Have you taken an online course over the last few months? How about over the last several years?
There are numerous digital courses available, covering every imaginable subject and skill, from cooking and crafts to continuing education. Online learning is incredibly convenient. And now, due to the coronavirus, digital learning has become a necessity.
Creating a course is an excellent way to leverage your knowledge, skills, talents, and thought leadership while bringing attention to your business. In fact, online courses can generate a nice source of additional income.
According to the latest market research report by Technavio, the academic e-learning market is expected to grow by $72.41 billion from 2020 to 2024.
If you have ever considered leaping into this massively growing market, now is the time. Here’s how.
Your Course Content
To get the most out of creating online courses, think big picture. What end result do you want your students to achieve as a result of taking your course? And what does that journey look like for you…and for them?
I’ve been creating courses online since the early 2000’s. It’s one of my favorite aspects of my business. Rather than a digital class that is “‘one and done,” conceptualize a series of courses that progress your students through a curriculum.
To get to the heart of what to create, ask yourself:
- What is the problem you’re solving? For what audience?
- What transformation do you wish to create? How will you educate your participants and guide them from their current state to the desired outcome?
- What is the value? How will your teachings enable your students to improve their life, health, business/career, finances, relationships, etc.
The clearer you are on the problem you’re helping to solve and how your audience will benefit, the easier it will be to craft your course outline and materials.
If you’re not clear on what to teach, do a little research. Start by assessing the most frequently asked questions you get from your customers. You can also think about what things your colleagues say you innately do. Also consider this: What is a real passion of yours that you’ve always wanted to share with others? For example:
- · Garden enthusiast Stacey Murphy has self-paced online courses that teach her students how to successfully grow their own food at home… including how to grow $400 of herbs and vegetables in 40 days.
- · A tech expert for boomers, Steve Dotto has a series of courses. He covers productivity topics, such as how to optimize tools like Evernote and Slack, and also touches on subjects, such as how to manage your online legacy.
By taking the time to hone in on what will best help your potential students - and your business - you will be more likely to set yourself up for success.
Your Course Platform
Although you can self-host your e-learning classes on your own website, it’s easier to use a ready-made learning management system (LMS). You upload your materials -- videos, audios, PDFs, checklists, cheat sheets, etc. -- and that is where you offer your content, interact with your students, etc.
Some of the more popular platforms include:
● Thinkific. I’ve been using this one for years. Check out one of their many helpful articles here: Create and Sell Online Courses: A Step-By-Step Guide (Updated for 2020)
● LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com, acquired by LinkedIn). LinkedIn Expert Viveka von Rosen, Cofounder and Chief Visibility Officer at Vengreso, creates LinkedIn courses on topics, such as B2B Marketing and Branding, and hosts them on LinkedIn Learning.
How to Record:
Record your course using your favorite tools. I use Screenflow for Mac, which records my screen and camera. Also worth checking out are Loom (a free solution) and Camtasia (free trial, then different levels of premium pricing); both of these are for PC and Mac. Make sure to have a good microphone, complementary lighting, and a simple background. You want your course videos to look as professional as possible. I put together this list of video gear.
How Much to Charge:
E-learning has a vast range. Classes can go from $10 up to $1,000 or even more. When figuring out what to charge, consider all the factors. How long is your course? Is it a prerequisite for other training? Is it a one-off course, or a series? Are you offering a discount for packages? Are you creating classes as a side hustle, or do you have dreams of being a full-time course creator and leader?
How to Promote:
Market your course - as you would any other promotion - using a variety of social channels, content types, and strategies. Test Facebook ads, use your email list, and create media (podcast and video interviews). Ultimately you want to drive traffic to your course sign-up page.
Note: if you use a platform like Udemy, they will help you market. Do your research to find the solutions that work best for your technical skill, budget, and needs.
“Whether your SMB is a storefront, online business, or consultancy, if you have something important to share that can help to change people’s businesses or lives, to have the most impact, you must share it at scale,” adds Viveka von Rosen. “Creating a course is one of the best ways to share your thought leadership - and showcase your business - at scale!”
Whatever your business, you are an expert in your niche. And if you have ever thought about putting your own knowledge into a course, now is the time.
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