How to Write and Launch Your Own Digital Course
HBA is a labor of love and I get a lot of questions about developing the class. Since I am now working on HBA 2.0 (!!) I thought it would be great to give you a little inside look of HBA. A lot of people think that creating a digital course takes a really long time. I wrote, designed and launched HBA in about 4 weeks. I didn’t know ANYTHING about developing courses, I didn’t have a fancy camera or even a fancy membership site. I just went in and figured it out. This is the post I wish existed when I was working on it and hopefully it will help you too
1. Think about your audience
Before you decide to create a course, you need to make sure you REALLY know what your audience wants. And I am not talking about just “understanding” but actually KNOWING. How did I know what I people wanted? I talked to them a lot. A LOT. I was doing 6-7 15 Minute SHAZAM sessions a week while also taking 1-on-1 branding clients. I had friends who were my target market and I talked to them a lot too. I thought about the questions I was asked on a consistent basis and I tried to find the common threads. Please don’t try to start a course if you aren’t positive who you would be creating the class for.
What questions do people ask you the most?
What do people always ask you to do?
What type of problems are you always asked to solve?
2. Before you start writing the course, list all of the problems you want to solve with this course as a way to start getting focused
Try to brainstorm ways you can solve these problems through your class. Here is a method for doing it:
How you can solve it:
3. Create CLEAR and measurable goals to make the class more enjoyable to for you to write and sell.
In HBA, every week has a goal. It could be a bio, a manifesto or even a editorial calender. Goals bring focus to the class. I thought about what my people would want to HAVE by the end of the course first and then I built content that would help get them there. So many classes end up being less enjoyable because hey are more about “learning” and way less about creating. For example, if you are teaching a meditation class, a goal could be to create a mediation for a part of their life they need clarity around every week and share it with the class. People want to know what is really in it for them as soon as possible.
4. Write the sales copy before you start writing the course
The sales copy was ESSENTIAL to creating the class. It acted as outline, writing schedule and blueprint all at once. This is your opportunity to outline what you want the class to be, how you want it to function and what goals you want to accomplish right away.
5. Don’t give yourself 6 months to write something, give yourself 1-2 months and release it to the wild
I met someone who had been working on a digital course for a year. This is crazypants. I gave myself weekly targets and goals and told my editor when she could expect to read the material. Having deadlines was essential to helping me get the class done.
6. Get a freakin’ VA
Seriously, GET HELP with this. Running a class seems pretty straight forward but it never is. Pat saved my life, for real. Most VA’s also know about all of the crazy membership site admin stuff so you don’t have to know about it.
7. Go beta first
I learned SO MUCH from the first run of HBA and I am still learning as I jump into the next class. Running a beta class helped take the pressure off and I felt like it was OK to make mistakes and change things as I went along. I am so grateful for that first class.
8. Start small
Don’t try to get 50 people in your first class. Try for 15. 15 people. That is what I always focused on while promoting my class. I only need 15 people. I always try to reach out to people that I know will LOVE the class.
9. Ask your network for help
Send emails, ya’ll. We don’t have to “launch,” we can just make sure that all of our friends know about what we are doing and ask them to spread the word and help you out. Reach out to EVERYONE in an authentic “I have this thing I REALLY love and want to share with you” way.
What I use for HBA:
Mailchimp: sends out notification emails and helps me interact with the class
Facebook: where our group hangs out — the mastermind groups also have groups there
S2Member: free wordpress plugin that turns any site into a membership site.
Camista: what I use to film the videos — I actually filmed all my videos on a 30 day trial
Keep it short and sweet. I have seen so many courses that have more information than anyone will ever need. I made the decision to make HBA as sleek as possible. Weekly work that is only a couple of pages long and videos that don’t go over 6 minutes.
Don’t worry about getting it perfect the first time. It won’t be. Get over it, my friend. That is life.
Make sure you WANT to create a digital course. So many people just like to model other business models but if this isn’t your thing, it will show. Trust me.
Keep everything simple. Pick a simple free wordpress theme. Get someone to design a great banner and go. Don’t get caught up in the design of it.
Keep the structure basic too. A great template: a lesson a week with a live call to go with it. Don’t go crazy.
Was this post useful to you? Do you have any more questions about creating classes? What makes you excited about it? What do you feel weird/not confident about?
Remember, HBA goes live June 1st! Want to be there for the fresh newness? Sign up now. I just did a case study with a HBA alum over at the site today.