Your guide to making online courses, from pricing to naming to confidence
It’s almost six months since we first started making a bit of noise about Discoco, and in that time (and in the many months before researching the shit out of it) we’ve learned a thing or two about course creation.
Last week we decided to throw our first live event, and called it “So you want to make an online course?”. Since we launched the site, a lot of “course curious” people had been getting in touch – experts on this and that who felt like they might have a course in them but weren’t sure where to start – so that’s why we thought it was a good time to share our learnings so far. We also invited the extremely lovely and interesting Kam-Mei from Get Video Confident to chat about their course journey to date.
We’re not going to reveal everything we shared – you’ll just have to come to the next one, yeah? – but here are a few of the main points we covered…
What is a course anyway?
We talked about how “courses” – the ones on Discoco, anyway – can cover all sorts of formats: there are self-paced courses, ones with a live element, structured and interactive programmes, courses that use video, audio, text downloads and more. And many of our most successful course creators use a combo of the above. Effectively, in Discoco-land, an online course is any piece of life-enhancing learning that can be completed at home, in your pyjamas.
The passive income myth
A lot of people dabble with making courses because they think it’s their key to a passive income – which isn’t helped by all the insufferables on social media bragging about exactly that. We know that online courses can create an income that is, at best, passive-ish. In what has become a very crowded market, to make your course stand out, it needs to be kept up to date, marketed constantly (which can be more time-consuming than making the course content – although we can do some of the legwork for you!) and do something different from the competition – which is why, as we said, a lot of the best-performing courses on Discoco give something a bit extra, whether it’s live check-ins, a community, a free one to one coaching session… it all depends on the needs and wants of your desired audience, really.
So why make a course then?
We’ve established that you’re unlikely to hit a six figure month from your bed, so what’s the point in bothering? Well, making courses is a great way of enhancing and diversifying whatever other business you’re involved in; you can make your expertise more accessible and affordable, and therefore more far-reaching, you’re not limited by geography and you can build your profile as an expert in your field.
How do you come up with a good name for your course?
With so much noise out there, giving your course a clear and compelling name is the best way to stand out. Think about your audience, their pain points and how they communicate, and go from there. Courses that do what they say on the tin perform best on Discoco; we don’t like to pick favourites, but Get Video Confident, Yoga For Stressed People, 6 Hour Copywriting Class and How To Please A Woman In Bed are great examples. They’re clear about the problem they are solving, and they get bonus points if they also give away who they are aimed at and how big a time-commitment they are. One of the (many!) perks of being a Discoco member is that we LOVE brainstorming course names with you and giving honest feedback.
There is no perfect platform
There are ZILLIONS (OK, at least 20) of course-hosting platforms springing up and our research shows that there is no ideal solution out there right now – they’re all OK, but none are perfect! Doing your research is key, and thinking about stuff like how tech-savvy your audience are and how much you want to spend are just two of the many things to consider, especially as it can be a right ball-ache to change platforms once you’ve started using one. We’re going to host another live session soon where we’ll be going through all the different options in more detail, so make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter if you fancy a deep tech dive (which we’ll make more fun than it sounds, promise…).
How much should you charge for your course?
We talked about how the most expensive course on Discoco is about 2 grand and the cheapest ones are under 30 quid – but most are somewhere in between. When coming up with your pricing, it’s important to think carefully about the size of your potential audience and how much it’s going to cost you to make (and market) the thing in the first place. The other big things to remember are: courses aren’t impulse purchases (even the cheaper ones) because people are investing their time as well as their money, and that it might take someone hearing about your course upwards of ten times before they commit. This is why (we know we keep banging on about it!) previews and tasters and one-off events can be a great way to lure them in longer-term – something that has worked well for Get Video Confident who regularly throw live masterclasses on specific stuff like Instagram Reels. Speaking of which, getting more video confident yourself is a great first step towards feeling like you can nail making a good course. Even if the main content of the course you’re planning isn’t video-based, we all know that people (and bloody algorithms!) respond to faces, so you’ll probably want to market it using video, however much it makes you cringe…
We went into all of the above in a LOT more detail on the night (banging on for one hour and six minutes to a lovely bunch of both existing and budding course creators) and we hope to do it again soon, so sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out.