How to Come Up with Profitable Topics for Online Courses

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Online courses are one of the most profitable sources of passive online income today because they provide so much value for people who need information and guidance. But before you can create a useful course and attract students, you need a profitable course idea.

Maybe you have no clue what you want to teach, or maybe you have many ideas and want to find one or two that will likely be the most profitable. Either way, you can follow these steps to narrow down the perfect course topic.


Do a Brainstorm

The first step is to brainstorm topic ideas. Keep an open mind. Realize it could be just about anything, as there are countless niches on the internet people are interested in.

To start, list everything you know how to do or have received training on. It could be skills from past job experiences, knowledge you learned in school or wisdom and tricks of trade gained through experience. What have you achieved before? What big projects have you finished? What problems have you solved?

Maybe you learned how to train your pet and were able to teach your dog a few tricks. Perhaps you figured out how to stop your binge eating habit for good. You might have great tips on improving your golf swing. You may have survival skills you can teach. These are all things people want to learn, and they’re looking for the information they need online.

Next, list out all your interests and passions. It’s important to teach something you know, but it’s even better to teach something you know and truly care about. Think of every hobby or interest you have and don’t censor yourself on this list.

You never know–if it’s a topic you’re passionate about and took time to learn about, chances are others have the same interest and are willing to pay for it.


Zero in on Profitable Niches

You may have heard it before: there are three major topics people care to learn about are money, relationships and health. These are extremely broad topics, and there are countless topics or information niches that fit within those umbrellas. While there are other things people want to learn about, these niches are quite likely to be profitable.

Now that you have your list of topics from brainstorming, go through your list and circle or highlight topics you think are likely to be most profitable.

You can test the profitability of a topic by searching for existing online courses on that topic. It may seem counterintuitive, but having competition is a sign you’ve found a profitable niche; if people are already paying for other courses, there are people who will pay for yours.

Don’t let yourself get discouraged by competitors because each person teaches differently, has different experiences and backgrounds and has a different personality.

Now you should have narrowed down your list to a smaller list of profitable topics you have knowledge on. From there, you can narrow down one topic based on what might be the most lucrative, or based on what you’re most passionate or knowledgeable about.

Here’s a short example list of information niches with existing markets:

  • Foreign language
  • Pet training
  • How to use Photoshop, Microsoft Office or other softwares
  • Vegan cooking
  • Dieting and meal planning
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • How to play the guitar
  • How to organize your office, closet space, etc
  • How to gain confidence, charisma and people skills
  • Gardening, farming and homesteading
  • Curing or coping with an illness using natural remedies


Niche Down within Your Niche

What you’ve come up with so far are just topics. They’re not yet developed into course topics because they’re too broad. Online consumers are less likely to buy a course on a broad topic than they are to buy a course on a very specific and precise topic.

Narrowing your topic gives you a competitive edge within your broader niche and helps you target the students who are perfect for your course.

For example, instead of teaching a course on the broad topic of social media marketing, narrow the focus down to one social media network and one subgroup of online marketers. This course might be, “Facebook marketing for online coaches,” or “Instagram marketing for clothing brands.”

A specific, narrow topic makes it easier to target your market with ads. When your prospective student looks at what your course offers, they’ll feel as though it was made exactly for them. Ultimately, you’ll have a higher conversion rate and save time and money on marketing.


Final Words

If you’re interested in making passive income online, you can’t ignore the opportunity of creating an online course. Just like you can self-publish and promote an ebook and host it on popular platforms like Amazon Kindle, you can also publish a video course on lucrative websites like Udemy.

You can also sell courses on your own site and run targeted online ads such as YouTube or Facebook ads to bring the right traffic to it.

Before you create your course, be sure to brainstorm all your possible topics, find the most profitable topics among them and narrow one down to a highly precise niche.