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If you are contemplating running an e-course but you’re not sure how best to present that information then we have some tips to get your started.

E-courses can be presented through e-books, short format online classes, or long term membership programs. You can present your e-course in a number of formats involving written text, audio, video (live or pre-recorded), or a combination of all. E-courses by their nature are delivered online over the internet, although you may wish to broaden your content delivery into physical products such as printed books or instructional DVD’s.

WHY you may want to consider offering an e-course:

1.      Meeting a need - maybe you find yourself being asked the same questions from your readers about how you create a certain project, or how to work through a certain technique. If you have a certain style to your creative projects, most likely your reader base is interested in how you came to develop that style and how to apply that knowledge in practical ways.  An e-course will provide you and your readers with a direct path on meeting that need and getting specific direction and feedback.

2.       Develop your niche – an e-course will provide you with an opportunity to develop your niche and also market that niche as something you are an “expert” in. Ok, so you may not feel you are the world authority on a particular topic, but chances are you know enough to help guide someone else through how you came to achieve the results you did. We all have valuable knowledge that others can benefit from. Your readers already come to you for inspiration if they are viewing your blog/website, so an e-course will allow you to educate on your niche and style.  You may also find that during the process of building your e-course that you refine some of the techniques you use in your creative process.

3.       Develop relationships – you may sometimes feel your blog is a one-sided conversation. By offering an e-course you open up the pathway to converse with your readers more.  Providing feedback and answering questions throughout the e-course helps you to connect one on one to your readers.  You may also find that within your e-course framework a number of participants will connect with each other and this in itself will start to strengthen your community of readers. An e-course also provides you with the opportunity to give something back to your readers who follow your creative journey.

4.       Inspiration – an e-course developed by you may deliver the inspiration that your readers are looking for in their own creative journey.  They may have seen your creative work on a superficial level, but sometimes when we see the nuts and bolts of how to create something, it inspires us to take our own creativity to the next level.  As you inspire your readers with your ideas, you may find that inspiration coming back to you as you see how your readers interpret your concepts.

5.        Business – as creative people, money can sometimes be a dirty word. But if you are striving to be able to make an income creatively, then an e-course is certainly the most direct method to earn an income, while retaining full control over course content.

HOW to develop your e-course:

1.       Choose your subject matter – you know your readers best, so choose a topic that you know will interest your readers.  Avoid developing a course that you think will cover EVERYTHING you’ve ever wanted to share. This can be too overwhelming for you to develop, as well as too much for your students to achieve in a realistic timeframe. Break your idea down into smaller bits so you can keep the interest level high. This will also provide you with an opportunity to present future e-courses down the track.  Keep your e-course content original and show your students YOUR point of view.

2.       Lesson planning – make a list of topics that you think is relevant to your overall idea. Put those topics into a list which will then represent one lesson each. The ideal number of lessons for an e-course is 5-10. This is enough lessons to explain your concept fully, yet at the same time keep your students focused on the completing the course.  Take into account that your first and last lesson should be overview lessons, with the lessons in the middle being more focused on content. Your first lesson should be an introduction and your last lesson will be a conclusion.

3.       Content – there are two ways in which you can develop e-course content. You can take it from a theoretical perspective and first write a series of “articles” and then create your projects around each article. Alternatively you could start with specific projects in mind and then build a step by step instruction lesson around each project. You could choose to create a number of smaller projects or focus on one grand project and break down the components to creating that project into small individual lessons. When you are writing, it is always best to write in your own personal voice. After all, this is the voice that your readers are used to and will most likely respond to learning from.  You may wish to develop an initial template and use that template to create each lesson plan. The more you can automate your own process, the more likely you will stay focused on delivering meaningful content.

4.       Overview – once you have developed your e-course it is a good idea to review everything at the end so that you can establish relevant marketing content. Some may like to do this at the start but while best plans are always made, we sometimes develop other ideas along the way. By summarizing your course at the end you will have a final overview of exactly what you will be offering to the student.

5.       Resources, materials etc – you may wish to include some extra information on resources/materials that the student will need to complete the e-course projects. If possible include suitable alternatives in the event your students cannot access some products.

6.       Marketing – now your e-course is complete you need to start marketing. Most people need to seen an offer several time before deciding on a purchase. Mention your e-course as often as you can without becoming repetitive. Place a link to your e-course registration page in your e-signature on emails or blog posts or forum posts (where allowed). Use any forms of social media that you participate in.  Most importantly, make sure we at www.creativeecourses.com are the first to know!