8 Reasons to Add an Ecourse to Your Blog

This is a guest post by Kelly Kingman of StickyEbooks.com and the co-creator of Engaging eCourses.

A great ecourse can make a huge difference to your blog and your business. In fact, I can name eight fantastic reasons why you should add an ecourse to your blog.

But first of all, what exactly do I mean when I say “ecourse”?

Ecourses can be anything from a simple, free auto-responder educational series to year-long, in-depth membership programs with live calls and personalized coaching. They could involve text, audio, video — and every combination of those.

For the purposes of this post, we’ll define an ecourse as instruction delivered over time, and delivered virtually, with the intention of helping the consumer achieve a result.

As I watched Darren’s 5Cs of Blogging video the other day, I realized that well-designed ecourses can deliver all five of these critical elements:

  1. incredibly useful content
  2. a basis for community
  3. points of connection with your audience
  4. cash in your pocket
  5. a contribution to your readers’ lives.

Not too shabby.

Pace Smith and I recently asked six bloggers who have mastered the art and science of creating great ecourses for their advice on inspiring people and helping them get results from ecourses. Our collected interviews make up Engaging eCourses: How to Motivate People to Get the Results they Want, which is available this week for the first time.

As we learned from our conversations with these bloggers, teachers, coaches, and authors, there are lots of great reasons to explore the arena of delivering educational content, and concrete benefits to be gained by setting the consumers of this material up for success.

Here are eight reasons we found why an effective, well-designed ecourse is good for your blog.

1. It inspires your readers to action.

In the Internet age, we have no shortage of information. Information is great. Information is important. And as bloggers, we thrive on delivering information — but it’s only part of the picture.

What people are hungry for now is inspiration. A great ecourse inspires people to implement the information they’re receiving.

Your readers’ results are the best way to build your business, according to Pam Slim, of Escape From Cubicle Nation. “[Results are] always, always is a stronger foundation for your company —rather than focusing all this time and energy on getting the perfect brand, or the perfect tagline, or the right people to be re-tweeting your stuff on Twitter,” she told us.

Not only do people like to feel inspired, but if you help someone solve a problem, they are likely to share their good results. This could take the form of social media buzz, testimonials and just good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

“People become sort of raving fans if they use the whole thing and complete it,” said Scott Stratten of Un-marketing.com. “Don’t be afraid of the conversation [in social media]. People are going to ask, ‘what are you talking about? What is UnBootcamp?’ and then people can go check it out.”

2. It helps focus and refine your niche.

Teaching people shows you not only which chunks of information are the most useful, but who really “gets” what you’re saying. Sonia Simone, from Remarkable Communication, told us she didn’t really, really understand her niche until she launched her ecourse, the Remarkable Marketing Blueprint.

“When I launched the Blueprint I saw the people who stayed and got excited about it and those that drifted away or didn’t get it. It was really seeing that that helped me create Third Tribe, because I could say ‘this is the kind of person who gets it.’”

Instead of trying to figure out the nuances of your niche in advance, see who responds to the content and style of your instruction and then work with them in mind. “Always look to your students to see who you’re most able to help,” Sonia said. “Sometimes you don’t know until you try some stuff and see what people respond to … who is picking it up and running with it?”

3.  It deepens your relationship with readers.

It’s one thing to give someone ten tips on mountain climbing; it’s another to walk someone step by step through choosing the best path and preparing for the trip, then listening to how their progress is going along the way. Depending on the level of interactivity, creating and delivering an ecourse can give you crystal-clear feedback on what works and what doesn’t about your information and your approach.

“Ecourses represent a certain level of commitment,” Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing told us in his interview. “The more that you set the ecourse up so it reaches that peak level of commitment, the better the results [your participants] are going to have, and the more feedback you’re going to get.”

Designing an ecourse also means tuning into which problems your readers are really facing and what they want. “What’s going to make you feel really good is when you’re focused on the learner. What is that they’re trying to do? Be really curious about it, dig in,” Pam Slim told us. Pam co-created the $100 Business Forum with Chris Guillebeau.

4. It helps you monetize your offering.

Who doesn’t love money? The great thing about an ecourse is that if you offer it at a reduced cost to an initial “test group,” you essentially are being paid to create most of it.

Sonia Simone offered a “beta group” price to the first members of the Blueprint and made it clear that the content would evolve based on their feedback. She told us how this was the model Brian Clark used when starting out with Teaching Sells, essentially creating income from the ecourse before it was totally polished and done. This also lets you adapt the material on the fly to the needs of the group.

Even if you feel like you’re relatively new to your niche, you’re a few steps ahead of a total beginner. “The biggest market in all topics is the beginner market. That’s when people are looking for something to help them over the hurdle. If you’re an intermediate, you know of the basic advice that’s out there which is really key,” said Sonia.

5. It helps you grow a strong tribe.

Participants in an ecourse can form the core of a tight knit community. “If you let people know you care about them, they will have loyalty to you and that loyalty will help them get moving,” said Sonia.

Don’t spend too much time trying to convert those who don’t vibe with your approach. Sonia said that “people sign up because they resonate with your values — your point of view — and that gives everyone something in common and makes everything go more smoothly.”

A tribe gets stronger through the connections that are built within it. Students given a space to interact online often find enormous value in helping each other.

“It’s not been an uncommon phenomenon for people to come out of our courses and start a mastermind group or continue to have significant contact with some of their buddies from the courses one, two, three years later,” said Mark Silver, from Heart of Business. “Building those relationships, and really being able to trust and get support from your peers, are some of the most important parts of the learning experience.”

6. It helps you build expertise by teaching.

“As you help people solve problems, you tend to get the reputation for being an expert,” said Pam. But she also warned against getting too hung up on the word “expert.” “All that I care about is: are you really able to help people solve a problem?”

The best way to build confidence in your skills is to use them. “If you can really listen to and respond to what feels like it’s lacking with your folks … and be very responsive to that feedback, this is going to increase your confidence at such a deep level,” said Pam.

7. It helps you gain a competitive edge.

An ecourse can provide a way to help people cut through the noise, to figure out which information is key for their situation, and this will set you apart. “The entrepreneur who delivers a better experience to her right people, wins. It’s the experience — not the content, not the information,” said Charlie. “[Experience] can be the level of engagement, it can be the ease with which they get results that you promised, it can be the results themselves.”

Instead of striving to be original, Charlie said, focus on being effective. “The point is not to come up with something novel and new, though it’s great when you do,” he said. “The point is to explain, synthesize — do what you have to so people take the information that’s already there and use it.”

8. It helps you give back to your readers.

Ultimately, helping readers get results impacts their lives for the better. “When your focus is really, ‘how can I help my ideal client do what they need to do?’ that’s going to be driving excellence. That’s going to be driving results and impact,” said Pam.

She added: “That is what our work is about: it’s about the impact of your gifts on people that you care about that’s solving problems you want solved in the world.”

Kelly writes about creating compelling eBooks at StickyEbooks.com. To learn more about how to deliver ecourses that engage and inspire, visit Engaging eCourses.

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Comments

  1. Joshua Noerr says:

    This is something I have been playing with for a while now, I just don’t have anything concrete. I want to do one on my personal development blog, but I am trying to figure out the angle to take so that I really can enrich people’s lives.

    I want a win win situation, good for me, good for the readers. I guess I need to keep brainstorming, but this post was well timed in my life. Thanks

  2. I’m interested! I have a successful in-person course but I’m sure I can serve my readers better by offering an e-course. Just need to know how. I”ll be looking into your product.

  3. Hi
    This is great and this also increase newsletter subscriber.It really increases teaching experience.I like that point.

    Thanks For Sharing
    -Abhishek

  4. Hey Kelly

    Really great post. You’ve made some amazing points.
    Thanks for sharing this awesome stuff ;).

    ~Dev

  5. There’s something very powerful about being in front of your prospect or customer ever X days for Y amount of time. Receiving those ecourse offerings creates a bond with the recipient that is far stronger than even a blog subscription email; in fact, it becomes like the old notion of “appointment TV” (“oh, it’s Tuesday … I should be getting Kelly’s ecourse today …”)

    Great post, Kelly. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thanks for this inspiring post. I’m in the midst of setting up an ecourse and although I know I ‘should’ sometimes I lose sight of the whys and the benefits to participants.

    Another great thing about the money side is that ecourses are a great way to earn money while you sleep – who isn’t gonna love that?!

    In addition, it’s a great way to organise your own content, because who knows when you might want to pull everything together and create a published book. By creating an ecourse, you’ll have done a lot of the work already…

  7. Well, an inspiring post, as always. Makes me think of launching an e-course which I have been postponing for the past one year! Very timely :)

  8. BloggerBy.Me says:

    This is a very good post for blogs which are based more on how to do things. It might be difficult to implement such ideas into non creative and educational blogs. Or am I mistaken?

  9. Well, an inspiring post, as always. Makes me think of launching an e-course which I have been postponing for the last one year. Very timely!

    PS: I recently have issues with commenting at Problogger. Sometimes I get a blank page, this time it said “you are commenting too fast, slow down” (while it was the only comment I typed. I did not comment sometimes back because of this.

  10. Great idea. I’ve been meaning to do this as well. I think I was making it too complicated. Your blog simplifies the process!

  11. This is really one of the best articles I read for long time. This motivated me to offer a e course on my website. I had started building a auto-responder series earlier and then I dropped the idea. You just gave me the required push need to get started again. This time i will finish this project for sure and give my readers a E course soon.

    Thanks! :)

  12. Couldn’t agree more, adding an ecourse to your blog is an extremely good way to monetize your blog! Provided you give good value within your course then you can’t go wrong and it’s a great way to build your list, get people coming back to your blog and ultimately, make money!

  13. Mike Kirkeberg says:

    Great inspiration. I’ve been playing around with this for over a year now. Time to get off my ‘but’s

  14. This is very impressive information. Not many people will think of adding an ecourse. What they will most likely do is add a small series of posts on the same subject. I will look more into this and apply it to my blog. Thanks for the information.

  15. Is the approach the same when the eCourse is NOT free?

    Thanks

  16. This is amazing advice. I am a new comer to this brave new world of blogging and am looking for mid-term goals and ways of achieving them. This fits in so nicely as I have years of knowledge in elearning, you think I would have figgered it out myself:)

    You’ve started off my creative process and have definitly solved a problem for me.

    Cheers
    Darragh

  17. Steve says:

    Great points. I have been playing with working on a new e-course for a bit. I will have to get serious again. YOU really inspired me. I have done a few that “could” have been ecourses but offered them up as 12-15 part marquee post series.

    It is great to do it that way, but throwing a little more into the mix and making the next on ecourses may even be better.

  18. Great advice, I especially like Sonia Simone idea of offering a “beta course.” Also, offer courses where people can get their money back. That way you will at least have students to practice on, even if you don’t make any money right off-the-bat.

    Thanks for this.

  19. Suellen says:

    Great tips. I have developed my own eCourse – Life Change program for people who are ready to kick start their best life. eCourses give great flexibility to my clients and allow me to interact with them.

    I’m interested to know what software / methods your readers use to develop and run their ecourses.

    I use JigsawBox which is absolutely amazing – can add video, audio, upload files for your clients and now has a forum included. I highly recommend it – yes I am an affiliate.

    Coaching Online: A Webinar To Show You How

    Love your blog and tips – thanks

    Suellen
    http://www.transforme.com.au

  20. David Doolin says:

    I do have an ecourse, but I haven’t been promoting it properly. This is a good reminder to get that ecourse back in front of people’s eyeballs.

    And get a little ebook out to support it. Nothing fancy, just the useful, easy bits people need.

  21. Rich Wallace says:

    Great post and the timing couldn’t be more perfect. I just launched a new blog related to my technical career and included a free seven day eCourse using Aweber as an “ethical bribe” to start building my list.

    Although the ecourse is open for new signups, I’ll be going over the project again with a fine toothed comb and add these points to it.

    Thank you and take care!
    -Rich

  22. Ngozi Nwoke says:

    Hi

    Great post and inspiring too. It is making me think of launching one soon and my mind is racing on what to write on now.

    Thanks.

  23. Good Post!

    Would have never thought of this if it wasn’t for the inspiration you just provided!

    But who will benefit the most from e-course?

  24. Jim says:

    Great stuff !
    My problem is that I’ve done most of these things and published an ebook, but I am reluctant to charge for it…
    so without monetizing that I am a bit lost :) and at a definite disadvantage.

  25. NBA shoes says:

    This is great and this also increase newsletter subscriber.It really increases teaching experience.I like that point.

    Thanks For Sharing
    -Eric

  26. hesbon says:

    This is a great post and very timely. you have touched on the ideas and the benefits we can get if we launch a e course. as an individual am thinking of launching one immediately

  27. Kim says:

    This is a great idea! I would like to have e-course. Have a reader comment that they would like Bible study that grades or gives answer once they fill in the blank.

    I have been looking for plug in or module to use? Any suggestions.

    Thank you!

  28. Craig says:

    Thanks for this encouraging post. I’m in the process of creating an ecourse, or eprogarm as I’m calling it, and am excited about the possibilities. Reading your post confirmed some of my own ideas of why I’m doing it, and gave me some new inspirations as well.

  29. As a reader, I’ll frequently visit a blog that features free resources and e-course. for instant, I would go for those site that features way to make money with adsense.

  30. moneyglue says:

    I’m toying with the idea of offering several e-courses through my website. However, I’m not sure of the best way to get people to sign up. Talk about in posts, setup a seperate courses page or setup a squeeze page for each course?

  31. I’ve been doing that for many months, and it’s been quite a hit. I’m an astrologer, and there are 12 sections (houses) in an astrology chart. Every few weeks I open up a Q&A session about one of the houses. My readers are intermediate to advanced students, and their questions are often very thought-provoking. We’re having a great time with the series, and my stats are great on those days. Donna Cunningham

  32. Laura Trevey says:

    Thanks for giving me the inspiration and push I need!!
    I want to give it a try!

  33. So true! I’ve had fabulous results with the ecourses on my first blog, and am working on one for my new blog. I get more sign-ups to the ecourses than to my special offers list. The sign-ups also tend to become big fans and customers, which is the best!

    Thanks for reminding me to hustle on setting up my next ecourse!

    Jennifer

  34. Hello i was searching for somehting else in google, but found your post very good!
    Will be paying this blog a visit in the near future!

    Best regards!

  35. Jef Menguin says:

    Thank you. I am a teacher by vocation and I am certain that you have just helped me today.