Sam Burrough
2 February 2023
Course Creator Tips

How to Choose the Perfect Course Topic: A Guide for Online Course Creators

When it comes to online course creation, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is selecting the right course subject. With so many options, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which subject will resonate with your audience and set your online course up for success.
There's a lot of hype around online courses and it's all too easy to get sucked into the marketing spin. The reality is unless you are truly passionate about your topic and you have genuine expertise, you will struggle to make money.

This blog post provides a comprehensive guide on how to choose a great online course topic that aligns with your expertise and meets the needs of your audience. But it can also save you from wasting a lot of time, money and effort on creating something that nobody wants.
Here are six steps to follow that will helps you identify and validate ideas for your next online course.

1. Identify your area of expertise

Creating a successful and engaging online course requires more than simply sharing knowledge: it also requires passion, expertise and enthusiasm. As you brainstorm the topic for your online course, think about how you can tap into your existing skillsets and interests to turn your passion into an online course topic that sells.
Start with your professional experience. What have you achieved in your working life that can benefit others? Think about what skills you have learned. Your career path may have provided you with vital insights and knowledge – now you can share those experiences and help others progress in their own journeys. What do people ask your advice on? If you find yourself being asked for impromptu coaching sessions over a coffee then this could be a good area to start from.

Your hobbies and interests are also fertile ground for potential ideas to help create your course. Think about the activities that bring joy to your life – these could also be used to create a great online course. You can use your enthusiasm to ignite interest in a topic or subject, making learning exciting and interactive. And one of the most effective ways to grow your skills in a subject or skill, is to teach it to others. The process of reflection, creation and reframing, as well as feedback from your students can lead to even higher mastery than you have now.

So, take some time to reflect on any unique talents or skills you have that could be useful to others. With the right combination of skills, expertise and enthusiasm, you can create something that will truly stand out from the crowd and offer real value to your potential students.

2. Assess market demand for your online course

Before you choose an online course topic, it's important to validate if enough people are interested in the potential topics for your course. Carrying out effective market research can help you find popular topics, see if anything is missing in the market, and understand what your audience wants. By looking into market interest, you can pick a niche that will connect with your audience and increase your chances of success.

Looking at Online Platforms and Keywords

A helpful way to do market research is to look at popular online course marketplaces like Udemy, Future Learn or Coursera. Exploring their course lists lets you see which topics are popular and find gaps your course could fill. Another helpful method is using keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs. These tools help you find search terms related to your possible ideas and evaluate the demand for the topic. If many people are searching for those terms, it shows there's a lot of interest in the subject. This information can guide your course creation and ensure you're making content people are willing to pay for.

Checking Social Media and Online Groups

Social media and online groups are great places to help you learn how to choose the perfect topic. Joining Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and online forums related to your subject lets you see what people in your audience are talking about. Look for popular discussions, common questions, and needs that haven't been met. This information can help you build a course that addresses your audience's concerns and wishes. Plus, being part of these groups can help you build relationships and show that you're an expert in your field. This can make it easier to attract students to your course and help you choose which topic to create.

3.  Define the target audience for your course topic

It's essential to understand who your audience is when you're choosing a niche. If you know what your audience needs and likes, you can develop something that connects with them. To get a clear picture of your audience, think about their age, gender, education level, and job. These factors can affect what they want to learn and how they like to learn.

Focusing on goals and challenges

When you're thinking about your audience, it's also essential to understand their main goals and problems. If you can create a learning experience that helps them achieve their goals and solve a problem, they'll be more likely to sign up for it. Focus on offering practical solutions that your audience can use in their daily lives or work.

Consider different learning approaches

Finally, keep in mind how your audience wants to learn online. Some people prefer to watch videos, while others like to read or listen to audio. Don't confuse this with learning styles - that's an old fashioned theory that has been proven to be false although you will see it shared frequently on social media. By building a course that uses a variety of learning methods, you can ensure your content is engaging and easy to understand. This will help you create an experience that appeals to your audience and keeps them engaged throughout the learning process.

4. Evaluate the competition for your course idea

When creating your own course, knowing what your competition is doing is helpful. By understanding their strengths and weaknesses, you can find ways to make your course stand out. To start, make a list of other online course businesses that are teaching similar topics and online classes. This will give you a good idea of who your main competitors are.

Evaluating their content

Next, take a closer look at your competitors' courses. Look at how they organize their content, how deep they go into the subject, and how good the overall quality is. This can help you find areas where you can offer something different or improve on what they're doing. Keep in mind that your goal is to create an experience that provides unique value to your audience.

Learning from customer feedback

Lastly, read reviews and testimonials from people who have taken your competitors' courses. This can give you an idea of what they liked and didn't like about the courses. Use this feedback to make your own course even better. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of other courses, you can refine your topic and content to create training that truly stands out in the market.

5. Test your online course topic idea

Before you decide on your topic, make sure your idea is good. You can do this by getting feedback from people who might be interested in your course and from others in your industry. This can help you fine-tune your idea and make sure you’re creating content that people want to complete.

Using surveys, polls, and pre-sales

Creating online surveys or polls is one way to test your course idea. You can ask your audience if they’re interested in your proposed topic and get their thoughts on it. Another option is to offer a pre-sale of your course at a discounted price. This can help you see how many people are interested in your course and give you a chance to get feedback from early adopters who can help you improve it. This is a great way to tell if your ideas are likely to lead to a profitable online course.

Turning to social media and online communities

Finally, you can share your course idea on social media and in online communities that are related to your topic. This can be a great way to get feedback and insights from potential customers. Join in on discussions and ask questions to learn more about what people want in a course like yours. By using these methods to test your idea, you can make sure you’re creating an online course that will be successful and valuable to your audience.

6. Narrow down your ideas

After gathering feedback and doing your market research, you’ll need to narrow down your course topic. One important thing to think about is specificity. Instead of trying to cover a broad subject, focus on a particular niche or aspect of that subject. This will allow you to create targeted and valuable content that addresses a specific need or problem for your audience.

Thinking about scalability

Another factor to consider when refining your topic is scalability. Choose a topic that lets you create more courses or modules in the future. This way, you can grow your offerings and meet the changing needs of your audience over time. By planning for scalability, you’re setting yourself up for long-term success in the online course industry.

Connecting with your topic

Finally, ensure you’re truly passionate and knowledgeable about the topic you choose. When you have a strong personal connection to your subject, it shows in the content you create. Your enthusiasm and expertise will make your course more engaging and authentic, which can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level. By selecting a topic you genuinely care about, you’ll be more likely to create a course that resonates with your audience and leads to lasting success.

Choosing the right online course idea

Choosing the right course topic is a crucial step to create a successful online course. Whichever online course platform you choose, whatever you want to teach, you need to be passionate about your topic and make sure your course’s content is valuable to your audience. By identifying your area of expertise, assessing market demand, defining your audience, evaluating your competition, testing your idea, and narrowing down your focus, you can select a specific topic that offers value to the right people and sets your course apart. Remember, your course topic should not only align with your expertise but also address the needs and interests of your audience, ensuring a successful and rewarding online course experience for both you and your students.

It may feel like that’s a lot of work and it is. But do you want to create a course that nobody wants? Of course not. So follow the steps above to validate your ideas and ensure you choose something you are passionate about.

If you need any help with this or any other step of the production process you know where we are!

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