Creating an Online Course: How to Choose the Right Topic

Creating an Online Course: How to Choose the Right Topic

by CreativeMindClass • 10 min read
What makes a great course topic and why is it important?
When a new online course kicks off, your starting point is often just a rough concept or idea. So how do you transform this idea into something bigger? A carefully thought course topic will set you up for success.

Choosing the course topic is an essential step in creating the right course for the right people. You have your passion; knowledge, skills, and experience that your audience is willing to pay for. It's time to look at it closer and put it in words.

Learn the process of choosing an online course topic in CreativeMindClass, a free tool used by top creators.

Not sure if the topic you have in mind for your online course is good? We'll try to make it easier for you.

We'll lead you through the process of finding the best topic for your online course. Not only from the perspective of profitability but also you'll end up loving the thing you've chosen. We believe that a secret to choosing a great online course topic is to find out what it is you have that makes you unique and special.

Really, it's that simple!

There is a bit of psychology and motivation involved in this subject so here is the pep talk we all need so much every now and then: You are unique and you have so much to bring to the party! So bring that out, and then let it be seen by others.

We believe that taking a soulful approach and listening to your inner voice is a recipe for success.

But let's first put things in the context. Choosing an online course topic is the first step in the online course creation process. It is followed by the research of the topic, planning the course description, setting your goals, and creating the content.

Choosing the Online Course Topic

Where to Start?

Defining a course topic should be a difficult task. Look at your everyday life. Most likely people already ask you for advice on certain topics or consider you an expert in some area.

Online course creation steps: Choose the right topic
Creating Online Courses: Choose the right topic

What did you master recently?

Focus on your recent aha moments, your fresh skills, and your discoveries. Don't worry now about theories, details, and principles if you don't feel excited about them now, even if everyone else includes them in their classes.

Define things you enjoy doing

If you hate doing something don't choose it for a course topic.

Ask yourself what makes you most excited right now about your work.

It seems to be obvious but you won't believe how often people do something they don't like just because they did not acknowledge that fact in advance.

Calculate a Profit Potential

When you calculate the profit potential look at the problem you are solving. Your online course profit potential is high if you solve a problem people would pay for.

Are people already spending the money on things you are solving? That's a promising sign for your online course success.

Think about what's unique about you

Ask yourself what you bring to the party that is unique to you.

Try to forget about what you think people expect from you. There are so many influences that say you should do this, you should do that. Where you want to be is to hear your own natural voice, and connect to your own natural energy source. You have to locate it, and you locate it through stillness.

Find your true voice

It's the most essential piece of advice - find your true voice, your true self. There's a voice within you that makes you who you are. Your job is to locate it, and re-connect with it.

It's simple. Being still and listening to your body, helps you find that voice. It's there. You're connected to it. It is in the stillness that answers, that messages, impulses, can make themselves known.

Include the YOU

Is it self-discovery that makes you the most excited about your work right now? Or maybe you just realized that you feel very connected to nature? Include that thing in your online course topic.

Your positive energy will make others love your course.

If you're trying to be somebody else, you won't be happy with the results you get. It's not true for you. But when you find your voice, there's an ease to it.

four tips on how to choose a course topic

Get back to your basic motivation

Why do you want to teach?

Is it the connection with others that motivates you most? Is it giving back to your creative community? Let that feeling guide you in choosing your class topic. Building a vibrant and connected community around your online courses will make other people's lives better.

BONUS: Don’t teach topics below your skill level

Teaching skills that you are not excited about is dull.

If you are a beginner teacher it’s fantastic to teach the basics, but if you are an experienced teacher don’t choose the basic topics to teach even if they "sell well".

Go for something that is intellectually challenging and exciting for you at the current moment. You can add the basic stuff later on but don’t make it your main focus.

How to test the course topic idea

  • Set up a landing page. It will take you only a few hours and you can see who will sign up for your course.
  • Presell your online course and check how well the topic you have chosen will do.
  • Make a public post on your social media to see if your audience is enrolling.
  • Use your mailing list to advertise your online course and get feedback.

Choosing a course topic is 80% of your teaching success

Choosing a course topic is 80% of your teaching success

Starting is never easy. We procrastinate. We go to the fridge, open it, have a look, and come back with nothing (or a snack), looking at IG 10 times before starting a new task. That's normal.

It helps to divide tasks into smaller chunks and start with something easy. If you still struggle with choosing the online course topic, here you can find some examples of online course ideas.

Choosing a topic helps you start and complete a tangible and satisfying goal. After this, all other pieces will come together much easier.

🧚🏻‍♀️ Hands-on: Kickstart your Online Course Topic

🪄 Brainstorm - It's fun!

Start with a simple brainstorming technique that you know very well - Put down all your ideas quickly without judging them. You will get a nice list of class topics with your favorite topic among them.

🪄 Create a high-level course structure

Then make something that is tangible and real and you can complete it quickly! Sketch the high-level section structure for your class. Your class is going to have an introduction, right? Perfect, you can put down the Introduction! Will your students will need some materials? You can put down the Material Overview, etc, you get the idea.

🪄 Make it tangible

You can already put those sections as the lesson sections here. As your teaching space is not published yet, so you can play around a bit. Only you can see the lesson structure now, and you can always change it in the future!

Upload some of your works, type some random text, use videos you have on your mobile - get creative and have fun. It can be anything - all to see your class starting getting shaping out beautifully and becoming a reality.

Here is a sample of the structure of lessons you can put together in 5 minutes. Add a sample class, then some lessons and sections. That's it!

Sample Class
Example of a class and lesson plan. Source: CreativeMindClass

Add the lessons structure to your teaching space.

Research your topic

Research and planning are an important part of online course creation. Well-conducted research will help you get ideas for your online course subtopics.

Creating Online Courses: Plan your topic
Creating Online Courses: Plan your topic

Use the power of Google

A good thing to do after defining your online course topic is to cross-check with the actual demand. You can start by typing your topic in Google and check what pops up. That's what people search online and ask Google regarding your course topic.

You might have noticed that on Google there is a section "people also ask" with questions people commonly search on Google. It's quite insightful and it might direct your further steps. There are free online tools to group those questions together based on a keyword like AnswerThePublic.

Keep things organized

Anyone who offers a paid course wants to organize the information well.

Use your creativity to imagine what you would like to learn in a perfect lesson and write your plan on a piece of paper or in your favorite app. Internally we like to plan things in Craft, Evernote or when we need a tool for mind mapping we use Milanote. But your mobile notes will also do.

Study your competitors

The fastest way of learning your area and to come ideas with subtopics for your online course is to check on your competitors. Remember to use it only as a base for your research and you can add your expertise, creativity, and ideas on top of it. We highly disadvise blind copying someone's online course. It's simply not classy or as  Jim from "The Office" says "It's De classé."

By studying your competitors you can update your ideas and brainstorm the subtopics you might want to include in your online course. What is more, by looking at the market, you can start getting an idea of how to price your online course and what other creators charge for online courses.

Whenever using someone's resources, add external links to your posts. Backlinking is a common practice online so reaching out to the article author and getting backlinked would be also beneficial for your online course SEO.

Keep your information up to date

Being an expert in your topic will make your feel confident about your online course. You might be already an expert in your subject and maybe even have some information collected or prepared assets for your students.

Check if there is some new information available out there. So you can update your knowledge with new, add more relevant examples and most recent discoveries and such.

Plan your Online Course Structure

After researching you will have many ideas for your online course subtopics. Your topic together with subtopics creates an online course outline/structure.

Creating Online Courses: Plan your course description
Creating Online Courses: Plan your course description
Lesson Plan, CreativeMindClass
Class & Lesson Plan. Source: CreativeMindClass

At CreativeMindClass we offer an easy-to-follow template for an online course structure. All you need to do is fill it in with your content.

Online Course Structure
Online Course Structure, Template

Set Your Goals

To create a great course it's good to define what you want your students to learn.

Creating Online Courses: Set your goals
Creating Online Courses: Set your goals

Defining the learning milestones will help you communicate to your students about what they can achieve with your online course. It's a part of the planning phase, and it can be done on a high level. Write it down in your notes.

  • List your goals on your sales page. You can use it in your online course marketing and repeat it like a mantra to your audience.
In this course I want to focus on: 1. ... , 2. ... , 3. ... .
  • Communicate your goals in the course description and mention them in the video introduction.
In this course you will learn:  1. ... , 2. ... , 3. ... .

Create your content

Creating Online Courses: Create course content
Creating Online Courses: Create course content

How long does it take to create an online course?

The process of your course creation will go smoothly if you divide it into smaller chunks and plan it in your calendar.

The time you'll spend on an online course creation depends on the value you want to provide to your audience.

If you want to create a full-length course here is a rough time estimation:

  1. Pre-production (1-2 weeks)
  2. Content writing (2-4 weeks)
  3. Video recording (2-4 weeks)
  4. Post-production (1-2 weeks)

If you are a busy creator you might want to start with something less time-consuming. You can launch a mini course. A mini course can be described as a short, online video course that you can sell for an attractive price. Usually, the time duration is from 30 to 90 minutes and it does not include printables therefore you can create it much faster than a full-length course.

You can create and launch a mini course on CreativeMindClass.

  • Include small wins in your online course: They give the audience a sense of accomplishment and keep students excited to learn more.
  • Build your content on concepts your audience knows: This way the new knowledge will blend with what they already know.
  • Add active learning: Your audience needs to do something to learn. Add some homework or hands-on exercises on top of the video of yourself talking to a camera your screen recordings.
  • Include printables: People get excited about things they can print out. It can be downloadable files with a planner, a calendar, a table to fill in, and some theoretical information grouped together (like a list of useful terms or a wheel of colors in the art world).
Including printables in your online course  adds a personal touch and alows you to cross the "digital non-digital bridge" as in a way you'll be present in your student house or a working space.
  • Trigger a discussion: Initiating a dialog is another way of keeping your audience active. You can increase your students' engagement by building an online community around your course.

Course scope

Here are some materials you create for your online course:

  1. Videos
  2. Screen recordings
  3. PDFs
  4. Slides
  5. Quizzes
  6. Blog posts
  7. Images
  8. Presentations

Get Started with the CreativeMindClass Course Builder— It's Free!



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Upload lessons and provide learning materials in one place.


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