I covered Step 1 to create a profitable online product in Part 1, where I explained how to plan. When you’re done with planning, it’s time to build it. Just remember that if you start to build your product before your planning, you’ll increase your chances of failure.
You can read Part 1 here.
Building your course has 5 steps:
- Create an outline
- Map out your funnel
- Decide on a format/structure
- Collect/write your content
- Organize and format your product
Let’s go through each step.
1. Create an outline
You should never write without an outline. Why is that? An outline:
- Helps you organize your content
- Makes writing MUCH easier
- Becomes an element of your sales page
When I was writing books for large publishers like Wiley and McGraw-Hill, they wouldn’t let me write without first submitting a table of contents.
For written products, such as an e-book or report, make your outline/table of contents fairly detailed.
- Parts: Only longer products need parts
- Chapters: A short report might not need chapters, but e-books should have them
- First-level headings: You should always break up content with headings, just as I’m doing in this blog post
- Second-level headings: Use these when appropriate to organize your content. I sometimes use second-level headings in blog posts
For video courses, organize your content this way:
- Lessons/modules: These are like chapters in a book
- Segments: Divide up your lessons into shorter segments when possible. People like to watch 5-minute videos and then apply the instruction.
2. Map out your funnel
You should have sketched out your funnel during the planning process, but you’ll finalize it now because it affects your product.
There are really 2 parts to your funnel. One is the overall funnel for your business. This is usually something like:
- Free opt-in offer
- Low-priced product
- Main product/membership program
- High-end product/coaching/membership program
In every product you create, you’re trying to move people from #1 to #4.
But each product also has its own funnel, or infrastructure:
- The free opt-in or sales page that leads people to buy your product: This leads people to want your product and contains links to your product
- Your product
- Bonuses: These encourage people to buy your product. Higher-priced products need more bonuses.
- An upsell: If you offer a related product, some people will take it and you’ll make more money. It can be right after people purchase, on the “thank-you” page, on the delivery page, embedded with the product, or in autoresponders.
- Autoresponders: These are automated emails that follow up after the purchase. They help your customers get more value out of the product and then make other offers.
3. Decide on a format/structure
You can choose from a number of formats and structures for your product. What will help your customers learn best? What is easiest for you? What will sell best? These are all questions you need to answer.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Will you teach a live course (synchronous) or prerecord it (asynchronous)?
- Which file type will you use–PDF, video, audio, email, PowerPoint, Word…?
- Will you create an e-book, report, 1-pager, webinar, audio, or video?
- Will you drip the content (for a course) or deliver it all at once?
- Will it be a solo product or a collaboration?
Note that you can deliver more than one format. For example, you can provide a course in both video and audio formats. Or you can create a video and include a PDF of your script or slides.
What platform will you use? You can deliver a product from your website or from an online platform such as Thinkific or Kajabi.
4. Collect and write your content
Of course, you can write your content from scratch or from your experience. But in the end, if you analyze it, you may find that you need too many products to do so–if you want to make a living. That’s because, for most people, you regularly need something new to sell.
So you should consider using:
- Existing content: Blog posts, articles, content-rich emails, scripts, old products
- Private Label Rights (PLR): This is content that you buy, then edit and reformat. It comes with a license giving you the right to do so
Many entrepreneurs use a combination of original content, existing content, and PLR.
Use your outline as your guide and don’t edit or format as you work.
You should also create your upsell product, bonuses, and autoresponder emails.
5. Organize and format your product
When your content is written, videos created, etc., it’s time to organize and format your product. For video and audio, you need to think of this as you create.
Create sections and levels of content, if you haven’t already. This includes adding chapters/modules and headings. Chunk written content into paragraphs and lists, just as you see in this blog post. And don’t forget to make it look professional.
For an ebook, you need:
- An attractive cover
- Table of Contents, intro/foreword, preface, Copyright page, disclaimer
- Chapters, headings, headers and footers, page numbers
- Lots of white space, images, callouts (boxed text)
For video, you need:
- A nice background or well-designed slides
- An intro and outro
- Segments within modules
The next step is to promote your product and I’ll cover that in Part 3 of this blog series, Promote.
This is part of a more detailed course available as part of my Reach the Stars Club. It’s a membership program that includes training, community, and 1-on-1 coaching. Check it out at www.changetheworldmarketing.com/starsclub/
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