How To Choose Your Next Course in 3 Steps

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the best way to gain traction for your last course is by cross-promoting a new course.  In this post, overcome the very first challenge of creating your next course: choosing a topic.

Start With What You Know and Love

There are two base ingredients in this recipe for success: exhaustive knowledge of the subject and a passion for sharing what you know.  Nobody wants to learn from someone that isn’t an expert in the subject (nor would you want to stumble through a topic you are learning yourself), and if you’ve ever had a class from a boring teacher, you know the importance of passion.  Identifying what you know and love is phase one of choosing your next course, but being the renaissance person you are, this may still leave you with a dozen topics.  Next we must bake our idea in reality and see what has the best potential for audience appeal.

Quantify Potential Interest

If what you know and love is the study of astronaut shoe tread patterns, you may find that after all your hard work, your class never gets any…traction.  You can check your potential for an audience before recording and publishing your course by looking in several places where would-be students are inquiring about your topic, specifically: Quora, StackExchange, and Google Search Volume.

Quora and StackExchange are both widely popular social Q&A forums, meaning you can see how often people are asking questions about your topic. StackExchange is a collection of Q&A sites and tends to be more tech focused, but has a great visual interface to measure the popularity of a subject. Quora tends to be a broader forum with users asking questions on anything and everything.  Those questions are then grouped by topic (quora.com/topic) and you can see how many people “follow” each topic.  You should also immediately start following your topic as well and answering questions like the expert you are.  Check out our previous blog post on how to use Quora to gain influence, followers, and sales.

Lastly, using Google Search Volume will give you quantifiable information about exactly how many times people search for your topic.  Remember to be diverse and try different terms that someone might look for.  You can see how many people search for a specific term in your Google Ads account (its free to setup if you don’t have one yet.  Also let the results influence how you title and tag your course.  Keywords are the key to discoverability and SEO.

Transition From Topic To Course

You’ve settled on a topic you know and love, and you’ve seen it has a decent potential audience, but it’s still just a topic. “Baseball” is not a course.  You need to add context, and specifically a goal that will be achieved as a result of the course. A course like “How to Throw a Curveball in 6 Lessons” brings focus to a topic and provides potential students with a clear outcome.  If your topic is already popular, this becomes critical to your success.  A “Beginning WordPress” course will most likely not gain the traction you expect, but if you think along the edge of the subject, and focus on an interesting or valuable result that differentiates your course from the pack you’ll be successful.  “How To Start a Cooking Blog in 1 hr with WordPress” may seem more specific, but it’s really more targeted, which is essential to converting a browser to a buyer of your new course.