How to Create an Online Course Your Audience Will Fall in Love With

If you are wondering how to create an online course your audience will fall in love with, you're in the right place.

Avoid the hidden pitfalls, and create an online course with the type of content that your audience will devour.

In this post, 19 Successful Course Creators share their top tips for identifying, creating and delivering the RIGHT kind of content for your online course + there's a free download Starter Kit to kickstart your course creation.

How to Create an Online Course that your Audience will Fall in Love with - including a super helpful infographIc and fun SlideShare.
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

BY DONNA MORITZ | UPDATED 27 DEC, 2018 | CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through a link. 

Online course creation is huge.  It's a Multi-Billion Dollar industry and growing.

So, who do you turn to for advice on how to create an online course that gets results?  Where do you start?  How do you avoid all the common mistakes?

Hint: Just about every Course Creator will tell you that they have made mistakes, and often big ones.

The answer is right here. I asked 19 Expert Online Course Creators to share with us “how to create an online course” – including their top tips for identifying, planning and creating the right kind of content that your audience will fall in LOVE with. There are tips from course creation smarties like Amy Porterfield, Ian Cleary, Rebekah Radice, Kim Garst, Greg Smith and more!

It's the kind of content that will have your audience saying “you must have read my mind” and “it's just what I needed”.

It's content that gets them results and turns them into raving fans who stay active in your online course … and refer all their friends.

Seats are Limited! Grab a Seat to Amy Porterfield's NEW Free Masterclass

My good friend Amy Porterfield is holding a brand new FREE masterclass this week.

If 2019 is the year you finally create your online course (no more overwhelm, freaking out over lack of time or stressing about the tech) then be sure you sign up for this Masterclass!

Get your seat now! – Only ONE Masterclass left!

And she has just launched Digital Course Academy (for a limited time) – so click to check it out if you're thinking about creating an online course this year!

 

Now… let's jump into the tips from the experts (and a handy infographic!).

How to Create an Online Course (that Your Audience Loves)

#1  Michael Stelzner

Founder, Social Media Examiner and Social Media Marketing World | Host, Social Media Marketing Podcast

Work from Data Not Intuition Michael Stelzner - top top for how to create an online course

When creating a course, try to actually understand what your audience is interested in rather than creating something you are interested in. I call this process, “assumption testing.”

Put those assumptions or thoughts you have to the test. This means simple surveys and asking questions like this, “Which of the following topics are you interested in learning more about.” This will help ensure you have a solution that is meeting a true need of your audience.

 

#2  Natalie Sisson

Chief Adventurer, Suitcase Entrepreneur

Nail Your Ideal Customer AvatarNatalie Sisson on how to create an online course that your audience will fall in love with.

The most fundamental, yet overlooked part of creating online course content that people love is knowing who those people are and speaking directly to them. It seems obvious but it's much harder to do than you think.

I'm talking about nailing your ideal avatar – exactly who is going to benefit from your content or course most, and then speak their language, as if you're speaking directly to them like a friend would.

The minute you understand their challenge, and can write according to what they desire most, you will have fans for life and loyal customers who love whatever you produce!

 

#3  Antrese Wood

Artist and Host of the Savvy Painter Podcast (for artists who mean business).  

Get on the Phone! (and get help from the experts: your audience).

When I designed my course, Mindset Mastery for Artists, I asked my audience for help. First, I made sure it solved a problem they have by asking questions and testing my assumptions. Then I Antrese Wood founder of Savvy Painter Podcast on How to Create an Online Course Your Audience will fall in love withtook it one step further and called them.

Yes, I picked up the phone and called artists who might benefit from the course.  I tested my ideas and proved the concepts worked before I even started building the product. I used the comments and concerns of my audience to shape the content. By the time I offered the course, it was a no-brainer for them, and it sold out quickly. 

 

#4  Andrea Vahl

Speaker, Author, and founder of Social Media Manager School & AndreaVahl.com

Answer Your Customer's QuestionsAndrea Vahl on How to Create an Online Course that Your Audience will Fall in Love with

Usually I create courses around the things my clients ask the most about.  So before Phyllis Khare and I created Social Media Manager School, we both noticed that we had a lot of clients in the category of Social Media Consultant who were all asking similar things. 

We got together and built a course that wasn't like any other course out there since it combined starting your business and the social media training.  We've now had over 1200 students go through the course in the last few years.

#5  Ian Cleary

Founder of Razor Social

Do Regular Surveysian_cleary

I've been down the road before where I created a course that I thought the audience wanted but didn't.  Now I find out what the audience is struggling with and then build courses around this. 

So you do regular surveys with your audience to figure out what is the most talked about areas in terms of problems they are having and then build content around these areas.  You can even use the words they use in the copy for your sales/promotional material!

 

#6  Melissa Megginson

Marketing Manager at Tailwind

Learn and Benefit from Customer Churn Melissa Megginson on How to Create an Online Course that Your Audience will Fall in Love With

For Tailwind's educational hub, Launchpad, we actually looked to those users who stopped using our platform for content inspiration. We found that many of our churned users stopped using Tailwind because they didn't understand how Pinterest worked compared to platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

With that in mind, we started creating content about the differences between Pinterest and the other platforms and how to use those differences to your advantage.

If you can figure out where the disconnect is between your audience's goals and how they're getting there, you'll find the sweet spot for course content creation.

 

#7  Viveka Von Rosen

LinkedIn Expert and Founder of LinkedIntoBusiness.com

Listen to what your customers DON'T want.Viveka Von Rosen on How to Create an Online Course that Your Audience will fall in Love with

When I was going to create my last course, I had a really great idea of what I would offer.  A comprehensive A-Z guide on everything you could possibly want to know about LinkedIn.  It was going to be about 7 hours long and have almost 100 pages of resource materials.  

And then my content manager had this genius idea.  He suggested I ASK my tribe what they wanted.  

Turns out the overwhelming majority did NOT want The Complete Guide to LinkedIn.  They wanted  to know how to find higher quality LinkedIn leads. Duh.  Fortunately HighQualityLinkedInLeads.com was available and that became my newest (and by far best-selling) course.

 

#8  Amy Porterfield

Founder of AmyPorterfield.com and the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast.

Focus on a completed outline before you get started! amy_porterfield

My secret sauce for creating online programs, is my ability to really focus on a completed outline before I get started. The way you unveil your content is a direct reflection of how quickly people are going to be able to learn what you're teaching them and implement it.

 

Don't forget to Sign up for Amy's FREE Masterclass this week – you'll learn her 3 behind-the-scenes secrets to creating successful digital courses in 2019 and beyond:

Get your seat now! Only One Masterclass Left!

My good friend Amy Porterfield is holding a brand new FREE masterclass this week.

And she has just launched Digital Course Academy (for a limited time) – so click to check it out if you're thinking about creating an online course this year!

 

 

#9  Kimberly Murphy

Head of Money & LIfestyle Channel, CreativeLive.

Create Actionable LessonsKimberly Murphy on How to Create an Online Course Your Audience will Fall in Love with

When I create a CreativeLive Money & Lifestyle class, I always think about which instructors and what content are going to inspire someone to make the leap.

Many people have a fear of failure and need to feel empowered to start their own business, ask for the rates they deserve or make lifestyle changes that are going to get them where they want to be.

I like to book instructors that have chosen the road less traveled and have become leaders in their industry. After the right person to teach is selected we then work to create the lessons in a way that is actionable, so our students feel equipped with the tools and strategies needed to do the thing they have always wanted to do. 

 

#10   Rebekah Radice

Award-winning content marketer at RebekahRadice.com and Chief Marketing Officer at Post Planner. 

Be the Catalyst to their Success.rebekah_radice

Do Your Research.  Know every detail about your audience's struggle or pain. What can you help them do, be, or create in a better way than they've ever done before? Now focus all of your energy on being the catalyst to their success.

 

#11   Valerie Khoo

CEO of the Australian Writer's Centre, a world leader in online courses for all genres of writing.  

Create Digestible Learning Modules. Valerie Khoo on How to Create an Online Course Your Audience will Fall in Love with

Think about the most logical way that people need to learn and take action from what they discover in your course.

Make sure you structure the course so that you are creating digestible learning modules where people not only feel that have fully understood what you've explained, but have the confidence to take action on what they have learnt. 

Consider everyones question that they are likely to have and ensure these are all answered by the end of the course. Make sure it's not just theory – your teaching will stick more with people if you provide real life examples they can relate to.

 

#12   Caroline Makepeace

Founder of yTravelBlog.comcaroline_makepeace

Put a lot of YOU into the course. 

My participants love the daily videos I give them throughout my Money Cleanse course. It helped them feel supported and got to better understand who I was, what I stood for, and how I could help them as a living example of what I preach.

 

How to Create an Online Course in 5 Steps – Infographic

What do you get when you look at all 19 of these tips? You get a great framework for How to Create an Online Course.

We broke the tips down into 5 Key Steps and featured them on this handy infographic. Pin it for later or share away!

Please include attribution to SociallySorted.com.au with this graphic.

How to Create an Online Course Your Audience Will Fall in Love With - 5 Steps to Awesome Online Course Content

Share this Image On Your Site

#13   Kylie Patchett

Founder of KyliePatchett.com, Mindset Mistress for Women Entrepreneurs

Aim to help a client transform.Kylie Patchett on How to Create an Online Course that Your Audience will Fall in Love with

My tip is to keep the content simple and highly effective, rather than favour quantity over quality.  Your aim with your course is to help a client transform or move through something they either cannot, or will not, transform themselves.

Your job as a guide is to give people the knowledge, tools and framework to take that journey step by step.  Trying to give everything you know to that person in one go is fraught with failure, similar to trying to drink just a sip from a firehose.  Being married to a volunteer firefighter, I know just how hard that would be!

 

#14  Phil Mershon

Director of Events, Social Media Examiner

Speak their LanguagePhil Mershon

Through surveys and Google search results, find the exact words your customers and target audience uses to describe the pain point you plan to solve.

Then you can paint a picture of a better future.  Once you understand your audience's pain point and can get them to say “That's me” you now want to show how much better things could be and how your course could help them get there.

 

 

 

#15  Sue B Zimmerman

The #InstagramExpert, Founder at SueBZimmerman.com and creator of the online Instagram course “Ready Set Gram”.

Their win becomes your win.  sue_zimmerman

Creating content that is easy to consume in 20-30 min modules is the right amount of time to get through each lesson.   Make sure you have actionable teaching points (include a workbook) so that your customers take action and do the work.  Their win becomes your win.  Having a companion PDF to write things down and follow along gives added value.   

HOT TIP:  Create a private FB group so you can interact with your customers and answer questions and continue to give value and build trust after they have purchased the course.  Be sure to make your rules clear in your group.  Also having a branded hashtag for a course to bring together like minded biz owners to grow a community on Instagram – like this one:  #RSGCommunity

 

#16  Melonie Dodaro

Social Media Speaker and Linkedin Expert. Founder of Top Dog Social Media.

Consider their knowledge of the subject matter.   melonie_dodaro

Make sure that you create content with your ideal client’s actual knowledge of the subject in mind. Just because you are extremely familiar with the subject matter does not mean that they will be. If you are going to make an assumption, assume they are starting with little to no knowledge.

Break the information down into its most basic steps, explain in great detail and include images or videos to provide the user with a step-by-step guide.

I also recommend providing many templates and examples that they can follow as this will increase the likelihood that they will actually implement what they've learned and you will have fulfilled on the promise you made when you sold the course.

 

#17  Kim Garst

Social Selling Strategist and Best Selling Author

Listen.
Kim Garst on How to Create an Online Course Your Audience will fall in love with.

People buy online courses because they have a problem and need a solution to that problem. The key to developing a course that people can't wait to buy is to find a problem and develop a solution for it.

One of the best ways to identify problems is to LISTEN. When you hear the same problem repeated over and over, you have the problem. When you have the solution to someone's problem, they will buy. In fact, they will thank you for reading their mind!

 

#18  Dave Charest

Senior Manager, Content and Social Media Marketing – Constant Contact

Leave your ego at the door and be openDave Charest from Constant Contact on How to Create Online Courses you audience will fall in love with

“To create course content your audience falls in love with you must spend time with them, get to know their wants, needs, and challenges, then design toward that reality.

Leave your ego at the door and be open to what your audience truly needs to be successful. 

 

#19  Greg Smith

 Co-Founder of Thinkific – a platform that gives you everything you need to easily create, market and sell your own online courses.  

Gamify the content with QuizzesGreg Smith from Thinkific on How to Create an Online Course that your audience falls in love with

Break up your course into short digestible lessons with quizzes for better engagement and to ensure your students have understood your content.

 

Bonus Tip from Ian Cleary:

Ian had one more tip about How to Create an Online Course your Audience will fall in love with. Here it is:

Founder of Razor Social

Prevent Overwhelmian_cleary

The second big area I focus on is ensuring they don't suffer overwhelm.  We think that we have to provide so much content but what people want is results.  They don't have time to go through massive amounts of content!

Ready to Get Started? Grab Your Seat on Amy's Masterclass!

Don't forget to Sign up for Amy's FREE Masterclass coming up (only one left!) – You'll learn her 3 behind-the-scenes secrets to creating successful digital courses in 2019 and beyond:

Get your seat now! (one Masterclass left!)

And she has just launched Digital Course Academy (for a limited time) – so click to check it out if you're thinking about creating an online course this year!

 

Over to You

Now that you know how to create an online course the right way, tell me this.  What's your one big takeaway from these experts that you will implement? ….or maybe you have one to share!  

Tell me in the comments. Go! 

How to Create an Online Course Your Audience will Fall in Love With - 19 Experts Share their Tips for Course Creation
Like this Post? Pin it for Later. Image by Shutterstock

 

The following two tabs change content below.

Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.