Tag Archives: Online Courses

How to Create (and Sell) Products People Actually Want to Buy

This week offers a mix of inspiration, clarity, purpose … and some good, old-fashioned results-oriented copywriting. On Monday, I shared some of the practical, repeatable steps you can use to create an online course that people actually want to buy. (That’s a fun thing to do, by the way, and I totally recommend it.) Brian
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The Foundational Elements of Profitable Online Courses

After ebooks, online courses are one of the most popular business models for digital entrepreneurs. The tech is easier to put together than ever. Audiences know that online courses are valuable and have shown they’re willing to pay. And courses are a natural showcase for the authority you build as you develop great content for
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Creating Online Courses to Level Up from Freelance, with Carrie Dils

un-carrie-dils-4

Many freelancers dream of the day that they’ll have sources of income other than from client work. Some hope to stop taking clients for good in favor of selling online training instead.

Carrie Dils did just that. A long time web developer, Carrie adopted the WordPress platform to do client work as a freelancer. But it was when she started training people over at Lynda.com that she became well-known in the WordPress community.

Now, you’ve heard me say over and over that you should never build your business on virtual land that you don’t own. So in this case you may be surprised that I think it’s fine that Carrie teaches over at Lynda, as long as she finds a way to attract her students to her own site in some way so she can establish a direct relationship with them.

Carrie plans to level up once more in the coming year. Listen in as we discuss her plans and brainstorm some of the ways that she can continue leveraging the customer base of Lynda to build a robust training business all her own.

Listen to this Episode Now

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The 4 Pillars Every Online Business Is Built On

cbfm-4-pillars-online-business

Ever thought about launching an online course … or some other digital product or service?

Whether you’re starting out or you’re a digital commerce veteran, here are four pieces that need to be in play before you can profitably launch a new product or service.

Free webinar

Brian Clark’s free webinar on online courses will be held on December 12, 2016, at 3:00 PM Eastern Time. You can click here to get signed up.

In this 15-minute episode, I talk about:

  • Two ways to build your audience for your blog or podcast in the early days
  • The right time to get an email list in place
  • How to figure out what you’ll talk about
  • The profitable tension that will be with you for the length of your business
  • How to avoid making expensive mistakes
  • A cool free resource to help you plan a successful launch for your online course

Listen to this Episode Now

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On Making Choices and Finding New Solutions: Let It Be Easy

the solution is right before your eyes

I’ve been rinsing my mouth with salt water after every meal for the past two weeks. It’s part of the healing process after a wisdom tooth extraction.

Oral surgery: the gift that keeps on giving.

During the first week, I spilled salt all over my bathroom counter. My container of salt has a perforated opening similar to a salt shaker, and sometimes the salt got stuck in the holes. When I measured half a teaspoon, I had to shake the container a bit and the salt didn’t land seamlessly on my spoon or in my warm glass of water.

Now, I consider myself a reasonably capable human being, but after that first week, I realized that the container of salt also has a “full-pour” setting — without any holes — making it easier to pour without shaking the container and spilling the salt.

There was a much easier solution than what I had been doing right in front of me; I just didn’t take advantage of it right away.

No matter how far you’ve come, there’s always more to learn

Reflecting on that experience, I felt silly that I didn’t immediately notice the “full-pour” setting — but I did eventually discover it because I was open to a better, easier way.

When you repeat the same thing over and over again and get the same results, it’s beneficial to question your actions and explore new possibilities.

There are so many situations in life and business that aren’t easy. Accomplishments take hard work, dedication, and other words you’d find on cliché motivational posters that decorate taupe-colored office walls.

But sometimes we all get the sense that there could be something better out there, something more we could be doing.

And sometimes there are even easy opportunities to discover new methods that enrich your life and business.

“Easy” does exist

It’s often said that “simple” does not equal “easy,” but there are also purely easy solutions that lead to progress.

I would say:

“Easy” is not the same as a “quick fix.” I associate a quick fix with something unsustainable — something that may seem satisfying at first but has no long-term benefit. And what I’m talking about is easy action that leads to you optimizing your circumstances.

For example, when you’re stressed out and confused, overwhelmed or directionless, it’s often difficult to think straight.

If your head is spinning while you’re on top of Mount Freakout, consider easy options that can help you move forward.

  • Call a friend who will make you feel better
  • Watch a movie that will make you laugh and help you calm down
  • Listen and sing along to a song that helps you express your own emotions

You could ignore those easy options and stay upset. It’s your choice.

And you have similar choices to make whenever you’re ready for a change but you’re not quite sure which direction to go in or how to get started on a new path.

A two-step process for finding a new direction

Ready to set yourself in a new direction?

Here’s the two-step process:

  1. Choose to become open to a new option
  2. Don’t overcomplicate the solution — let it lead you forward

In regard to that wisdom tooth I mentioned earlier, I had been meaning to get it pulled for about 10 years. What can I say? Time goes by quickly and I kept putting it on the back burner.

But when it started causing problems I could no longer ignore, I followed that process above:

  1. I was open to a new option: schedule an appointment to get the tooth pulled.
  2. Instead of further postponing the surgery or fearing it, I let it simply be the solution to the pain in my mouth.

I decided that the way out of my discomfort was through the extraction and healing process.

What’s your next step?

Your writing skills play many different important roles in your business, and you might be looking for new ways to use them to expand your offerings.

You’re a communicator. You know how to get people to pay attention. You know how to synthesize ideas.

So, if creating an online training business has crossed your mind but it seems like a daunting task, there is an easy step you can take today.

Monday, December 12, 2016, Rainmaker Digital founder and CEO Brian Clark is hosting a free webinar that will help you become well-positioned to start a profitable online training business.

See, we don’t want you to invest time creating the wrong type of product for the wrong market, so Brian starts at the beginning and will show you how to discover exactly what traits a market must possess in order for it to qualify as a “good opportunity.”

Brian will cover:

  • The business of e-learning design
  • How to create an effective learner profile
  • How to identify the benefits of knowledge your learner seeks
  • Three steps to writing learning objectives that work

Checking out Brian’s webinar is an unbelievably productive next step, and you can register for free right now by clicking the blue button below.

Free Webinar:
How to Develop an Irresistible Online Course People Will Line Up to Buy (and Then Actually Use)

Relief within reach

There are plenty of difficult choices to make in life and business. And plenty of hard work goes into accomplishing your goals.

But don’t overlook easy choices within reach that can help turn things around. Don’t disregard the power of something easy. Let it be easy — and take advantage of it.

The solution could be right in front of you, like turning the salt container to the “full-pour” position.

Join us Monday, December 12, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time:

http://digitalcommerce.com/free-webinar-online-courses/

The post On Making Choices and Finding New Solutions: Let It Be Easy appeared first on Copyblogger.

The Keys to Launching a Successful Online Course

Copyblogger Weekly

Hey there — welcome back to the Copyblogger Weekly!

We’ve had a lot to say this week about online courses. On Monday, Pamela Wilson talked about some of the surprising ways you can profit from launching your course. On Tuesday, Henneke gave us some specifics on how to write a high-value lesson plan to make your course easier to sell.

And yesterday, I shared my story about my own road to teaching online — a road that definitely included some bumps and curves. (Spoiler alert: it has a happy ending!)

If you’ve been thinking about launching a course but weren’t sure how to get started, Brian Clark is offering a free webinar next week to walk you through some crucial steps.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 beginning at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Brian’s going to cover:

  • Designing the learning experience for your course
  • How to craft your learner profile
  • Identifying the benefits of knowledge (these unlock so many doors)
  • A three-step process for crafting learning objectives

We use these ideas literally every week at Copyblogger and Rainmaker Digital. The webinar will cover very hands-on, practical material that you can start working with right away — to develop an online course that’s an amazing experience for your learners, and an amazing business to support your goals.

To register for the free webinar, simply click here and enter your email address.

Then you’ll receive the special link to register for the webinar. You have to register to attend, and space is limited … so don’t wait.

Hope to see you Wednesday at the webinar, and I’ll catch you next week!

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital

P.S.

Here’s that URL, one more time:

http://digitalcommerce.com/free-webinar-online-courses/


Catch up on this week’s content


surprising! what you’ll learn when you build a course4 Surprising Ways You’ll Profit from Building an Online Course

by Pamela Wilson


a step-by-step guide to organizing and delivering your courseHow to Write a High-Value Lesson Plan that Makes Your Course Easy to Sell

by Henneke


a business model and a breakthroughMy Favorite Business Model for a Breakthrough Digital Business

by Sonia Simone


The Season One Recap of StudioPress FMThe Season One Recap of StudioPress FM

by Brian Gardner & Lauren Mancke


Should You Still Start a Podcast? (Ask Yourself These 3 Questions)Should You Still Start a Podcast? (Ask Yourself These 3 Questions)

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


Orbit Media’s Latest Survey of 1000 BloggersOrbit Media’s Latest Survey of 1000 Bloggers

by Sonia Simone


How #1 Hit Podcast ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ Co-Creator Jeffrey Cranor Writes: Part TwoHow #1 Hit Podcast ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ Co-Creator Jeffrey Cranor Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


Tim Ferriss on Finding and Focusing On What Truly MattersTim Ferriss on Finding and Focusing On What Truly Matters

by Brian Clark

The post The Keys to Launching a Successful Online Course appeared first on Copyblogger.

My Favorite Business Model for a Breakthrough Digital Business

a business model and a breakthrough

It was the end of 2008. Something you might remember about that year — in October, the markets took a nasty fall and the global economy melted down.

I was the sole breadwinner for my family. The company I worked for was going through round after round of layoffs. The well-paying, secure job I’d had for five years looked likely to evaporate underneath me.

I had some savings, but not a ton. I had a mortgage and preschool for my three-year-old to pay for, as well as silly habits like buying groceries and having health insurance for my family.

I had been noodling around with business ideas, but I hadn’t gotten serious.

In the final few months of 2008, I had to get serious. Early in 2009, I took the leap. Here’s how I did it.

My year of living dangerously

In 2009, I felt a lot like a chicken trying to cross an eight-lane highway. It was theoretically possible, but there was a non-optimal level of stress involved.

The first thing I did was hang out my shingle as a freelance copywriter.

In a lot of ways, it was wonderful. I worked on fascinating projects that I cared about. I had lovely clients who actually listened to me. I was able to implement content strategy (which I learned, incidentally, mainly from Copyblogger), instead of sitting in endless meetings talking about it.

The main downside for me was the “you don’t kill, you don’t eat” freelance model, in which I was endlessly having to close new clients in order to keep my revenue going.

I know people who are masters of this. I was not one of them.

But it worked, more or less. I was supporting my family.

Growing the audience

One thing I’m so grateful for about that time: I had started growing my audience well before I needed clients. My original intent had been to find another job — I figured a blog would help me stand out with prospective employers.

As it turned out, I was functionally unemployable, but the blog was an amazing resource. It didn’t have zillions of readers or email subscribers — but it had enough.

(By the way, I launched an email list with a simple autoresponder before I even had that site up, which I recommend if you’re starting from scratch today. You want to capture every drop of attention you can.)

By the time I went out on my own, that blog had already started to pull a small audience together. It also connected me with like-minded people for projects, support, expertise, and eventually business partnerships.

The email list allowed me to put offers in front of potential customers — and discover what worked and what didn’t.

Finding stability

2009 was a year of hustle, and trying out all kinds of business models.

I tried freelancing, which sort of worked. I tried some content strategy consulting (we called it something else then), which also sort of worked. I put together a few simple information products with friends. I had some affiliate offers going.

My friend Gary, a business coach who talked me down from Mount Freakout about a thousand times that year, had been on my case to launch an online course with a membership component. I told him I’d get it done that year.

It was not pretty. Building the site was complicated, and I needed to hire someone to put together a variety of puzzle pieces that came from entirely different puzzles. It was fairly expensive to build. But I got it launched — in mid-December, since I’d promised Gary I’d do it that year. (Accountability is a useful thing.)

I called that site The Remarkable Marketing Blueprint, and it changed everything.

(There are still lovely and successful folks out there who identify themselves as “The Remarkables.” That makes me deeply happy.)

I launched the Blueprint at a pretty modest monthly fee. The checkout system was a PayPal nightmare, and I’m lucky it worked at all. The membership management tools were primitive, with lousy security. (Remind me to tell you about the week that Russian hackers kept putting porn into my member library. Fun times.)

That’s why I’m a bit emphatic about how much easier the Rainmaker Platform makes things. Trust me, the early tools were not so user-friendly.

But they got the job done. People bought the course. They benefited from the course.

After a short time, I relaunched the Blueprint (Gary was bugging me again) at a higher price. And that launch went even better.

I didn’t become a millionaire. But I had momentum and steady revenue. I was helping people with their problems, and in turn, I was making a reasonable living. I had a business that worked.

If you think that would be an amazing feeling … you’re absolutely right.

Come to the free webinar

Building an online course or membership community is a great business model — but it’s not a guaranteed home run. You can set yourself up for failure, or set yourself up for success.

Brian Clark’s original Teaching Sells was the course that taught me how to set the Blueprint up for success. How to structure it, how to make it marketable, how to position it, how to get the content created, how to launch it, and how to run it.

Teaching Sells isn’t on the market anymore, but Brian Clark still teaches folks how to build online courses — only these days, it’s a much more streamlined process.

Brian’s holding a free webinar on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time that will get you started.

Click the button below for easy (and free!) registration.

Free Webinar:
How to Develop an Irresistible Online Course People Will Line Up to Buy (and Then Actually Use)

I love this model for so many reasons.

  • I won’t say it was easy, but it was doable.
  • It supported me and my family when we really needed it.
  • It provided steady, predictable revenue so I could catch my breath and actually plan something.
  • It was conducive to my commitment to be a good parent and spouse as well as a capable businessperson.
  • It connected me with wonderful customers, who became friends, and who went into the world and did amazing things.
  • And it opened doors to other possibilities — the business stage that Brian Clark calls “Acceleration.”

It’s a model that works if you know how to do something really well. It’s also a model that works if you don’t have your own particular area of expertise, but you partner with someone who does. (You set the course up and run it; they provide the content and expert authority. These can be remarkably productive businesses.)

Even though we’ve been business partners for years now, I always make a point of listening to what Brian has to say about online courses. He always has new insights and points of clarity that I learn from.

So I’ll be there … and if you have any interest at all in this model, I recommend you check it out as well. You can just click the button to get registered.

Free Webinar:
How to Develop an Irresistible Online Course People Will Line Up to Buy (and Then Actually Use)

The post My Favorite Business Model for a Breakthrough Digital Business appeared first on Copyblogger.

How to Write a High-Value Lesson Plan that Makes Your Course Easy to Sell

a step-by-step guide to organizing and delivering your course

The demand for online education is exploding.

The global market for online courses is estimated around $107 billion. A mind-boggling figure, right?

Imagine stuffing one-dollar bills into a 53-foot truck. Depending on how crumpled your bills are, you’d need around 1,000 trucks stuffed up to the roof to transport those 107-billion dollar bills.

Would you like one of those trucks to deliver a heap of money to you?

Then you must create a lesson plan so valuable that students get excited about buying your online course.

A high-value lesson plan motivates people to both study and implement your advice. It makes students so happy about their newly acquired skills that they tell all of their friends about your course. That’s how your course starts selling like hot cakes.

Ready to get started?

Step #1: Carefully assess your students’ needs

When developing a course on your own platform, the most logical starting point often seems to be your expertise.

How can you teach your skills to others?

This common approach is asking for trouble. Big trouble.

Because it’s hard to create a valuable learning experience when you think from your own perspective rather than from the student’s perspective.

Think about your course buyers first:

  • Who will buy your course?
  • How will the course transform them?
  • Why are they interested in this transformation?

Imagine, for instance, that you’re a social media expert, and you want to create a course to share your Twitter knowledge. You could answer the three questions above in widely different ways:

  • You might want to target Twitter novices who are hoping to build a Twitter following because they want more traffic to their websites.
  • You might want to target freelance writers who want to connect with publishers and influencers because they want to write for well-known publications that pay higher fees.
  • You might want to target small business marketers who find Twitter a time suck; they want to promote their brands in less time.

Each of these audiences requires a different lesson plan because they have different learning objectives and different levels of experience.

So before you create your lesson plan, define who your audience is and how you’ll help them.

If you’re unsure, read questions in relevant forums and check out the comment sections of popular blogs. Or, even better, ask your own email subscribers what they’re struggling with and how you can help.

Once you understand your audience and the overall aim of your course, you can start creating your lesson plan — the foundation of a popular course.

Step #2: Assign learning objectives to each part of your course

Courses often fail to deliver a smooth learning experience because participants lose track of their objectives.

Students become demotivated when they don’t understand the value of each lesson. They don’t see how your information contributes to their goals. They might even forget why they’re taking your course.

To keep your participants motivated, break the overall objective of your course down into mini-targets for each lesson.

You can fill in the blanks of this magical sentence for each target:

Learn [how this works], so you can [achieve so-and-so].

Each module, each lesson, and each assignment in your course should have a purpose. When participants understand the value of the information and how they’ll benefit from it, they’re more likely to engage with your course and implement your advice.

And what’s more, your valuable lesson plan makes crafting a sales page a breeze, too.

You already know who’s going to buy your course and why (for the transformation). You’ve already listed features (what people learn) and benefits (why they care about learning the information you teach). So, your lesson plan is the ideal selling tool for your course.

But how do you define the purpose of each lesson? And how do you make sure all of the lessons help students achieve their overall goal — their transformation?

Step #3: Create simple, digestible lessons

Ever felt overwhelmed when taking a course?

Or perhaps you’ve studied a course diligently, but were left wondering: “Now, what?”

Ensuring your course meets or exceeds your buyer’s expectations is a tough job. You can’t leave any gaps, but you also can’t overwhelm students by inundating them with too much information.

To avoid any gaps in your lesson plan, start with listing the steps you take to complete a specific task.

Let’s look at an easy example first.

Imagine creating a mini-course for cycling enthusiasts about packing a bicycle for transportation on a plane. You can create this course by making notes of the steps you take when packing your bike.

In this case, it’s even easier to record a video of yourself and provide a running commentary. But when you’re teaching an abstract topic, like leadership or digital marketing skills, it’s more difficult.

For abstract topics, reverse-engineer your processes

As an expert, you often accomplish tasks effortlessly. You don’t think about how you create a presentation; you simply put the slides together. You don’t think about how to write an email or give a client a quote. You simply perform the tasks.

To break down your processes, start by asking yourself, “How did I arrive at this result?”

Imagine creating online training materials for senior managers. One skill you want to teach is conducting performance reviews that motivate staff members and make them more productive.

You can picture yourself going through the process:

  • How do you prepare?
  • How do you ask your team members to prepare?
  • How do you conduct the performance review?
  • What type of notes do you take?

You can mentally rehearse your latest performance reviews and break down the complicated parts. You can play back how you dealt with an underperforming team member. You can think about the questions you asked to help you understand what your team member was struggling with.

You’ll find that you often need to mix different types of digestible chunks, especially for complicated topics or advanced skills. For instance, in my Enchanting Business Blogging course:

  • You learn how to write headlines, subheads, opening paragraphs, the main body text, and closing paragraphs — these are all different parts of a blog post
  • You learn how to generate ideas, outline, write a first draft, and edit — these are all different stages of the blog writing process
  • You also learn how to tell a mini-story, use metaphors, and include specific examples — these are all different writing techniques

You have to dig deep to distinguish different parts, chop up a process, and pinpoint techniques. You have to understand the essence of your topic and the foundation of your skills.

In the Da Vinci course from Sean D’Souza at Psychotactics, for instance, you can learn how to draw cartoons. But first, what’s the foundation of drawing? The course begins with drawing circles.

Now you’ve reverse-engineered your process. You’ve created a lesson plan that’s logical and enticing. Each lesson has a clear learning objective, and your valuable lesson plan is nearly ready.

Step #4: Motivate students to implement your advice

Consuming information in digestible chunks is not the same as learning.

To give your students real value and create raving fans, encourage students to implement your advice. At the end of each lesson, create an assignment for them.

For example, my guide for writing About pages, co-written with Julia Rymut, is a five-day mini-course.

Each day features new information plus an assignment so you can implement what you’ve learned:

  • Learn how to order the key components of an About page to create an engaging flow. Review how your favorite websites communicate the essential components of an About page (analysis of other people’s work helps reinforce the lesson).
  • Learn how to generate ideas for your About page. Complete a 23-point questionnaire so writing about yourself becomes a breeze.
  • Learn specific editing tips for About pages. Edit your page to make your content credible, persuasive, and enjoyable.

Remember, a valuable lesson plan doesn’t simply share information. It inspires students to implement your advice by suggesting activities and assignments.

Step #5: Avoid the biggest pitfall in lesson creation

You’re an expert. You’re brimming with enthusiasm for your topic. You want to share your knowledge and teach your skills. You want to inspire people.

Your red-cheeked enthusiasm is both a huge advantage and an enormous potential pitfall.

While your teaching materials will likely reflect your enthusiasm and get students excited about your course, your enthusiasm may also make you prone to overwhelming your students.

Because you want to teach them everything. Each method. Each trick. Each example. Each exception. And you risk leaving your students gasping for air.

Sharing everything you know is not necessary. Go back to the objective of your course, and ask yourself, “What’s the minimum students need to learn to fulfill that objective?”

Then evaluate your lesson plan:

  • Can you eliminate any learning material that’s not absolutely necessary? (Instead of scrapping lessons, consider turning them into bonus material.)
  • Does each lesson have one, straightforward learning objective, or have you muddled your program by sneaking multiple objectives into one lesson? Try cutting lessons into smaller chunks.
  • For each exercise or assignment, have you covered the relevant knowledge and skills?
  • Do the learning objectives follow each other in a logical order?
  • What could prevent students from implementing your advice? And how can you help overcome those hurdles?
  • Have you warned students about common mistakes?
  • Do the learning objectives match your overall promise?

Too much information makes students feel overwhelmed and leads to inaction. Not enough information leaves students confused and defeated. Good teachers inspire their students by giving exactly the right amount of information.

When running a test drive or beta version of your course, keep a close eye on the questions people ask.

Is important information missing? Are specific assignments stumbling blocks? Do students need a pep talk halfway through your course because they’re losing confidence? Or do you need to slow down and recap the lessons so far?

As a good teacher, do more than share information. Encourage. Motivate. Inspire.

Set the foundation for a thriving online training business

Some say that online learning may be more effective than the traditional model of classroom learning.

People can study at their own pace. They don’t waste time traveling and can save energy by studying from home. They can connect with like-minded people across the world.

But online learning only works if we, as providers, deliver a valuable learning experience.

Creating a valuable lesson plan can be tricky. I’m sure you’ve taken courses that left you confused, cross-eyed, and without hair. Or perhaps you gave up long before that. Defeated, you moved on to the next shiny course. Without making progress.

Your students deserve better than that.

So don’t simply share your knowledge. Create a course that teaches a real skill. Make your course so inspirational that people are begging you to create another course next.

Your valuable lesson plan is the solid foundation of a thriving training business.

Can you hear that truck honking?

The driver leans out of the window, a smile on his face. He’s waving at you, ready to deliver a heap of dollar bills.


Free Webinar: How to Develop an Irresistible Online Course People Will Line Up to Buy (and Then Actually Use)

  • Are you currently planning or developing an online course and looking for a few key pieces of practical advice (from a proven expert) that will put you in a position to have a successful launch?
  • Do you already have an online course that you’re looking to improve before your next launch?
  • Or are you simply curious what this online course craze is all about?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the three questions above, then join Rainmaker Digital founder and CEO Brian Clark on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time for a free webinar.

By the end of the hour, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of how to develop an online course that your target audience needs … and that they will be compelled to pay for.

Learn More and Register for Free

Editor’s note: The original version of this post was published on August 18, 2015.

The post How to Write a High-Value Lesson Plan that Makes Your Course Easy to Sell appeared first on Copyblogger.

4 Surprising Ways You’ll Profit from Building an Online Course

surprising! what you'll learn when you build an online course

I had no idea what I was getting myself into back in the fall of 2009.

The only thing I knew for sure was that I was feeling antsy.

I had been running my design and marketing business for almost two decades. Over almost twenty years, I had helped every kind of client with every kind of project. Truth be told: I was getting a little bored.

And boredom, as far as I’m concerned, is Enemy #1.

Up to that point, my business was strictly offline. I had a web presence, but it was a brochure site. You know, a “here’s what I do and here’s how to contact me” website with no content, no audience-building component, no connection whatsoever with the people who landed on its pages. Old school.

The thrill was gone from my current career. Something had to change. So I started searching.

And exactly one Google search later, I landed here on the pages of Copyblogger.

It just so happened that I stumbled onto these pages in the weeks leading up to the launch of one of the early versions of Teaching Sells, the online course that taught online course building. It’s the product that helped establish the company I now work for.

I signed up for Teaching Sells as soon as the doors opened. And I dug right into the materials. All five months’ worth!

As I watched the videos and did the worksheets, I filled a folder full of notes. I worked overtime to consume every lesson. I asked and answered questions in the forum. I attended Q&A sessions. I was all in.

But it’s what happened after taking the course that changed my career and my life.

Here’s what happened after I took the Teaching Sells course

I built my online presence from scratch after taking the Teaching Sells course. Everything — from my brand name, to my website, to my blog content, to my opt-in offer, to my first course — was born from what I learned in the course materials.

Once I knew my ultimate goal was to offer online education, I was able to reverse engineer my online presence to attract an audience of readers who would become my students.

It worked like a charm. My only complaint? I wished there was a more compact way to learn what I learned. And now there is (more on that below).

It turns out that teaching still sells, now more than ever. The online education market is growing. New technologies like simulation-based teaching, cognitive learning, augmented reality, and bot-based tutorials are engaging people of all age groups and interests.

Back when I first learned about how to create online education, there was a stigma surrounding learning this way, as if it “wasn’t the real deal.” How could web-based learning possibly replace the back-and-forth interaction of a classroom?

Now we’ve realized that we’re just scratching the surface of how computing power can augment and improve our educational experiences. The sky’s the limit.

Are you in? Because in today’s article, I want to share four not-so-obvious advantages of creating online courses. These are benefits I’ve experienced personally.

And they offer compelling reasons you might want to explore creating an online course in the near future.

1. You’ll discover that adult learners become loyal customers

When you empower someone with information that allows them to do something they’ve never done, or work more efficiently, or enjoy life more … they’ll never forget you.

It’s the ultimate top-of-mind awareness for your business and your brand.

Believe it or not, I still meet people who thank me for courses they took from me four, five, and six years ago. That’s remarkable!

Education has that effect — it can transform people’s lives. And people whose lives you transform become loyal, devoted customers.

2. You’ll develop your position (and that will help later)

Creating a course is hard work. If you want to do it right, you spend time laying the groundwork for your course with some fundamentals first:

  • You find a market of “hungry learners”
  • You develop a unique approach for your course
  • You define a learner profile so you fully understand who you’re serving
  • You identify the benefits of knowledge — how your learner will grow from what you’ll teach them
  • You spell out learning objectives for your course

All this before creating a single lesson!

But here’s the thing — the time you spend defining your market, your position, and the knowledge you’ll convey will benefit you in so many ways. In a very sneaky way, you’ll be:

  • Pinpointing a target market for your content and confirming demand
  • Uniquely positioning your brand
  • Understanding what motivates your ideal customer
  • Creating selling points for your course
  • Writing marketing copy you can use on sales pages and in emails

Doing the work of building your course will put you well ahead in your marketing efforts.

And working through the fundamentals will help you write better content that draws new people to your website and your offerings.

3. You’ll learn All The Things

A full-blown online course is not a Minimum Viable Product. Not even close.

The biggest mistake I made was to tackle putting together a fully functional online course as my first product.

(It’s embarrassing even to type this.)

But looking back, I have no regrets. Putting together a full-fledged online course forced me to learn All The Things. Things like:

  • How to write effective content that attracts the right audience
  • How to accept payments for online products
  • How to position, launch, and generate ongoing sales for a digital product
  • How to put my paid content behind a secure paywall
  • How to allow members to communicate with each other and with me
  • How to create, present, and host online video content
  • How to build a community around my teaching

When I look at that list, it’s pretty daunting. Thinking about doing all these things may push you well beyond your comfort zone.

Learning to create a full-featured online course is like attending a digital content bootcamp.

The good news? After creating a full-blown online course, creating other types of digital content will seem easy. You’ll have an impressive skill set that will serve you well as you create, set up, and sell other online products.

4. You’ll know your topic better than ever before

Want to really master a topic? Teach it.

There’s nothing like codifying your expertise and teaching it to others to cement certain concepts in your own mind.

You research information, synthesize what you’ve learned, and then express it in your own words. This process builds your understanding and deepens your grasp of your topic.

One word of caution: sometimes teaching a topic can lead to knowing so much about it you begin to lose touch with what beginners need to know.

This is the dreaded “curse of knowledge,” and it separates you from your newbie students. Stay in touch with your audience, understand their needs — no matter where they are in relation to your topic — and focus on how you can help them.

Doing this will help you create a better course and allow you to create better offers in the future, too.

A new (updated) course about building online courses

I’m happy to share that Teaching Sells, the course I took that set my career on a brand-new path, has evolved into something even better.

It’s leaner, faster to consume, and has the most up-to-date information about what works in online education right now.

And it’s taught by the originator of Teaching Sells, our CEO Brian Clark. Brian poured what was best about Teaching Sells into this new course and added a healthy dose of what he’s learned since his early days in the online education market.

The course, Build Your Online Education Business the Smarter Way, will soon be available as a standalone product.

To learn more about the online education market, I urge you to sign up and attend Brian’s upcoming free webinar that’s happening on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Click the button below for easy (and free!) registration.

Free Webinar:
How to Develop an Irresistible Online Course People Will Line Up to Buy (and Then Actually Use)

The post 4 Surprising Ways You’ll Profit from Building an Online Course appeared first on Copyblogger.

Take Courage: Get Some Entrepreneurial Bravery This Week on Copyblogger

Take Courage: Get Some Entrepreneurial Bravery This Week on Copyblogger

Hey there — welcome back to the Copyblogger Weekly!

I was recording a podcast interview this week, and during the conversation I realized how much of business comes down to “putting one foot in front of the other.”

From the outside, it tends to look like your favorite business owners or content marketers have everything figured out. Really, they’re doing the same thing you are — looking around to figure out the territory, making “best guesses” about how to move forward, then executing and watching for results.

Creating online means we’re always navigating unfamiliar waters — and that’s a great thing, even when it’s hard.

On Monday, it was so nice to hear from Raubi Perilli on The Digital Entrepreneur podcast, talking about listening to your instincts and finding your business passion. On Tuesday, I got a little riled up on my podcast, encouraging you to resist anyone telling you that it’s “too late” to add your voice to the world of podcasting — or any other content type.

And on Wednesday, Pamela Wilson’s post encourages you to embrace the uncertain path of the heroic entrepreneur. (Even if your superhero jammies are in the wash.)

Inspiration tends to work a lot better when it rides along with practical advice. In my Copyblogger article on Monday, I shared some thoughts on different models for niche education sites. On Tuesday, Kyle Fiehler gave us some specific strategies for crafting technical content, even if you’re not an expert.

Stay inspired, work hard, and create something amazing this week. I’ll catch up with you on Wednesday instead of Thursday next week, as we head into the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. See you then!

— Sonia Simone
Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


How to find and focus on the best niche4 Creative Models for Finding the Right Niche for Your Online Business

by Sonia Simone


Tips for top-notch technical contentStruggling to Write for Technical Experts? Try These 3 Powerful Content Marketing Practices

by Kyle Fiehler


How to become the hero of your story5 Ways to Embrace the Uncertain Path of a Heroic Entrepreneur

by Pamela Wilson


How to Start and Grow a Successful Membership Site (In Your Spare Time)How to Start and Grow a Successful Membership Site (In Your Spare Time)

by Sean Jackson


The Creative Entrepreneur: Living the DreamThe Creative Entrepreneur: Living the Dream

by Brian Gardner & Lauren Mancke


Is Your Intro Silently Killing Your Show?Is Your Intro Silently Killing Your Show?

by Jerod Morris & Jon Nastor


Why Trusting Your Instincts Can Lead You to Your PassionWhy Trusting Your Instincts Can Lead You to Your Passion

by Brian Clark & Jerod Morris


Have You Already Missed the Podcasting Gold Rush?Have You Already Missed the Podcasting Gold Rush?

by Sonia Simone


How the Author of ‘The Bestseller Code’ Jodie Archer Writes: Part TwoHow the Author of ‘The Bestseller Code’ Jodie Archer Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


Steal Like an Entrepreneur, with Austin KleonSteal Like an Entrepreneur, with Austin Kleon

by Brian Clark


Brian Clark on The 7-Figure CEO PodcastBrian Clark on The 7-Figure CEO Podcast

by Caroline Early


this-week-in-authority

Authority Q&A Call with Sonia Simone and Pamela Wilson

Friday, November 18

Join Authority members for the opportunity to get your content marketing and business questions answered by two people with almost 60 years of experience between them! No question is too small, and the more specific the better.

Join Authority to attend this session

The post Take Courage: Get Some Entrepreneurial Bravery This Week on Copyblogger appeared first on Copyblogger.