Transcript: How To Use AI To Expand Your Online Course Topic

August 17, 2023

AMY PORTERFIELD: “You're telling the tool, ‘This is who I am, and this is what I specialize in.’  

“Now, keep in mind that while the answers you receive may not be flawless, they will serve as a launching pad for your brainstorming session. So that will fuel your creativity and idea generation.”  

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: Welcome to Online Marketing Made Easy, the podcast that helps you navigate the ever-changing online-marketing landscape. I'm your host, Amy Porterfield, and today, we're diving into how AI can actually help you get more clarity around your digital-course idea and help you come up with the content that will shape your digital course.  

Now, by now, especially if you've been following me for a bit, you know that a digital course can transform your revenue and offer you more freedom and flexibility in your business. That's why I teach what I do: that freedom that all of us desperately want.  

But the question I often get is, “Where do I even start? How do I even come up with a profitable idea for a digital course?” Well, I'm going to help you develop your course idea using a formula that I've perfected over the years—it’s called your sweet spot—and then, from there, for the first time ever, I'm going to show you how to use AI tools as your course-creation assistant to develop your idea quickly and effectively. So specifically, today I'm going to help you come up with a course idea and then flesh it out with AI tools so you have a super-clear direction with the type of content you want to teach, which starts to bring this whole thing to life.  

And I actually created an entire freebie that will support this episode. So you do not need to take notes. You do not need to stop and be, like, “Wait a second. What did she say? I need to rewind that,” because I'm going to give you AI prompts that you can copy and paste into ChatGPT or whatever tool you're using, and so I want you to be able to make this actionable. So I want you to listen because I'm going to share some nuances and insights here that I won't put in the cheat sheet. So I want you to kind of hear how we're going to do this, and then, I want you to grab the cheat sheet and use it when you're ready to actually plug this information into what I'm calling your course-creation assistant, which is an AI tool.  

Okay. So are you ready for this mini training? Let's get started.  

So before we jump into working with AI, we must do a little legwork to make sure we are asking it the right questions. And that means that you need to identify your sweet spot. If you've been with me for a while, you may already know what the sweet spot is, but it's always a good thing to have a little refresher. And if you're new here, listen closely, because this is the bread and butter of figuring out what to create an online course on.  

All right. So your course-creation sweet spot is the intersection between your skills and know-how, a struggle or challenge your audience is facing, and then, something they will gladly pay for the solution for, and a topic that truly lights you up. It’s the perfect balance that ensures you're delivering value while also staying true to your expertise and your passion.  

Now, you may be thinking, “Okay, Amy. How do I find my sweet spot, though?” And I find it's easiest to do so by answering four very specific questions. So I was going to tell you to grab a piece of paper or pull up a Google Doc to write these questions down and answer them. But then I thought, “You know what? I've got a freebie for this.” You're probably out and about right now. Maybe you're on a walk, maybe you're multitasking, maybe commuting, or whatever. So just make sure you get my freebie. I'll tell you where to get it in a minute. But these are the questions I want you to start thinking about, okay?  

So first question. What are your skills and know-how? And yes, you have a lot of them, so don't shortchange yourself. But I think that you could think of some personally and professionally. But specifically, where have you gotten results for yourself or for somebody else—a customer, a client, a good family friend, whatever it might be? Where have you gotten results? You just need to be a few steps ahead of those that you are going to teach in a digital course. I call this your 10 percent edge.  

Now, I'm not going to dive into the 10 percent edge too much, because I just did an entire Shorty episode on this. So if you have never heard me talk about the 10 percent edge and you feel a little bit concerned that maybe you're not enough of an expert to teach inside of a digital course, go listen to that episode: 592. Really easy to get to. It's called “What Does a 10% Edge REALLY Mean, & Are You Overthinking It?” which you probably are. So check out that episode after you listen to this one. It will fill in a lot of blanks.  

But essentially, where have you gotten results for yourself or for somebody else that you'd be willing to work out a road map to teach other people how to get those results as well? That's your skill. That's your knowledge. That's your know-how.  

Next question. If you do have an audience already, what are they struggling with, or what are their pain points? What are their challenges? Or what do they desire?  

Now, if you're not really sure because you don't have a big audience or you're just starting out, one of the best ways to uncover this is go places where your ideal customers, your ideal students, would be hanging out, and pay attention to what they're struggling with. What questions are they asking? What are they saying is really difficult for them? Where are they challenged right now? Because understanding your audience is crucial for creating a course that resonates with them. It's so easy to sell a course if you are directly hitting on their pain points and telling them, “I have a solution so you can get out of pain and into momentum.”  

So we need to engage in conversations. We need to ask questions. We need to do polls and surveys, and listen more than we talk so that you can understand what your audience needs and wants.  

I don't care if you have an audience of five or five thousand, you need to pay attention starting now. Be a good listener; ask questions; get in forums, social-media groups, other online platforms; and figure out where are they struggling or what desires do they have, because you want your skills and knowledge and know-how to be aligned with the challenges they're having so you can give them a solution.  

Okay. So the next quadrant of the sweet-spot formula is that you're going to consider the profit potential of your course idea. So when you think about your knowledge and know-how, your skills, like, what you might teach in a course, ask yourself, “Are there other courses out there around the same topic? Are people buying courses? Are they buying services, coaching, consulting? Are there books about it? Are there podcasts about this topic that you want to teach on? If the answer is yes, that is a great thing because, you know, being first to market is wonderful. It's also a very long, lonely road, and it takes a long time to make money when you are first to market. Going out with an idea that's already been done before, but you're going to do it different, in your own style, I like the odds of that one.  

Everything I've ever created has never been a brand-new idea, first to market. I've always just done it my own way. When I came on the scene and I used to just teach social media, everyone and their mother was a social-media manager. It was, like, the cool thing to be. You didn't even need to be certified or have any talent at the time. This is, like, fourteen years ago. And so I just knew I was going to have to hustle and work harder and show up more and be unique in my teaching style in order to break through the noise. And you can absolutely do that, too. 

And I want you to have an abundance mindset. There's enough to go around for everyone. There's enough of an audience for you to capture. While other big names have been capturing their own audience for years, there's still room for you, my friend.  

So with that, if there are people investing to get results in this area that you want to teach, that's a good thing. That's the profit potential. It's there.  

And then, finally, the last question is, what lights you up? Your course topic doesn't have to be your ultimate passion, but it should be something you're excited to teach. Your enthusiasm will shine through and make your course more engaging for your students and a whole lot easier to sell and promote when you're excited about the topic.  

So for example, I shared this before, but when I first was starting my business, I didn't think, “Gee, I'd love to teach people how to create digital courses more than anything.” That's not really necessarily how this came about. But I realized that after I created my own courses that “Geez, I could teach people how to do this. And a lot of people are asking me how I did this.”  

That's another thing. That first question, what's your knowledge, know-how, skill set? what are people asking you? Like, how do you do that? How did you figure that out? Well, I got a lot of those questions. And it would light me up. I love to teach it. I knew people were going to pay money for it, and I knew people were stuck with how to create a course and launch it. So it became my sweet spot.  

Is it my end all, be all purpose in life to teach people how to create digital courses? No. But over fourteen years, slowly but surely, I realized my purpose in life is to help people have more freedom. I have a core belief that everybody deserves to create wealth and freedom on their terms. And the way I contribute to the world with that core belief is I teach people how to build businesses online so they will have that freedom and that wealth. So that's how it all comes together.  

So don't overthink this. Whatever you teach doesn't need to be the end all, be all. And you also don't need to be the expert of all experts to teach it. You just need that 10 percent edge.  

Okay. So you're probably thinking, “Great, Amy. I just did the sweet-spot formula.” I know you're going to grab my freebie so you have it in front of you, but what does that have to do with AI? Well, let's talk about it. 

First, I want to offer a quick word of advice from fourteen years of behind-the-scenes knowledge of developing courses. When it comes to creating a digital course, it's your unique approach and expertise to solving a specific problem that is going to differentiate your course and keep your customers coming back for more. That is the goal here. They see you as their go-to source, their guide, their mentor. They want to learn from you. There might be ten courses out there on the same topic, but they resonate with you. Your audience wants to learn from you. AI is here to help you, but your students want to learn your unique experiences. They want to hear your stories. They want to absorb knowledge in the way that you teach it. They want to follow your expertly crafted road map on how to get results. And most importantly, they want to achieve the extraordinary results that you have achieved or you've helped your students to achieve.  

So, is AI a game-changer tool? Absolutely. It's an excellent starting place for many steps during your course-creation journey, and it's a powerful tool when it comes to helping you ideate and brainstorm and research and conquer writer's block and create your content faster. But it will never replace you. And I want you to remember that as I walk through these prompts.  

So, let's jump into how to use AI as a course-creation assistant. AI is not going to give you everything you need to know to create and launch a course. It doesn't have the nuances, the behind-the-scenes experience, what's worked in the past, what works now, the real intricate details of how to do this in a way to absolutely get results. That's not what we're using AI for. We’re using AI to be our course-creation assistant, to develop your course content quickly so you can round it out, flesh it out, make it better so that you're not staring at a blank Google Doc.  

So I'm most excited about AI because my students get stuck on their course creation a lot, and this is going to speed that up and get their courses out there faster. I'm very excited about that. But just remember, the discussion is not, is a human going to develop this, or is AI going to develop this? It’s not either/or; it's both. So just remember that it's both. So incorporating AI into your course-creation process is a smart decision, but it's important to remember that it won't automatically provide perfect or complete information. You'll need to train the AI to best match your specific needs and requirements and your voice. 

I did an episode about AI with my friend Emily Hirsh, and she shed some light on the fact that using AI effectively involves figuring out which prompts to use. The better you become at prompting the AI, the more accurate and valuable the results will be. So I did an episode. It's 572 if you want to jot that down. It's called “ChatGPT, AI, & How to Use It in Your Marketing, with Emily Hirsh.” So it's episode 572. And she shared that when utilizing AI, it's critical to craft specific and detailed prompts, which I'm going to give you right now. And if you're not satisfied with the initial results, don't hesitate to experiment with different prompts and approaches and drill down even more. Remember, it's a tool, but it's not the end all, be all. And it needs a lot of TLC to really dial in what you need. So just don't forget that. But here's the freebie cheat sheet I promised you.  

So I mentioned earlier, I've got this free resource that fully supports everything I'm teaching you in this episode. And in a minute, I'm going to give you specific prompts, and you're going to be, like, “I'm not anywhere where I could write these down right now.” Don't worry, they're all in my cheat sheet. So it's called “Three Steps to Unlock Your Digital-Course Idea, Using AI,” and it's at Do not miss this. You will want this.  I give you the exact prompts to copy and paste into ChatGPT.  

Now let's pull all the pieces together. So let's imagine that you've completed the sweet-spot exercise and you have identified that your digital-course idea is going to be that you're going to teach other teachers how to teach reading and writing. So you’ve been a teacher for twenty years. Now you’re going to help other teachers so that they can teach in their classroom reading and writing in a way that's really effective and allows them to make it easier and get results faster. Okay? So you're a teacher who's going to teach other teachers.  

So with that in mind, you're now ready to tap into the power of AI. And I suggest you use a tool like ChatGPT. It's totally free. You could Google it. But here's the thing. Before you start typing in a bunch of questions for it to give you ideas for your course, you need to tell it who you are. So I'm going to give you a prompt that you could put into ChatGPT, but then, I'll put this into the cheat sheet so you can make it your own.  

So this is an example. “I'm a former teacher who helps new teachers prepare for their first year of teaching. I've been teaching for twenty years and specifically have worked in elementary education and specialize in helping teachers to teach reading and writing.” So you're telling the tool, “This is who I am, and this is what I specialize in.”  

Now, keep in mind that while the answers you receive may not be flawless, they will serve as a launching pad for your brainstorming session. So that will fuel your creativity and idea generation. 

So next up, now that you put that into the tool, you can use AI prompts to help generate some course ideas. So once you've entered that information, you can then enter some more information to start getting the good stuff. So again, you're going to customize all of my prompts.  

But here's another one. If you want to do one to identify additional problems, like, your expertise can help solve, you can put something like, “What are the top-five questions that teachers have about teaching, writing, and reading in the classroom?” or “What are the ten most-searched-for questions from teachers who are looking for creative ideas for teaching, reading, and writing in the classroom?” So you're asking, like, “Hey, based on all the searches on the web, what are you seeing? What are some commonly asked questions?” And commonly asked questions are so good for figuring out what kind of content you want to put in your course.  

Here's another one. This one would be more about market research and inspiration around your course topic and niche, so you can kind of learn from what others are doing and see what you like and what you don't like and how you might be able to do something similar or even different. And so here's one. “Who are the top online influencers?” and then you would say, “In your expertise. So please include their website and a few bullet points on areas of expertise. Like, who else is teaching teachers?” It'd be interesting to look at their stuff. Do not compare yourself. Of course, you're not going to copy their stuff. But you absolutely should see what else is being created out there.  

Or here's another question. “What types of digital-learning resources do other experts in your area of expertise offer? Provide me with ten specific topics they address in their resources.” That would be really valuable, right? Again, all of these prompts and more are in the cheat sheet.  

And then, here's another one. If you want to craft a course title that your ideal customer will resonate with, this is a great use of an AI tool as an assistant. So you could say, like, “I specifically help teachers teach writing and reading in their classroom. What are five digital-course titles I could use to help set my course apart from other competitors in my industry, given my expertise? Limit these titles to six words, or less than sixty-five characters,” because we don't want a super-long title. 

I notice that when I put things into ChatGPT, it spews out, like, paragraphs and paragraphs and paragraphs. I'm like, “Whoa. I just needed, like, six sentences.” So tell it what you need.  

And then, let's say it gives you some titles and you don't like them, but there's one that's kind of good. You could grab that title and you could say something like, “I like this title,” and then put it in there. But say, “But I want it to be more detailed. I want it to be longer, shorter, more casual tone,” or whatever you want. Put it back in there.  

The greatest thing about using AI as a course-creation assistant is that you can tell it what you like and what you don't like and what you want more of or what you want less of. I think that's the best way to use the tool to really get what you want. You have to be pushy almost, and you have to say, “That's not quite it, but we're getting close. So here's what I need you to do.”  

So, there's so many more prompts that I put into this cheat sheet that you could use, but I do love to use it for a title or a subtitle.  

So, like, here's another prompt. “Give me three title options for,” and then insert the title that you're kind of liking, “that are more fun, more engaging, more simple, more appealing,” whatever you want to put, “to an audience of teachers who are teaching in the classroom,” or something like that. And then, you might even say, “Include the words,” and then include some words that you really want to be included in the title.  

You know that titles are tough, right? I've always had a hard time. Like, is this a good title? I don't know. Should I try this? Should I try that? Now we can just get flooded with some great ideas if we use AI as an assistant to come up with titles for our courses and subtitles as well. So I really love to use it in that way.  

So you can use it for content ideas, you can use it to figure out what people are struggling with in your niche, and you can use it for title and subtitle ideas as well. I think those are the three best ways to use AI as a course-creation assistant.  

Now, I know that I just covered a lot, but I really suggest that you go grab my cheat sheet. It will all be so much easier. But again, there's no need to look at a blank Google Doc. AI is the tool that will at least start sparking some creativity around the content that you put in your course.  

And again, in Digital Course Academy, module three is all about outlining your course. And if you just had AI outline your entire course and then you went in there and you looked at that outline, one of the things that I teach that you won't get from AI is how to prune an outline to make sure that you're delivering enough to get results, but you're not overdelivering to overwhelm your audience. What AI won't tell you is that when you include too much into your digital course, too many modules, too many lessons, too many examples, going too deep, your audience will not come up for air, and they will get stuck. They'll be so overwhelmed and buried in content that they never get to the end of your course, which means they never apply it, and they never get results.  

So just having a robust outline is not enough. I think it's important to go back and prune. I think it's important to ask yourself, “Can some of this be a bonus,” to your offer versus included in the course? And also ask yourself, “Can I get this content in a ten- or twelve-minute video versus, like, a thirty-minute video?” which is just way too overwhelming to your audience.  

So I spend a lot of time in Digital Course Academy, when I'm teaching my students, showing them how to teach in a course to get people results, because speaking on stage or being interviewed in a podcast is very different than teaching in a digital course. So I teach my students how to teach in a digital course, how to layout content so people understand it quickly, and how to get people to the finish line when they get stuck along the way. No matter how good your content is, they're going to get stuck somewhere or another. I teach my students how to get them unstuck and moving forward. But it all starts with starting to put together, what might you teach with your course idea?  

And that's where we're starting here today. All the other stuff I just mentioned I could teach you down the road, or if you join me in Digital Course Academy. But right now we want to just focus on coming up with a course idea.  

If you want to join me in Digital Course Academy, doors are not open yet, but will put you on the VIP list so you'll be the first to know when I open the doors. I only open the doors once a year. So  

But right now we're just focused on your course idea. I want you to get excited about it, and I wanted to share with you how to use a AI to make this happen. So let's wrap this up.  

Okay. So there you have it. How are you feeling? My hope is that you're excited about using AI as your course-creation assistant. And here's the thing. Whether it's your first time creating a course or you're looking to update the course that you already have or you're just thinking, “What are some other ways that I can bring revenue into my business in general?” remember that without knowing your sweet spot, that exercise I took you through in the beginning, AI is not going to be incredibly helpful. It's going to spit out a bunch of generic stuff that doesn't really apply to where you want to take your course. So if you do the legwork upfront, go through my sweet-spot formula, and then use my prompts in order to take this to the next level and personalize the data you're going to get from AI, that's where it becomes really powerful. AI alone is not enough to create and launch a digital course, but it can absolutely fast track your entire progress.  

So here's what I want you to do. Go to Grab my cheat sheet. It's called the “Three Steps to Unlock Your Digital-Course Idea, Using AI.” Grab my cheat sheet, copy and paste those prompts into your AI tool, and I promise you, you're going to start feeling like this is very doable for you this year.  

And I can't wait to see you next Thursday, same time, same place. Bye for now. 

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