In the early days of online entrepreneurship, ebooks were the crème de la crème of digital products. It seemed like every blogger, entrepreneur, and YouTube star was writing their own, and making a living selling them.
Well, now in 2018, times have changed.
Ebooks are still great, no doubt, but they are definitely not the most profitable product an online creative can create. In case you hadn’t already guessed, that spot has been taken over by online courses.
The beautiful thing about online courses is that they contain all of the same information that would be included in an ebook, but you can sell them for up to 50x the price because of how they’re formatted.
People hold online courses at a higher value than ebooks because courses are more interactive and feel more immersive.
If you’ve just put the finishing touches on your ebook, though, don’t despair! In creating your ebook, you’ve already put in a lot of the grunt work involved in creating an online course. In short, ebooks can act as scripts for your online course.
How to turn your ebook into an online course
Like I said, you’ve already done the hard work. What’s next is taking the structure of your ebook and reformatting it so that it can stand as an online course.
This usually means breaking your chapters into lessons and recording videos using the content you’ve already written as a script.
In this post I’ll walk you through:
- Identifying your transformation
- Creating lessons
- Planning and scripting videos
- Getting started putting your course together
Pinpointing a transformation
First things first: let’s evaluate the purpose of your ebook. Is it bringing your readers to a transformation? Online courses are, in short, a shortcut to a transformation, and they should have a very specific purpose.
When your students buy an online course from you, they expect you to take them from point a to point b.
We like to use our Transformation Matrix when deciding on a transformation. To fill in the matrix, you need to answer these questions:
What does a prospective student have before taking your course? What will they have after they finish it?
How does a prospective student feel before taking your course? How will they feel after they finish it?
Who are they before taking your course? Who will they be after finishing it?
With ebooks on the other hand, you may find you’ve created a lot of mini transformations without any one big takeaway.
If that’s the case, you may find that you want to create an online course out of just a few chapters of your ebook, or add a few extra lessons to your course to really round out the content you’ve already created in your ebook.
In short: Decide what the content you’ve already created teaches and establishes a distinct transformation that you’ll bring your students to.
Organize your chapters into lessons
Luckily for you, most ebooks are already organized into chapters so you can easily take the structure you’ve already created and turn your “chapters” into “lessons.” On Teachable, that will look a little something like this:
Decide on the type of content you’d like to create for your course
Online courses don’t have to consist of just videos. There are four main content types we tend to see course creators use. With that said, you should add an element beyond text and photo lessons if you’re looking to charge more for your online course than you’re charging for your ebook.
Text and photo lessons: These are made up a lot like this blog post or an ebook,utilizing written words and photos to get a point across. These are the easiest lessons to create and they take no advance skill. Plus, they can be built entirely on Teachable.
PDFs, spreadsheets, and other documents: If your course has a workbook, a cheat sheet, or resource material that you want students to easily reference, you may want to make it available for download in PDF form. Offering these extra materials can really help your students feel like they’re getting a great value.
Screencasting, or screen recording: With screencasts, you can demonstrate a topic on your computer and record the screen. Often, when screencasting, you’ll also include an audio voiceover, which you can record at the same time or after you have the video recorded. These simple videos are a great way for you to directly teach your students without being on camera yourself.
Video: Here you can speak directly to your customers. Sitting down on video is a great way to really make that connection with your audience and get your points across. Video is a great content choice, but there are times when text & photo might be better, like when there is too much information to recite on video.
Break your lessons down into munchable video topics
The plan is to use each chapter as the script for your lesson. Chances are, though, your chapters are going to be too long to be a single video. When in doubt, it’s best to break down your content into really munchable, easy-to-consume sections for a few reasons:
- They keep your audience’s attention
- It makes your course easier to browse
- It helps your students go back to find specific information
As a rule of thumb, each lesson should cover one major takeaway and won’t take more than ten minutes to explain.
If you’re creating an online course all about creating content for your blog, your breakdown might look a little something like this:
Lesson: Create an editorial calendar
- Video one: What is an editorial calendar and why do you need one? (8 minutes)
- Video two: Digital or physical planner? (4 minutes)
- Video three: Everything to include in your editorial planner (7 minutes)
Again, you’ve got the advantage because you’ve likely already written out exactly what it is you need to say. You may find you just need to make a few tweaks.
The biggest thing to consider is your speaking style. A lot of people will type a lot more formally than they’d speak the same ideas, so adjust the text of your script to reflect what feels the most comfortable for you to say.
Add extra information throughout
If you’re one of the lucky ones, you won’t need to do this. On the other hand, if you find that your online course isn’t as robust as you’d like, you can add more information that what was included in your ebook.
This could be in the form of adding new videos within your lectures, or adding new lectures diving deeper into the material entirely.
Again, this is optional, but important to consider. Always evaluate your intended transformation: Can someone easily make it from point A to point B with just the information included in your online course? If not, you’ll want to round your content out a bit more.
Putting your online course together
Once you’ve used your ebook to create the scripts for your online course, you’re ready to begin creating your course content.
This can look like a combination of talking head videos, slideshows, audio recordings or anything in between.
In the past we’ve talked a lot on how to best create your online course content, so feel free to peruse a few of these resources:
When it comes to creating an online course, people who have written ebooks already have the upperhand because you’ve already done so much of the preparation. Have you ever written an ebook? Will you be turning it into an online course?