What I Learned From My First Online Course

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I have wanted to create an online course for a long time. I’ve been teaching entrepreneurs how to be their own publicist with a lot of success, so it made sense to put this in a new medium to reach even more people on their own time.

I read articles and watched videos about how to create an online course, best practices and what platforms fit my technical ability. But ultimately, none of this was actually getting me anywhere. I needed to just jump in and do it.

For any online course, there are two major parts

  1. Creating the content

  2. Marketing the course

Starting out, I knew my topic and what to teach. But I had a learning curve to overcome when it came to putting all the pieces together digitally. The other part of an online course is finding people to pay for it, i.e., marketing. The requires a whole different strategy.

So to create an online course, I took my limited knowledge of what I should do and jumped in with both feet. Here are five things I learned along the way.

1. Build Trust by Giving Away Something Free

Most of the people who bought my course had interacted with me in some way before. They had either attended one of my workshops, hired me to be their publicist, or had worked for me. What all of these people had in common was their trust in me. They already knew that I deliver valuable information offline, so they could trust their money would be well spent in this online course.

Because I want to reach a larger audience next time, I will start by offering something for free. I’ll create a mini-course or download that gives me a chance to earn their trust.

2. Fearlessly Use Social Media

One of the easiest things I could have done was mention my course more, but I was afraid to annoy people by mentioning it too much. I didn’t use my social channels to their potential at all.

What I notice now is that other professionals are definitely mentioning their products and are finding more clients because of it.

I’m not a social media expert in any way. I can hardly set up an Instagram post and for the few Instagram ads I did run, I got a lot of click-throughs, but no real business. This is something I’d like to change. Next time around I want to learn more about social media advertising, hire professional assistance to set it up, and use it to its potential.

3. Find More Affiliates to Speak on My Behalf

I only had one person with an affiliate link and that proved to be a great source of leads. I saw a lot of sales come from just that one link! Before I launch my next course, I am going to put more effort into developing an affiliate program to get the word out.

4. Produce More Types of Content Within the Course

My first online course consists of a slide deck with voiceovers. I wanted to add in a good mix of videos, text, quizzes, etc. but wasn’t sure how. Rather than getting hung up on learning and executing different types of learning content, I pushed through with what I knew I could do.

Now that I’ve gotten the hang of the basics of this online course business, I can spend more time learning to produce different types of content. If you’re considering creating an online course, go with what you know and build your skills from there.

5. Save Time With an Audio Editor

If there was one thing that I could change, it would be how I recorded the voiceovers. It’s one of those things that you don’t know unless you know. Now I know.

I originally chose to create my course with Thinkific because it allows you to upload your slides and then add your voiceovers. In theory, this makes it easy. The problem is that Thinkific doesn’t allow audio recordings to be edited within the platform. This meant that I had to say each section perfectly in one take. As you can imagine, this was a long and tedious process.

Next time, I will use a 3rd party service to record voiceovers. I wasn’t equipped for it this time, but now I know there are plenty of solutions to make it easy next time.

Interested in getting the media attention your business deserves? Check out my online DIY PR courses!