MAY 3, 2022

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

In this issue:

full tilt

How Online Course Creators Can Propel Students To Complete the Lessons

Only 15% of students in massive open online courses complete them, according to a Columbia University study.


I think it’s because the courses are boring. They become a drag. The audience gets distracted. They stop. Luckily, it doesn’t have to end this way.

At school, most of my teachers were boring. But every year, I had one or two who made the lessons entertaining. They all had different teaching styles, but they did have some factors in common.

Keep it short: Long courses that target enormous problems may sound like a good marketing proposition, but they are harder to create, and students will never have enough mental energy to complete all those lessons. Instead, target a specific problem and put only your best stuff in the course.

Offer clear guidance: Make it easy to understand how to navigate your course. If customers find what they need quickly, they realize they have control over the process and see you as an expert instructor.

Give a quick win: Provide the students with positive feedback early on. If they see or experience real improvement at the beginning of a course, they will be motivated to continue.

Last year, I bought a course about web development for beginners. At the end of almost every session, there was an exercise. To pass it, I had to really understand the lessons. At the same time, completing them gave me a real sense of progress. Every time I got a positive result on those tests, I felt energized. And I couldn’t wait to move forward.

Make it personal: In Sean D’Souza’s The Brain Audit, he inserts a couple of Indian recipes among his marketing-related text. While the recipes are unrelated to the main topic, they highlight Sean’s passion for cooking. They work as a break during the reading, and they connect the readers to the author on a different level. In the end, Sean looks like a whole person instead of another marketing guru.

– Samuele Onelia

Get more tips from Samuele about how to create online courses that propel students to complete them.

content entrepreneur spotlight

Entrepreneur: Khadijah Lacey-Taylor

Biz: Miss.Laceyyy

Tilt: Things that bring her joy

Primary Channel: Instagram (20.4K)

Other Channels: TikTok (5.2K)

Time to First Dollar: 2 months

Rev Streams: Sponsored posts

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Learn to DIY: Khadijah Lacey-Taylor and her husband Tamarco Taylor didn’t have the budget for a videographer. So they taught themselves how to do it.
  • Ask for what you want: In negotiating sponsored content deals with sponsors, Khadijah isn’t afraid to ask for (and get) her top price.
  • See the media’s value to your business: A popular video prompted coverage of Khadijah and her content in multiple outlets, including a standalone interview by Insider.

– Bonnie Azoulay

Read all about Khadijah’s successful transition from an accounting job to a content business.

Know a content creator who’s going full tilt? DM us. Or email [email protected].

quick talk

Caught on … Twitter

“There’s a lot of talk about ‘controlling your own destiny’ as an entrepreneur … It’s important to be able to determine what you can and can’t control.” – Josh Alballero

things to know

  • Shorts ads: YouTube is looking to make money from Shorts, which now generates 30B daily views. It’s experimenting with app-install ads and other promotions. (The Verge)
    Tilt Take: Where the audience goes, so does the push to make more money. It remains to be seen how well this will benefit Shorts creators.
  • Convert visitors: Meta’s new guide on landing page best practices say speed, answers to common questions, and mobile-friendly interfaces are the key elements creators need to deliver. (Social Media Today; h/t tl;drMarketing)
    Tilt Take: Interestingly, two of the three aren’t about the content but about the user experience.
  • Who’s who: TikTok creators with fewer than 5K followers can see who’s been watching them in the past 30 days. Just click on the eye icon in the right corner of your profile. (Tech Crunch)
    Tilt Take: It could be a good chance to learn more about your audience. But since users must opt-in to let you see their handle, we’re not sure how valuable it will be now.
  • Reeling in: Over 20% of the time spent on Instagram is spent watching Reels. But they still don’t monetize as well as Stories, Mark Zuckerberg says. They’re looking at changing that, but don’t expect it to happen any time soon. (Tech Crunch)
    Tilt Take: Remember, when Meta talks about making money, they’re talking about making it for Meta – creators are rarely top of mind.
Tech and Tools
  • Doing together: Koji, the link-in-bio platform, has launched Duet, an app for creators to connect with their communities through engaging and inventive content like video challenges. You set up a prompt and crowdsource your audience’s replies. (Koji)
    Tilt Take: In a Web3 world, it’s all about community, so Koji’s new app makes sense.
  • Research this: YouTube’s added a research tab to its analytics. It shows the top search terms your audience uses to find your content. It also identifies content gaps where viewers couldn’t find what they’re looking for on the platform. (YouTube; h/t Roberto Blake)
    Tilt Take: YouTube creators looking to refine their content tilt will find this especially useful.
And Finally
  • Cuban on TikTok: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he thinks TikTok could be the future of sports media. His idea? RedZone for MLB, where fans watch only the at-bats that most directly affect their favorite team or player. (CNBC)
    Tilt Take: How could you make your content even shorter and more helpful or entertaining for younger audiences?
  • Lose my number: Google now lets people remove their personal contact information from search results by filling out this form. (CBS News)
    Tilt Take: Creators who are concerned about some of their disruptive fans being able to find them IRL might want to make the delete-me request.

the business of content

the tilt team

Your team for this issue: Joe Pulizzi, Ann Gynn, Laura Kozak, Marc Maxhimer, and Dave Anthony, with an assist from Angelina Kaminski, Samuele Onelia, Bonnie Azoulay, and Don Borger.