HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT TOPIC FOR YOUR FIRST ONLINE COURSE

By Susanne Rieker

Have you thought about creating an online course and generating some additional income? It’s an exciting idea, right? And I promise you can totally do this! In the next weeks I’m going to share more insights and tips in what it entails to create a successful online course. Today, let’s get started with the topic of your course.

How to choose the perfect topic for your first online course

#1 What are you an expert in?

What’s your niche? Where are you an expert? What skills do you have that you can teach?

You want to embrace your personal experiences and special skills. What makes you unique? Play that up and embrace it. Your quirks are what’s going to make you stand out.

It’s tempting to want to emulate others with success that you admire – but ultimately you will need to be known for your unique skills, talents, and experience.

Have you already gotten results in the topic you want to teach for yourself or for others?

Your product should be a reflection of something you have done yourself, a process or transformation you have gone through, or skills you have learned and are now ready to share. Pick something that you are knowledgeable about and that keeps your interest. Think about your target audience and what they want to know.

What are your most successful blog posts? Can you create a product out of them? Have you ever had a blog post or image go viral on social media (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook)? Can you expand on what you know about those topics?

This is one of my favorite ways to find product ideas. If it’s getting a lot of traffic, it’s probably a great candidate for a course topic (AND it’s something you already know about!).

What resource do you wish you had known back when…? You could create the resource you wish you could have had back when you began doing your thing!

#2 What are my students struggling with?

Next think about who you want to sell your course to. Really try to understand them and their struggles, questions and issues.

Make a list of the struggles, problems, blocks, frustrations and desires that your students or clients have told you about.

Things like:

“I really want to lose weight so I can zip up my favorite jeans!”

“I’m just not strong enough to do arm balances but secretly I wish I could do hand stands.”

“I would love to do yoga but I’m just not flexible enough”

Focus on writing down specific things that the people in your audience want, need, crave, or need help figuring out and write down as many ideas as you can.

I recommend doing short interviews with a few of your students when your researching a new product idea. Set up a meeting for a coffee or a call and ask them about their struggles, what they need help with and what they are scared of. Listen more than you talk. Let them have the space to think and share with you some amazing insights.

Especially look out for trigger sentences like “I’m embarrassed to say this, but . . .”, “I hate to admit it, but . . .” or “I feel so silly to tell you this, but . . .”. When people start using sentences like those, this is when you want to listen even more, because that’s the golden stuff that will help you understand if your product idea is right for your students.

#3 Choose your course topic

Now you should have a list of ideas what you want to do, and you have a list of struggles and problems your potential customers have.

Once you’ve finished making your epic list of problems, step back and read through the whole thing.

Check in with your intuition as you read each item.

Do certain ideas make your heart race with excitement? Are you an expert in these topics and able to deliver solutions? Keep those.

Do others make you feel all frowny and feeling blaah? Or freak you out because you feel you don’t have the knowledge to teach that confidently? Those have to go for now.

Next, choose ONE problem your list. Whichever one makes you go, “YEEEEEEEEAH! I can totally help out with that!” more than any of the others. THAT is going to be the topic of your digital product.

Extra points if your product is a reflection of something you have done yourself, a process or transformation you have gone through, or skills you have learned and are now ready to share.

Take some time for this process. Brainstorm ideas. Sometimes it will be very intuitive and clear what you should be offering, and sometimes you’ll need more time.

Need some extra inspiration? Check out this blog post with 10 examples of yoga teachers who are selling digital products.