This is a comprehensive guide to creating your first audio course for Avocado.
Creating an audio course doesn’t have to be difficult. Unlike a video course, you don’t have to spend time planning out visuals. You only need a plan, a quality microphone, and yourself to make a world-class course.
Now let’s get you started.
Identify Your Target Audience
You want to clearly define your target audience from the start so you can create content that is relevant and engaging. Understand who will be participating in your course and what are their goals and objectives. This will help you keep your content concise and to the point.
Some questions to consider when identifying your target audience:
- What are the goals and interests of the people taking the course?
- Based on these goals, who are your target students? Who are NOT your target students?
- What skills or knowledge should students already have before taking your course? What do you plan on NOT covering?
- What will your students be able to do by the end of the audio course?
- What should students do after taking your course? What could they do now in their personal or professional lives that they couldn't before?
Stick to Evergreen Information
To make sure that your investment in creating your audio course is worthwhile, stick to core principles on a topic that will be relevant and helpful for years to come. You don’t want to have to constantly be updating lessons unnecessarily because you made too many references that no longer make sense. Timeless material wins in e-learning.
Plan Your Content
Avocado audio courses are divided into lessons. We recommend keeping each lesson to a single topic or skill. The ideal length of a lesson is two to six minutes. Shorter lessons maximize learner engagement. The flexibility of audio courses also allows the listener to complete a lesson while walking between meetings or to lunch.
With the lesson structure in mind, you should start by planning out your content with an outline. You may find it useful to think about a learning objective for each lesson and work back to the content from there. Another way of thinking of this is a lesson containing a problem to solve and the solution to the problem.
After you get the big picture outline, you’ll want to fill in the outline with talking points. Some audio course creators like a full script while others prefer to speak more organically from the talking points. It is up to you. Whichever route you choose you can always clean up the recording afterward.
Get Your Recording Gear
Audio quality is of the utmost importance for audio courses. Luckily quality audio gear doesn’t cost much nowadays.
You really only need a decent microphone and a quiet place to record (no recording booth necessary). You want a mic that isn’t going to pick up ambient sound in an office or at home, which means going with a cardioid microphone. The Honda Civic of mics is the ATR2100x ($100). It has the best balance of price and performance and even large podcasters like Tim Ferriss use it to record for millions of listeners. The benefit of an ATR2100 is is that they can plug directly into your computer via USB or audio gear via XLR.
Most of the higher-end mics that you will encounter require an XLR adapter to record with a computer. I use a Shure SM58 Microphone ($100), the “most popular mic in the world", with a Shure X2U XLR-to-USB Signal Adapter ($150) that allows you to connect any XLR microphone to a computer via USB. the Shure SM58 has a great low-end sound, good warmth, a smooth high-end, and is an excellent value. Most people would struggle to hear the difference between an SM58 and a $1,000+ mic.
One other thing you might consider getting is a pop filter so that you don’t accidentally make “popping” noises into the microphone by blowing a bunch of air into it. You can edit them out, but it’s way easier to just not have to deal with them in the first place by getting the filter.
A boom arm can help avoid handling noise and keep a consistent distance from the mic, but also isn’t necessary to get started.
Record Your Content
The easiest way to keep things simple and cut down on editing is to get a good recording from the start.
Some keys to keep in mind:
Record somewhere quiet - Find a quiet enough space to record where there won’t be much ambient noise picked up. The easiest way to make your audio course sound amateur is to have cars, animals, people, and other noises in the background. The more you can do to reduce the background noise while recording, the easier your job will be with editing later.
Avoid filler words and noises - Cutting out all the umms, ahhs, coughs, etc. is just extra editing that is easier to avoid.
Speak slowly - We tend to speak too quickly when we’re nervous. It becomes harder to understand you when this happens. Speak a little slower than feels natural and you'll have it about right. The Avocado app lets the listener speed up the audio so the listener won’t ever actually listen to you speaking slowly.
Proper mic handling - Correcting for a mic distance that varies from the mouth is difficult to correct for. Avoid the issue by keeping the mic a consistent distance from your mouth. Be careful to also avoid mic handling noises or bumps of the microphone to cut down on your work.
Recording & Editing Software
There are three main options for recording.
GarageBand - Comes fee with Macs and is relatively easy to use.
Logic Pro X - Similar to GarageBand with more advanced features.
Descript - Our recommendation for editing software. Descript is the easiest to use and has the most intuitive interface for editing podcasts and audio courses.
The best Avocado audio courses are information-dense and succinct. Descript makes it easy to remove filler words and other irrelevant content. Heavily edited courses perform best because they are great at keeping it fast-paced and interesting.
Export Your Files
Once you have your course edited how you like, save the individual audio lessons as MP3 files at the highest audio quality to your folder.
The audio file is listenable as is, but to take the audio quality to the next level you’ll want to invest in some more advanced audio processing. This covers the sound quality, leveling, and other little details. This advanced audio processing takes a while to learn and it is not worth your time to make a poor attempt at it.
We recommend using Auphonic instead. Once you sign up and add some credits, you can upload your audio lessons and they’ll handle all of the leveling and background noise reduction for you. It’s pretty straightforward and makes a massive difference in how your audio course sounds. Check out some of their examples.
When you get the files back, make sure to listen through the final result to confirm everything came out fine.
Upload Your Audio Lessons
Email us at Teach@AvocadoAudio.com and we will set you up with an account where you can upload your course and payment info.
If you ever have any questions don’t be afraid to reach out to us at Teach@AvocadoAudio.com at any time. We love hearing from course creators.
Happy course creating!