If you’ve got a talent, then why not teach it to others so that they can benefit from your expertise? Publishing a free online course is the best way to make the knowledge you have accessible to everyone all over the world.
At first glance, creating and publishing a course online might seem like a daunting task. But in this blog post, you’ll find everything you need to know – from how to create a plan of action to marketing your course to the world. You’ll also learn about the countless benefits an online course will bring to your brand, your industry and your newfound students!
Why Create a Free Online Course?
Become an industry-recognised expert
Creating a free online course is the best way to establish yourself as an expert in your field. From here, it’s only a short journey to speaking at events, mentoring novices in your industry, and nourishing a whole generation of new talent. It’s an amazing opportunity for you to become a credible voice in your field and help others along the way.
Publishing a course also creates brand recognition. You will no longer be just an individual working in your field; instead, you’ll be an expert consultant for anyone looking to break into the industry.
Monetize your knowledge and grow your industry
Your online course can help you generate passive income on the side. Even if your course is free, you can make money through ads and influencer deals.
You’re also going to be doing a huge service to your own industry by getting more people interested in it. Through an online course, you’ll be doing your part to help your industry grow and bring in more capable young minds.
Statistics show that eLearning has a very high retention rate in students, roughly 25 to 60 percent, which is much higher than in-person learning. This makes it all the more important to make knowledge accessible online. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Your Publishing Plan
The first thing you’ll need to do after you decide to publish a course is research your target audience. What’s the age bracket you want to teach? Is the course going to be for beginners or experts? Who will be most interested?
There are also some more general questions you need to ask. For instance, what is the scope of your course going to be? How much of an impact do you think it will have on the students?
Once you’ve done the preliminary research, you need to plan the course itself. Divide your course into sessions, with each session covering a different topic of importance. Split your course up into modules and create appropriate tests and quizzes.
Remember that there should be no unnecessary content in your course. Everything should be to the point and grasp the student’s attention immediately. People tend to quit online courses halfway through if they feel like they’re not learning anything valuable, so you’ll have to be mindful of this when drafting your content.
Once you have a preliminary draft for your content, see if you can get other experts in your fields to weigh in on your course. Perhaps you could even collaborate with them.
After your content is ready, you will have to find a site to publish it on. Alison is a fantastic website that allows you to publish your course for free and gives you access to over 20 million Learners.
Once you’ve done the hard labour, it’s time to sit back and track engagement to see who’s showing up to your sessions. Make sure to consider feedback and keep updating your course based on what your students have to say about it.
Marketing Your Course
All the effort you put into making your course is rendered moot if no one knows about it. This is why marketing on all platforms at your disposal is so important to increase reach. Below are some of the most crucial marketing tips you should keep in mind.
1. Use social media
Social media marketing is the best way to generate traffic to your course. This type of marketing has been proven to be incredibly effective for all types of businesses, and yours will be no different.
Create colourful and engaging posts and infographics that people will likely click on. Make them as splashy as possible, so they catch potential students’ attention. Share these on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and invite people to sign up.
Making social media posts may seem like a tedious task, but it’s really not. Sites like PosterMyWall offer many great social media post templates that you can customise and download according to your needs.
You should also make a private Facebook group with just your students so you can talk, post important announcements, and get feedback, all while building a trusting relationship with them.
2. Start a podcast
Give potential students a sneak peek into what your course will be like by talking about it in a 30 minute podcast every week. Then post these podcast episodes on social media. Make sure to subtly advertise your course in your podcast and urge people to check it out to learn more. Be careful not to give too much away, though. You do want to make sure that people actually go to your course without feeling like they got all the information they needed just through the podcast. Talk about other topics similar to your course. Keep it light, fun, and conversational. And invite guests to chat with occasionally.
3. Find partners
Don’t try to be a lone wolf in this game. Make sure you’re routinely connecting with other experts in your industry. Tell them about your course and ask them, if they’re comfortable doing it, to share it on their socials. Chances are, their followers will fall into your target audience, so this is a fool-proof way of getting more students into your virtual classroom.
Also try to get these experts to give you a shout out or vouch for your credibility in some other way. People appreciate a second opinion, so why not give it to them?
You could contact experts through social media – LinkedIn is a great place to start! – or get referrals from colleagues. Contact them and set up a meeting to discuss a possible collaboration. Let them know what’s in it for them and how their contribution will be good for the industry and newcomers.
4. Gather student testimonials
Once you get the first batch of students in, get their feedback. There are a number of sites, for instance, Trust Pulse, that allow you to get testimonials automatically and anonymously so people will feel comfortable sharing their honest opinions.
Sift through the testimonials you get and post glowing reviews on your social media and your website. Ask students specifically how the course helped them and what they went on to achieve because of it. The more nuance there is to the opinions, the greater their effectiveness in attracting new students.
5. Have an email list
This is perhaps one of the most important strategies to keep in mind. Collect students’ and potential students’ email addresses so you can keep them in the loop about your courses or any other important announcements you might have for them.
Direct marketing is an efficient tool, and it allows your customer to fully read through the information that concerns only them. Collect emails through your website or through your socials. You should also ask for emails when students sign up for your course.
Once you have all the emails you need, segment them into different categories. For instance, if the course is for teenagers, emails sent to them and emails sent to their parents should not be the same because that’s ultimately a wasted email. Always email the relevant people to avoid being sent straight to spam. Similarly, other experts in the field will not get the same emails as students. So make sure you keep this in mind.
This guest blog was published by PosterMyWall, a one-stop online solution for all your graphic design needs.