Let’s talk about creating an online course – because it seems like everyone (and every business) is launching a course. Who can blame them – courses can help build brands. And as the COVID-19 pivot lingers on, new revenue streams are in high demand.
Online courses can consist entirely of pre-recorded videos and modules, or they can be live (via video platforms like Zoom). And sometimes, they’re a combination of both.
Just add a few downloadable workbooks and maybe even start a Facebook group, and you’ve got yourself a course. Right?
The truth is, if you want to create a course that provides real value to your digital students, it takes hard work.
Here’s what to consider when creating an online course!
1. What’s your area of expertise?
Are you a subject-matter expert in your industry? Do you have the credentials or success story to back your course up? Authenticity and credibility is key when trying to get your target audience to convert (a.k.a. sign up for your course).
Brainstorm everything you know about this subject. What have your experiences taught you? What helped you succeed, and what didn’t? Take time to get this all out on paper. Then you’ll begin to transform your lived experiences into teachable content.
2. What’s already on the market?
No one wants to create a course for an oversaturated market. Instead, do a little research to see what’s already out there. Can you put a different spin on your course? What’s your unique selling proposition?
Doing a little keyword research could help. Discovering what kind of questions people are actually asking about your chosen subject. That way, you can design a course that caters to their questions.
3. Can you reverse engineer a desirable outcome?
Think about what your students will walk away with from your course.
Map out your course by starting with the big picture, and then break it down. What steps will be necessary for your students to reach the desired outcome? You don’t have to overcomplicate your course with “bonus” content or less-than-helpful modules. Just focus on creating a simple route for your students to reach their end goal.
4. Which course format works for you?
Pre-recording your videos is often the ideal format for course creators. Once the videos are ready to go, they can become an excellent source of evergreen, passive income. Although as the years go by, you’ll probably want to add the occasional update.
But audiences don’t always connect with the pre-recorded format; many people love the interactivity of live courses. They want to ask questions in real-time, and they want your feedback.
Ultimately, it comes down to which course format is manageable for you.
You’ll also have to decide where to host your course, if you’re going the pre-recorded route. Whether you’re looking for a stand-alone platform or a WordPress plugin, there are tons of options. Kajabi, LearnDash and Thinkific are just a few popular options.
5. Do you actually have the time and resources needed for creating an online course?
From presentation slides, to workbooks, to videos, courses require lots of content. Don’t have the time to do it all yourself (or just feeling fancy)? Hire designers and a video production team to help you out.
If you go the DIY route, try recording your own videos with your computer or camera, edit them using affordable tools like:
If you really don’t want to be on camera, you can even record video lessons with just your voice and presentation slides!
6. Do you have the audience?
Obviously, the bigger your pre-existing audience, the easier it will be to sell your course. But even if you have a very modest following, you’re not doomed to fail. Social media advertising is a great way to spread the word about your course. And writing a killer sales page could certainly help.
Have you ever created an online course before? Let us know about your experience in the comments!
And if you want to stay up-to-date on all things marketing, check out more posts from Communicatto: