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I make ‘done-for-you’ courses that can save you hours upon hours of time compared to making your own course from scratch. (Also known as PLR, or private label rights courses) But what exactly are they? What can you do with them? And what do you get when you download one, especially my latest PLR business blogging course?
In this video I explain what PLR and ‘done-for-you’ actually means for a video course, why I don’t tend to use ‘PLR’ to describe my courses these days, what you can do with this type of course content and I’ll show you exactly what you get inside one of my courses.
Here’s the direct link to the Course Creation Resource List I mention in the video (no opt in required) : totallycourses.com/resource-list
Are you ready to brainstorm your online course content? Sometimes it’s easy enough to get your ideas out of your head and into a course outline and sometimes it’s a little harder. In this post I’ll share a couple of methods that I’ve found work for me.
Here’s my draft outline for my next course:
I’m now at the editing stage, but this is where I was a couple of weeks ago when I shared the draft outline on Instagram.
This was an easy outline for me because I’ve owned blogs for a few years now and I’ve written a lot about blogging over that time. The information was pretty much already in my head – I knew the steps and I didn’t need to do much research. Also, this is a short, focused course, which helps a lot. But it’s not always that easy. (I wish it was!)
Often, I have loads of ideas for what might go into my course whirling around my mind and it’s not easy to get them down in a nice, tidy list. When that happens I pull out my big roll of paper, my felt pens and I do this…
That was how I began my last course on content marketing for small businesses, by the way.
If you’d like to give this a go, any large sheet of paper will do including flipchart paper or the back of an old roll of wallpaper. I use a roll of kids’ drawing paper from Ikea. Once I’ve downloaded all of the ideas from my brain, I can write an orderly outline like the one at the top of this page!
So if you struggle to get your course ideas out of your head and into a list that you can actually work with, you might like to try this method of brainstorming your online course content. Let me know how it goes!
Or if you’d like to see my range of done-for-you courses, please take a look here!
So you want to make an online course (or coach, or teach online in any other way). Shouldn’t you have a university degree and at least five years professional experience before you have the right to call yourself a teacher, trainer or coach? Do you need qualifications to create an online course?
Nope. And in this post I’ll explain why.
Before I go on, I want to let you know this is something I’ve struggled with myself. I still do struggle with it from time to time. And I do have teaching and training qualifications (yes, go figure!) But there’s always something you aren’t technically qualified to do and if you let the qualifications gremlin have his way your confidence will take a beating. Plus you might never get around to helping those people that need what you do know.
Teaching, training or coaching online is different from ‘traditional’ teaching in that people want solutions to problems rather than a well-rounded education. Yes, having some professional experience and qualifications will give you credibility, but what really matters is that you can enable people to solve their problems.
There have been times – before I taught online – when I’ve taught a class and have been only a few pages ahead of my students. Two examples come to mind, the first when I was a new teacher and had to teach electronics to a class of fifteen-year-olds – something I hadn’t done at that level in years. The second was the first time I taught an Excel advanced course and spent the previous day cramming so I survived the day! True, neither were exactly my finest teaching experiences and I didn’t do this unless I really had to, but both groups came away being able to do things they couldn’t do before. They learned what they needed and wanted to know from those sessions. My point is that even qualified professionals have to ‘wing it’ sometimes.
Qualifications won’t protect you from ever having to leave your comfort zone. Nothing can do that.
If you’re like me you live in a culture where education and qualifications are highly prized. Before I do anything new that involves earning an income I feel I need to get a certificate to prove I’m capable. And sometimes that’s true, after all you wouldn’t want to see a doctor who’d never been to University! But for many of the courses we sell online, our students and clients are more likely to want practical, actionable information. To learn from our experience.
If our clients wanted ‘book learning’ they’d just buy the book.
What might your clients/students want from you? A shortcut? To save time? Help to get past the mental blocks that are derailing their plans? A listening ear? To know that someone believes in them? Confirmation that they are on the right track? A community of like-minded people? To pass an exam? Whatever it is, it’s a whole lot broader and more complex than ‘someone with a certificate’.
So next time the you-aren’t-qualified-to-do-that gremlin pops up, grab a nice, heavy hard-backed book and swat him with it! 🙂
If you’ve found this post helpful I’d love it if you could share it with someone who is battling their own qualifications gremlin!
There are plenty of courses out there on the Internet. So how can you make sure you design a good online course? And what makes a good course anyway?
Let’s keep this really simple: a good course is one that meets its objectives. If I wanted to learn how to build a website, any course on basic web design should show me how to do that. A good online course would enable me to go away and build my own website. So a good course is not just about delivering content, it’s about what the student can actually do when they’ve finished the course. In other words, its about results.
If you’re selling your course then results become even more important. Great results will bring your students/clients back for more and get them talking about you to their friends. Great results make good business sense.
Unfortunately, many online courses are set up as a one-way transfer of information from the teacher’s brain to the student’s brain. This isn’t very effective because the learning process is a cycle:
(This image is based on Kolb’s Learning Cycle.)
If you want to design a good course, make sure you include features that encourage your students to move through this cycle. Adding questions, worksheets, simple quizzes and asking students to think about their own experience will all make your course much more effective than a series of videos alone because they encourage testing, reflection and the development of ideas.
For even better results you need to include the support of a coach or tutor. A tutor will make sure that the client/student really is reflecting on what they’ve learnt – rather than just glancing over a worksheet but not working through it, or working through the worksheet but still not understanding what they’ve been taught. A coach or tutor can also assess the student’s progress, stopping her from moving ahead until she has fully grasped what she’s working on now.
This has cost implications if you’re selling courses as a business, though. So you’ll need to weigh up whether to have a more effective but relatively expensive course or a cheaper (but potentially less effective) course. A cheaper course may be an easier sell and accessible to more people, but a more expensive course may have more committed students because they’ve invested more in the course.
By the way, you can choose to deliver my done-for-you courses either with coaching or as a self-study course. Or you can offer both, it’s up to you.
There’s been an explosion of online courses lately and I’ve taken some that are excellent as well as some that are awful. That’s to be expected because this type of technology was only available to highly skilled professionals a few years ago. People with no teaching or training experience are now making online courses, which is absolutely fine (as long as they aren’t ripping people off) and I’m sure the good quality ones will rise to the surface and the bad ones will sink. The trick is to improve your course design so your courses are the risers and not the sinkers!
What do you feel makes a good online course? Are you including these features in your courses?
Death by PowerPoint. It’s what we trainers call it when your presenter talks through slide after boring slide of bullet-pointed lists. The trouble is this has crept into screencast videos, too. Yawn.
There’s really no excuse for this because there’s so much you can do to make your presentations and videos look better. It’s quick to do and you don’t need any technical or design skills. Here are some simple ways to make your slides pop:
Use PowerPoint templates
There are loads of PowerPoint templates inside PowerPoint itself that will add things like fonts, layouts and graphic elements in seconds. You can apply these to your presentation using the ‘Design’ menu at the top of PowerPoint.
As PowerPoint is so widely used, you may want something that looks a little different from everyone else so don’t be afraid to look beyond what’s on the Design menu. Try the Microsoft Office website or if you don’t mind adding credits, you can download some very nice templates from Slides Carnival for free (these also work with Google Slides, by the way). Or if you want something unique, you can always pay a designer to create a custom template for you.
Keep it brief
Your slides should be a visual aid, to illustrate or emphasise what you say. You shouldn’t be using the slide as a script, so keep the number of words on a slide down to a minimum. In fact, you often only need one, two or three words on each slide to make your point. If you have a bullet-pointed list, try putting each point on a separate slide.
(To avoid this…)
Images add interest and help to communicate your message. Try to make your images say something rather than just filling up blank space. Adding an image to the background of the slide so that it fills the entire slide can be very effective – you can do this by right-clicking on the slide and choosing ‘Format background’
Keep it consistent
To make sure you have a consistent look all the way through, stick to one colour palette, use up to three fonts and try to choose images with a consistent look, too. Paying attention to these points will make your presentation look far more professional.
Ditch the bullets
Do you really need the bullets? If the slide or text appears as you speak, then you probably don’t need a little black circle to emphasise it. Try losing the bullet points to see if it makes your slide look cleaner. There’s a good chance it will.
Need some inspiration?
Take a look at Slideshare. Lots of ideas for avoiding death by PowerPoint there.
The done-for-you courses I sell at here at Totally Courses come with source PowerPoint files that you can edit and use to record your own training videos if you wish (or you can just use my videos that come in the pack). No death by PowerPoint, I promise.
Do you have a PowerPoint horror story? Please leave me a comment and tell me about it. Think of it as therapy…
Overwhelmed by the thought of making a course? You’re certainly not alone There’s so much to do, so much to learn and SO much technology to choose from. Depending on how you decide to create your course, you could end up with having to consider recording and editing videos, how to structure a course, what content to include, how to host your courses, how to take payment, how to answer student questions, how to handle customer service, sales funnels, sales page copy-writing and more. Phew!
Here’s a tip: Keep it as simple as you possibly can. All you need is some good, relevant content in your course, a way to deliver it, a way to take payment and a way to reach your audience. If you look closely, you’ll see that many of the tools out there are to automate a system that is already up and running. If you automate too early, you’ll spend time and money setting up a system that isn’t very efficient. That will cost you time and effort in the long-run.
You really don’t need much automation to begin with. In fact the personal touch will probably work a lot better because when your students have problems or feedback you’ll be right there ready to help them or to add that extra missing piece to your course. The only automation you definitely do need is just need a way of taking payment and delivering the course when you’re not around (ie asleep!) The rest of the clever techie stuff can come later.
After all, it’s better to have a simple system that that works well and that starts making you some money than an expensive, complex one that you never get around to launching.
And while we’re on the subject of keeping things simple… don’t obsess about tiny details of making an online course.
What’s most important is helping other people – providing useful, relevant information, answering questions and supporting people. In comparison, having a perfect website or logo is a long way down the priority list. And you’ll never have the perfect website or logo anyway! So focus on getting the right content out to the people who need it now. The rest of the small stuff can be tweaked later.
After all, the only way to learn how all this works is to do it.
By the way, the easiest way to get a course finished and for sale is to use one of my done-for-you courses. Just saying. 🙂
Many people are quite wary of using done-for-you articles on their blogs, and I can understand why. In an ideal world we’d all write our posts and courses ourselves, every time. But if you’re running a small business you have to make every minute count. Blogging is time-consuming so it makes total sense to look at ways of speeding the process up.
There is a time and a place for done-for-you/PLR content (here’s my post describing exactly when you shouldn’t use it). And if I’m posting articles on my blogs I certainly edit them first to add my own ideas and stories. But you may be surprised at how much online content isn’t written by who you’d expect. 🙂
To give you an example of one of my done-for-you articles edited and posted on someone else’s blog, here’s a post by Debbie O’Connor. She took my done-for-you article on ‘Six ways to create content with free tools’ and made it her own:
You can download the article to use yourself – plus four more on content marketing – here. It’s free.
Debbie says “So I just changed a few words, added in a little bit extra and added some images (and in this case some demonstrations of the tools you were taking about). Took me less than half an hour for what will be a very useful blog post for me.”
If Debbie was writing a very personal, opinion-based post then done-for-you content wouldn’t have been appropriate. But for a ‘how to’, tips or tutorial – style post then it’s perfectly fine to use my post as a starting point then add your own ideas, images and even videos. It’s very much like using a stock photo, cropping it and adding your own text to make a social media image.
If you’re worried about the SEO implications of having duplicate content then, yes, this is something to be aware of but it’s not as big a deal as most people think. I’ve written about this here.
Hope that helps you overcome those niggling worries about using PLR on your blog!
I’m trying a blogging experiment – let me know what you think!
I’ve been posting to Instagram fairly regularly for about a couple of months now. Initially it was because I wanted to experiment with short videos – you can find out more about what I learned about that in my post here – but I found the community there was more lively there than on Twitter, and far easier to reach than from a Facebook page. Plus it was fun! So I started to experiment with different types of photos, images and videos.
This weekend I tried posting a kind-of mini blog post in the description. I’m going to try posting a series of these, then I’ll expand on them and publish them as blog posts here because I know not everyone is into Instagram. Here’s post number one:
What if nobody buys my online course?
Taking a leap into making your first online course? Afraid nobody will buy it? Don’t worry, most new course creators feel exactly the same way. I certainly did! And I still feel the same old nerves whenever I launch a new course, although it does get a lot easier over time.
You can do a lot prevent this from happening, though. Before you even begin outlining your course, identify exactly which group of people you want as your students then go and talk to some of them.
Nope, don’t just read websites, speak to them. Speaking on the phone or Skype is fine, they don’t have to live locally.
That way you’ll pick up on the problems they want to solve, exactly what they want to achieve and the words they use to describe these. Now take this information and build a course around it. Don’t make the course you want, make the course THEY want. The easiest thing in the world is to think “wouldn’t it be great if I made a course on…” because it’s about what interests you, not what solves a problem for other people. There will be people out there who need your help, you just need to angle it and package it in a way that makes it easy for them to say “Yes, I need that!”
Aim for: “At last, yes, I need that right now, where do I pay?”
Instead of: “Yes, hmmm that’s interesting…”
An easy way to test out whether your course idea will grab your target audience without spending months putting it together is to use done-for-you content. You’re very welcome to download with my pack of done-for-you content marketing articles – download them here and post them on your blog, send them out to your mailing list or expand on them a bit and turn them into a short report.
Does content marketing seem like a lot of work? Are you wondering if you’ll get the results you want from it? If you’re asking yourself ‘why use content marketing?’ then read on!
First of all, let’s look at exactly what the term means. Content marketing is publishing e-books, videos, articles, images and any other type of content online to market a business or product.
There are a couple of problems, though. Much of the content marketing advice you’ll read online comes from digital marketing agencies and it’s overwhelming for a small business that doesn’t have an in-house marketing team. How are you supposed to pump out all those videos and e-books when you’ve got customers to keep happy? Then, when small businesses do try content marketing, often they create a PDF and then tweet a little and post it on theirFacebook page a few times. This isn’t enough, which means they don’t get the results they expected and – understandably – feel despondent about the whole idea of content marketing.
Yet there are many great reasons why you should be marketing with content. Let’s look at the main ones:
Content brings you traffic
You need content to encourage visitors to your website, for example a Facebook page post or an Instagram image. Then you need content to let them get to know, like and trust you, such as blog posts, images and videos. And if they like what you create they’ll come back for more.
You need content for SEO
These days, search engine optimization has to start with quality content. True, you still need some keywords and backlinks to your site to do well in Google searches, but the days when just keywords and backlinks worked are long gone.
You also need content for for lead generation
Once you’ve captured attention with your content you’ll need more of it to generate leads. You can do this by exchanging a useful checklist or guide (yes, this is content too!) for your visitors’ email addresses.
Content builds trust
There are millions of websites out there, why should anyone buy from yours? You need to make a connection with your visitors, to show you understand them and can be trusted to deliver exactly what they need. Guess how you do that? Yes, with content.
…and it helps grow your brand
If your content has a consistent message that’s congruent with the rest of your business then your content will tell the world about what you do, how and why. In other words, content marketing grows your brand.
Content even helps you to sell
There is an art to writing product descriptions and articles that sell. But to make your sales content work at its best you’ll need to deliver it to your prospect when they are 100% ready to buy. How do you know when that is? If you’ve been nurturing and tracking their progress using content marketing, then you’ll have all the information you need.
As you can see, content marketing can bring you a stream of traffic, leads and even sales. But you must have a solid strategy and track your results carefully.
If you have clients who need help with content marketing, take a look at my done-for-you Content Marketing for Small Business course.
It’s a complete video course with source files, videos, worksheets, cover images and transcripts – just upload it to your training platform or membership site and you’re good to go.
So why do I make done-for-you courses for small businesses, business coaches, consultants, VAs web designers and membership site owners? Let me tell you a story…
Long, long ago (well, the late ’90s) I was an IT trainer who drove all over the UK and had to drag huge projectors up flights of stairs. At that time I wished I could make video training from my desk instead, but the Internet was far too slow and the equipment was way too expensive. By the early 2010s everything had changed. Not only could I teach online, I could even do it on a self-employed basis from home. The equipment was cheap and the broadband was fast. It was what I’d dreamed of in 1998.
Yet it still wasn’t that easy. Yes, it was possible to knock together a course pretty rapidly (I’d certainly found a few rapidly knocked-together courses online!) But making a quality course? That was a different matter. In fact, to get my course quality up high enough to be accepted by online course platform Udemy I had to improve my audio and video quality, get comfortable speaking to camera and brush up my editing skills as well as making sure I included the basics I’d learnt as a trainer – aims and learning objectives, making sure each section of the course had an introduction, summary and some kind of self-assessment at the end.
If it wasn’t easy for me as someone with a background in software training how hard would it be for someone wanting to make an online course without it? Despite that I saw plenty of experts promoting their own ‘how to make an online course’ courses who were saying how easy it all was. Passive income, earn money while you sleep and so on. You know how it goes.
At the same time I saw membership site owners spending precious time creating tutorial videos for things like WordPress when their time would have been much better spent coaching on their members on their specialist area. That’s when I knew I could help.
How? I make off the shelf video courses that you can either rebrand or use as they are. True, there are times when your clients need to see your face and hear your voice in your videos. But there are many other situations when they don’t, for example if you’re a business coach who wants a set of WordPress videos to help your clients set up their own websites. Or if if you’re a web designer that needs a set of videos for clients who want to update their own websites.
(And you can always re-record the audio of my videos with your own voice if you want to.)
So far, so WordPress. But that was just the beginning. Following on from my WordPress tutorial packs I recorded an entire done-for-you course on making online videos and my next product, due in the next few weeks, is a content marketing course just for small businesses.
Some of my clients re-brand my videos, others don’t. Some add their own content and others don’t. It’s up to you, my aim is to take the stress and effort out of making videos courses however that works for you, which is why I include source slides, transcripts and (if it fits) a promotional video, too.
That’s why I make off the shelf courses.