Freelance writers and bloggers are some of the most creative and innovative people I know. They are always finding or creating new ways to do things, new ways to reach people, and new methods to generate income. One of the more recent trends for bloggers is building courses to reach your audience in a more interactive way than say, an ebook would.
But sometimes people are intimidated by this format.
“But I’m a writer, not a teacher!”
I’ve been a teacher for almost ten years, and let me tell you something: If you can blog, you can teach.
Okay, it’s not quite that simple, but there are some serious overlaps.
Knowing Your Audience
For blogging, you MUST know your audience. You need to know what they already know, what they don’t know, what they want or need to know. You need to understand what they like and what fires them up. You need to know as much about them as possible so you know how to engage them.
The same is true of students. You have to meet them where they are, or you won’t reach them at all. For building a course, know that you already know how to analyze your audience. Step one: done. Boom.
Tailoring Your Message
Once you know your audience, you have to use that information to tailor your message to them. You could write a blog post about recycling, but you would write it very differently if it was for a community action plan versus a sanitation treatment center. Tailoring your message is exactly what audience analysis is for. (And remember, we already mastered step one. Boom.)
In a classroom, you have to tailor your message of course to their education level, but also to that specific room. I have had classes that are rowdy and rambunctious and groups that were more quiet and reserved. I taught them the same content, but used different analogies, examples…but typically the same bad jokes!
Building an online course is great because you get to do this more than when you’re blogging. With blogging, you write it, publish it, promote it all the same. With a course, you’ll have set content, but depending on how much you choose to interact with any given group, you can tailor that message to fit that particular group better.
Knowing Your Stuff
As a blogger, you have to know what the heck you’re talking about. You don’t necessarily need to be a subject matter expert, and you certainly don’t need a degree in the topic you’re writing about, but you do need to know what you’re talking about. This is even more true in teaching. When you are teaching someone something, you are truly looked at as the expert in the room. Having experience blogging about a certain topic has already prepped you for knowing your stuff. You just have to translate that into a different format.
In order to cut out fluff, and make sure your blog is backed by facts, you already know how to research. On top of the actual content in your writing, you also already have researched all kinds of other subjects to make your blog successful: design, budgeting, investing, marketing, staffing. You know how to research.
Research is one of the cornerstones of good teaching. And it works the same way as blogging in that a good teacher researches more than just the content they teach. They research teaching and learning styles, classroom management, educational trends, social trends of the demographics of their class. They research everything they can to make their teaching more effective.
Anyone that has a successful blogging career also has loads of personality! You have to have a unique voice, or you won’t gain a following. Same goes for teaching. Although there are plenty of people in education that disagree with me, I strongly believe that a big part of teaching is being an entertainer. Yes, you have work to do, but people listen more and learn more when they are engaged and having fun. Bloggers already know how to do this with their writing. Translate that personality into the format of a course, and you’re good to go!