Teachers Are Always Teaching

I started off in higher education teaching teachers how to use technology better for their lectures.

Podcasting was the hot topic at the time so that’s what I taught and it ended up growing into a website where I dived into what tech to use and the various setups you could configure.

I immediately had traction because surprise, surprise, a lot of other people were interested in playing with the shiny toys of podcasting too.

Today I write more on monetizing your podcast and presentation skills. Most of my content is still free! But now I also offer a membership where I offer 1-1 support as well as a community and additional courses.

This is my premium content upgrade and I recommend it to anyone who wants to get good at podcasting a lot faster than learning on your own.

But what I want to share today is how I’ve made my courses a lot more effective over the years. One of the big pitfalls in online courses is participation and completion rates.

What ends up happening is that someone purchases a course and then ends up looking at 1 or 2 videos before abandoning it.  
Even when people sign up for a course to receive an official certificate, the completion rates are terrible. Massively Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) offered by top universities still suffer from this same problem, the rates are often around 5-15%!  
I realized this wasn’t a sustainable way to build a business. I want loyal customers who are going to stick with me for the long haul. People aren’t going to come back to you for a second course if they’ve never made it through your first one.

So I decided to change my approach and to create courses that encourage completion, and require learners to actually apply their knowledge throughout the course.

This way my members feel more accomplished and are more likely to stay with me. They’re even more likely to promote me to their friends.

What I’d advise, is to take a look at your course and to break it down into a small concept. A lot of people think if they’re not offering a ton of value then their course won’t be appealing.

What I’ve found is that the opposite is actually true and that the more targeted and niche you can go the more likely you’ll be to get sign ups.

People want to have a particular problem solved, if you tell them you’ll be covering the entire topic then their specific question becomes less important.

When I created a course around how to launch a podcast it ended up being way too big. It was 50 modules! It took forever to put together and even longer for most people to go through.

I figured out that I could actually take my first module around “who’s your ideal listener” and break it down further, I could turn that into its own complete course.

I recommend you take the question you get most frequently from your audience and break it down and down until you have bite sized pieces of content. Make that your first course.

Yes, you can go too small, but you can always piece it back into a larger idea later on.

Courses that are based around specific targeted questions tend to give your members a greater feeling of completion which will inspire them to dive into your other courses!

Action Steps

  1. Write down the question you get asked most frequently in regards to your business.
  2. Break that question down into small chunks of content until you are being as specific as possible.
  3. Frame your marketing of the course around getting that one question answered completely.
  4. Keep the content bitesize enough that going through the course offers a feeling of completion.


Result You Will Achieve

Courses for your membership site that get higher completion rates and encourage your members to be loyal customers.

Mentor: Colin Gray

Producer & Speaker at ThePodcastHost. He and his team run a network of shows, from Podcraft to Mountain Bikes Apart, and teach how to Podcast inside their Academy’s courses and live support.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.