APRIL 5, 2024

Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-weekly newsletter for content entrepreneurs.

5 things to do

Working the workbook

Online courses are a profitable revenue stream.

The Tilt research ranks it in the top three, with 35% of content entrepreneurs selling them.

But what if you could make your online course even more profitable?

Workbooks can be a great add-on. You can charge a separate fee or increase the overall price of the class. (You can also create a workbook that acts as a marketing tool to attract an audience interested in your content.)

Here are five things to do to create a workbook for your content business.

1. Determine the purpose: Your workbook should align with your online course, but it doesn’t have the same mission as the class. Will the workbook reinforce what students are supposed to learn online? Will you walk through the workbook as you teach the class? Will you spend time during the course for students to complete tasks in the workbook? Or will the workbook serve as “homework” before the next session?

By considering how the workbook fits with the online course, you will improve both content products and deliver a seamless experience for your students.

2. Analyze the audience: You know who your audience is, but do you know how they prefer to engage? Explore how to create a workbook that not only complements the course but entices the student to use it. Think about these elements:

  • Graphics and color: Use charts and infographics to show the details that would be hard to decipher in a video or slide or to illustrate a complex topic. Pay special attention to colors to ensure they’re conveying what you want them to convey (and they’re legible when viewed digitally or in print.)
  • Text: Usually, the primary component of a workbook is the text. Think about the text’s design. Use headers to highlight sections and make it easy to use. Consider bolding words for emphasis or for skimming readers to notice.
  • Action: Create exercises that require users to go outside the pages (e.g., research other sites or visit a brick-and-mortar store) or, at a minimum, include some activities, like quizzes, inside the workbook.

3. Develop the content: You’ll most likely want to organize your workbook in the same way as your course. Start with lesson one, move to lesson two, and so on. What will the workbook include that the course also incorporates? What will the workbook have that the course does not? Encourage your students to go beyond what you discuss in class by adding supplemental resources, stories, and more.

Think about how to make the text come alive by posing questions for reflection, adding exercises so they can practically implement aspects of what they’re learning, or publishing quizzes to give them the confidence that they really are absorbing the material.

As you design the workbook, incorporate graphics and other visuals to break up large blocks of text for easy reading. Remember, this is a workbook, not a book.

4. Test the workbook: You think the workbook works with your course. But since you’re the one who created both, you’re not the best person to make that conclusion. Do some beta testing or gather a focus group. Ask the students to take the course and use the workbook. Is it easy to follow? What makes them stumble? Is there something that doesn’t make sense or is hard to understand?

To get this feedback, you can ask them to complete a survey (make sure to ask at least some open-ended questions) or interview them about their experience. Use their input to revise the workbook to better meet students’ needs.

5. Publish: If you plan to print a physical version, make sure the course fee (or the workbook add-on price) covers printing and mailing costs and allows for a profit. Don’t forget to ask for their mailing address if you go for this option. Also, select a paper appropriate for someone to write on. Standard (usually 60#) paper works well. Heavier, coated paper can smudge the ink if someone writes on it. Coil binding also works better, so the workbook stays flat.

Even if you print it, make a digital version immediately available upon purchase. Some students may want to start the course before the workbook arrives.

With your workbook published, you should update your course marketing with this new valuable product. Make sure prospective students quickly understand how it works with the course as well as how it provides added value to the experience.

Helpful resources:

Exciting news from Tilt Community member and CEX VIP – Bernie Borges

You’re invited to participate in pioneering research on midlife fulfillment!

Contribute anonymously to a groundbreaking survey that explores fulfillment across the essential five pillars of midlife:

Health, Fitness, Career, Relationships, and Legacy.

The survey findings will be shared in a forthcoming research report produced by Bernie Borges, Host of the Midlife Fulfilled Podcast in cooperation with Udemy.

5 things from the tilt

5 things to know

  • Contest revenue: Sponsored video challenges let TikTok creators have revenue potential before they reach the 10K threshold set by the platform. Pearpop, Preffy, and other third-party platforms run contests for creators to promote a brand and potentially win payouts based on likes and views. [Business Insider]
    Tilt Take: That’s no way to earn any real revenue. Spend that time to develop a successful content business instead.
  • More than numbers: Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri says engagement is a more relevant indicator of a creator and their content’s value than follower counts. [LinkedIn Daily]
    Tilt Take: True, but popularity still matters, given that likes and follower counts remain visible on Instagram.
  • Deeper dive: Meta’s launched Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns, providing new audience insight and targeting options. [Search Engine Land]
    Tilt Take: Data about your audience may be reason enough to buy ads.
Tech and Tools
  • Copy, copy: YouTube added a new feature to let Shorts creators remix a remix. [Team YouTube]
    Tilt Take: Great idea for creators who want to jump on video trends and connect their name to creators with bigger audiences.
And Finally
  • Silent death: Google Podcasts is dead. Instead, Google is putting all its efforts into YouTube Music. But the author of this article says it’s another missed opportunity left in the Google Graveyard. [The Verge; h/t podnews]
    Tilt Take: Interesting read. Relying on a third party to support your business structure is rarely the best decision.

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