For those looking to learn new skills and gain new insight, online courses work wonders.
Convenient enough to consume from the comfort of home or on a lunch break, and cost-effective enough to suit a wide range of budgets, it is easy to see why these courses are enticing so many people to tune in and learn online.
What’s more, with COVID-19 changing the way we interact with the outside world, we can expect digital courses to be even more popular in the coming months, and way beyond.
So, how exactly do you and your organisation tap into this demand? Follow these 10 easy steps to crafting and launching your successful online course.
Step 1: Consider your passion
Each and every one of us has something we are passionate about. We all have something that excites us, that makes us eager to share our knowledge.
This passion also leads to knowledge. We enjoy reading up on things that we love, and we want to put these newfound skills into practice.
All of this is crucial. If you are going to craft a successful online course, you need to be an expert in the subject matter, and you need to be passionate enough to deliver the information in the right way.
Step 2: Consider the passions of others too!
OK, so you’ve found something that you are passionate about, and are expertly knowledgeable in.
In an ideal world, this would be all you need. However, you do have your own objectives in mind for your online course, and so there needs to be enough public interest in what you are offering to justify the production.
Consider what people want to know. Consider the size of the audience you can expect, and what they hope to gain. Factor all of this in before you make the final decision on the subject matter.
Step 3: Start thinking about your takeaways
We’ve all been there. We’ve started talking about something we are excited about, eager to impart our knowledge — then we’ve lost momentum somewhere along the line, and started rambling.
This is because passion and knowledge are only enough in the very beginning. To properly craft your course, you need a structure, and first and foremost, you need proper learning objectives.
What are you trying to deliver to your audience? What do you want your audience to take away from your course? How are you going to guide them along that journey? Start answering these questions now.
Step 4: Hone the information in your head into a course
With your learning objectives in mind, it is easier to begin to fashion how the course will look. Chances are you already have much of the information in your head, but remember that your participants will be approaching the subject from a completely different standpoint to your own.
So, you need to consider how each bit of information flows into the next. Consider how your course will build toward your desired objectives.
Of course, remember to do your own research to reinforce and add to your existing knowledge.
Step 5: Break the course into key components
Think back to the last course you attended. Was it delivered to you in one vast slab of information?
Chances are, it wasn’t. Instead, it was broken up into easily digestible chunks, each of which contributed toward a module. This is simply the only way to really get to grips with large amounts of information.
Start thinking about the building blocks of your own course and how these will be organised.
For example, let’s say you are holding an intermediate course on how to take and edit great images for a website. There will already be some prior knowledge here, but it is certainly worth refreshing this, so Module 1 might be a refresh of techniques from the beginner course.
Then, perhaps Modules 2, 3 and 4 focus on different camera-handling a picture-taking techniques that can be deployed by an intermediate photographer.
In Module 5, you might want to move to the editing suite. As you can see, each stage of the course should flow logically, either building on or supporting what went before.
Step 6: Think about how you will communicate your expertise
The last step, before production can begin on your course, is to think about information delivery.
Being a great teacher is about more than just knowing your subject matter inside out. It’s about communicating this knowledge effectively.
This means using quizzes, diagrams, practical demonstrations and other pedagogical methods to get your point across.
Decide which aspects can simply be explained, and which ones need a different approach.
If you are demonstrating a physical action — for example, how to achieve the right effect with photo editing software — then you need to show how this is done. If you are explaining a simple concept — perhaps illustrating a repeated step in the photography process that has already been explained — a simple verbal explanation should suffice. However, if you are introducing new terminology or other concepts, you may want to deploy visuals for support.
Step 7: Get rolling on production
Now you need to put it all together.
Make sure you have completed all six steps leading up to this one, and that you have a well-thought-out plan ready to be put into action. However, don’t be afraid to tinker with this plan during production.
There’s no need to procrastinate any further. Get out there in front of the camera and deliver your course. Then, use editing software to put the different pieces together into one effective whole.
If you are unfamiliar with editing software, it may be necessary to team up with someone who has more expertise in this field, or to get in touch with a professional. There are also beginner editing software products out there that can help you learn the ropes.
Step 8: Sign up to sell courses online
With your course filmed and/or written and ready for launch, you now need to bring it to the audience it deserves. There are a number of platforms available to you as you do this, such as Udemy, Thinkific, Teachable or Kajabi. Each platform features its own pros and cons.
But if you want to avoid ongoing fees and a cut off your profits, or if you don’t want your course to get lost in a sea of competitors, you might want to consider using your own platform.
That’s why we built the Sell Courses Online website — to give you complete control over your course, and to help you reap the maximum benefit. The site is course-ready, so you can get your course up and running without delay.
Head over to Sell Courses Online to learn more.
From here, you’ll be able to host your course on a professional web platform, as well as pages to promote your course and a range of different customisation and personalisation options.
This is the beginning for you and your course — your stepping stone to a growing audience.
Step 9: Integrate your course into your broader business model
Your course is designed to educate, of course. But it is also designed to go further than this. It needs to benefit you and your business too.
So, how do you want your freshly made course to integrate into your business model?
- Do you want to give the course away free, to build authority and increase your influence?
- Do you want to give the course away free, but as a lead magnet, in exchange for signing up to a mailing list, or similar?
- Do you want to sell the course as a product? If so, how are you going to price your lessons?
Make sure you are clear on all of these before you launch.
Step 10: Prepare for an ongoing campaign
How are you going to promote your online course? You have a wealth of different options at your disposal, including inbound content marketing, social media posts, online advertising, web mailing lists and more.
Whichever method — or methods — you choose, bear in mind that this is going to be an ongoing campaign. You need to promote your online course in the long term, as the number of participants may grow slowly. As you develop word-of-mouth reputation and renown online, your course will really begin to take off. But this needs work.
It’s time to get started.
If you need help selling courses online via your website, drop us a line and we’ll help you on your journey.