This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
How to find inspiration for your digital courses has been searched more than 298 million times per Google statistics. So, either you’re a corporate employee (with the heart of an entrepreneur) tired of being confined to a cubicle and fully aware you’re capable of so much more.
Or, perhaps you’re a service provider who’s reached your ceiling and building a scalable digital course is your ticket to helping more people and creating time and financial freedom in your life
Maybe you’ve seen someone doing a course on a topic you were interested in and thought, “I could teach that.” Or you know you want to create a course but are stumped on what topic would be good.
Instead of just creating a course on any old topic, you want to be strategic about it. This can mean the difference between generating $0 and $34,000 in a month. The right topic is one that your audience is ready and willing to give you their credit card to learn more about.
A profitable topic for a course should be:
- Something you are interested in and are able to teach
- Something that your students need and will pay for
This guide will help you discover where to find inspiration for your course and how to research course topics.
Brainstorming Ideas for Digital Courses
Topic Idea Generator #1
The first step in choosing a topic is to brainstorm ideas. What stuff do you know something about? Even if you already know what you want to teach, this exercise will help you narrow down your topic.
At this point, you’re just throwing out ideas and looking at areas you could potentially teach others. Grab a pen and paper or open a blank document and begin writing down what you know something about. Here are some ideas to get you started thinking.
- If you have a regular job you do in an organization, think about the things you do on a daily basis. Skills from your work or career such as web design, marketing, creating graphics, copywriting, repairing cars, running a small business, certain processes or software that is helpful to others.
- If you’re a freelancer or consultant, take a look at what you help your clients with the most.
- Hobbies and passions you have. In fact, the hobby and passion niches are big course sellers. Hobbies you are passionate about such as golf, knitting, baking, photography, coin collecting, dog grooming
- Topics that others come to you for advice on such as cooking, creative writing, crafts, social media, organization, time management, etc.
- Some type of personal transformation you’ve overcome, such as quitting smoking, overcoming anxiety, beating depression, beating a health problem, etc.
- If you are a business owner or expert what are you already talking about, helping people with or knowledgeable about? Prepare a list of topics you’re an expert in. For example, if you’re an SEO expert it might look like this:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Link building
- Keyword research
- SEO Tools
And so forth.
Just keep going until you’ve exhausted your list. Once you’re done you can begin narrowing it down to what topic you want to create. Don’t worry about market demand, competition, or any of those things yet.
Narrow Your Focus
Identify what your potential students are currently struggling with. Think of the solutions to their problems as course topics. You might already know some of their pain points based on your experience working with them. You can also follow conversations in Facebook Groups, on niche forums or other online communities like Quora.
Keep in mind while you’re brainstorming that your course topic is to be specific, especially for your first course or two. Narrow down your broad topics into a more specific part of the topic. So instead of “How to knit, narrow it down to “How to knit a mohair yarn scarf in 10 days.”
Specific courses are easier to sell than broad topic courses. Your specific course should promise specific results to a specific audience. When getting specific there are two things you need to know. Who the course is for and what one big outcome the course will give them.
Think about whether your potential course idea is something people will pay for as you go through your list. This usually means that it solves a problem your audience has or it speaks to some desire they may have.
Pick 2 or 3 topics out of the ideas you’ve generated that appeal to you the most. Begin working on who they will help and what is the outcome they will achieve from your course.
Do you still need more ideas? Keep reading for more ways to find inspiration for course topics.
Topic Idea Generator #2
Research current courses for ideas. Look at what’s already being taught. Go to Google and search for: “(your course subject area) online course”. Look at what is out there in a broad sense first. Then narrow it down to a more specific term. If others are creating a course on a topic that interests you, that’s okay. You can create your own spin on it to make it unique.
If you already have an online audience or work with existing clients, you are in a position to find topics through your audience needs. Ask your audience or your clients what they would like to learn more about. Or ask them what problems they need help in solving. You can reach out to them through
- Your Email Newsletter
- Facebook posts
- Facebook groups
- Blog posts
- Facebook ads
- Wherever you are connected with them
You can create a simple survey or ask them open questions in an email or message.
If you don’t have a connection with a potential audience to find out what their pain points are, you can find them where they hang out online in forums, Facebook groups, Quora questions on your subject, Reddit, or Amazon book reviews. Look for examples of their pain, problems or desires and what they need help with.
Topic Idea Generator #3
What are people’s biggest fears? Think of things that people or you are too embarrassed to do in person or something you don’t have time to do in person. For example, yoga. Many people carrying extra weight are comfortable doing downward-facing dogs in front of a mirror with 20 people watching. That’s why yoga is a hot topic in the digital courses arena.
For people who don’t have time, for example, to build their own website. Is there a skill you can teach them about this “in 4 hours or less” to make learning easier for these people?
Topic Idea Generator #4
Think about the hot, evergreen subjects. These are things like health, spirituality, education, lifestyle, relationships, money/wealth, business, the arts, or technology. Break these down into as many ideas as possible. Within each broad category think of what you know about it. So for health, maybe you know about diabetes or ADD.
Topic Idea Generator #5
Create a combination of topics for your digital courses. Can you combine two different skills, topics, or problems into one course? For example, ADD and exercise into a course called “Using Exercise to quiet ADD kids.” Or learning copywriting with knitting into a course called “Copywriting basics to sell your knit products.”
Topic Idea Generator #6
Look at your most popular blog posts. If you’re a blogger you have content that is more popular than others. Look at this content and determine if there are several on the same topic. If there are you can consider creating digital courses on it.
Topic Idea Generator #7
Find what people are craving. Use tools like Udemy marketplace insights and browse niche forums where people are talking about their desires.
Topic Idea Generator #8:
Do keyword research to find course topics. Research what people are searching for on Google, as related to your interest or expertise. Google will recommend topics you are interested in. Consider using search terms like:
- <niche> courses
- <niche> training
- <niche>courses for topic
- Online courses for <niche>
By now you should have a good idea of some course topics you are interested in pursuing. Now you need to find out if they are viable ideas.
Researching Your Topic
You can have a great topic but it might not be the right one for you to turn into digital courses, at least not yet. You need to research the topic and validate how well it will sell.
One way to determine if your topic is a good one is to presell your idea. You can do this by inviting people to sign up before the course is created. This way you can gauge interest. If no one buys you have saved yourself time and resources. On the other hand, if people buy, then you have a winning course idea.
Test people’s interest in your idea by creating freebies and lead magnets related to your course idea. These can be checklists, infographics or a guide. Offer it to people in groups and forums on Facebook and Twitter. You can publish articles on LinkedIn or your own blog.
You can do a soft validation of your course topic. To do this you research to see if other people are interested in the topic. Use tools like YouTube, Google Keyword Planner, Udemy marketplace, Facebook, and so on to see if there is an audience for your topic. Keep track of the number of purchases, downloads, views, and pricing information that indicate there is a demand for the course.
Survey potential customers via Survey Monkey or Facebook group or wherever your potential customers congregate. Send surveys to your current followers. Ask them for feedback.
Finding inspiration for digital courses is everywhere. Decide what niche you are interested in, what skills or knowledge you have, and what experience you have. Ask yourself what you would like to learn, what transformations you’ve made that you can share with others who need the information or what passionate hobbies can you teach others?
- Do you love cooking Italian-style food?
- Can you write a creative story?
- Do you know the best way to take care of your car in the winter?
- Are you a wiz at coding?
You can find course topics by finding what others need solutions for, spying on your competition on what types of courses they are producing, and asking what your audience wants to learn.
By now you should have a whole list of topics to build a course around. It might seem overwhelming to have so many but now is when you can start narrowing them down to the one that you want to start with. And do keep the list of other ideas for topic inspiration for future courses.