Lesson 3 - Find your audience online

Lesson 3 To Do

For this lesson go to list of links to communities you found in Lesson 2.

Copy-paste quotes from those communities that your audience has made that refer to their personal pains, hopes and fears about your best topic and copy of this Course Offer Worksheet.

Did you learn anything that surprised you? Write that into the discussion below.

How you can find the pain and why it matters

What we care a lot about in this tactical course, is to search for evidence of demand for your online course BEFORE you create it.

Seeing a lot of product launches, I've realized any supposed intuition you have about what your audience really wants is a stab in the dark.

There are 5 ways to learn about what your market wants:

  1. Be them
  2. Hang out
  3. Observe
  4. Interview
  5. Co-create

If you've done the first two lessons, the good news is you naturally already can relate to #1 Be your audience and #2 Hang out with them.

That said, having some experience does NOT mean you're ready to start teaching in a profitable way just yet.

Instead of believing you know what your audience needs, spend some time trying to prove it.

You can dramatically improve our chances of success by finding and observing evidence that a painful problem exists for your specific audience online.

Finding the pain problems can be key, because we generally buy courses based on what is painful to us ( see this post on Painkiller content for more on this)

There are a few crazy ways to do this type of social science, like Google Keyword research using KeyWord Planner or even creating technology to scrape Amazon book reviews.

That said, let's go into an easy step-by-step way to start using our professional photography example.

By now we've now found a few online communities, for you topic from websites like these:

  • Google search for community forums and blog posts (it can help to add "discussion" to your search)
  • Blogs (search Alltop.com and Buzzsumo to find a shortlist)
  • SlideShare
  • Facebook groups
  • Twitter
  • Quora
  • Reddit (search subreddits)
  • Meetup.com, Eventbrite.com and Conferences
  • Google+ groups

Going back to our photo community example in the last lesson, two links that stand out to me:

“Beginner Photography Questions"

and..oh interesting a link to

“Photography Education."

When I click through “Photography Education" it's now even more interesting to see a post titled:

“What courses should I take to become a professional photographer. Is there any online courses or do I have to go to a school"

Check out this advice given to this person who's debating becoming a professional photographer.

This site generally appears to be active and knowledgeable, but what's been recommended is going to “find the books for old courses" or even to take “Business 101" to learn. If you know a little about photography, this is plain bad advice.

What you now can start to do is copy-paste those exact painful statements and keep them organized. The easiest way I've found is to do it in a spreadsheet (you can copy my Pain Research WorkSheet here).

But let's say I couldn't find that online community. Here's another example how to find the pain.

From a BuzzSumo search for “freelance photography career discussion" I did earlier I found this blog article with about a dozen questions posed in the discussion area as well as this photography career discussion with 168 comments.

These are two great spots find observe and see what this audience actually struggles with.

Going into the first link, I noticed this comment:

"So in a portfolio do you need a resume? Because I thought I read somewhere you needed one.I have just started to do freelance photo's.But I have always enjoyed playing around with a camera. The pictures I have done have gotten good comments."

.as well as:

"I'm checking into a photography class.Hope I find one close by.I also work 40 hours aweek. Thank You Lori"

A few things we learn here about the painful points for this particular person:

  • “So in a portfolio do you need a resume?"
  • “I'm checking into a photography class. Hope I find one close by. I also work 40 hours a week. “

Now we can record these pains in the spreadsheet so they look like this:

(Hint: you can add a space in a Google spreadsheet cell by click Alt + Enter)

Group these up until you have 3-8 groups and we'll be ready for the next lesson.

A note on the curse of knowledge

One thing you might notice as you start reviewing these pains, is you probably don't have to be a supposed “foremost proven PHD Dr expert" to answer these painful problems.

In fact, there are downsides to having a ton of experience as you might find it harder to speak to a beginner due to cognitive bias known as the curse of knowledge.

I mention this because it's one of the most common sticking points for new teaching startups who don't feel qualified. The reality is, they're able to solve the vast majority of painful problems new potential students experience, then you've got a valuable course idea.

Even if the skill or topic set you have now is something you recently learned, you have enough credibility with your own personal transformation to teach someone else.

Being an expert, simply means you have experience.

The words, experience, experiment and expert all derive from the same latin root "experiri" which means “to try, or test" (for more on the curse of expertise, which is really common for new teaching startups, scroll down below).

If someone needs to know how to do a pivot table for their rigorous job, and you just learned how to create them the week before, you're now qualified to teach them – no degree or certification necessary.

As a student, it's likely MORE for me to learn from someone who's recently learned than someone who's been doing it for years – the transformation from not being able to create a pivot table, or creating one is fresh in your mind. This will impact the way you teach it

Some teachers have found success in the process of learning and simply showing off their experiments.

Some of the best teachers we love have found a ton of success in the process of learning and simply showing off their experiments.

For a great example, which of the below four people stand out to you?

That guy of course is Tim Ferriss, who's been running his own experiments in a new TV show, and even goes out to call himself a “human guinea pig".

Before this show of course, Tim is known for writing these three #1 best-selling books in very different categories:

Now, is Tim the world's foremost expert in startups, fitness and diet? Has he founded an Uber startup, or does he have a PhD?

Do you think Tim is an expert on all these topics he lists on his blog?:

Absolutely not, but does that really matter?

The real experts focus on real problems people experience, instead of fussing over details that often aren't as painful for a lot of people. Instead of "trying" to be an expert, Tim is honest about what he knows.

Should one of his experiments not work out? It's simply a learning experience that his audience can avoid having to do.

The most profitable teacher entrepreneurs aren't know-it-alls.

Instead, their mindset is like Tim's of being curious and transparent. You're more, a smart and approachable friend to identify with.

And if there's something you don't know?

You're probably qualified to find the right people who have the answers by finding supplementing with credible sources and original interviews.

Let's go into this in our upcoming lesson as we talk about next as we build our profitable offer.

Complete and Continue