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How to Produce and Sell Online Continuing Education Content

As the owner of a company providing healthcare continuing education material, I am asked many times how to replicate what we do by others. The steps we undertake as an accredited provider of continuing education courses is far more in-depth than you may see on the surface. Here’s a simple walk through of what it takes to get your content from a concept to the consumer.

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Tips for Creating Continuing Education Courses

It all starts with a great idea, and once in a while, it’s original.

I’ll say it. Many good ideas come from others already doing things well that may benefit the consumer from it being done better. Do realize that there is a fairly well understood concept in business called intellectual property (IP) and if you just take someone else’s idea and run with it, expect the lawyers to eventually catch up with you for ripping off IP. That said, if you have common-knowledge content which can be easily reproduced in a way which adds value to the market, you’re in business.

Good teachers have to be doers first.

You have the best possible concept lined up. Now you need an expert instructor who can speak to the content from the perspective of real-life application. That content expert should be developing the content and preparing it to your exact specifications for length, content depth, intended audience, and outcomes for the learners. The continuing education course needs to be based in what the market actually needs. Is there any gap in current practice? What is the intended change in practice? How do you plan to measure the effectiveness of your presentation? If you can’t answer these questions decisively, you will need to rethink your planned content until you can.

Bang for your buck is everything.

It’s easy with e-commerce and ads to lose oneself in the haze of great ideas floating around with bad ideas. Some of the best ideas you’ve never heard of are sent to pasture before they even get a chance to make meaningful change. Make sure you choose a marketing tool which clearly displays the value your content adds to the market. This may be price point, content, etc. Modern marketing tools such as ads on social media, affiliate marketing, and key stakeholder audiences may really spice up your sales but do come at a cost.

Use a learning management software with consumer scalability in mind.

Whether you intend to sell one course or 50, plan for the possibility of a larger audience before you invest in a pay-per-student platform. Many online-friendly learning management software solutions exist with small businesses like yours in mind. I like teachable.com since it has the features I value, but there are many others to consider. And many offer free trials too, so you can check it out and make sure it fits your goals as a business.

Make it look like you would want to buy it.

Everyone in fifth grade art thinks they’re a great artist. Until they get to sixth grade. Then they look back and say that fifth grade art was terrible. Such is life and digital marketing. It takes a truly expert and uncomfortable guidance to realize there simply are some things you don’t do well, and ad copy is certainly one of the hardest things to master. My advice is to spend the time and money to develop a logo, branding, and product line with an expert marketing company. You can either do this up front or you will have to re-invent your brand down the road. I’m speaking from experience when I say that you can make your audience fall in or out of love at first sight.

Beta test, beta test, beta test.

Ask everyone you know to take a look and be brutally honest by giving you feedback that is actually actionable. Nobody wins when you get a “looks great” and moving on because they were afraid to make you feel bad for missing all sorts of stuff in the process. Having a great proofreader is mandatory as well as the marketing expert to match the look of success.

Plan to fail and learn from it.

You will not be successful with your product until you learn how it fails easiest. Anyone can sell a product once. The Sham Wow was a big hit for about 2 minutes because all the advertising made it a one-hit wonder. You want quality plus market awareness as the equation for staying power. When you start out, don’t just go along for the ride. Track your sales. What worked? What didn’t? Most importantly, WHO helped? As they say, the tigers come at night and sometimes come with a smile. Not everyone is your friend and not everyone wants to see you succeed. Be careful to take advice from those who have never done what you are doing. There is a considerable difference between opinion and advice.

I’m ready, where do I start?

If you are interested in taking the step into providing continuing education material or just want to chat about growing your small business, we can help. Skills On Point is an approved provider of nursing continuing professional development through ANCC and frequently provide content for various healthcare professionals such as RN, PA, NP, MD, and RTs. We can offer you our coaching and mentoring services and get you on the right step to success. There is SO much more than this blog covers, but just know that when it comes to advising you, we speak from experience, mistakes and wins alike. Let’s get you a win.

To learn more about 1:1 business and education coaching services reach out to john@skillsonpoint.com.

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