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I’ve been writing and publishing digital marketing content for 10 years now.
There’s no way to measure the return of investment of all that immense effort.
Shouldn’t there be a way to get more out of it?
As someone who has been contributing content online for ages, I’ve always been on the lookout for more ways to monetize that effort.
Consolidating old content into an online course is a perfect idea. You can turn it into an extra source of income and you can also use it to further promote your brand.
Here is a step-by-step guide into re-packaging your old content into a new video course.
Let’s make it straight: This guide is for individuals and businesses that have been producing online content for a while, and not just on their own sites but outside of them too (through expert columns on popular niche outlets and guest blogging).
That being said, the first step is to look back and find those content assets you can re-use now.
Now, I realize you probably haven’t been recording your company’s important URLs diligently throughout the years. And finding them now will probably be next to impossible, so here’s a quick workaround for you:
Next, there are two steps to take:
While proceeding with both the steps, look for popular topics you and/or your company authors tend to cover more frequently than others. Take notes of those topics: That’s how you are going to brainstorm topics for your future course and its structure.
Look for topics that have been covered in much depth in at least 10 articles by you and/or your team. These articles are going to make your course chapters and content is going to be your video scripts, so it’s important that you have blogged a lot on them to make your course creation easier.
Once you have a solid list of brand-owned resources around one common topic, research the interest and competition. This step can be broken into three important tasks:
Creating a course is quite a commitment: You want to make sure there’s a demand for more information on the chosen topic and you need to brainstorm your competitive advantage: What is it you are building that will allow you to stand out in the crowd?
Good old keyword research is something I usually resort to whenever I need to dig deeper into a specific topic. I like Serpstat for its big selection of tools to play with. For one, I check how hard it will be to compete for high rankings for my future course. I play with different variations of my topical keywords and use the search filter to restrict results to those containing my main keyword and [course] or [training] in them:
Both metrics allow me to finally make an educated choice of the core term to build my course around.
Once I am done with choosing my actual final keyword, I use Serpstat’s unique clustering feature to break my long keyword list into groups of related queries. This gives a good mind-map of my future course topic and allows to come up with the course structure.
Keep referring to your spreadsheet of chosen content assets to fill your spreadsheet with content you can use in each chapter.
Thus those new sections you’ll be working on can be re-used as text content too! That being said, re-packaging goes both ways in this case: You use your existing content to create a course and you use your future course structure to create more content for your brand too!
I don’t have a set template for that but here’s how my spreadsheet looks like when I start working on the course structure and identifying which other sections I need to start working on:
It’s also a good idea to turn to your actual customers and readers to collect some ideas from them. Ultimately, you want to know what real people are interested in learning about to better meet their needs.
If you are collaborating with other team members on this project, consider consolidating multiple parts of it inside one common management platform. CoSchedule works well for this purpose to collaborate and organize projects. You can embed your Google spreadsheets within projects on a calendar:
Add workflow checklists with Task Templates:
Communicate with Discussion Threads:
It’s a useful way to keep everyone on board.
This step is still my learning curve: I am still working my way towards coming up with the best process. I do have some processes and tools to share but feel free to share more!
Go through your spreadsheet and start working on those scripts. Keep the new format in mind: You need to be saying what you are showing. Let your team members work on their own scripts and do the voiceovers for their own chapters. Keeping more people involved will make your end product higher-quality.
At this stage of going through everything before it goes into production, I also come up with extra downloadable content. I always want people to go home with some actionable tips and tangible rewards. So what I do:
So at some point my course structure spreadsheet is going to look like this:
The beauty of this approach is that you can reuse as much content as you want. As someone who always adds lots of annotated screenshots to my articles, I always make sure I reuse those in my videos too, whenever I am describing a specific step.
Of course, for videos, I usually need more visuals than I offer in my articles, so I use the following three tools to create more:
Those three are very easy to use and require no graphic design background.
I use three types of videos for my articles
The most common video type I am using is a screencast, especially since it comes perfectly inline with my writing style: I love actionable advice with lots of tools included. The two newer screencasting tools in my arsenal are:
Both tools allow picture-in-picture capability to put the instructor’s face right next to your podcast. It seems people stay with your instructional video longer if they see the instructor talking along.
3.2.2. Video Interviews
I tend to invite at least one or two experts to my courses to feature actual stories illustrating tactics I talk about. I am trying Blue Jeans to record interviews now. It also streams to Facebook Live, so you can first make a public show (and generate some leads through it), then edit the recording and re-use it in your course.
3.2.2. Quick entertaining videos
Finally to prevent my students from being too bored, I break the routine with cool entertaining videos that list interesting stats, propose an action item or share a cool tool. It’s a great way to add some diversity to the course flow.
Animatron is my tool for that and it lets me put together short yet useful and engaging videos literally in minutes. I cannot recommend it enough really.
Here you have two main options to choose from:
Pros: Easy set up, existing user base to sell your course to
Cons: Monthly extra costs to pay for the platform
For the lack of time, I haven’t tested too many platforms here. I tried Udemy (which is where I still host most of my courses) but their recent moved in dictating pricing model and limiting free courses have made me look elsewhere.
By analyzing other options and their pricing, Uscreen seemed like a winner. For a monthly price, you retain full control over your course, how you choose to charge your students and how often you want to get in touch with them (you can schedule automatic email campaigns to keep them engaged). You can even create your own smartphone app to give your students an additional medium to access your course.
Pros: Complete ownership of the product (Without depending on the third-party service), money saving (keeping cons in mind)
Cons: Likely development budget involved, hard to set up on your own
I have been considering this option for a while but couldn’t allocate enough time to plan and delegate the development part of it. Frankly, I like the idea but this looks like a huge project I haven’t had the time for. Here are a couple tutorial in case you decide to consider this approach:
It’s not an easy task to re-package old content into a new educational course but think about multiple benefits:
There are many more benefits, including more opportunities that course sharing platforms can offer (like attracting new audience, creating a new channel for brand awareness building, etc.)
The bottom line is this: It’s hard. It takes time and effort. Don’t start working on the course unless you are ready to invest both. But if you think you are ready, go for it!
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