How to create online courses in video
We’ve gathered all the steps in the process of creating an online course in video. If you want to work on the Internet, this is the content for you!
We’ve gathered all the steps in the process of creating an online course in video. If you want to work on the Internet, this is the content for you!
Creating online courses in video lessons is one of the best ways to pass along rich and educational content clearly. Videos allow your content to be rich in details, which e-books and audiobooks don’t because they are limited by their own format.
Videos are ideal for more complex subjects, which need a detailed explanation, but can also be suitable for simpler topics. This versatility opens doors to explore the content to the limit of your creativity.
If you think of creating a high-quality online course, in this guide you’ll learn how to create audio visual content and launch them on the Internet!
Follow our complete tutorial and start creating your online course right away!
Characteristics of the project
Choice of niche
Set your ideal customer
Choice of camera
Choice of microphone
Production of studio/scenario
How to have a good performance in front of the camera
How to host your video lessons
How to promote and sell your course
– Sales page
– Email marketing
– Social Media
– Affiliate Program
– Paid Advertisement
This topic is when you’ll set the beginning and end of your online course. Learn, from now on, to work with deadlines and goals that are possible to complete. Write down, on a document on the computer, or in a notebook, the start and end date of the project. This will be your deadline to finish creating your course.
Start date: July 15, 2017
End date: August 31, 2017
Also, establish your course’s production cost. This step is essential for you to plan when it comes to expenses you’ll have throughout the project and also not to have unpleasant surprises.
We always like to remind you that an online course is a business model with low production costs. You can create it on your own, with the help of features and devices you already have. In this guide, you’ll find free or cheaper resources that will make creating your material less expensive.
Anyway, write down all possible expenses you’ll incur, considering that, in the end, your course won’t lose quality!
The choice of niche will always be the first step guiding your sales strategy. The market niche is nothing more than the market segment you’ll work in. This segment has its own characteristics and you will work focusing on them.
Baby products, fitness fashion, and wedding decorations are examples of niches.
If you already have a well-defined niche, that’s great. If you still don’t have it, you’ll need to go through a few steps before making your choice. They are:
1. Analyze the possibilities;
2. Assess offer x demand;
3. Understand the trends;
4. Analyze the competition;
5. Choose your niche and the theme of your course.
Let’s go through each of them.
1. Analyze the possibilities: If you still don’t know what to create, you have some options to start thinking about the topic:
2. Assess offer x demand: after you listed some topics, analyze if there’s an audience for them. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner can help you understand the number of searches on Google – the biggest online search engine – about a given topic.
3. Understand the trends: use free tools, such as Google Trends, which will show the trend of topics in time.
4. Analyze the competition: research what your competitors are talking about the topic. It’s important you check all kinds of material: texts, audio, videos, and everything else about your theme.
This research is essential for a complete and high-quality material. An interesting way of benchmarking is opening an incognito window on your browser and research on Google terms directly related to your topic.
Is your course on professional makeup?
Search: “professional makeup”, “how to become a professional makeup artist”, “learn to makeup”, “professional makeup tricks”, and, of course, “professional makeup course”. There are countless options!
Check all first-page results and look into what they talk about and how they approach the topic.
The objective of this step is to identify the weaknesses and strengths of your competitors to have something to compare to when creating your material. It’s important that your content is always better than the ones available on the Internet.
5. Choose your niche and the theme of your course: once you decide the topic of your digital product, it’s essential you master what you’ll learn.
Carry out research on different sources about the content, including foreign material. Search websites such as Quora, Yahoo Answers, KeywordTools, and even Google’s autocomplete (the own tool gives you multiple search options while you type), to find out common questions people have about your topic and the relevant terms that are in the same area as yours.
Why is this important?
Well, only then you’ll be able to put together a complete material, the one your future customers will be really pleased to have bought.
After you finish analyzing everything, write a brief summary about your online course.
For example: The course is a guide for first-time mothers. It aims to orient pregnant women about baby care until the age of 1.
After you’ve chosen the theme of your online course, identify who your ideal customer is. You need to do so through a persona research.
Why is this important?
With the persona, you’ll be more assertive when creating the content of your course and also when promoting it on the Internet.
You can do the research with your audience if you have one, or an audience similar to yours.
Here’s a quick guide for each case:
If you already have an audience: having an audience means having a client base or keeping a community with potential engaged buyers. It can be a fan page, an email list, an Instagram profile with many followers or a YouTube channel, for example. If you teach Spanish for executives in person, you can use your clients to understand the persona of your online Spanish course.
If you don’t have an audience: use different resources, such as online research and using Facebook Audience Insights.
Let’s assume you’re a nutritionist and you want to create material about how to start your private practice, get clients, and make them loyal to you. In this case, you can research among last year nutrition students. It’s possible to do so online or even face-to-face.
On your research, ask questions that describe the sociodemographic profile and behavioral characteristics. Here are a few examples of questions that could be asked:
The more details you know, the better. Then, gather all data and analyze the most common answers among interviewees. The common data will create your persona.
You can also use Facebook Audiences Insights, which will provide you not so detailed information, but one that can be equally relevant to your research. Just access its website and enter the data on the left-side field.
Talking about videos, the most recommended format for an online course is a Members Program.
In this program, also known as Members area or Membership, your content will be hosted on the platform you choose. After your students’ payment is completed, they will receive a login and password to access the content, which will be available for as long as you decide.
Still, in this format, you can make all the content available at once or release each module periodically, in whatever frequency you prefer.
This model has been standing out for two main reasons:
Recurring revenue: one of the most beneficial factors to invest in the subscription model is the possibility of generating recurring revenue. You’ll be able to predict your future months’ revenue and can work on your next strategies based on your profits.
You fidelize clients for a long time: the student becomes more engaged with you and your content, and tends to follow the lessons as you make the content available. This way, you have more chances of increasing your Lifetime Value, which is the amount your clients are willing to spend throughout their relationship with your product.
Of course, the choice of the format needs to be studied according to your business model and our strategic plan. If you haven’t made your choice yet, access our guide on types of digital products to create and sell online.
Here’s the moment to come up with the draft of your course, also known as the outline. Maybe this is when you need to dedicate the most time to come up with the complete material.
Let’s assume you created a course on how to gain more authority on the work environment.
You need to approach every topic related to this subject.
And whatever else is important for your student to come out with all important information to have more authority in the work environment.
These main subjects will be the modules of your online course. In each module, you’ll decide how many videos will be necessary to explain the topic.
In our example, let’s unfold the first module:
Video lesson: Presenting results.
Attention: your previous research about your persona will help you a lot with the definition of these topics. If you know your client very well, you’ll know exactly what she wishes to learn. Another aspect is knowing your competitors. Find out the topics she covers and do an even better job.
While we’re on this subject, it’s important to remind you that on a Members Area you can use other resources within your course besides video lessons. Therefore, you can use complementary materials, such as spreadsheets, texts, and whatever is necessary to complement your video.
You already have a pretty good idea of how your course will be, don’t you? Let’s talk about how your class will be. Here you need to start getting hands on.
Your videos need to be very attractive and involving for your student to pay attention to what you have to say thus learning the content. Remember: if she bought your course, it’s because she trusts you to deliver everything you promised on your promotion. So, each class needs a script.
Even if you master the content by heart, the script will guide you so your lessons have good didactics and follow a logic and interesting course, with the beginning, middle, and end.
Here’s a quick guide:
1. Define the conflict
Every class will be dedicated to solving one problem and one problem only. This is what we call a conflict. To guide your script, decide what is the conflict of each video lesson, answering the following questions:
– What for?
– To whom?
Example: Class 1 teaches you through examples and tastings, ways to harmonize wine and cheese for students to have a gathering at home.
2. Split your class
To be clearer and easier to understand, your class needs to be divided into parts. If we’re talking about a Spanish course, for example, we can divide it as follows:
This is the moment you introduce the subject and the solution for the student and explains what she will have learned at the end of the class. Remember that you have from 5 to 15 seconds to catch your student’s attention so, you better go straight to the point.
Example: Do you know what’s the best wine to go with a Brie? If you got to this point, know that you’ll develop abilities that few people have. In this complete course on wines, you’ll learn to appreciate this beverage in its full form, smell, and taste.
This is when you actually teach the content of the lesson. In the case of the wine course, you can create a presentation order and comment about the taste and smell of each wine and cheese. On other topics, think about interesting ways of going over the content.
Example: Today I’ll teach you about wine and cheese pairing. We’ll start with softer wines moving to drier ones. Imagine you decided to have a dinner for your boss and her husband. You can start with a cheese and wine tasting before having dinner.
The practice is the time your students have to put into practice what they’ve learned. In the case of the wine course, you can go over the cheese and wines selected and comment as the student tastes at home.
If this doesn’t work well, leave an activity for your students to practice before moving on to the next class. Then, they’ll have more chances of learning the content. You can also come up with tests to follow the development of your group. Some platforms already have this resource available on their Members area.
Example: Now, it’s your turn. First, try the Sauvignon Blanc with the Buffalo Mozzarella cheese…
At the end of your class, invite your students to perform an action, this way, they keep being engaged with your content. You can ask them to leave comments telling you what they thought of the class, or asking something that wasn’t clear, and, of course, invite them to watch the next video!
Example: If you liked this class, leave your comment or question! I’ll see you in the next class, when I’ll teach you to pair wine and meat.
This is how our examples would be in a real script mirror:
3. Pay attention to the duration of the class
Your class needs to be dynamic and inviting for your students to watch all modules until the end. It’s interesting to divide your content in small videos of up to 15 minutes. After you write your script, record an audio to identify how long your video will be in average.
4. Revise your script
In this material, we’ll also give you tips on extra content for your video lessons!
We’ll talk more about the soundtrack, editing, and how to behave in front of the cameras!
The camera you’ll use to shoot your video lessons makes all the difference because the quality of your video is decisive for your student. We’ve selected some types of camera to help you choose.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to buy all the material. There’s also the option of renting or hiring a professional/producer to help you with the capture of the images.
Without any further ado, let’s move to the cameras! We’ve divided our list into 5 categories:
Smartphone cameras are only the most popular cameras in the planet! It’s impossible to find a smartphone without a camera nowadays. They come in handy because you can take off your mobile from your pocket at any time to take a pic or shoot a video.
Pros: easy access; virtually everybody has a smartphone, which makes production processes possible andreducese costs. Plus, it is portable, because it fits into your pocket.
Cons: the quality and resolution of the image, usually aren’t as good as professional cameras, especially for professional purposes. However, there are smartphones that shoot in high definition, including 4k. If this is your case, take this resource into account!
Average Price: US$ 90 – US$ 800
Compact cameras are popularly known as digital cameras and are the best option for people who have no idea where to start, once they are small and cheap.
Most of them is completely automatic, which can be very useful if you are clueless about image capture, and some models offer manual options, such as exposure control and video recording in HD, but nothing beyond this.
Pros: They’re light, easy to set up, and more affordable.
Cons: image quality is inferior and resources are limited.
Average Price: US$ 80 – US$ 3,000
Action cams have a light body and are extremely resistant. They became famous in 2011, when the GoPro Hero 2 was launched. They are usually waterproof, shockproof and the more recent ones are even freezeproof!
In general, they have limited manual options such as zoom and level of light exposure but most of them don’t fall short of expectations when it comes to quality of image. Some of them have the option of being controlled straight on your smartphone, therefore, you get to transfer the file directly to your mobile device.
Pros: ideal body for more extreme conditions.
Cons: limited zoom and exposure. Depending on the model you purchase, the quality of video and image can be compromised.
Average price: US$ 35 – US$ 800
Previously to 2006, videos were only recorded with camcorders. There’s a wide range variety of this camera, from end consumer to cinema. But here we’ll talk about the usual consumer. Normally, images generated by camcorders aren’t excellent, but given how much the equipment is, they’re fair. They’re small, easy to operate, and even have some manual resources, such as audio control, focus, and zoom.
Pros: they’re light, easy to operate, usually have good battery life, and good recording time. And a great differential is a swivel LCD display.
Cons: image quality isn’t the greatest and they don’t have advanced resources.
DSLR are known for having interchangeable lens, which means it is possible to change lens according to your objective. When the feature of shooting HD videos was launched in 2006, these cameras revolutionized the audiovisual market, especially because they were cheaper than professional equipments existing then.
They alone are more expensive because, besides the body, you need to be attentive to high-speed memory, original batteries, and lens, which can cost more than the body of the camera.
If you don’t have a good capture notion, DSLR are the least recommended cameras, unless you have someone to help you with this material.
Pros: they’re the most used cameras by photographers and video makers. Offer high-quality image and advanced resources.
Cons: usually, they’re heavier and without video ergonomy.
Faixa de preço: US$ 500 – US$ 21,000
In general, people deal better with poor image than poor sound, that’s why we recommend you to invest in purchasing or renting a microphone. The better the cameras are, microphones are still behind. Here are the models we recommend:
Lavalier: they’re small, discreet, and you can attach it to your clothes. You can find one that can connect to your mobile phone at reasonable prices. By doing so, you dismiss the use of a recorder.
Smartphone: if you want to save money from your budget, your mobile phone can be a good option to capture the audio. Test it out, leave the device next to you when you’re recording and check if it is possible to produce sound without background noises by using microphone apps on your smartphone.
Directional: directional microphones are ideal to capture ambient sound and can be integrated to a DSLR camera. If you intend to record with other people, this is the most recommended model.
Let’s talk about your recording environment, which will be the setting for your video lessons. You can set your own scenario or look for a recording location. The second option requires a lot more investment and you can get a similar result on your own. Just analyze if the professional production is within your budget.
Scenario: it’s very important to choose a calm location. Avoid windows that open to the street, capture a lot of traffic noise or close to people passing by. Prefer using a clean background not to distract your audience. A wall or fabric in a solid color are enough to create a neutral environment.
Lighting: the cheapest option to light your environment is choosing natural light by positioning yourself next to a window facing the light. It’s also possible using fluorescent light to aid you. Of course, you can invest and buy or rent LED lights.
Have you ever had a teacher who didn’t quite know how to involve students thus teaching a boring class? Well, so you already know how not to act in front of the cameras. Especially because this is an online content, you need to keep your students paying attention!
Test yourself in front of the camera and watch some of the footage. This way, you get to analyze what you need to improve for next times. The tip here is that the more you practice, the better your performance will be.
Ask other people to watch it with critical eyes and give you sincere feedback.
You can also watch online lessons from other teachers and understand how they behave in front of the cameras.
Besides, we have a complete post about posture, dress code, and other important aspects you must consider when recording a video lesson. Just click here to read it.
Now that we’ve seen tips about cameras, formats, script, and the best environments to record high-quality videos, we can think about editing, which is always a problem for people who are not used to video production!
If this is your case, now we’ll teach basic editing tips, which will be really useful for your online course!
Get all recorded material and upload it to your computer. Most cameras already come with a memory card or a USB cable to transfer files. Just connect to the computer and transfer them.
This file can come in different formats, such as .mov, .mpeg, .avi, .mp4, among others.
After you upload everything to your computer, you need to choose your editing software. There are many free or paid options in the market, but the most important is that you understand that most of them work in similar ways and, by understanding this logic, all of them can suit you.
The most populars are:
Adobe Premiere: it has all the features you need for a good video editing. It’s very used by professional video makers. If you have the intention to produce many videos in your business, this is a very recommended program! It’s compatible with Windows and Mac. Paid software.
Final Cut: it has an intuitive interface. It’s as professional as Adobe Premiere, dividing many professionals about which one is the better software. It’s also recommended if you wish to work with videos professionally. Compatible with Mac. Paid software.
Shotcut: because it is a free version, it’s ideal for who is just starting out. By using it, you can practice a lot before migrating to a more professional software. It’s compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac. Free software.
Editing bonus: soundtrack!
Still in the subject of videos, we’ll talk a little about soundtrack. The soundtrack, or track, is what makes a monotonous video into memorable content. It’s what helps you catch your audience’s attention and have them stick with you until the end, especially if your class has important information!
But obviously that, to choose the most suitable track, you need to relate it to the theme of your video.
Soundtracks, as every other intellectual property material, are protected by authorship right licenses. Platforms such as YouTube have an exclusive databank to identify the license of songs and videos. If your video is breaking any rule, it can lose the audio, be blocked, and your account can get a warning. With 3 warnings, the account is blocked for an undetermined period.
To avoid any problem, you can choose one of the following alternatives:
By doing so, you can get popular songs and Royalty Free tracks. The difference is that a popular song can be really expensive or even unaffordable depending on the composer. In the case of Royalty Free tracks, because they are soundtracks created for this purpose, you get to find numerous options of audio, for an affordable price.
There are many public licenses, among them, the public domain and the Creative Commons.
Soundtracks in public domain are free of any restrictions of use and are also free, which means you can use them at your will. The disadvantage is that you won’t find a lot of options, besides being limited by the time songs take to fall into public domain.
Another option is looking for Creative Commons tracks. Creative Commons is an organization founded in 2001, which offers several licensing options based on attribution. For example, you can use a song I’ve created, freely, as long as you give me credits the way I specify. Authors can specify some conditions, such as limiting songs to non-commercial use.
How do I acquire a soundtrack?
You can find many options in YouTube’s own audio library by accessing the tab “Create” in the “Creator Studio”
The advantage of this library is that you’re able to research by categories, such as humor, genre, instrument, duration, and also type of license. And you can do so without spending a dime.
Another very nice place is the Free Music Archive, also known as FMA.
You can find songs with a lot of personality and recommendation of professional curators. Just like YouTube’s library, you don’t spend anything to download the song, just watch the licenses.
A great place to find Royalty Free tracks at affordable tracks is AudioJungle. On this website, you can find countless songs starting at 7 dollars. The downside is that there are some cliché tracks which can tire your audience.
If your project requires lots of music, it’s interesting looking for subscription services. One of them is ArtList, you pay an annual subscription to have access to all their music catalogue, and you can download up to 20 songs a day.
You can also choose Epidemic Sound, which has a subscription service with the price based on your monthly audience on YouTube. The use of the songs is limited to YouTube, but this can be a great channel to promote your course. We’ll talk more about promotion soon!
Pay attention to the volume of your video. The song shouldn’t take over your video but rather complement to it.
Pricing your digital product goes way beyond deciding your profit margin. You need to identify the value generated to your student, the quality of the product, and how your competitors act and price products similar to yours.
Setting low prices isn’t a guarantee of being a sale success and can even devalue your product.
On the other hand, really expensive products can turn away potential customers. To decide your final price, consider the following aspects:
Total investment: consider the full amount invested in producing your video lessons: equipment purchase and rent, clothes, decoration, time spent to hire editor, and time spent in production of the content itself. With this amount, you can decide how many sales you need to make to cover your initial investment and start profiting.
Competition: as much as your product is an innovation, it’s possible that there’s something similar in the market. Research your competitors’ prices and use them as a reference to set your price.
Audience: if your product is innovative, investigate in depth how your audience behaves regarding online purchases. If your persona is well-mapped out, you already have this kind of information. Research if your audience usually buys digital products and the average price they’re willing to pay for online courses.
Added value: the value your content generates to your students is also an important aspect to set the final price of your product. If you propose to add a lot of value, don’t be scared of setting a fair price for your video lessons.
After completed, your online course needs to be hosted somewhere on the Internet, where you’ll sell it. So, you need to look for a platform for online courses, or distance learning platform.
When choosing a members area to host your course, you need to demand security in each transaction, control of your students, agility to deliver the product after the purchase, and a practical way to monitor your results.
There are paid platforms and free ones, such as Hotmart Club. Even if you’re just starting out, look for a complete service, which will answer to your demands in every stage of your business.
It’s worth remembering that a well-done product is only valuable when presented to the right audience. So, we’ll explain better ways to promote your product and attract new customers.
A sales page is a landing page created for the user to make a purchase. You’ll need this page so that your audience can get to know your product and the benefits they’ll have by purchasing it. We’ve written a post all about sales page, learn more by clicking here.
Email marketing is one of the cheapest strategies to engage your audience and generate conversion. Once the user grants you permission to talk to her directly by email, it’s possible to establish strategies for the stage she is in the sales funnel. Check out our complete post about email marketing strategies.
Social media are now and will remain for a long time a genuine way to engage your followers. Social Media allows a light and fun tone thus allowing you to get closer to your audience. Read here how you can use social media to boost your sales.
Writing a blog is one of the best ways of creating content that engages and adds real value to your visitors. With blog posts, you educate your audience with relevant information, and, naturally, they will see your product as a solution to a possible problem. This kind of strategy is known as content marketing, and, when associated with good SEO strategy, will bring a lot of organic visits to your blog, increasing your authority in the market and your conversion rate into sales.
The Affiliates program is ideal for those Producers who want to give their products visibility in order to make more sales. By participating in an Affiliates program, Producers can count on Affiliates, who will promote their products in exchange for a commission. This is one of the best techniques to boost your sales. To learn more about the Affiliates program, click here.
Opting for paid ads will bring you short-term results, while the organic strategy needs to be worked in the medium and long term.
You can advertise on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and use other channels like YouTube and Google. There’s also the possibility of advertising on news websites.
Through paid publicity, you can segment the audience you’ll feature, which will be a possible buyer of your product. Again, your persona will be really useful in this process.
To understand more about this subject, read our post about how to invest in paid ads without wasting money.
As you must have noticed, putting together a video lesson is a lot of work, and takes a bigger investment of time and, possibly, money. But, as we mentioned throughout this post, this investment is worth due to the quality of the end result and the added value attributed to it.
We hope this material is extremely useful to you and brings you good results. Good luck with your business!