How to Find a Wildly Profitable Online Course Topic

Deciding what to teach is hard. This guide makes it easy for you.

Deciding what to teach is hard. We’ll help you figure it out.

Chances are that you are already a content creator or expert on something. Let's start there.

Use Your Existing Expertise

Ask yourself: What am I an expert on? What am I great at?

Then consider the following...

  • A topic you're passionate about
  • A skill that you’ve mastered
  • A subject that you know well and feel confident sharing
  • A topic on which you bring a unique style or perspective
  • A subject on which you’ve created an online course, blogged about, hosted a podcast on, or taught a real-life class in in the past
  • Still feeling stuck? Think about a time when a friend called you to get your input on something. That "something" is likely an area where you're an expert!

Narrow down what you’ll teach. Be specific.

Focus on a specific skill or subject. Specificity will help differentiate your course. Explain to your students exactly what they’re signing up for, and keep the content digestible. A more focused, well-defined course will keep it manageable for you and your future students.

Start with a Beginner's Mind

Ask yourself: “When I was just starting out doing X, what would I have wanted to learn?”

Put yourself in your students’ shoes. What did you find difficult when you first getting started? What do you wish you knew back then? This will point you in the direction of a topic you’re knowledgeable about, and help you provide something useful to others who are keen to learn.

Think Audio-First

Figure out which subjects and skills lend themselves to audio. Perhaps you already have a podcast, so you know your topic works well for audio. Maybe you’ve already created an online course in another format (like video or self-study) and you could seamlessly translate your skills to audio. Even if you think your concept would require too many visual elements, like learning computer programming, you can tailor your audio to higher level principles or theory; e.g. how does artificial intelligence work at a high level. Remember Avocado is audio-first, not audio only. Your course can include visual aids, including videos (shhh!) in the resources sections.

Decide exactly what you want to help others accomplish

Hone in on what you want to teach by asking yourself the following questions

  • What do you want to help people learn?
  • What problem are you helping people solve? What solution will you give them?
  • How will you help people improve, change, or transform themselves?
  • What will you help people change about their lives?
  • What exactly will your students take away from your course?
  • What will your students know how to do at the end of your course that they didn’t before?
  • As you begin to format your course, record new topics, and outline the structure of your lessons, ask yourself if that content will help your students reach that end goal. You want to keep your students engaged so they stay with you through the whole course.

The bottom line is to make sure you’re adding value.

Evergreen or Timely?

Is the course content and instruction you’re offering evergreen? Is it up to date? Do you stay on top of industry trends? Does your course contain the newest information? The more current, accurate, and comprehensive the content you offer, the more value you’re giving your students.

Choosing evergreen topics will also give your audio course lasting power.

Look at Competitors

See what else is out there. What other courses exist in your area of expertise? What is your competition offering? Is their content engaging or could you create something better? What topics do they cover? Student opinions and their perception of your class will be affected by other courses available in your space, so be aware of what’s out there.

Get Feedback from Others

You’ve got full creative control, but don’t forget to seek outside advice. Remember, you want to create a product that people want. Seek out feedback on your course topic and content:

  • Ask people what they think about your course idea. Would they enroll in your course? Would they pay for it? A tweet is often a good (and easy!) way to gauge interest.
  • Don’t wait until you’ve completed your entire audio course to let someone listen in. We recommend letting a trusted friend or family member listen to your first lesson (or even the introduction) right off the bat. Is it engaging? Are they intrigued? This will also help you find ways to improve your teaching style.
  • Get opinions on your content to see what you need to change. Try to learn what your potential future students want more of. Do you need to shift directions?
  • Early feedback will also help you learn whether you sound like a great teacher. Are you speaking clearly? Too fast?
  • Find out how listeners feel about the quality of your audio—so you don’t waste time creating something that’s not usable.

Happy teaching! We will cover outlining your course in another blog post soon.

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