When it comes to generating ideas for your course, it’s a good idea to cast a wide net. That means you should seek out as many ideas as you can initially. Every good idea you encounter is likely to spark another idea, so by the time you work through these 10 places and steps you should have dozens of good ideas. And within these dozens of good ideas will be one GREAT idea, which will become your product.
So, let’s take a look at 10 places to uncover some really great ideas…
Udemy is a site with a large catalog of video-based courses across a wide variety of niches. And it’s also a great place for you to generate ideas for your course.
Your first step is to simply browse the front page, as it lists the top courses in various categories. This will give you an idea of what’s popular in your niche.
Secondly, run a search for your niche keywords in the search box (e.g., “dog training”). You can then sort the results by “highest rated,” which will give you an idea of what’s popular. Look for the yellow “bestselling” tag as well.
Naturally, don’t just look at the titles of the courses. Read the descriptions, paying particular attention to the bullet points. Sometimes you can pull a single bullet point of a popular product and use that feature as the basis for your course.
Another good place to uncover course idea is on Amazon.com. Again, you can start by running a search for your keywords. However, since Amazon has a whole lot more than just information products, you can save yourself some time by searching in these categories:
Amazon tags the bestsellers in each of the categories, so they’re easy to spot when you’re browsing your search results. Whenever you click on a result, you’ll also get an exact ranking of the book within its category, so you’ll know how popular it is.
Lastly, you can also sort your search results, such as by looking at products with the highest average review or the most reviews. Usually those products with the highest number of reviews and highest averages also tend to be bestsellers.
3. Popular Posts
The idea behind this method is to spend some time reading the most popular blogs in your niche. And then take note of the most popular posts not only on each individual blog, but also across the various blogs.
So first off, you need to uncover the blogs in your niche. You can do this with a Google search, where you search for your niche keywords alongside the word blog. E.G., “dog training blog” (but don’t put it in quotes).
You might also search for blogs in your niche by seeking out lists. Let’s stick with the dog training example. In this case, you might search for these terms:
· Dog training blog list
· Best dog training blogs
· List of best dog training blogs
· Top dog training blogs
Once you find the blogs, then look for the following:
· Word clouds. This will tell you what topics the blogger is writing about frequently. Generally, smart bloggers write about topics that are popular with their readers.
· Lots of interaction. A good way to tell if a blog post is popular is by looking at the number of people commenting on the blog. If there are social media buttons next to the post, you’ll also be able to see how many are liking and sharing the post.
4. Niche Community Posts
For this method, you uncover what questions people are asking in your niche, as well as what topics in general they’re discussing. Here’s where to find these posts:
· Go to community question/answer sites such as Quora and Yahoo! Answers. Take note of which questions tend to pop up repeatedly over time, as this will give you an idea of what topics are popular in your niche.
· Seek out niche forums. You can find these by running Google searches for your niche keywords alongside words to help you find forums. These words include:
- [Niche] forum
- [Niche] discussion
- [Niche] discussion forum
- List of [niche] forums
- Top [niche] forums
Once you find these niche forums, then pay attention to which topics pop up in the forum repeatedly over time, as well as which topics get a lot of discussion.
· Go to Facebook groups. Run a search for your keywords in the Facebook search box, and then filter the results by groups. Take note not only of what types of groups are popular, but what topics within these groups generate a lot of likes and comments.
5. Social Media Trends
Another place to get great ideas is by simply tracking what’s trending on social media.
You can do this by looking at the “Trending” section on Facebook (which is typically on the right side of your screen when you’re logged in).
On Twitter, you can start on the front page to see what people are talking about in various categories. You can also search for your keywords to find the popular hashtags and topics.
Take note that while these trends and hashtags might give you some great ideas, some of these topics may be fairly fleeting in terms of popularity. So as always, do your market research to be sure the idea is solid.
6. Customer Reviews
Here’s a clever place to get ideas: read customer reviews of popular information products in your niche. The reason is because customers often tell you exactly what they want and don’t want within their reviews.
You can find these reviews in any niche marketplace that allows customers to directly post their reviews. One really good place to find them is on Amazon.com.
Take note that you can also find reviews simply by searching for them in Google, such as by searching for a popular product name alongside the word “reviews.” However, often these “reviews” show up on blogs, and they’ve been created by affiliates. Those reviews tend to be biased. It’s better to look on platforms such as Amazon where most (not all) of the reviews are created by real customers.
Here’s what you’re looking for:
· Customers repeatedly mentioning one section of the product as being the product’s strength. If you have multiple reviews saying one particular topic is a really good, that specific topic is a possible idea for your course
· Customers noting which topics they wished were included in the product. Again, this should give you an idea for your course.
7. Keyword Tools
Here’s an idea-generation strategy that will help you uncover topics that you didn’t even know existed.
Here’s how it works…
First, you need to grab your favorite keyword tool. Most any of them will work, such as WordTracker.com, KeywordDiscovery.com, MarketSamurai.com or similar tools.
Next, what you want to do is enter in extremely broad search terms, which will let the tool deliver plenty of ideas to.
Simply enter the following search words alongside your broad niche keywords (e.g., “secrets of dog” – notice that the niche word is the broad “dog” as opposed to being more narrow). If you want to generate ideas outside of any particular niche, then drop the niche-relevant keywords and just enter the following broad terms:
· How to
· Get rid of
· Step by step
These simple searches should uncover dozens of great ideas for your course – many ideas that you may have never even knew existed.
8. Google Search
Naturally, you don’t need to necessarily use Google, as you can certainly use your favorite search engine (such as Bing). However, you’ll use your search engine in three ways to uncover ideas:
1. Use auto fill-in to generate ideas. If you start typing any search into Google, it will show you a handful of suggested searches, which are based on popular searches others are doing. You can do general searches (such as “how to….”), or you can start typing in your niche keywords to see what people are searching for.
As such, this is another way to uncover ideas you may have never even thought about before.
2. Look at the sponsored results. If you enter a broad niche search (such as “organic gardening”), be sure to check out the sponsored results to see what people in your niche are selling.
TIP: As a courtesy, don’t click on these ads when you’re doing your research, as it costs the advertiser money every time someone clicks on them. Most of the ads have the URL listed, so copy the URL and type it directly into your browser if you want to learn more about what the site is offering.
3. Check out the top sites in your niche. Finally, you can uncover the top sites in your niche by searching for your keywords. Then take note of what types of information products the site is selling, as well as what type of content they’re posting on their blog.
This is another marketplace where you can uncover plenty of ideas, while simultaneously validating the idea (if you focus on the top-selling products).
You can start by visiting the marketplace located here: https://accounts.clickbank.com/marketplace.htm
Now you’ll get the option of browsing for products in various categories, or you can use the search box to look for specific niche products. Either way, the marketplace lets you sort the products according to how popular they are, so you’ll know which ones tend to be in high demand.
10. Survey Your Audience
The final method for uncovering good ideas is to simply ask your audience what they want and need. Naturally, you’ll want to ask open-ended questions so as not to restrain the answers.
You can do this in one of two ways (or you can use both methods at the same time):
1. Create an anonymous survey which lets your audience submit their answers to you privately. The advantage here is that some people may be a little more candid when they know that no one else except you will see their answers.
2. Create a discussion on your blog, forum or social media platform. The advantage of this method is that you get a group who starts brainstorming, which may lead to ideas that they never would have told you about when surveyed individually.
Now let’s wrap things up…
So, there you have it – ten great ways to generate tons of ideas for your course! If you use just one of these methods, you’re likely to uncover dozens of ideas. If you go through all the steps, you may end up with hundreds of ideas – and within that big list your perfect idea awaits you!
As always, keep in mind that idea generation and idea validation are two different things. Just because an idea leaps out at you doesn’t mean it’s actually a good idea. You still need to do some market research to be sure that it’s something your audience actually wants. But when you hit on the big idea – an idea that jumps out at you AND is validated with research – then you know you’ve got a good thing on your hands!