Updated October 12, 2018
Are there blogging skills you’d like to learn but don’t know where to start? Are you a beginning or intermediate blogger who wants to up your blogging game? The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is an opportunity to consider, but like all products, it has pros and cons. I hope this post will help you decide if it’s right for you.
As a paying customer, 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.
My history with the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
The 2018 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is the third version. I bought, consumed and thoroughly reviewed the 2016 and 2017 versions. I’ve bought the 2018 version (as an affiliate I was able to purchase it at a reduced rate), but I have not gone through it. Therefore, this post is not a review of the 2018 Toolkit. Instead, this post is a summary of my thoughts about the Toolkit in general, and an explanation of how I vet products like it.
A word about the Cheat Sheets (update 10/12/18)
After I bought this year’s Toolkit, I decided to upgrade and buy the new-this-year Cheat Sheets as well. They are a $50 upsell, making the total come to $147 ($97 for the Toolkit + $50 for the Cheat Sheets) but so far, I think they’re an excellent addition. They provide the main points of each resource, bullet style, making it easy to go directly to the information you want to learn. If you have bought or are thinking about buying the Toolkit and have room in your budget, I would recommend purchasing the Cheat Sheets as well.
I’m adding this section here because I bought the Cheat Sheets after I purchased the Toolkit, but it took me a minute to figure out how to actually access them.
- If you have not already bought the Toolkit, follow this link and choose the “Get my Toolkit + Cheat Sheets now” button. Simple.
- If you have already bought the Toolkit and you’re getting the Cheat Sheets after the fact like I did, go to your Ultimate Bundles Dashboard. Click the graphic to purchase the Cheat Sheets (see #1 in the image below) and follow the prompts to complete your purchase. To access the Cheat Sheets once you’ve purchased them, go back to your Dashboard and scroll to the top of your resource list. Click the “Cheat Sheet” download button like so:Don’t see that download button? Check your “My Bundles” list at the top of the page for a second Toolkit link and try that one (see #2 in the image below):
Why I’m not actively promoting the 2018 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
Short answer: I did not make the time to review the resources within, and I don’t want to recommend something I’m unfamiliar with. It was a difficult but conscious choice to step away from the noise and focus on other things.
More below (and an explanation of what I mean by “actively promoting”), but let’s first cover the basics for those who simply want an overview of the Toolkit.
What is the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit (TGBTK)?
The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is a collection of ebooks, ecourses and other digital products, packaged into one large bundle and sold at a deep discount. The 2018 Toolkit is the third annual edition.
When is the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit available?
It’s available for six days starting Wednesday, October 10, 2018 (8am ET) through Monday, October 15, 2018 (11:59pm).
Who’s behind it?
The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is compiled, organized and sold by the team at Ultimate Bundles.
Each resource within the Toolkit is created by an individual blogger and can be purchased directly from its creator at other times during the year.
How much does it cost?
$97. This year there are 77 products (resources) in the Toolkit. See them all here. If you were to buy all of them separately, you would spend over $5000.
What’s the catch?
If your brain works like mine, you might be thinking, “Hmmm, over five thousand dollars worth of products for $97 bucks? Sounds fishy.”
There’s no catch. You really do get all the resources (plus a few bonuses) for $97.
A “maybe catch” would be incidental costs. By that I mean, in some of the resources, you might be encouraged or expected to have access to certain additional tools. For example, the Toolkit resources covering list building will assume you are paying an email service provider (ESP) to manage your emails and subscriber list(s). I categorize this as a “maybe catch” only because I expect most incidental costs mentioned to be common or optional.
Is it worth $97?
Because I haven’t gone through the 2018 Toolkit, I can’t say definitively. However, I was very familiar with the 2016 and 2017 Toolkits and both were well worth the cost. I would expect the same to be true for this one.
That said, just because something is a great deal does not mean it’s always a good idea to purchase it. If you are thinking about purchasing the 2018 TGBTK, here are some questions to ask yourself before you buy:
- Are the topics of interest to you?
- Is there a resource you have been eyeing already which is included in the Toolkit? If so, this is probably a good time to snag it.
- Is there a blogger you would like to learn more from? Scroll down the page and hover over the product images to see the names of the creators.
- Do you have the time to go through the resources that interest you? Will you realistically go through them? Be honest. It’s a lot of information. Don’t buy it and do nothing with it!
- Is there room in your budget? A steep discount is great, but it’s still close to $100 which is a good chunk of change. Is this the best place to spend your money at this time?
- Will this Toolkit keep you stuck in research or learning mode instead of doing mode? At some point you have enough information, you just have to implement it. Don’t purchase the Toolkit if it’s going to delay you from taking action.
$97 is a stretch. Is there any hope for me?
Yes, there’s always hope. If it’s not in your budget, don’t worry. The Toolkit will not make or break your blogging career.
What does the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit include?
In 2018 there are 41 eCourses, 15 eBooks, 9 printable packs & workbooks, 5 templates, 5 stock photo packs, and 2 membership sites. In addition, there are a handful of bonuses. See the full list here.
The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is different every year so if you bought the Toolkit in 2017 or 2016, they are not the same products.
It’s worth noting, the Toolkit is not a complete guide to blogging. Not all aspects of blogging will be covered, nor will the information be in sequential, step-by-step order.
How does it work? How do I get everything?
Once your purchase is complete, you’ll be given login information to the Dashboard. In there, you’ll see two tabs: Downloads and Bonuses. Choose either tab to see instructions for access.
The Ultimate Bundles team does a great job of making it easy to navigate. Plus, their customer service team is always available to help.
This is a completely digital product. You’ll get access immediately. You won’t receive anything via snail mail.
Pros of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
My goal is to be as upfront and transparent with you as possible. I always appreciate thoughtful, straightforward information about a product before I buy. When I’m writing posts like this, I think of things I would tell my sweet mama if she asked for my honest thoughts.
These are pros for the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit in general, not for the 2018 version specifically.
Update 10/12/18: Cheat Sheets. Though this is an extra $50, these provide an overview of each resource, bullet style, making the Toolkit much more digestible.
Price. If you have good reason to purchase the Toolkit (ask yourself the questions above in the “Is it worth $97?” section), it’s a good deal. It’s unlikely you’d be able to replicate this number of resources at this price.
Some products have higher price points than the entire Toolkit. There are a number of resources in the Toolkit (2018 included) that cost over $100 by themselves. So, even if you used just one $100+ product in the Toolkit, you’d most likely get your money’s worth.
It’s an excellent opportunity for affiliate marketers. Are there any items in the Toolkit that might appeal to your audience now or in the future? If so, this is an excellent opportunity to check them out. If you find one, sign up for its individual affiliate program, promote it to your audience as a stand-alone product and you could make money going forward.
A solid library of resources. Not every product in a Toolkit is worthwhile in my opinion, but the handful of good products in the bundle make it a solid library of resources. This is often especially helpful for beginner bloggers.
Content that wows. The 2016 and 2017 Toolkits both had resources that truly wowed me in their scope and quality. At first glance, it appears the same could be true for the 2018 version.
Unexpected gems. Just as both previous Toolkits had content that truly wowed me, both had content that surprised me in unexpected and delightful ways.
Yearlong access. If you purchase the Toolkit, you have access to all the products in your Dashboard for a year. No need to feel rushed to download them or consume them quickly.
Generous return policy. If you’re not happy with the Toolkit, you can email customer service and ask for a refund within 30 days.
Good customer service. I have worked with many companies over the years to promote various products. The Ultimate Bundles team is definitely one of the best. They care deeply for their customers and work hard to provide timely and helpful customer service.
Cons of the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit
These are cons for the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit in general, not for the 2018 version specifically.
Overwhelm. Simply put, there’s a lot of information in the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit. The amount of information is what makes it a good deal, but don’t try to tackle the entire thing. Pick and choose the resources that interest you most. Update 10/12/18: The new Cheat Sheets in this year’s Toolkit are a great addition and relieves the overwhelm for sure. (Read my take on the Cheat Sheets at the top of this post.)
Overlap. Because many of the Toolkit resources are similar in scope, much of the information overlaps. For example, a number of the resources may explain how to set up a Pinterest account or why you should start an email list. These are important topics, but it can feel redundant.
Outdated content. This is not only a Toolkit problem, it’s a problem that plagues all of us who write about blogging and social media. Things change incredibly fast in this world, it’s impossible to guarantee everything is always up to date.
Quality varies widely. Some resources are truly excellent, but not all. It can be difficult for new or inexperienced bloggers to tell the difference.
Inexperienced creators. Some resources are created by unseasoned bloggers without a lot of personal blogging experience. These resources are more likely to include repackaged, inaccurate, incomplete or anecdotal information.
Resources that feel like lead magnets. Some Toolkit resources in the past seemed more like teasers than stand-alone, meaty products. It’s always a disappointment to open a resource filled with little more than affiliate links, upsells, bonuses (read: I just want to get you on my list) or pitches to buy the full product.
How to use it if you buy it
If you decide to by the Toolkit, here is my advice:
Update 10/12/18: Get the Cheat Sheets if you can. They are an extra $50 (bummer), but they do provide bullet-style notes for each resource. Huge time saver. (See my notes about the Cheat Sheet at the top of this post.)
Cherry-pick. Choose a handful of resources that look most interesting to you and tackle those. Don’t feel obligated to consume the entire Toolkit. It’s simply not worth the time.
Take advantage of the Facebook Groups. Many Toolkit resources have a Facebook Group (or equivalent) attached to them. These are often more valuable than the resource itself, particularly if you want to network with like-minded people, get ideas and find encouragement.
Who’s the creator? In general (though not always) I find resources created by seasoned bloggers to be more reliable and original. If you find a resource you like, Google the creator’s name, check out their social media channels and poke around their website. How long have they been blogging? Have they blogged about something other than blogging? Do they have time-tested experience or expertise in the topic they’re teaching?
Understand vanity metrics. Claims of high traffic numbers, follower counts or subscriber numbers, by themselves, don’t mean much. More important to know is how are those numbers converting? How much income do those numbers translate into? What’s the net profit (vs. gross)? For example, “Here’s how I grew my monthly income by 500% and you can too!” sounds great, but does that mean their income grew from $25 to $125 a month, or from $2000 to $10,000 a month? Big difference.
Filter everything through your own lens. There are countless ways to “do blogging” successfully. The creators of the resources in the Toolkit explain what has worked for them. If it sounds good to you, try it! If not, pass. There’s not one right way.
Watch out for strategies that game the system. There are shortcuts in blogging, but I’ve never seen any shortcuts that work long term. If someone suggests a strategy that seems like a shortcut, tread carefully.
FAQs & AFAQs about my promotion approach in 2018
Here are some FAQs and AFAQs (Anticipated FAQs) about my choice to not promote this year’s Toolkit as I have in the past:
What exactly do you mean by “not actively promoting” the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit in 2018? I’m not sending any campaign emails to my list, offering any bonuses, doing any hard selling, buying ads for it, doing a pre-roll video, etc. This post and perhaps a mention in the Useletter® are all I expect to say about the Toolkit itself.
Since you’re not promoting it, does that mean it’s a bad product? No. I simply don’t know.
What do you mean when you say it was “a difficult but conscious choice to step away from the noise and focus on other things”? It was a difficult choice because the Toolkit has been a significant income generator for me in the past; not promoting it this year means my income will take a hit. I’m “stepping away from the noise,” meaning, I need a break from intense promotions, both as an affiliate and as a follower of many affiliates. Finally, my work time gets squeezed around the rest of my life so I have to be super diligent about how I spend it. It would have taken me dozens of hours to go through the Toolkit to produce a thorough review. Instead, I’m using those dozens of hours to work on other things.
Are you recommending others not promote it too? No. If you can wholeheartedly promote it without reservation, go for it!
Why don’t you just pick out a few resources that look good to you and recommend those? I thought of that, but again, time. When I go through a product, I pick it apart and take lots of notes. I’ve glanced at a few products inside, but not enough to make a solid recommendation.
Are you going to promote the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit in future years? I don’t know yet.
If you’ve followed my work at all the last 15 years online, I hope I’ve demonstrated I do not take product recommendations lightly. When I recommend something, I become very familiar with the product first. It’s important to me to have a good idea of what’s in it before I encourage you to spend your hard-earned money on it.
While this has not been a review of the 2018 Toolkit (I have yet to go through it), I do hope it has given you things to think about as you consider purchasing it.