So, you’ve decided you want to build an online course, and that’s brilliant. You’ve got an idea, caught lightning in a bottle, and feel ready to get started.
Then, you sit down, look at the blank word document ready for your notes, and you let out a sigh. Back here again. You don’t know where to start.
Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. We’re here to help.
We’ve actually helped hundreds of people build and launch online courses over the last few years, and over that time we’ve collated some of the best tips for putting content down to paper. In this article, we’re going to go through the top tips we can give for creating your course content.
1 – Know Your Ideal Client
The first tip, and probably the most vital, is knowing your ideal client.
This is the first person you’re going to sell to. The course you’re creating is perfect for them – it solves their problem and makes them into the person they want to be. You need to know a lot of things about your ideal client, and it’s important to get down as much as you can.
Before long, your ideal client will become a family member.
Soon after that, you’ll want them to leave, but they never will. They’re part of you now.
You need to ask yourself a lot of questions. What do they want? How do they feel about that? How do they WANT to feel after all this is done? Most importantly, how can you help them achieve this?
2 – Get to the Point!
Do a little spring cleaning before you get started. You want to take the golden nuggets out from the stone, so try to dump as much out of your brain as you can. You’ll only need about 20% of what you really think you need, as most courses are at their best when they’re short and to the point. Try to cut out as much waffle as possible.
Think to yourself – what does my ideal client need to be transformed into who they’re going to be? Nothing more, nothing less.
3 – Give Them Something to do
It’s all well and good writing a masterpiece of a course, with erudite musings on your chosen industry and graphs full of information to show just how much you really know. If that was what was best, you’d be working at your computer until the end of time, typing out paragraph after paragraph.
You see, your client paid for the course for a reason. They want to do something, anything, to solve the problem that you’ve promised them the solution for.
One easy way of doing this is making every part of your course actionable. Every module, every step, every video should have a call to action that your ideal client can go and do, be it an activity, a quiz, or a further step to achieving success.
Make sure they’re always engaged, and always doing something.
4 – Record Yourself Speaking
One of the best ways we’ve found of getting large amounts of information down on paper is to record ourselves talking and using it as a basis for our course scripts.
You can always have a bit of fun with this – imagine you’re sitting down with your ideal client, over a hot brew. You’re going to explain what you do to them for the first time, telling them about the solutions you have to their problem.
After this is over, you can then take the recording and cherry pick the best phrases and ideas that you’ve found. This also helps with the nugget-finding we mentioned in tip 2.
5 – Speak Clearly
You need to assume that your ideal client might not even know what their problem is. If that ends up being the case, you need to make sure that your course is accessible for someone who might not understand the intricacies of your world.
This actually makes it easier for you. Speak as plainly and clearly as you possibly can, making sure to leave no expense for someone who is just being introduced to the course and the content they’re about to grapple with. Try to avoid acronyms until they’ve been properly introduced.
6 – Survive, Adapt, Overcome
It’s best to cover all of your bases when you’re crafting your course. This will come in the form of different formats, which all depend on what your ideal client does best.
For example, if you create a video that explains a key concept of sales integration, you’ll also want to provide a few pages of a workbook to give those who enjoy practice a chance to learn, as well as a transcription of your video for those who like to take notes and refer back to them when they can.
By varying your content, not only do you ensure all of your bases are covered, you also make it a varied experience that your client is bound to enjoy.
7 – Make it Fun
Moving on from that last point, it would be good if you managed to add a bit of variety to the activities. The occasional quiz or game could add some fun to the proceedings. Quizzes are great for reaffirming important points of your course and encouraged roleplay and outdoor activities can also help to make your clients feel good about what they’re doing. It adds purpose, and liveliness that an online course could otherwise lack.
8 – Keep Videos Short
Your ideal client will love, or learn to love listening to you about your world. It’s the main reason they’ve purchased the course after all.
When revising or studying new topics, our brains can handle, at best, half an hour of intense research and learning before attention spans begin to drop, and information retention drops lower. As such, you want each major action to be surgically crafted to the right length.
Keep your videos short, no longer than fifteen minutes. That way, you give your client enough time to answer any questions and work out any answers with the remaining time in their golden half hour. Time each module around that, and each section will feel like a well-earned triumph once it’s complete.
9 – Get it reviewed
This is the most important step, and it needs to be done right. Don’t ask your mum what she thinks of your course, or your wife, your boyfriend, whoever it may be. They’ll never be objective, no matter how well-meaning their lapping praise would be. You need hard feedback from industry professionals.
Reach out to your work contacts and ask for their honest opinions. Ask them what you want to know works, and any questions about things you think won’t work too well. This is the perfect opportunity to iron out any problems with your content.
Follow these steps, and you’re guaranteed to start getting high quality, fun content out to your ideal client in no time.
If you’re interested in learning how an online course can profit your business, check out our online course profit calculator below: