5 Steps for Successfully Organizing Your Online Course Content
I run into a lot of business owners that take on building an online course and get stuck. There are a lot of small steps involved for getting your course launched and working. Taking that on without any outside guidance, especially when it's your first time, can be difficult.
It doesn't get you the sales and profitability you were hoping to get and that can be so disappointing given the amount of work that's involved.
Here are five steps that can get you started in the right direction when building your first online course.
I did want to mention that building the physical course and organizing the content, given that you are an experts in the subject you are teaching, it typically the easy part of building a course. Getting it to sell and sell profitably is the bigger challenge. It's where most people struggle. If you are interested, I'd be happy to get on a free call with you, no obligation, to go over selling your course to help you get past the snags we see a lot of new course builders hit.
Step 1 - Consider offering more than a single course
When offering a course, I often run into business owners that try to put too much into a course. That makes organizing your content more difficult. My course builders want to offer everything they know into their course thinking that's going to give your students more value. They think it's going to get more people to buy it.
That may be doing the opposite. When building a course, consider if the topic you are teaching is really one topic or is it multiple topics that can be strung together into a series of courses. Work to identify one initial topic that is the most valuable to your audience. Consider making it available for sale by itself. Then think about a second topic you can use to sell people after they purchased the first one. You can sell that first one by itself. You can consider offering the first two as a package.
When people are learning, organizing your content so that your learners can see the journey they are starting is encouraging. It enables them to understand upfront what their time and effort investment will be. If your series of courses can be seen as a well organized outline, that makes it even easier for your customers to see themselves successfully completing.
Step 2 - Focus on what sells best
This goes along with Step 1. If you do have a series of courses that work together to teach several aspects of your subject, get the one you think is going to sell the most first. Keep your courses very sales prioritized.
Think about it from the learners perspective. You MUST sell what people want to buy first and not what you know they need the most. People buy based on wants that are not aligned with what an expert would recommend.
You want to sell what they want even if you the expert know that isn't what they most need.
If you can get them to buy your sexy first, you get them to learn more about you as the expert. Then when they complete that first course, that should be thinking, "What would my expert recommend I do next?" That's when you get your big win.
Step 3 - Keep individual lessons short
Studies show that keeping individual lessons in the 8 to 12 minute ranges is ideal. Think of this as the recommend size of video lessons.
If you need more time for a specific topic, consider creating it as a part 1 and a part 2. Add a part 3 if needed. The point is to arranged your individual lessons so they follow a consistent pattern and length.
The majority of online learner are learning in chunks. The are learning as part of what they do for their work and have to arrange it to fit in between the other things they are doing. You want them thinking, "I'd like to go through a few lessons today. Can if fit it 30 minutes of learning today?" That doesn't have to be in one sitting. It could be 10 minutes before they start their lunch. Maybe its something they do while having lunch. It could be they take the second 20 minutes right before they end for the day.
If your course is built as an audio course, consider if your learners are doing it during their commute to work. For any course, can it be something they take while waiting for kids to finish soccer practice or during some other idle time. Organizing your course into small chunks can help fit it into their schedule more easily.
Step 4 - You need professional and NOT Hollywood quality video
I run into many first time course builders that get way too complicated when recording their videos. What you want is something professional with good sound. It doesn't have to be a three camera shoot with multiple angles requiring extensive editing. That quickly raising your production costs and may not be necessary.
Consider this. People taking your course want access to an expert. They see your online course as a way to learn something they need to solve their problem. A video taken with a screen share video with your head in the video will work. If your course is very presentation slide focused, your picture in the video may be optional.
My point is to keep your course focused on what's important. Make the recording process simple so that doesn't become the obstacle for getting your valuable course out there quickly.
Step 5 - Experiment
Watch how your students use your course. Do they spend time on topics you didn't think are that interesting and important. Do they drop out in a section they may find confusing or overwhelming. Spend a lot of time watching what people do in your course and think about ways to make changes so the course gets better and better over time.