Whether you are new to Teachers Pay Teachers or consider yourself a veteran, there are some standard questions to consider before creating new products and posting them. These questions are also equally relevant for products you have in your store that haven't sold.
Let's take a look at the key questions to consider when creating or tweaking a product for your store.
1. What's already out there?
In the publishing world at large, it is crucial to take a look at what a publishing company has recently published before sending in your script or query letter. The same goes for TpT. You need to consider what other similar products already exist in order to figure out how to make your product different and stand out. So, I recommend doing a key word search on Teachers Pay Teachers to find out if there are other similar products. For example, if you are thinking of creating a product about zoo animals, you should run a search on TpT to see what other products already exist about "zoo animals." I did this search today and found 5,831 results! That's 5,831 products that relate to "zoo animals." That's quite A LOT!
Not only are there over 5,000 products related to my search "zoo animals," but I also notice that the top-seller Deanna Jump's item pops up first. So if you wanted to create a "zoo animals" product, you aren't just competing against thousands of other sellers, but also the top-selling store for TpT. This is incredibly important information to take into consideration. So, what's your angle on "zoo animals" going to be? Running searches such as these will help you to narrow down the search field.
Let's say I'm specifically looking for a zoo animals memory game. When I type this entire phrase into the search box, it narrows the results down from 5,831 to 146! That's a significant improvement!
But even with this improvement, 146 products may be too many to compete against. You would want to find another way to narrow it down even more, OR you might want to consider making an entirely different product.
Nonetheless, running a search will help you figure out exactly how to differentiate your product and how to market it!
2. Do you have the clip art, photography, and/or graphics to make your product stand out?
Images matter more for some teachers than others. I know as a high school English teacher, I tend to use more photography than clip art, but the images are minor compared to the written part of the lesson. For elementary school teachers, a lot of time the images might actually BE the content (as in the case of a zoo animals memory game), so they might carry most of the weight of importance for your product.
So before you begin a new product idea, consider your need for images. Go through your current files of clip art, graphics, and photos to see if you have something that will work. You may find that you will need to purchase new images, so do this research to see if purchasing these new images makes sense for your store budget and for the product budget.
The silver lining for creating a product around a more common theme such as zoo animals is that you can find a lot of really great clip art! In fact, there are 1,034 listings currently on TpT for zoo animal clip art!
However, I would probably think twice about buying a zoo animal clip art bundle to create a zoo animals memory game since 146 similar products already exist on TpT. You would probably want to find a different product angle.... although I noticed that there doesn't seem to be a zoo animals memory game in Spanish on TpT... maybe that's a product idea for someone out there ;)
So #1 and #2 go hand-in-hand here.
3. What do your students think about the product?
Our best test subjects are our students. I know that 100% of my products are actual products I developed from lessons I created for my students. So every product has been "tested" by my students in the classroom. Testing products will help you tweak them, find mistakes, and also gather samples for marketing purposes. Don't forget to take in-action photos that you might be able to use for your social media (depending upon privacy privileges of the school and the parents)!
Try out the product on your students and see what happens!
Creating products for TpT is a fun adventure. Taking into consideration these three questions will help your products be the best they can be!
About the Author
Meredith is the founder and creator of TeachWriting.org and Bespoke ELA. She has taught high school English for 10+ years in Dallas, Chicago, and New York City and holds a M.A. in Literature from Northwestern University. She has always had a connection to the written word-- through songwriting, screenplay writing, and essay writing-- and she enjoys the process of teaching students how to express their ideas. Meredith enjoys life with her husband, daughter, and sweet pups.