Chris Lema has the right idea.

The business coach says creators should never start with themselves when building an online course (or, frankly, many other content products). At Creator Economy Expo 2022, Chris shared the five things you should do:

1. Get over your fear: As a 10-year-old, Chris ended up on a TV game show with a live audience of 500 people who would yell, “You just choked,” every time a contestant made a mistake. (Only, they said the phrase in Spanish because it was in Chile.) When Chris returned to the US and told his father about the humiliating experience. His father replied, “Well, you didn’t die, did you?”

Now, you don’t have to go that far. But realize other creators are building online courses and other content products and they may not see themselves as experts either. Also, remember, you and your course don’t have to be perfect before publishing. (After all, if you watch a course and find it valuable, do you count how many mistakes someone makes?)

2. Identify the market: Don’t start with what you want to do or think you could perfect. Look at what the prospective audience might want. Check out Google Trends, for example, to see what topics in your arena are on the rise. Chris says even a crappy course in a growing market will do better than a brilliant course in a shrinking market.

3. Fill the gap: OK, now you get to bring yourself into the process. What learning gap are you most comfortable filling? 

  • Knowledge – how to think/what to know, such as teaching, sharing frameworks and files
  • Skill – how to/what to do, such as explainers, video demos, instructions
  • Context – build a semantic bridge, such as maps, glossaries, translations
  • Motivation – encouragement, such as connection, one-on-one interactions, encouragement

4. Detail the buyer’s motivation: Why would people spend money on this market and your gap? Chris outlines 10 options: core needs, pain reduction, risk reduction, life improvement, goal acceleration, long-term savings, upside/ROI, shared memories, entertainment, and power/prestige.

5. Pick the topic: By knowing the growing market, the gap you’re comfortable filling, and the buyer’s motivation, you’re ready to pick the topic for your online course.

Join your fellow serious content creators at the Creator Economy Expo May 5-7, 2024. Registration opening soon.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.