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AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there, Amy here. Welcome back to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. Today we are talking about content creation for your online course with a post-it note strategy.
You know my obsession with office supplies! If there are post-it notes involved then bring it on, I’m all about it.
Here’s the thing, when you’re looking to create an online course, and this is especially true when you’re just starting out, you’ve got a ton of information to choose from. Maybe you’re pulling from 10-15 years of experience. Maybe you’ve been coaching or consulting for a while.
You’ve got a lot of stories and examples and exercises floating around in your head and getting that all out of your head and onto paper can be excruciating.
I often joke that when I have to sit down and create an outline for a brand new course, which I’ve recently been working on, it’s both exciting and, like I said, excruciating. It’s like I have a love/hate relationship with creating the outline for a course.
Any way you look at it, it could be tough to figure out how to break down the mountains of content you have in your head right now.
Two of my students said it best. I have a Facebook group called The Insider’s Club. It’s just for my students. Hazel asked, “What’s your best practice in dividing big content into bite-sized, easy to consume material? What factors do you consider?”
Then this is a phenomenal question that Cori added, “We are always way too deep in the woods and losing our audience because we’re giving them too much content. Can you relate?”
This is a very real fear that many of us feel. So, inside of my Courses That Convert program I teach my four-step process for outlining and fleshing out your course content. I teach the exact process I use in my own business.
But I’m also always interested in hearing different ways to put a course together so I wanted to bring someone on who is in the trenches every day with her clients helping them build their courses.
You may have heard me talk about her before because she also helps me with content on my podcast. Her name is Gina Onativia and she is a content and course expert who builds done-for-you courses for experts, speakers, and entrepreneurs.
I know Gina well because we worked together many, many years ago at our corporate jobs. We both worked in content development. While we were preparing for this episode Gina said, “You had better tell them that you bossed me around all the time.”
I started laughing. I think I forgot that happened but I was super bossy with Gina. I wasn’t mean, I was just bossy.
She just kind of rolled with the bossiness. I don’t know, I have an older sister who bossed me around forever in our childhood so I think I wanted to take that role. Gina just rolled with it and from there we became best friends.
We still talk all of the time. She’s helped me with so much content on the podcast so I’m excited that she’s now on the show as well.
I wanted to bring Gina on because she has this post-it note exercise. She created it to help her own clients figure out some of the pre-details before diving into course creation.
I think of her process as kind of a prelude to my own. I think you’ll find it extremely helpful in your own course creation process. And, by the way, if you’re not in the midst of creating an online course you could use this post-it note strategy for any type of content creation.
I don’t want you to miss out on the freebie which has the exact steps we’re going to talk about in this episode. You’re also going to see a real post-it note exercise from one of Gina’s clients that you can use as an example to guide your own process.
I love good examples! So, to grab the exact process that we’re going to walk you through on this episode go to https://www.amyporterfield.com/206download. You’re totally going to want this process so don’t wait, just go grab it.
Before I bring Gina on I want to let you know that this episode is, of course, sponsored by my free master class, How to Confidently Create Your First Online Course in 60 Days. This is a master class where I walk you through all of the pieces it takes to create a stellar online course.
It’s totally free so you can grab your spot at https://www.amyporterfield.com/courses.
I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s go ahead and dive in and chat with Gina all about the post-it note process.
AMY: Gina Onativia, thank you so very much for being on the podcast. This is going to be a good one.
GINA: It’s such an honor to be on. I can’t wait. Let’s do it.
AMY: We have a lot to cover. But, before we get to the course creation content discussion we probably need to take a few moments to talk about how much I used to boss you around.
GINA: I loved every minute of it.
AMY: You’re such a liar. I was talking about this in the intro and I wasn’t mean, I was just bossy. Would you agree with that?
GINA: You weren’t mean, you were in charge. I remember one of my first days working with you. We had to share a hotel room because we had an early flight the next day.
I was settling in and you told me, “Shut off the lights.” You were in bed and ready to go to sleep. You told me to shut off the lights. So I shut off the lights and climbed into bed. I was so scared. I wanted to do your bidding.
AMY: These days my team talks about sharing hotel rooms if we’re going to do an event or whatever. I always say that I do not want to share a hotel room with anyone because I hated sharing hotel rooms.
When I’m ready for bed I’m ready for bed. Plus, I go to bed early, as you know. So yes, I was very bossy. I feel so bad about it but it was in my nature and I can’t help it. But there were some good times too.
GINA: You were a great boss. You would even bribe me. If I would do things I would get a prize, right?
AMY: Okay, don’t bring that one up because I do that with my team even now.
GINA: You still do it?
AMY: Literally, just last week I promised Chloe a prize. It’s like a joke on the team because they know the secret is that I take forever to deliver. But we had a little contest inside of our team and anyone who came up with a great subject line for this email we were sending had to put it into Slack.
At the end of the day we all voted on the best subject lines. I said, “Whoever wins gets a prize.” Everyone gets really excited and then I forget to do the prize. But I still have to deliver.
GINA: Sometimes I think you would stack up the points in your mind and then take a little while to deliver. But you always delivered and the prizes were always fantastic.
AMY: That makes it so fun, right?
GINA: IT does.
AMY: And with the prizes and all of the bossing around one of the biggest gifts that Gina and I both took away from that is learning how to create stellar content. You can’t disagree with that one, right?
GINA: No way. I definitely agree.
AMY: With that Gina has created her entire career around helping people create their online courses and really diving into the content. That’s why I wanted her on the show. We’ve been talking about having her on for over a year now. I’m really excited about this because she’s not just going to talk about content but she has an entire process that also includes office supplies, the post-it note. We’re going to get into the particulars. So, are you ready to get going G?
GINA: Let’s go, Let’s do it.
AMY: Okay. Number one, where do you think most course creators get tripped up when starting out?
GINA: Well here’s the thing, Amy. They’ve got a ton of info and they want to share it. It’s a lot of big stuff but you don’t want to just dump it all out there. I had one client who came to us and said, “Here are my 13 modules on a spreadsheet.”
It’s just way too much. People have a great idea and they just want to get it out and share it. But I’m telling you, I don’t even talk about content until maybe the second or third meeting with a client.
AMY: Wow! So what are you talking about before that?
GINA: I’m talking about structure. I want them to focus on an outcome, their promise, and who they’re serving first and foremost. Then, once you have the structure we can talk content.
AMY: That makes sense. Let’s start diving into the post-it exercise. What’s the first step?
GINA: You’ve got your post-its. First step, put the name of your course front and center. Listen, it’s okay if you haven’t finalized the title. You are putting the intention out there. My name is Gina. I am creating this course. You are putting that front and center.
By the way, I love what you say about doing a title, keep it simple. Just say what it is. There’s a beauty to Webinars That Convert, Courses That Convert®️, you know exactly what you’re getting and the promise.
GINA: Then, after you put the title, underneath that you are going to put the problem you’re solving for. For our purposes let’s pretend we have a fictional course called “Your Picky Eater Solution: Transforming Toddler Tastes.”
It’s a course to help moms of toddlers get through the picky eating cycle. The problem would be two to five year olds who make meal time a difficult experience because they refuse to eat anything that’s served.
Below that you would put your promise, which is how you’re going to solve for that problem. For the picky eater course you would say, “Relieve tension during meal times. Have moms excited to engage with their kids during meals.”
Then you have your sandwich. You’ve got your title, your problem, and then your promise. Does that make sense?
AMY: It does. And it’s so important that you get clear around the problem and the promise. I would guess that most people kind of skip this and go right to the brain dump of all of the content in their head.
GINA: That’s right, because they’ve got this content swarming in their head and they just want to get it out. We immediately dive into the weeds.
AMY: So you call it a sandwich: Title, problem, promise. Awesome.
GINA: Yeah, it’s your yummy sandwich.
AMY: Okay, got it. Then the next step deals with your avatar, right?
GINA: Right. Now you’re going to think about your audience and what they are feeling before they take your course and how they feel after they take your course.
On the left side of your post-it wall I want you to think about what your avatar or core person is feeling right now before they take your course. Are they frustrated? Are they sad? Are they angry? Are they lost? Do they feel alone, like they’re never going to find a solution?
They have tried other things and nothing has worked. For the eating course, your mommy avatar probably feels angry and inpatient, like they’re running out of options, maybe even like she’s a bad parent.
I whisper that because it is something we don’t talk about. I want you to drill down on that and talk about the things we only say in whispers because that’s the good stuff. Really dig deep.
AMY: Let me stop you there because this is a question I get asked all the time when I talk about avatar. What if I don’t know? What if I’m not sure about these things?
The first thing is you’ve got to get more information if you just don’t know. Inside of my Courses That Convert®️ program we talk about doing course calls, getting on the phone with your ideal avatar and asking them the questions that will give you more insight into who the avatar is.
Sometimes you also have to make educated guesses. Would you agree?
GINA: Yes I agree. And by the way, I love your validation process that you have inside of Courses That Convert®️. That’s something I talk about with my own process and doing surveys and just putting yourself out there and talking to your avatar on a regular basis. I think that’s really spot on.
AMY: Yes, so do the best you can. You don’t want to fly blind but if you have to make some assumptions that’s okay. You could always change it around. The beauty of post-its is that you can move them around and throw them in the trash and start over.
GINA: That’s exactly right.
AMY: That’s on the left side.
GINA: That’s on the left side. Then, on the right, because we’re talking about a transformation, you want to take them from feeling lost, angry, and frustrated to transformed.
On the right side you want to talk about how you want your student to feel after she takes your course. For the mommy avatar maybe she feels more confident as a person, relieved that she doesn’t need to think about this every night and even argue with her husband or mother-in-law.
I am creating a scenario in my head for this avatar and that’s how deep I’ve gone to feel that. Maybe she’s excited about the next steps. She’s got a recipe she can cook with her three-year-old son tomorrow night. That’s powerful.
AMY: So true.
GINA: As we know, emotion is so important. People buy things because of the way they think it’s going to make them feel. You want to know what your student feels, what your potential student feels, so that you can really deliver for them inside your course.
AMY: It’s so important for marketing in general. When you really understand what that potential student is thinking, feeling, worried about, excited about, and what they are desiring that’s when you can create stellar copy on your sales page.
That’s when you know how to talk to them inside of a webinar or a Facebook ad or wherever it might be. Again, I want to repeat this. People are driven by emotion. The more you can tap into that you can use it throughout all of your marketing.
GINA: I love that. It’s perfect.
AMY: Now it is time to start the outline of the course.
GINA: Yes, now it’s time to think about your overarching steps.
AMY: Okay, so there is still no brain dump yet?
GINA: No, no brain dump.
AMY: Come on. I want to get there.
GINA: I know, I know. We’re almost there. I know it’s tempting. Instead, I want you to stay above the trees. Write down four or five steps that make up your course. Don’t go into detail yet.
I did this with a client a couple of weeks ago and we outlined the steps and then he started downloading and going into all of this detail and on and on.
I said, “Stop, stop, stop. We’re staying higher level first.” Overarching steps only. For example, if we’re going back to our toddler course Step One could be all about mindset. Step Two, change up your routine; Step Three, food revolution; Step Four, Age adjustments, and Step Five, making it last. Those would be the five overarching steps for that course.
AMY: Okay, I need a little bit more here. If I am to the point that I am going to put some steps in there, these are steps in terms of how you want to teach it, right? How you want to teach your content?
AMY: Basically, you have all of these ideas circling around in your head. Like you said and I’ve had this experience so many times with people, they’ll just go on and on and on about their content because they’re so close to it.
But you’re asking, before you go into the weeds like that, what would the framework possibly look like? This could freak some people out because they don’t know yet. They aren’t sure what the roadmap would look like.
I’m assuming you’re just giving it your best try in the beginning.
GINA: I’m going to hack for this. If you’re stuck on this go get a friend that’s a writer friend or a content-friendly friend, or the creative type friend who can interview you and kind of pull those steps out of you and say ask if you are starting “here”, now what?
What’s the next step? Higher level. Then where do you go from there? Ask that friend to interview you and pull those steps out of you.
AMY: Great. So you might need a little help with this but you’re just looking in terms of the roadmap. How would you lay it all out so someone could easily get through your content to get to that promise of the results you promised?
GINA: Perfect that’s what I’m doing.
AMY: Then you drill down with the lessons, right?
GINA: Yes. Underneath each step write down two to three lessons for each module or step. You might have four or five. Whatever it is, just write it.
For example, I said Step One of our fictional course was all about mindset. Maybe I have two lessons. I like to label my lessons 1.1 or 1.2. So, lesson 1.1, which would be Module 1, Lesson 1, is all about mindset. It would be more of an introduction lesson.
Then, 1.2, or Module 1, Lesson 2, would be common mistakes all moms make.
AMY: Got it. This is great because this is exactly how I do my courses in terms of the module, which is basically big picture, the title that kind of sums up everything you’re going to go into with that module.
Then, the terminology I use is that you then have lessons underneath each module. Typically those lessons are videos, right? Whether they are direct to camera, slides, or whatever it might be.
You’ve got module then you’ve got your individual lessons under that.
GINA: What I like about your courses is that you give them a system of taking it from organizing to scripting. Then when you’re actually creating the videos and the assets you put it into Dropbox so you are going to use the system like 1.1, 1.2 throughout until you’re ready to post on your course site.
AMY: Yes. I love this. Everyone knows I’m a stickler for how to organize a Dropbox. If you’re in Courses That Convert®️ I walk you through exactly how I organize my digital files as they relate to Dropbox.
I use these numbers 1.1 and 1.2 so that I always know where I’m at. It also helps me communicate with my team. I can tell them I just finished video 1.2 and I need a transcript for that, or whatever it is.
Really paying attention to how you are naming each of your digital files as you get going could be a whole different podcast episode, but I find it incredibly important.
GINA: I agree.
AMY: Then I know as a final step you create this map where you ask, “What’s the outcome here? What’s the value I’m adding?” This is good. Talk to me about this one.
GINA: Here, as a final step, you’re making a roadmap. Let’s take 1.1, for example. It’s all about mindset. To your questions, what’s the outcome here and what’s the value I’m adding, what does this deliver for my customer, I might say (for 1.1) “Changing the habits of picky eaters starts with changing mindsets, yours and theirs. I’ll walk through five principles where you might get stuck and how to change it up.”
I will put this at the top of a script so when I’m working on 1.1 I know the outcome and what I’m delivering so that I can stay on task. Then you will see that you will start building these roadmap pieces and it creates this bigger course.
It’s a really powerful structure that you can use as you plan out your course to refocus you. Does that make sense?
AMY: It does. Here’s the thing. It helps in two ways, like Gina said, but I want to show you how I’ve actually used this inside of my program.
The first thing, when you’re asking about the outcome and value, Gina is saying that you write a little (I call it a) ditty or blurb. You write the blurb down and I say to open up a Google doc and get organized and start that way. But write it out.
Like Gina said, write, “Changing the habits of picky eaters starts with changing mindsets, yours and theirs. I’ll walk you through five principles where you might get stuck and how to change it up.”
I wanted to read that again for two reasons. You are getting clear that you are actually delivering value there. If it’s hard for you to write that blurb about what Lesson 1.1 is going to be about then you likely need to go back to the drawing board.
Second, as long as you’re documenting all of this stuff, when you jump into your members area (you all know I now use Kajabi), when I jump into Kajabi to load up all of my content I now have blurbs to talk about each of the lessons.
It’s already done for me. I used it to create the content but now I’m copying and pasting that and putting it below each of the videos. This is something that I used to do at the very end and it was a huge pain in the butt.
But I love how Gina’s saying to do it now so that it will help you navigate through your content. Then you can just copy and paste it right into your members area.
GINA: That is brilliant and I love that idea.
AMY: I try.
GINA: I didn’t think about that but you are right. You are creating the copy that you will need for your members area.
AMY: Yes, it’s a pain in the butt when you have to do that all after the fact so I love that you are having them do it now.
Now it’s finally time for the brain dump. Now you get to fill in all of the content. Although, you kind of have a caveat to this one. So talk to me about the brain dump phase.
GINA: Before I do that I want to acknowledge that this can be a little tricky to visualize as we are talking about it. That’s why we’ve got the freebie where I’m going to walk through an example of how I did a post-it exercise with a client and then have a blank one for everyone listening to fill out.
AMY: Perfect. Side note, if you are in my podcast community at https://www.amyporterfield.com/podcastcommunity we are going to be doing a special giveaway prize. Like we said in the beginning, I like to give away prizes.
GINA: I love it.
AMY: There is a prize. It has to do with office supplies. You can only enter the contest if you’re in my Facebook community. Make sure to join us over there. Also, as another reminder, how do you get this freebie? At https://www.amyporterfield.com/206 you will see an opt-in opportunity there.
Keep us going.
GINA: Back to our brain dump. Now you can brain dump within the structure that we’ve put in place. Going back to 1.1, you and I are both a fan of Google docs, we are totally aligned with our systems.
We bring up a Google doc with 1.1. You’ve got your outcome on top that you did as part of your roadmap. Now you can start brain dumping, just for 1.1 though.
Meanwhile, you have the emotions of your student. It’s in your body. You’re associated to it so that’s a part of you. You know your promise. You know your outcome. Then you can let it flow and brain dump.
AMY: Perfect. That makes perfect sense. You’re going to brain dump but you’re not going to get all wild and crazy about it.
GINA: You are going to do it with focus.
AMY: I like it. I like it. I want to wrap this up by asking you a quick question. Sometimes my students will say, “Amy, I’ve got this big course I created but I want to take just a piece of it, maybe a few lessons or a module out and I want to sell that as a standalone.”
I have an opinion about this but I want to hear your take on it first.
GINA: This is a great question. I think most of the time they are going to create a course that builds step by step. It might be tough to just grab a step and make that a stand-alone piece.
However, if you are building a course (for example, event planning resources) you can plan out the modules so they can be standalone. Maybe I just need a resource for working with speakers, best practices, contracts, etc. Maybe I could pick out that piece from my outline and use it as a standalone.
It really depends on the content. My opinion is that it’s doable but maybe not really the ideal way to go. Sometimes it’s hard to create bigger results for your students by just picking out one piece of the puzzle.
AMY: Exactly. That was where I was going with it. It sounds good in theory except for the fact that you have to go back to the drawing board, grab your post-its, and ask, “What is my promise? What is their specific problem first, and then what is the promise?”
Sometimes it’s hard to promise anything really substantial when they only get a tiny piece of it. One thing you could do is take out a piece of it, maybe the first module. You could sell it as a standalone.
Obviously the promise is going to be a lot smaller. But then you need to do a really good job of upselling them into the bigger course. You can offer them a discount, of course, because they’ve already paid for the first module.
I think your job would then be to move them into the bigger course. Maybe they just needed to experience it first. There are some things you can play around with but I’ve never done it.
It’s not my favorite strategy but I get asked about it a lot. Just be really mindful of the promise as well as how you are going to upsell them into the bigger course.
GINA: I agree. I love that.
AMY: Good stuff. We are wrapping this up but I really want my listeners to learn more about you, Gina. I know they can go to http://coursecreationboutique.com. But I want you to tell my listeners a little bit about this mastermind you have around creating an online course.
I think it’s really unique. I don’t know anybody else who is doing it. So tell my listeners about that opportunity.
GINA: Sure. It’s called Course For Completion Mastermind. It’s for people who want to finish their course and get it out to market and maybe promote it a few times throughout the year.
Who it’s really for, say you took your course, Courses That Convert®️, and got halfway through. You’re almost finished but you got stuck on the tech or maybe you want a little bit more accountability and hand holding and to hear from your peers and myself.
You get coached by myself to make sure you get the course done and get it out to market. Like I said, you promote it and put it out there a few times.
AMY: Perfect. Again, http://coursecreationboutique.com is where you can learn all about it. I know some of my students are interested in it. Sometimes you just don’t want to do it alone. You want some hand holding.
You want to make sure you get to the finish line and this mastermind is definitely one smart way to do it. I’m so excited for your mastermind.
GINA: Thank you. Thank you for mentioning it.
AMY: Gina, it’s so great that you were on the show because this is a topic that’s come up again and again. So thank you so very much for being here. I have wanted you to come on the show forever so we’ve finally made it happen.
GINA: We did! Thank you so much. This was so fun. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for having me on.
AMY: Okay, see you soon. Take care. There you have it. I hope you have loved this interview with Gina as much as I have. It’s so much fun to talk content creation with Gina. She’s a master in this area plus it’s always fun to go down memory lane.
Don’t forget, we have an awesome you’ve-got-to-get-your-hands-on-it freebie for this episode. Go to https://www.amyporterfield.com/206download and Gina has actually created a step-by-step post-it note strategy so that when you are ready to create any type of content you’ll have the actual process right there in front of you. You can print it out and check it off as you go along.
Don’t forget to grab this freebie. You’re going to want it and I don’t want you to forget where to find it so just go there now, save it on your computer, and you’ll have it ready to go when you are ready to create new content.
Alright guys, I cannot wait to connect with you again next week. I’ve got so many good episodes coming your way. I’m bursting at the seams to share them with you so until next week make it a great week. Bye for now.