How to choose a topic for an online course
Episode 13515th April 2022 • Courageous Content with Janet Murray • Janet Murray
00:00:00 00:14:35

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IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

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Something that breaks. My heart is saying business owners spend months creating online courses that no one wants to buy. And in my experience, the reason this happens, and it does happen often is because they've got too bogged down in details. That don't actually matter that much, like where to host that online course, what tech to use and how many modules that growers should include.

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The most important thing when it comes to selling digital products is the topic. If your online course doesn't solve a specific problem for a specific person, it will not sound. I'm Janet Murray. I'm a content and online business strategist. And in this episode of the courageous content podcast, I share everything you need to know about using a topic that will actually sell.

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So first off, what makes a great topic for an online course and what doesn't with any online courses, you should be aiming to solve a very specific problem for a specific person, a one module online course, ideally it really should provide a quick win and this will make it easier for you to get testimonials and client success stories. And that will help you with marketing your course in the future.

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And any other subsequent online courses that you want to promote. A good example of this is my master class on how to create and sell your own power. Ella, this is one of my best selling online courses, and we initially sold it as a live session. Then it was on sale in my online shop. Later, I added it to my membership program at the time,

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build your online audience, where it was a really popular resource. It took about half a day to create this resource because it was a process I was already using successfully in my own business for myself. What was in gladed, there was a 90 minute masterclass, which is recorded live. Initially. Then we sold the recording. I created a workbook and ebook to go alongside it.

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I think it was about two or 3000 words. And I also repurposed some templates and some copy that I was already using to sell power hours in my own business. So it was a small amount of work, but actually generated thousands in income directly. And then also I was able to repurpose it for some content for a bigger membership. The biggest mistake I see people making with online courses is making the topics too broad.

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So there's no immediacy. There's no urgency. There's no, oh, I've got to get that because I really, really need to solve this problem. Or I really need this outcome today or this week. So the best place to start for a one was your online course is just to start with a list of questions you get asked by prospective clients all the time,

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ones that relate to a real problem they're struggling with and just remind yourself that people do not spend money on prevention, even though they should. So think about questions that relate to real pain points, pain points that would motivate people to spend money with you today. First, let me give you some examples. So a question I find myself answering a lot is how much should I be charging for my online course?

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What's the problem that it's struggling with pricing and the key to really thinking about how you can turn this into a course is to think about the consequences or the consequences of not dealing with that pricing issue. Well, if you procrastinate over the pricing, you may end up never getting that course on sale or underpricing it and losing out on revenue. Next example,

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how many times should I be pinning each day? So this is an example of something that a Pinterest expert might get asked. This shows us as a problem with Pinterest strategy and also implementation. So if I was a Pinterest expert, I'd be thinking to myself, well, what are the consequences of someone not taking action on this? It may mean they never get started with Pinterest,

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or if they do, they never get the results that they feel that they should do. And maybe they're already using Pinterest. They're not using it very well. So if I can show them in a short course or short master class, how to make it work for them, how to solve some of their problems, then they're going to feel really happy with that next question.

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What should I include in the privacy policy on my website? So this is a question that might be asked if someone who specializes in data protection and GDPR, what's the problem there. So that's someone who's struggling with GDPR compliance. The key part here is what are the consequences because I'm not going to buy a course or a kit on coming up with a website,

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GDPR policy, unless I fear there's a problem there. And the fear with GDPR is, am I going to get into trouble? Am I going to get fined? Is somebody going to complain about me? And I'm going to get in trouble for not having this document on my website. Another example for you. So let's say that you're a dog trainer.

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A question you might get asked a lot is how do I get my dog to stop jumping up at runners and dog walkers when we're out and about? So this is somebody who sounds like they're struggling with dog behavior, but what are the consequences of that? Well, it can be stressful dealing with a dog who isn't behaving in a way that you would like them to.

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It could strain your relationship with other dog walkers, with friends and family, and no one wants to upset runners and have conflict. So it's really worth thinking about what are the consequences of not solving this problem. It's got to be painful enough. The kinds of things people would fare in that situation of falling out with their dog, walking, friends, or family or friends,

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not coming round to visit, or having an altercation with a runner or someone when they're out and about. Maybe that's even happened to them. If you have a product based business, the key is to focus on the problems your ideal customers have that would lead them to invest in your product. So for example, with my courageous content planner, it solves two key problems,

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business and Anderson. Number one, it helps people who are struggling to come up with content ideas and number two, it helps people who are struggling to stay consistent with content. What are the consequences of not doing either of those things? Well, it can have an impact on the bottom line of your business. If you're not showing up regularly with your content,

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if your ideas aren't engaging your ideal customers or clients, that's going to hurt your business, it's going to hurt your sales. My curators kit is actually a really good example of a one module. Online course, I created that links to a physical product and it shows actually how a product can be integrated into an online course. So my courageous care includes a digital version of my content planner.

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It also has templates for social media posts. It had a weekly email that you get sent, whereas content ideas, using some of the awareness dates in the diary, people who buy the kit also gets monthly content plans for me that will help them to plan their content and to take them away from the blank page and all of this content. And in particular,

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those social media templates, they're all things that I'm using in my business every day. So it's about taking content that I already have to not only give people a better experience of using my planner, but also to attract new people who might be looking at the planet and say, well, that sounds good, but I need some help with implementation. I need some post templates.

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I need some content ideas. So it really works on a couple of levels. There. One thing that I think a lot of new course creators struggle with is how to spot a course idea that will fail and how to spot one that won't, and it's like a muscle that you develop, the more you do it. So I'm going to share some examples with you.

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And this is in the course notes that go alongside this podcast too. If you want to take a look. So people will often say, and this is typical of coaches. For example, I want to do an online course on how to be more confident because a problem that a lot of my clients have is that they struggle with their confidence, but it's just really broad.

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And it's not very specific. It doesn't tell me who it's for it. Doesn't tell me what type of confidence. I mean, confidence or lack of confidence can span so many different parts of someone's life or work. It's just too broad. So let me give you some alternatives, how to speak up confidently in meetings. So that actually solves a real problem for someone who gets really nervous every time they have to speak in a meeting and perhaps it's impacting on their career or their job,

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they're not getting promoted because they're not speaking up in meetings, how to gain confidence as a senior leader, working in secondary schools. So again, it's really specific it's for a certain type of person working in a particular context. If he wants to make that even more specific, you might play something like how to confidently deal with behavior issues that makes it even more specific.

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What we want is people to look at it and say, wow, I really need that solution. That problem is really painful for me. And this is going to help me. It's going to change things for me, finally, how to develop confidence as a step parent. So that's a scenario which can be quite painful and uncomfortable. You're bringing up someone else's child or helping to,

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and perhaps they don't see you as their real parents. It's not anything I've ever experienced, but I can imagine some of the problems that might come up, what are the consequences of not dealing with that problem? Well, you could have a really tricky relationship with that child forever, and it could also impact negatively on your relationship with your partner, other people in your life,

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grandparents, aunties, and uncles. So hopefully you can see how we've gone from very broad to addressing a specific and quite painful problem. Next example, exercise guide for women over 50. Now you might think that sounds specific because it's women over 50, but actually women over 50 have a lot of different needs. Like one woman over 50 might have completely different reasons for exercising,

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completely different problems that relate to exercising. So we need to get more specific. So some alternatives, home workout routine for women with pelvic floor weakness, home workout routine for women who feel intimidated by the gym home workout routine for peri-menopausal women. So I hope that you can see by just making that shift and really being specific about who we're talking to and who we're trying to target with this course,

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it changes everything. And finally, Instagram tips for small business owners. You might think that that specific Instagram tips, small business owners, but there are tons of programs. E-books online courses on this very topic. So how do you make your stand out, how to generate leads and sales for your business on Instagram? So immediately we're more specific leads and sales,

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all your business, Instagram hashtag strategy for small business owners, hashtags, more specific. I'm going to learn something very specific. And by the end of the 60 minutes or 90 minutes, or by the end of reading this ebook, I'm going to know something I didn't know before. And hopefully there'll be able to go off and implement it. How to use Instagram reels to promote your small business.

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Instagram is a big topic and to cover all of Instagram in one class, it's just not possible, but Instagram reels to promote your business. You could give somebody quite a win in 60 to 90 minutes or in a Evercore, in a resource kit or toolkit. So the follow-up activity from this session is going to be to create a working title for your course.

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And I really want to ensure that you create a working title that has a specific topic and a specific audience in mind, you don't fall foul of the temptation to go really broad because broad doesn't sell. So I'm going to be a bit strict for hardworking sites. And I'm going to insist that you use one of these five fill in the gaps options for your working course site.

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So don't worry if you want to come up with a clever title later on, you can do, but your working title, it needs to be super specific. We need to know what problem you're solving and who his cause is aimed at. So in the session notes that go alongside this podcast, you will find five options. And our clever messenger bot will check in with you and ask you to share your course,

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title things abstract, just like me and asking you to use one of those templates. As I say, don't worry. If you want to give it a clever title later on down the line you can do, but we need to have a very specific working title. Otherwise, your course weights out. Finally, we need to think about the format for your course,

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and that's really up to you. But again, the more you can build this around content you already have. It's going to make it easier for you and quicker. So for example, if you have some blog posts that you know, you could easily repurpose into an ebook, why not start there? You could always add an online video class by them.

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If you have slides for an in-person talk that you think could be repurposed into an online course, why not start there? Maybe you already have templates and checklists that you're using with clients at the moment, and they could be repurposed into a resource kit that could be your place to start. You don't need to get into the detail of what to include in your course at this stage.

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We will look at that much, much later for now. You just need to decide what you're going to include and what you're going to lead with. So typically with the master class, you're going to lead with the video, but you might also have an ebook, whereas an ebook, obviously you're going to lead with the ebook, with a resource kit.

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You're going to lead with the templates and the checklists, as I say, no need to get into the detail at this stage. You just need to list out what you think you're going to include in your course. So I hate you found this year school. And if you enjoyed this episode, there are a couple more I'd recommend and I'll link to those in the show notes.

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So there's three types of online courses you can create in Horning, which online course platform is best. The answer might surprise you. Do you really need an email list to launch an online course? And finally, the one I would probably start with is you could start generating recurring revenue today. So why aren't you? That was more than a couple and that isn't even all of the episodes on this topic.

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And if you'd like me to help you with coming up with a topic for your online course, you may want to find out more about my course launch sprint. I'll put a link in the show notes where you can join the wait list. So you'll be first to hear the next time I'm running the program. And if you don't want to wait, then drop me a line on Janet @ Janet Murray.co.uk

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I do have limited space to work one-to-one with people who want to get their online course launched quick.