The online education industry is worth $319 billion in the United States alone. It’s no surprise that many subject matter experts are choosing to create online courses. However, there’s a lot of pitfalls in the process. Here is what you need to know about how to create online courses.
The very first step you need to do is decide upon a course topic. What problem do you hope to solve? Don’t worry, you don’t need to do something academic like linear algebra. It can be about anything you love. It can draw upon any skill or talent you have and anything you have life experience with. If you have a passion for it, chances are there are people out there that do too. According to Kajabi: “Choose a focused and niche topic rather than a broad one. Having a broad topic usually means more competition.”
Make sure that there’s a market demand for it. Are people talking about it on Twitter, Reddit, and Quora? Is it an item in the blogosphere? Is it an audience that can afford an online course? It’d be great if there was some sort of market gap with not many competitors.
You should also look at your capacity to produce a course. Do you have the necessary experience? How about the necessary certifications? There’s no use trying to create a cardiac surgery course if you don’t have a medical degree. In our modern times, people crave authenticity. Don’t claim to be someone who you aren’t
Content creation is the biggest step and will take months, if not years. It’ll be a lot of information so it’s important to stay organized. Buy a notebook for your notes. Create a new directory on your google drive or whatever online document system you use. If you’ve already created content in this space (say you’re a blogger or book author), you can repurpose existing content. That way you don’t have to redo the research.
One major point of adult learning is that there are different learning styles. Some people learn best by text, others by video, and some by audio. So it’ll be good for your course to combine every type of media. Most people aren’t familiar with creating videos but it isn’t hard. There are free and cheap apps you can use. Activities and some sort of community learning would be good as well.
You have several options when it comes to distribution. You can use existing markets like Udemy or Udacity. It’s a possibility they’ll promote the course to their own audiences, which are in the millions. However, online markets like those two are swamped with competition and your course could just gather dust. The alternative is to put it on your own blog. If this will be successful depends on how much traffic you have.
Online marketing will be critical for your course. If you have an existing blog with regular traffic, you might already be covered. You can just put an ad in your newsletter or mention it in a blog post. Maybe you could have a preorder sale. How easy of a sell it’ll be will greatly depend on how much rapport you have with your audience. If you’ve been blogging for an extended period of time and have a lot of credentials, it’ll be easier.
On the other hand, if you have no established online audience, you’ll need to look to other things. Read up on digital marketing. Advertising on Facebook or Google can get very pricey, but it could be a win. Think about partnering with influencers. This includes not only Instagram but YouTube as well. Consider setting up an affiliate program, which pays a commission for each sale.
If you’ve ever thought about creating an online course, you’re not alone. Not only are they fun to create, but can be very profitable as well.