Not that text lessons and articles aren't super valuable, but in the interest of making your online courses (or blog in general) more accessible, delightful, and useful for different learning styles, it’s a good idea to explore the various types of media you can create---easily---and most often without any investment at all other than your time.
Check out the 23 types of media below that you can add to your online course, website, blog, landing pages, and more to create a more valuable and user-friendly experience for your students and audience.
1. Animated videos with voice narration or an epic lesson
A nice change from slides (or from only including video of yourself), animated videos can be a great, clear way to communicate short lessons, to advertise your course, or to help students learn how to use your course dashboard.
2. Recorded presentations---video of your slide deck with narration/lesson audio
I use these a ton in my online courses and programs. Even for lessons that you already have completely written out as text lessons . . . if it's something that looks good as slides, and will offer a different learning experience for your students, why not record a quick presentation? You can use QuickTime for free, or get software such as Camtasia or Screenflow to do this.
3. Live online workshops
One way to build out the modules of your course, or add valuable bonus content to them, is to create live online workshops on your course topic. You can use them as your main course sections by releasing them on a schedule and making them only available to your students, or you can use them as standalone content pieces (either paid or free) to build your email list or to have additional surprise content to offer your students or blog readers.
Even as a super duper introvert, I've now done more live workshops than I can possibly count. They are a wonderful way to get used to teaching, test out content, grow your email list, or build your course. If you're considering doing your first live workshop, check out The 7 Types of Online Workshops You Can Use to Grow Your Brand, or my article on How to Create + Host Online Workshops (or Live Classes) for Free.
4. Online workshops, edited and repackaged (with extra goodies) after the initial recording
This is one of my favorite ways to create NEW value and new content out of something you've already done. You can take one or all of the live workshops you created in #3 above and make them awesome by:
Editing the recording down and taking out unnecessary dialogue, time-specific references that don't apply anymore (ex: "Next week I'll be doing another workshop on X topic."), and any sections you don't feel went well.
Adding in a re-recording of any sections that you want to redo. You can also add in corrected slides (if you noticed an error after it was too late to fix it), or entirely new sections that you think of by simply recording your screen (talked about below) and audio at the same time.
Adding in a workbook to the workshop. Now that you've done the live event, you know exactly what you said, all the points you shared, and you have all the content done . . . why not make an actionable workbook or follow-along notesheets for your workshop? If you were rushing to get a workbook done before the event, you can now go back and make it everything you want to.
Creating a PDF export of your slide deck (if you have one) for people to download and use after the fact to follow along with your workshop.
Getting a transcription of your workshop, or transcribing it yourself, so that you have a text version of everything you said. This is something I've done by hiring someone form Upwork.com. Once you have a transcription, you can provide a more accessible version of your content to people.
Videos of your screen (often called screencasts) allow you to provide software tutorials, or tips/hacks on how to do any type of computer task, and much more. In the example below, I'm talking through a flow chart for a business. Screencasts are one of my favorite types of videos to create and teach because they don't require much tech (plus they don't require you to have your face on screen if that's not really your style) and can be done for free.
Whether you're leaning on an expert for great tips to share with your audience, interviewing people your audience will find interesting, or creating case studies out of the conversations you have with others, videos that feature you and one to two other people can be an amazing form of content---one where you don't have to do all of the work, and one where you get to add more value to your students through the experience and knowledge of others.
Kimra Luna, shown below, is someone who creates regular video content and frequently adds videos as bonuses or resources within her courses.
7. Videos of yourself
When many people think of making videos, they think of the "traditional" course/lesson videos that show a person, talking on screen, for anywhere from a few minutes to an hour or more. And even though there are many other types of videos you can create (as evidenced by this post), videos of yourself can still be some of the most personal, helpful, meaningful type of content you can create.
Your videos can be inspirational messages, quick lessons, course updates, answers to audience questions, and so much more. Plus, they don't have to be difficult to create. I love how Bunny White, shown below, records some of her videos for her mastermind brand with simple tech such as an external webcam and QuickTime software.
8. Tutorial videos
Whereas videos of yourself are traditionally though of as sitting in a well-lit space talking to the camera, you can also create videos of yourself that are tutorials on how to do something, like Joanna Egwuagu's videos (shown below). You can even create tutorials that only show your hands, or that feature someone else, or that are screen recordings instead of recordings of you.
YouTube is often used as a search engine for people who want to learn how to do something (change a tire, install a plugin on their website, use their new camera, do a fishtail in their hair, etc.) so using some of your blog or course videos on YouTube to attract more people to your brand can be an excellent idea. But whether you host them on YouTube, Vimeo, your website, your course site, or all four, tutorial videos can help add to the positive user experience for your audience.
9. Live mobile broadcasts
Live mobile broadcasts are a quick, informal way to add value to your audience or create your online course content. You can use them as Q+As, you can share quick points, updates, and ideas, or you can create whole lessons or interviews/collaborations with them. Several live mobile video apps such as Twitter Live (Periscope---shown below), Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and more, allow you to provide this form of course content for free.
10. Live mobile broadcasts, repackaged and repurposed after the initial recording
One of my favorite things to do is edit former Periscope broadcasts (I like to cut out some of the unnecessary banter or distractions) and add additional downloads, infographics, or content to them, then use them on YouTube, on landing pages, or in various resources and courses. You can view one of my repurposed Periscope broadcasts right here.
11. Videos that show how to use ______ (your course workbook, course website, etc.)
Video walkthroughs of how to get the most out of a book, site, or feature included in your course can be used to help your current students, but can also cleverly be used on social media, landing pages, or in a blog post to entice people to check out your course.
As an example, I show people how to use Epic Blog (a one-year blog planner and editorial planner) in the video below.
12. Audio lessons (standalone files)
You can either create an audio version of every single lesson or blog post (something I’m working on doing now), or create certain lessons or bonus resources as downloadable or streamable audio files. Creating audio allows you to switch up the format for people who want to or need to learn through listening to a lesson as opposed to reading or watching a lesson. Making your work more accessible is one of the most awesome things you can do for your community.
13. Audio interviews
All the same principles and ideas from point #6 above apply to audio interviews. You can host interviews with expert tips, case studies, or lessons that you co-create with another person in an interview-style format. Check out some of Jen Carrington’s interviews with other creatives as an example.
14. Audio Q+A files
You can set up a place within your course (or on your website) that allows students to ask questions that you respond to with short audio files, text, or even a new course lesson. Responding via audio allows you to create answers quickly, informally, and accessibly for many of your students. Getting real answers from you will add incredible value to the experience of your course.
15. Slide presentations (standalone slides that don’t require additional voice or video)
Using a service such as Slideshare.net, you can upload your slides (including text, infographics, charts, and more) for people to flip through and learn from. For lessons and challenges that are really information-based, or even ones that have some information but are really communicating steps or actions to take, allowing your students to thumb through your slides at their own pace can be a great learning format.
In Visual Arsenal (currently only available to members of SERVE Academy), I go into epic detail (with multiple tutorials) on how to create beautiful slides with various tools. Attractive, easy-to-follow slides have made a huge difference for my brand during workshops, in courses, and for various public speaking engagements.
16. Slide files as a PDF download
We often include our slidedeck as a PDF download within the course dashboard, so that people can follow along with them while watching the workshop, or use them as a way to jog their memory without having to re-watch a whole 4-hour training.
17. Masterclass-style slides
Masterclasses are like online workshops except they traditionally include students/viewers/participants doing work during the event and thus leaving with some tangible, real progress. So, if you develop masterclass-style slides, you might create “work breaks” within the slides that prompt certain actions, or you may even create blank slides or space on the slides for students to write their ideas, answers, or notes digitally or by printing the slides out.
18. Transcribed text of anything that includes audio
For people who won’t be able to hear your content, and for people who prefer to be able to read your words and take their time with your content, consider getting a transcription made of any/all of your content. This can make your course more attractive to people, and will also make it actually usable to many people it wouldn’t have otherwise been accessible to.
19. Course manuals, books, or book-like documents
For those extremely long lessons or blog posts, why not use a tool like beacon.by to create an eBook out of your content? It’s something downloadable, it puts all the info together in one neatly-packaged place, and it increases the value of your resource in your audience’s mind.
One popular thing that I’ve been developing lately is course manuals. A book that a student will use for the entire course. It helps students keep track of where they are in the course and not have to print off 1.5 million different documents.
20. Worksheets or notesheets
These popular adult homework facilitators can also be a really key part of how you promote your course or materials. Worksheets and notesheets make great mockups (like the example one below from one of my courses), but they are also an effective way to help students or audience members take action on the information you are giving them.
21. Style guides
Whether your course is about redesigning a home and you choose to create a template that your students can fill out with color preferences, lighting choices, and more . . . or you’re like me and want to give your students a way to keep all their course materials consistent, creating a sample style guide (as a document, an editable image, etc.) can be simply amazing for your people. My example is the bottom right image—it’s a course style guide made with Google Sheets.
22. Document templates
Another helpful type of media you can provide to your students or audience is a document template relevant to a goal they have. The image above includes my blog business plan template and a lesson planning template.
23. Plug-in-and-go files/templates
One other type of resource or multimedia goodness you can develop for your students or audience are plug-in-your-own-stuff-here files. Like graphics where people can add their own information, or patterns, or a brand video “formula” where people can supply their own content in the order/way you specify for an amazing finished product.
Which of the 23 media types above can you see yourself providing for your students or for your audience? Is there one you can pick that you can get done in the next 7 days?
Oh, and for an in-depth free email course on how to build your email list with people who will actually buy from you, click here.