The difference between a successful content entrepreneur and a hobbyist is the ability to monetize your content. That has always been (and will continue to be) the biggest hurdle for creators: turning your work, skills, and knowledge into the funding you need to pay your bills. Today, the most effective way to ensure you earn revenue while pursuing your content creation goals is to offer online courses.
Online course creators are thriving right now. According to The Tilt’s 2022 Benchmark study, coaching and courses were the most popular ways creators make money.
If you’re a content creator and you’re not monetizing your knowledge with courses or coaching sessions, you’re likely missing out on a huge opportunity.
The Benefits of Creating An Online Course
Teaching an online course or giving coaching sessions aren’t easy money, but they are easier money than other methods. The added benefits include higher returns on your investment and the opportunity to expand your community by meeting (even if just virtually) the people enrolling in your course.
With a variety of online course platforms making it easy to create and host courses, you can start a class and sell seats in (relatively) short order. Even if you only have a class of twenty people, you’ve got the opportunity to teach them something useful while building a community with your audience. If the course goes well, you can be sure most of those twenty students will tell their friends and peers, generating word of mouth and growing your audience.
Plus you’ll be asking people to share their email addresses, meaning you’ve got another opportunity to develop that all-important mailing list.
The most important reason content creators embrace online courses is to make money. According to ConvertKit’s 2022 State of the Creator Economy report, education and coaching were the top earning categories for content makers.
How To Turn Your Content Into A Book
A book is a perfect product to expand your content offering. This is true for all kinds of content entrepreneurs, but for course creators, it can be a major boost to your business.
Because you’ve already developed content for your course—like slide decks, scripts, lesson plans, curriculum—you’ve got a lot of material to work with. And there is a range of valuable books you can offer your audience.
Textbooks & Workbooks
Start with a textbook that delves deeper into the lessons you cover in your online courses. Add a workbook to help your students guide themselves through the lessons. Both options are inexpensive to print, add value for your students, and can be created using the course content you’ve already got. If you’re teaching more advanced or complex topics, a textbook allows you to expand on those topics without taking up valuable class time.
A textbook or workbook is a great resource during the course but continues to provide your audience value years later too. Your course will be over in a session (or a few sessions) but the coursebook will stay on their bookshelf indefinitely.
If you’ve got a brand logo or you create visual content, slap it on a notebook cover! The inside can just be lined, blank, dot grid, or whatever best lends itself to your audience. A notebook makes a nice gift for your students and is inexpensive enough to give away at events.
How do you get people interested in your courses? A book highlighting your industry knowledge and expertise is a powerful way to build credibility, grow your brand, and spark interest. This kind of book is a marketing gold mine.
Books can do more than just supplement your existing course material. Use your book as a lead magnet to get people interested in the course. Giving away a chapter or small portion of your book or course content is a great way to gauge how engaged your audience is. And it gives you the opportunity to ask for their email address and get them to sign up for your course!
Content Creators Sell Books
Even assuming your primary goal is online education through your courses, books supplement and amplify your content. Whether that’s with a textbook to enhance the learning experience or a book to boost your credibility, you can easily create a book with your existing course content.
According to ConvertKit’s State of the Creator Economy report, “professional creators consistently put out an average of 4.4 content types.” Yes, social media and blogging are important, but you need content you can monetize too.
Selling Your Book On Your Course Website
Creating a book to supplement your course or to promote your knowledge is great. But you don’t want to solely rely on some retail site to sell your books. That’s giving away your revenue share and customer data.
Instead, you should sell your book from your existing website. With Lulu Direct, you can connect a print-on-demand book to your Shopify or WooCommerce store. Now when you create an online course and promote it, you can do so right alongside your book.
Each unique piece of content you create can have its own sales page on your site as well. That’s another opportunity to rank your site on search engines and give your audience access to your work.
Creating Content For Your Fans
If you’re a content entrepreneur and you’re enjoying the success of offering online courses, adding a book (or books) is the next logical step. You’re helping people learn new skills, expand their knowledge and hone their talents.
Encapsulate your knowledge from your courses and offer it in a new form. Offering your content in multiple formats also allows your students to learn in their preferred way—be it through a live course or by reading a textbook on their own. Keep your students engaged while you grow your content business by turning your course knowledge into a book.
Paul is the Content Marketing Manager at Lulu. When he's not entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person but considers himself cat tolerant.