1. Choose and validate a topic
Chances are if you are reading this, that you already have one or more topics in mind to launch your Udemy instructor career. There’s a lot of advice out there about how to choose your first Udemy course topic. For instance, in this article we previously wrote, “Top Tools for Validating Your Online Course Ideas” we explain why you should validate your Udemy course idea and provide several suggestions for how to go about it. We suggest a quick read.
In addition to using the validation sources we recommend, such as Google keyword planner, Amazon and Youtube, here are some recommendations:
- Beginner is best
When you are getting started with becoming a Udemy instructor, it’s best to start by creating a beginner course. Why? You always know more about something than someone else. Also, you will likely have room for improvement, so this way, you manage expectations.
- Benefits are better
You may have a topic in mind, but you have to ask, what benefits will my students walk away with after taking this course? Are those benefits valuable and worth their time and money? With each of your topics, list out the benefits clearly. Articulate how long it will take to learn the skill that you are teaching and what is the benefit. Think of it in terms of a course title such as “Create a kick butt press release in 90 minutes for $29.”
This will also help you later on when you decide on your course title and write your course description. Fill in the blanks: “By the end of my course students will be able to ____________.”
- Authority matters
Make sure that you have some way of proving to students that you have authority on the subject, even if it is a beginner course. You will need to include this kind of information on your landing page and in your introductory video if you are going to convince students to enroll.
- Longevity is good
Make sure your chosen topic will remain relevant for 2-5 years and can be easily updated over that time frame. Why? You want to get a return for your efforts and make sure your course will earn money over the maximum time period.
- Have fun!
When thinking about how to become a Udemy instructor, it can be daunting to choose your first topic. Don’t be afraid to create a course that already has several competitors if you are truly passionate about a topic and have a good idea of how you will infuse your unique perspective on that topic into your Udemy instructor brand.
In order to become a successful Udemy instructor, you will need to find your unique perspective and offer your valuable experience no matter what the topic. Many experienced Udemy instructors, such as those featured in this article, will suggest that to get started as a Udemy instructor, you simply find something you really enjoy and have fun teaching it.
2. Assess the competition
You will already have an idea of who your competitors are if you have looked at them during your course topic validation exercise. As a new Udemy instructor, there’s a lot to learn. So why not learn from those who have gone before you?
Enroll in 2-3 courses in your topic area and take notes on content (don’t plagiarize!), audio and video quality, etc. Note what works and what can be improved quality-wise. Gather ideas for how you can be different or add more value.
As you go along, why not create your own course competition monitor? You can create an excel spreadsheet of important features and information such as keyword rankings, enrollments, and course sub-categories, and then update it periodically. Teachinguide also provides a great tool for real-time monitoring of your competitors which you can try out for free.
3. Understand Udemy requirements
Udemy has minimum course requirements both in terms of specs and quality. It’s a good idea to look these over and keep them in mind before embarking on the path to becoming a Udemy instructor.
Rather than regurgitate what is on the Udemy instructor support blog, we’ve provided these links to get going.
- Course quality checklist: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/229604988-Udemy-Course-Quality-Checklist
- Course length: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/229604328-Calculating-Course-Length
- Course material: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/229232927-Course-Material-Rules-and-Guidelines
4. Learn about Udemy course creation
Part 2 of our Beginner’s Guide covers many aspects of course and content planning and creation. It’s a good place to start. We’ve also written several articles on various aspects of course creation such as online presentation and creating your own studio.
As mentioned before, learn from those Udemy instructors who have gone before you. There are some great courses on Udemy itself with advice on the process for creating a Udemy course. We recommend famous Udemy instructor Phil Ebiner’s popular course: Udemy Course Creation: Launching a Udemy Course. It provides a 30-day launch checklist – especially handy for those of you who are holding full-time jobs while embarking on your Udemy instructor career!
5. Do some basic planning
It sounds simple enough, but just embarking down the path of course creation with no idea of how you will get there and when can lead to issues such as poor time management, the incorrect flow of your course or missing a key launch date such as pre-Black Friday sales.
Do some basic planning. Assess your course goals in terms of content, length, pricing/income, etc. and compare those to your available time and time management skills. Then create a calendar for course creation, sketching out roughly the lectures and sections you will work on, when and for how long. Build in activities like researching and buying video equipment, taking a competitor or other course, or creating quizzes.
You can even plan activities after your target launch date by making plans for course updates before key Udemy sales or by withholding some content that can be used later for updates and the chance to re-market your course
A useful tool for staying motivated and on track is to set yourself short term and long term income goals, say quarterly targets. Then build in what you need to do to get there.
6. Set up your video studio
Becoming a Udemy instructor will require you to get over your fear of technology and/or fear of public speaking if you have either of those!
It’s not too difficult to get started creating videos. Many of us are already quite used to using our phone and this is a perfectly acceptable solution. So don’t get too hung up here. That said, if you want more information on common we wrote an article on how to make your own video studio with some basic tips to get going.
And in case you are concerned about your video presentation chops, check out our article on this topic as well.
Finally, make sure that you follow Udemy’s video guideline for background, minimum pixels (720p), lighting, file size, etc. Once you have your set up and a module recorded, upload a 1-minute test video for Udemy to give feedback on. This way you won’t spend your time recording a 1-hour course, only to have Udemy come back and tell you the audio is muffled here and there.
7. Create the course
This aspect is up to you and what you have learned in the previous steps. A few tips include:
- Make sure to meet the minimum Udemy requirements: at least 5 lectures and 30 minutes.
- Longer courses generally do a better. But don’t just add content for the sake of having it. You can always update the course with more content later.
- Quality, quality, quality. Don’t fudge it.
- Get feedback: Ask friends, family, colleagues to take your course before publishing. Bounce ideas off of them. Improve as needed.
- DO NOT PLAGIARIZE
- Find a way to organize content that works for you. One example would be to create a folder in Google drive for each lecture topic, and then create sub-folders for modules and put the relevant content (script, video files) in there.
8. Start creating your sales funnel
Even if you don’t yet have students, it’s important to begin thinking about how to create an email list and social media followers that you can market your course (and coupons) to. This will become a large part of your success as a Udemy instructor.
A good start, now that you have your studio set up, is to create a promotional video for your course. In it, outline what students will learn and benefits. Also, establish your authority and passion for your topic. This video can go up on YouTube and can be used on your course landing page as a way to entice students who find your course through organic search.
In Part 3 of our Beginner’s Guide we cover the basic steps for how to create a sales funnel for your Udemy courses. Check it out.
9. Get ready to publish!
With your course almost done and your sales funnel underway, it’s time to open your Udemy instructor account using this link: https://support.udemy.com/hc/en-us/articles/229604948-Become-a-Premium-Instructor-and-Charge-for-Your-Course
Some basic, but necessary things you will need to sign up include a Paypal or Payoneer account, a photo of yourself and a brief bio.
For your first course a key decision to make is whether or not you want to offer your course for free or for a price. Some instructors offer a free course initially in order to gain students and learn with little risk.
Before publishing you will need to write a course summary for your landing page and decide on your title and subtitle. Here’s an article that talks about the importance of using keywords on your landing page. Play around with these. You’ll also need a course logo or image (no text).
The Udemy publishing tool is pretty simple to navigate – provided that you have solidified the flow and content of your course. Just follow the Udemy course roadmap, inputting information such as price and coupons, course goals (this is why you have to create these in step 1!), who should take your course, who should not take your course, what students need to know or do before taking course, etc. And of course you will upload your curriculum, lectures, sections and goals, PDFs, audio files and mashups.
Make sure to add a free preview.
And if after all that you think you are done, not quite so fast! Remember that Udemy quality checklist? Now’s the time to test your knowledge of it. You will submit your course for review/approval by Udemy when you hit publish. Don’t expect to be approved the first time! Your course will be evaluated against quality checklist. Any recommendations made by Udemy must be made before the course will be released.
10. Be ready to fail, learn, promote and repeat
Voila! You have become a Udemy instructor. But the work and joy is just beginning. You are now in the cycle of learning and promoting. This requires perseverance, so make sure you enjoy it (remember step 1?) Celebrate your first $10 affiliate sale and carry on.
Need more tips on how to become a Udemy Instructor? Check out our popular blog post “Top Selling Udemy Instructors, What You Can Learn From Them”.