-Do I want to build my author platform?
If you choose a subject related to writing, or related to your book, you can easily dovetail your course into all of the promotion you’re already doing, and vice versa. What do I mean by this? One writer I know specializes in historical fiction. He also studied sword fighting as part of his research and got really into it. He’s creating a sword fighting essentials course that can be used by geeks, actors, and stunt-people to expand their repertoire. Having those credentials of being the go-to guy for all things sword fighting really helps his platform. His not-so-secret wish is that one of the many Hollywood types who regularly consults with him on sword fighting may one day promote one of his books to be made into a movie. With a course, people get to see another facet of you in addition to your writer persona. This also helps to turn people into fans.
-Do I want to become an authority, be known for something specific?
Maybe you really want to niche down and get known for something super unique, whether it relates directly to your writing or not. One creative I know is fascinated with creative archetypes and with how people’s auras and unique “frequencies” can be expressed through fiber arts. Incredibly specific, right? In her case, she can both teach people to read people’s auras and learn more about creative archetypes while creating unique fiber arts, and she can sell her pieces. She knows how completely specific this is, but she is able to build a rabid following quickly with a few well-chosen tags on Instagram. For her, having a course is a win-win. She attracts the type of clients who are literally on the same wavelength as her either through the course or through her art, and then she can cross-sell.
-Do I have a passion or a unique talent I want to share through my online course?
We all have passions outside of just simply writing. Some of these passions even border on obsession! One of my writers is obsessed with travel- not surprising, as she is a flight attendant in her “other life.” Her unique talent is packing super quickly and efficiently for any destination. It’s an important skill for not only other flight attendants, but also people who dream of traveling light but never figured it out. Since this is a pretty narrow niche and her course did not take her too long to build, her course can be offered for free as a way to advertise books about travel. But you would be surprised at how many people are passionate about packing efficiently. In the future, this writer will probably have the opportunity to partner with companies that make packing cubes and lightweight luggage solutions. Speaking of which…
-Do I want to make money with my online course?
That does seem like a given, right? We all need money to live. But some people turn to course creation as a get rich quick scheme, and that doesn’t do anyone any favors. Designing a course with the desire to make a quick profit at its core is not the best way forward. You may end up cutting corners and trying to do things too quickly. However, if making significant money from your course is an important part of your goals, you need to reverse-engineer that into it.
-How will you price the course?
-How much will you need to spend on it?
-How long will it take you to launch it?
-How will you promote it?
The best way to make money from a course is to provide value for your students, and to promote your course in the right ways. You can also think of partnerships, i.e., promoting carefully chosen products in your course, as a way of making extra money. In addition, having a well-designed course can yield speaking engagements and other professional opportunities.
Now that you’ve had a chance to read about some of the considerations in designing an online course, what are your goals? Take a sheet of paper and brainstorm. What is important to you? I would love to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to send me an email. And if this all sounds wonderful to you and you would like to use your unique creative and storytelling talents to craft a truly transformational online course, join me inside Course Creation for Storytellers.