Sunday, May 3, 2015

How to Build an Ecourse and What to Have In it.

How to Build an Ecourse and What to Have In it.
(Photo: Ruschi)

Building an online course is perfect for giving enough value to get people onto your list (and into your membership.)

That's the key point -giving away real value. Cheap stuff doesn't cut it.

This is another post in our series of outlining a case study of how to publish and sell books.

The logic of an ecourse is that
  1. You want to invite people to your list/membership (see #5 and #6 for why).
  2. You need to give them something incredibly valuable to begin with
  3. So they give you their email
  4. So you can give them more valuable stuff
  5. So they become your captive audience
  6. And will finance your writing, as well as help you edit it into what they want.

You build an ecourse so that most people possible can use it.

This mistake is common.

People like me who live in the boonies don't have free broadband and so videos and audio just suck bandwidth - which we pay through the nose for to begin with.

PDF's on the other hand, take little time to download or read - and you're giving live links they can follow whenever they want, even years later.

Rule: On every lesson of your ecourse:

  • Text
  • Audio
  • Video
  • PDF transcript
  • Live links to valuable material and your related books.
See how this goes?

They can read the text, but would get fascinated with the video - or download the audio to listen to later. Same for the PDF.

Of course, they get the original lesson, but that just takes them to the web page on your site.

Rule: Link to your own stuff everywhere

You do give a full lesson by email (few things are more frustrating than having to open yet another browser tab/window - it tends to break your unwritten promise of giving immediate value.)

You do include a link and come-on pitch before the lesson.

And also another pitch and link after the lesson, maybe with a video still image to entice them further. (Did I mention free downloads?!?)

Your PDF has at least as many links as your web page has.

The reason to embed your content - get more authority links

YouTube and Slideshare are known for how much Google loves them.

The funny part is when someone comes to your page, this gives a "view" to all your embeds and raises their ranking on that site.

Meanwhile, those media files have your link in their descriptions, so they are linking to your site - every time someone views those media file pages, some link love goes your way.

And Search Engine Marketing is another term for "book discovery."

What else to have on that lesson page?

You probably don't want to overdo it, but having your book cover and links to the main distributors (as well as a way to buy it directly from you) isn't necessarily overboard.

Links out to the main distributors are mostly to give your book some link authority, so that it will move up that distributor's list.

Should a lesson page remain private? 

Technically, no. Unless it's a paid course. Most of the time, people can't guess what the link for the preceding or following lesson is, so having search engines able to put your lesson in their search results just means that it's another chance to get more people subscribing.

This means you need an opt-in for the ecourse itself at the bottom of the page and in the sidebar - with a disclaimer of something like, "New to this ecourse? Subscribe today and get [benefit] - Instant Access!"

This could then mean more subscribers.

More to come

What we've covered here is really only the broad strokes. The value you put in a lesson is what solutions it has for the readers problems.

How to build a video from parts would be the next logical step. Hint: you start with text, create audio and a PDF from that, then combine these into a video. That technical end is a bit much for this overlong blog post.

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