Here we go again! It is February and probably, your new year resolutions faded away since we hardly ever follow up on all those really great plans. This is why I'd like to give you a road map if one of your New Year's resolutions was to build an online course. In the following 2 posts, you can read how to inspire people to follow what you share, what it takes to become an authority in your field.
There are different angles that you will have to tackle. One of them, and by far the most important one, is building a list of people who will take interest in buying your course.
Here again, there are different ways to do that. Eventually, it all comes down to finding people you can help and who are interested in your advice. They need to see you as an authority in your field because you cannot help people unless they trust and believe you.
So, over the next few weeks, I'd like to break down the 7 steps to build rapport and become an authority in your field. You will hold the guidelines and all you need to do is follow them. Today, I will share with you the first 3 steps.
1. Know your subject
I believe this is a no brainer. Obviously, you need to be knowledgeable about your subject. Now this being said: how much do you need to know? You won't need a Ph.D. to teach and help people online. As long as you have a passion and knowledge about it, you can help. You will anyway improve while you are sharing and building your audience and you will always be able to share your new information as you go. Now, what you do need is a passion for your subject.
Some of you are professional photographers, Yoga teachers, nutritionists... others learned a lot through experience, through challenges life threw at them. They used them to improve their lives and grow. Those people have a lot to share and it is often year-long experience and learning that they offer. Let me give you a couple of examples:
I helped Lori Ann King build her course. She went through surgical menopause years ago, a difficult time, she also wrote a bestseller about the subject but then she wanted to step it up. She helps people now in a hands-on approach through her course Balanced Wellness during Menopause.
Another great example is Susan Whitehead with her course Wanderlust Families.
Their family of 8 went all over the world for several years and now she helps people who want to do the same getting started and live their dream. She takes their fears away by making the unknown a little less scary, lowering the threshold with her course.
So, your knowledge can come from your work, a passion or a difficulty that you outgrew, either way, you will have the necessary background to help others move forward.
2. Define your niche
A very important step in building your course is knowing who your end user will be. The whole tone will depend on that and it defines some of the content in your course and the way you will bring it together.
Being a yoga teacher myself, I would argue that yoga is for everybody no matter the age, gender... but obviously, that is not good enough. You need to know if you build your course for 60-year-old male beginners or 30-year-old women who have already experience with it. Maybe you want to work with kids and that is again a totally different way of doing it. The course will be different, the way of selling it, too.
So, you need to ask yourself some questions:
Who would profit most from my course?
- If you want to teach skateboard you might have some trouble finding prospects in the 60 to 80-year-old population.
Who would I like to work with?
- If there is a target group you cannot relate to, don't do it. If you cannot relate to kids or adolescents, don't build a course for them. It won't work. People know when you do not come from the heart.
Is there a market for that niche?
- You want to make sure there's a need for it; otherwise your work will stay a hobby, never growing into a lucrative business. One way to start figuring out the market is with some basic keyword research. You can use Google Keyword Planner to find out what people google most and how popular your keywords are. You do not necessarily need to have a very popular niche, you can narrow it down to a very specific niche (ex.: dog training for Labradors)
Let's take an example:
Because of your gluten intolerance you learned a tremendous amount about gluten free cooking and living. Yes it's not just what you put in your mouth but also what touches your skin. Now you would like to share your knowledge with other people.
Who are the people you want to target?
- You could specifically target home-stay moms who have more time
- You could target busy moms who need help with preparing food faster
All these decisions will influence the way you communicate with your target group later on. Leanne Overlander did a great job on that. We worked together on her course Road to your Ultimate Glutenfree Lifestyle.
Be aware that you need to select a target group. The biggest mistake is to think you could reach them all. If you do not narrow it down you will actually reach fewer people. DO NOT make that mistake.
If you want to reach out to different groups, you need to adapt your communication accordingly. I would though suggest that for starters you pick one and do that one right.
If you want to check out some people who stepped up and started sharing their passion you can find them on tapas-for-life.com
3. Host a blog (or YouTube channel)
If you want people to get to know you, you need to get in front of them. There are different ways to do it.
One of them is hosting a blog. Here you can share valuable content through your weekly blog posts and help people who are reading your articles. It is very important that you actually share great content, don't just "chat" without actually giving advice or guidelines in your blog posts. People will want to follow you if you can help them.
So, what are the reasons you should write blog posts? Let me give you some thoughts that this author shares with me.
Blogging helps drive traffic to your website:
- Every time you add a post it's one more indexed page on your website, which means it's one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search which helps with SEO (subject for another blog post)
- Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you're creating content that people can share on social media -- Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook,... -- which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.
- It helps convert that traffic into leads
- You install a lead magnet with a call to action button and visitors can subscribe. They get a free gift (we will talk about that in a later post) and they get notifications whenever you post again. Each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. The way this works is really simple: Just add a lead generation call-to-action button to every blog post.
- Often, these calls-to-action lead to things like free ebooks, free whitepapers, free fact sheets, free webinars, free trials ... basically, any content asset for which someone would be willing to exchange their information. To be super clear for anyone unfamiliar with how traffic-to-lead conversions work, it's as simple as this:
- The visitor comes to website
- S/he sees call-to-action for a free offer
- and clicks call-to-action and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill in with their information
- The visitor fills out form, submits information, and receives the free offer
- Blogging establishes your authority.
- The best business blogs answer common questions their leads and customers have. If you're consistently creating content that's helpful for your target customer, it'll help establish you as an authority in their eyes. Can you imagine the impact of sending an educational blog post you wrote to clear things up for a confused customer?
- It drives long term results.
You can check out this detailed post about "Why Blog" on Hubspot.
The easiest way to do that is to sign up for a hosted blog on WordPress.org. Here you can go to to "Hosting" and get your domain with Bluehost.com for as little as $5/month. You may want to add some small features and end up with approximately $10/month. Another Hosting site is FastComet, which I am using with much satisfaction.
There are many other platforms that allow you to build a hosted blog. WordPress is probably the cheapest, easiest and the one with the most updates over time. It is the most popular by far. Others are Wix, Squarespace, Blogger, Tumblr...
You can obviously also go with videos on YouTube if you feel comfortable enough or share video blogs on your blog vlogging.
When you have this set up, or before, you should sign up to get an autoresponder, which will automate your email sequences. There are different ones that will give you good service. I go with mailchimp since they let you grow your list to 2000 people before they start charging you. Others are AWeber, ConvertKit, Infusionsoft...but as I mentioned, they are not for free and you might find yourself with a monthly charge that will add up over time.
When you have your blog post set up and your autoresponder, you can start blogging. Share your content and people will want to sign up so that they get your new post automatically in their inbox. That's what the autoresponder does for you.
I will go in more detail about setting up your blog and autoresponder in one of the next blog posts.
You do want to be that authority in your field, read the following steps here: Get followers part 2.
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