Why an online course is better than writing a book
As an expert in your field, you have a ton of knowledge you can share with others.
When you reach a certain level in your industry, you start thinking about the best way to impart your experience (and yes, make some additional income from it!).
Many people initially think about writing a book, but creating an online course may actually be a smarter move for you.
Why Creating an Online Course Is Better Than Writing a Book
1. Courses are more interactive + engaging
One of the biggest advantages of creating an online course is the ability to make it interactive.
Unlike a book, which is typically a passive experience for the reader, an online course can include videos, quizzes, interactive activities, and more. It also often includes live group calls with the instructor and fellow students, as well as an online community that's available 24/7.
This interactivity can help to keep learners engaged and motivated, which can lead to better learning outcomes. Plus, it makes it way more fun -- particularly as a solid portion of your students have experienced some sort of isolation or lack of connection within their existing network.
Your course lets students build relationships with others who get them, can help them elevate to their next level, and provides social support they've been lacking IRL.
2. Courses offer a better revenue potential
The odds of an author getting published are only 1-2%. Sure, you can self-publish, which is an amazing option (and if do choose go to this route, my friends at PRESStinely are absolutely incredible book launch strategists) but competition is tight.
Plus, if you go with a marketplace seller like Amazon, they take around a 30% cut.
When you also consider the fact that most books retail at $18 or less, you've got to sell A LOT of them to see extra commas in your bank account.
On the other hand, you have the opportunity to offer your courses at a much higher price point, especially if they offer students the opportunity to earn more money themselves or improve their craft so they can advance their careers. It's not uncommon to see courses go for $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, or more.
Of course, your pricing would depend on your authority level, industry, and audience. But if you're delivering the same content, wouldn't it make sense to offer it in a way that offers the most implementation value?
3. Courses are more flexible than books
One of the greatest advantages of creating an online course is that you have much more flexibility in how and when you deliver content.
With a book, you're limited to delivering your content in a linear fashion. However, with an online course, you can deliver your content in a way that suits your learners' needs. For example, you might choose to break your course down into shorter modules or offer different levels of difficulty for learners to progress at their own pace.
It's also flexible in that you can release course content in a drip format (literally developing content as the course is running, but IMHO this is a very stressful option!).
With a book, your content has to be finished before you hit "publish" and offer it out to the world. With a course, you can develop as you go, as well as take in student feedback as you work through content for the rest of your course.
4. Courses are easier to update + revise
The second you hit "publish" your book instantly becomes dated. If you're in a rapidly-changing industry, such as social media, technology, or healthcare, what's current in your book one month can be totally outdated the next.
However, with an online course, it's much easier to update and revise your content as needed. You can make updates to your course in real-time to ensure that your learners have access to the most current and relevant information.
And, for those who have enrolled in your course in the past, you can quickly and easily offer them the latest version without spending more cash to do it, if you choose to. This builds a ton of goodwill and usually increases referrals from current and past students.
5. Courses are more accessible to a wider audience
While books are a great way to share your expertise, they can be expensive to produce and distribute -- particularly if you're doing a printed version.
With the rise of e-learning platforms and online marketplaces, you can easily create and sell your course to learners around the world. Think Udemy or LinkedIn Learning.
You can also sell your courses yourself, using a platform like Kajabi, which acts as your website, e-commerce solution, email marketing system, and course delivery.
Most of my clients choose Kajabi as their preferred platform, as it's a powerful all-in-one system for online courses, memberships, and digital content.
BTW, you can score a 14-day free trial when you use my link here. This lets you get your course up and running for free before you decide if it's the right option for you.
6. Courses provide opportunities for networking + collaboration
Creating an online course is an excellent way to offer opportunities for networking and collaboration. By offering your course online, you can connect with learners from around the world and build a community around your expertise.
You can also collaborate with other experts in your field to create more comprehensive courses or offer joint webinars and workshops.
I'd say for professional courses, the number one thing students value is a high-quality network.
With an online course, students get the opportunity to meet others in their industry without the air of competition. Plus, they get a built-in community where they can discuss common issues, get solutions and new ideas, and even get leads!
For example, most people have some sort of specialty or a niche. When a lead comes In that isn't 100% their jam, being able to refer a potential client to someone who is the ideal fit is how you create raving fans (who will often refer you to their network simply because you went out of their way to take care of them).
Having a referral network also inspires the spirit of reciprocity. When someone refers a lead to you, you naturally want to do something of equal value for them.
Having these relationships is an invaluable benefit to your business -- and it's an opportunity to create authentic, mutually beneficial friendships with people who totally get where you're coming from!
7. Courses have great potential for passive income
Creating an online course has the potential to generate passive income.
While writing a book typically involves a one-time payment from the publisher (if you're lucky enough to get signed to a publisher), an online course can continue to generate income over time.
Take, for example, evergreen courses.
Once you've created your course, you can continue to sell it to learners without any additional effort on your part.
You can set the content to unlock upon purchase or you can drip content over time. If you use a platform like Kajabi, this is a built-in feature that makes developing your evergreen course incredibly easy for you.
Most people drive traffic to their evergreen course via paid ads and/or a marketing funnel.
At a high level, the way a marketing funnel strategy works is by offering a free piece of content in exchange for an email address. Once that person has opted into your list, you deliver a series of automated emails (known as a "nurture sequence") to warm up and nurture a relationship with them, then ultimately offer them a sale.
While not always true, evergreen courses tend to be priced lower than a live launch product, as there is less engagement with the instructor unless it's built into a membership program or other subscription-based community.
Speaking of which...
8. Courses lead to higher-ticket offerings
For most experts, the number one reason students enroll in your course is YOU. As in, they want access to you.
Sure, you have incredible knowledge to share, but they can get that anywhere. They want something only you can offer. They want to be close to your brand of magic.
Knowing this opens the door for higher-ticket offerings. For example, a mastermind or monthly membership program, both of which have opportunities for an influx of one-time cash, as well as monthly recurring revenue.
In most courses, students get live access to you for the duration of the release schedule -- say 7 or 10 weeks. After that, they're generally dropped off to implement what they've learned.
Creating a higher ticket offer gives students an immediate next step once they complete your course.
When you have a higher-ticket offer, your students get the opportunity for a deeper, more intimate connection with you. Plus, they get the support they need to implement all the training they've gotten during your program.
Not all students will choose to move on to the next step (as it generally is a higher price) but a good portion will. Offering a next-step group option allows you to offer the networking and group interactions your students have become accustomed to, as well as generate additional revenue for you from your existing student base.
After all, it's much more expensive to go out and get new people than it is to keep the ones you have.
It's not uncommon to offer multiple higher-ticket offerings, such as niched subgroups, ongoing group coaching, or application-based groups with limited memberships available. This lets you create multiple revenue streams, while serving different populations of your students.
The truth is, people equate money with value. And it's shocking to see how much more engaged and accountable people are when they're paying a lot of money for something than when it's free.
And what they're investing in is YOU. This fact isn't meant to scare you. It's meant to empower you to realize that you have a secret sauce someone else wants. And people are willing to pony up cold hard cash simply for access to you.
9. Courses offer better ROI + analytics
With a book, it's difficult to measure the success of your content beyond sales numbers.
However, with an online course, you can do that PLUS track learner progress, engagement, and completion rates. This data can provide valuable insights into how your learners are interacting with your content and help you to make improvements to your course over time.
With an online course launch, you often get incredibly detailed sales and conversion data. This allows you to you can make immediate tweaks to your sales campaign to improve results, whether that's by offering a payment plan, sending a special voice memo, DM, or email to would-be students, or going Live on social.
With a book, it's difficult to get that immediacy, unless you're selling it yourself on your own ecommerce website AND you're doing a launch.
Most live launches (and even some evergreens) operate on a deadline basis. As in, there is a short period in which you can enroll in the course or take advantage of a specific offer.
Think of it like enrolling in school. There's a period in which you can apply for admission or sign up for college classes. This deadline nature is built into our education system, so it's not unexpected for people to take action when you tell them to.
Depending on your platform, you can also get valuable analytics and data in the form of real-time feedback using surveys, live chat, and group calls. People expect interaction with a course -- not so much with a book purchase.
10. Courses are good for the soul
Not that books aren't, obviously (take it from me, I'm completely book-obsessed as my Goodreads profile will show you).
But with courses, you get the opportunity to connect with students in real time and actually see the results of your work for yourself.
Not once have I ever produced a course either for a company or a client and not gotten incredible feedback, both as they're going through the course and years later after they've implemented the changes.
If you like knowing that what you do matters, you'll love the process of creating and running an online course.
Students share their wins constantly, giving you feedback about how what you taught them has improved their lives, their business, or whatever it is you offer them the ability to do. This is incredibly motivating and rewarding because it validates not only your experience but that all the work you put into creating your courses has a real impact.
I could literally go on and on with the reasons why an online course is an excellent next step for people who are experts in their field, but as a writer, producer, and marketer, I know you probably want to just jump to the next step. Which is to get started!