatively added, but I expect will be confirmed after finishing the ACTIVATE videos as it has an entire section dedicated to this topic). Update October 11, 2017: As I worked my way through the videos I realized this section turned out to be a $97 upsell which I didn’t purchase.
If you are interested in any of those topics, I would definitely recommend the Toolkit. See the full product list here.
Topics not covered as well
Setting up your blog. Several resources include tutorials about setting up your blog, most of which recommend Bluehost for WordPress hosting (I do too). However, Bluehost changed their setup process in September 2017. At the launch of the Toolkit in October 2017, none of the step-by-step tutorials in the Toolkit adequately reflect this change, which is likely to cause confusion for anyone following along. However, the Toolkit shouldn’t be skipped solely on this basis as it will still prove invaluable once you get your blog up and running. (My post, How to Start a Blog, reflects all the recent Bluehost changes.)
Other topics with weaker showings are social media, increasing traffic and email marketing. These topics are indeed covered, but to a lesser degree. There is a lot of information overlap, particularly for social media, and other products dedicated to these topics have individual price points that simply don’t warrant buying the entire Toolkit just for them.
Having said that, Activate (valued at $297 by itself), fills in some of the gaps in these weaker topics. It includes 17 video recordings of sessions at Elite Blog Academy’s blogging conference.
What is the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit?
The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (GBTK) is a collection of ebooks, ecourses and other digital products, packaged into one large bundle and sold at a deep discount.
It is available for purchase, for one week only, until October 9, 2017. Update: There will be a 2-day encore flash sale in May 2018.
As the name suggests, resources in the bundle cover topics like making money from your blog, building an email list, improving social media engagement, managing your time, getting organized and more.
Each resource in the bundle is created and sold independently by its author at other times of the year. If you were to buy all of the resources separately, you would spend over $5000. You can get the whole package for $97! Check it out here.
What’s the catch?
If your brain works like mine, you might be thinking, “Five thousand dollars worth of products for $100 bucks? Sounds fishy.”
If someone told me I would get:
- A collection of ebooks, ecourses, conference video and membership site access,
- About topics like making money online, productivity, blogging and email marketing,
- Worth over $5000,
- At a steep discount,
I’d have two questions:
- What’s the catch?
- It sounds good, but is it worth it?
If you’ve followed my work at all the last 14 years online, I hope I’ve demonstrated I do not take product reviews or recommendations lightly.
When I consider making a recommendation, I become very familiar with the product. If I haven’t used a product myself, I go through it. I usually skim the ebooks and I always listen to videos on double speed to save time, but it’s important to me to have a really, really good idea of what’s in it before I recommend it.
So, is there a catch?
Well, you do get all the resources for a steeply discounted price. That part is true.
Is it worth it?
As of this writing, I have gone through all 91 resources. I can tell you definitively that yes, this truly is worth it…IF you are interested in specific topics I mentioned above.
What I look for
I learned a lot from reviewing and selling the GBTK in 2016. Here’s what I’ve looked for in 2017:
To be wowed. I want to get to the end of a resource and think, Wow, I’m impressed! Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes I get to the end of a resource and think, Wait, is that it? (I keep track of the wow-ers. Those go in my bonus, Shortcut the Toolkit.)
High quality. The quality of the resources varies widely. For example, some with high individual price points have far inferior information compared to some priced much lower. My goal is to look past the dollar value and find the true value.
In-depth content. Bundles like this have huge overlap. Many of the resources cover the same topics like finding your why, choosing a niche, starting a blog or getting started on Pinterest, etc. These topics are important, to be sure, so I’m looking for the resources that cover this topic best and/or the resources that go in depth about a more specific topic.
Unique content. Similar to in-depth content, I’m looking for unique content, not regurgitated content or content easily found elsewhere. Surprisingly, some authors state plainly that the information in their resource comes from another blogger’s course or ebook. (In other words, they take someone else’s course, repackage what they learn and sell it themselves.) Likewise, some resources are very similar to blog posts or tutorials you can easily find for free online. Neither of these tactics are my favorite. I’m looking for the resources that is different.
Experience & expertise. In general (though not always), I find resources created by seasoned bloggers to be more reliable. That’s mainly because they understand the intricacies of blogging and what works and what doesn’t. Unless they have prior expertise (ex. a former accountant writing about money matters), newer bloggers often include tips that are inaccurate, incomplete or anecdotal.
More than just a lead magnet. Some resources seem more like teasers than stand-alone, meaty products. It’s always a disappointment to open a resource filled with little more than pitches to buy the full product, affiliate links, upsells or bonuses (read: I just want to get you on my list). If your main course is legitimately worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, using a portion of it in the Toolkit is understandable, but many times this is unfortunately not the case.
Current information. Blogging and social media change at a rapid pace. In my experience, the older a resource is, the more outdated and therefore perhaps not worth the time it takes to sort out what’s relevant today or not.
If you purchase it, don’t forget to email me for my bonus, Shortcut the Toolkit!