Most publishers tend to get overwhelmed by the thought of having to create an online course. And it’s during these occasions when they start to procrastinate, or they tend to disregard the prospect of having to create one – just because of the sheer hassle of it.
You can probably relate to that, can you?
Look. If you answered my question with a “yes”, but you somehow still have not given up on the thought of creating your own online course, then allow me to share with you these 4 tips that can help you create your very own online course. At this point, I’d like you to forget daydreaming about the finished product. I just want you to follow the points that I’ll be sharing with you, until your course gets completed. Capiche?
Let’s hop right in:
1. Create a buyer persona.
It all starts with creating a well researched buyer persona. Without this, your course will end up looking low quality, or mediocre at best.
To give you a better idea of what buyer persona’s are, I’d like to share with you Hubspot’s very definition of it…
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.” – Hubspot.com
As you can probably imagine, having a detailed and well researched buyer persona is a crucial step to creating an online course. Without it, you won’t be able to create a course that’s laser focused to a specific type of audience.
Of course, when your course lacks specificity (because you don’t have a clear idea of who your audience is) it becomes almost impossible for you to connect with them. Simply because the words you’re using (and the problems you’re talking about) are vague in nature.
While there are several templates that you can use to create a buyer persona, I urge you to use Hubspot’s template since it is the best that I have seen so far (you can access it by clicking the link above).
2. Market validation, and uncovering the problems that your audience are struggling with.
The process of creating an effective buyer persona should already include uncovering your audiences’ problems, however, I’d like to go a bit deeper on how this process works since this bit is really important.
Why am I so gung ho with helping you uncover your audiences’ problems, you might ask? Simple. That’s because we need to make sure that your course provides real value to your readers.
When you answer your readers’ questions, they will feel that you have equipped them with the tools and the knowledge that they need to solve their problems.
In short – they’ll feel that they’ve gotten real value from having bought your course.
That’s the whole point of taking the time to painstakingly uncover their problems.
Allow me to share with you the one best strategy that I use to help me with just that.
Using Q&A sites.
Website’s like Quora.com are such a goldmine to get a clearer idea of what your audiences’ questions are – or their problems. All you need to do is to go to the website, type in the keywords that pertain to your niche, then check out which questions are gaining more traction (or interest).
Here’s an example… If you’ll type in the keyword phrase “real estate” in Quora’s search engine, this is what you’ll see.
Did you notice how the question has 20 answers and 32 follows to it?
That is an indication that the people are actually interested to learn more about the topic introduced in the question.
At this point, all you need to do is to look for as many questions/problems or “itch points” that your audience are craving to learn more about. The best part about using Q&A sites like Quora is that you can somewhat validate whether or not your audience will love reading or learning about a certain topic, by looking at the question’s number of follows, answers, upvotes, views, etc…
* Note – in addition to simply looking for the questions with a decent number of shares and interaction, I urge you to take the time to connect and interview some of the people commenting on these questions (10 – 15 people will do). That way, you’ll hear straight from the horse’s mouth some insights that will help you determine whether or not your course idea is something that people will bother buying.
3. Use a mindmap to organize your course.
Using mind maps will give you a bird’s-eye-view of your course’s landscape. This will help you determine whether or not your course has blind spots (or ideas that you need to substantiate), or if you have over-explained certain points so you can start trimming your course.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course.
Mind maps can also help you build the structure, or the sequence of how your course will flow.
Because you can see the main and the sub points of your course, you can pretty much determine which of them should go first, to help give your audience a smoother and better transition when going from one topic to another.
Remember that the way your course’s ideas transition can play a crucial role when it comes to helping your audience absorb the points that you are sharing. That being said, do not take this step lightly.
Putting things together.
At this stage of the guide, you now have these elements at hand:
- a well researched buyer persona.
- a clear idea of what your buyer persona’s problems are.
- a clear outline (and a highly optimized one at that) of the points that you’d like to include in your course.
- a clear idea of how you’ll sequence the ideas.
Now that you have these elements, you can start writing your course until it is completed.
Once you’ve written everything that you feel should be included (based on what’s on your mind map), the only thing left for you to do is to have someone proofread it, and to give it a rockstar cover design.
* Note – as you start writing your online course, there’s a good chance that you’ll add (or omit) some ideas from your outline. Don’t let it bother you. That’s how it usually is. Don’t expect the mind map (outline) that you created at the onset of your online course to be the be-all and end-all of it.
What is the one thing that’s keeping you from publishing your own online course? Please take the time to share the roadblocks that you’re dealing with in the comments section below.
Photo courtesy – © 3dsculptor / Dollar Photo Club