How to Find the Right Niche and Topic for Your New Online Course6 minute read
Content Marketers at Nichehacks generated a list of profitable niches from keyword research.
They found 2,531+ niches.
We know this might not be very reassuring to you, considering that - if you are reading this article - you’re probably looking for the right topic for your online course.
BUT, the process explained below might make it easier for you to find the perfect niche, so you don’t have to read through all the 2,531 of them.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of finding the best topic and niche for your online course.
What is a Niche, and Why is it Important to Choose One?
A niche is a specialized segment of the market for a particular product, or in the case of online education, a particular topic.
The niche you choose will define the type of content to produce and the type of students to target.
For example, there are numerous segments or niches within the “fitness and exercise” market. “Weight-loss exercises” is a possible niche, and if we narrow it down even further, “Weight-loss exercises for people over 60” is another niche market, and so on.
Targeting the right niche for your online course has several benefits: first of all, a well-narrowed market is likely to have a lower barrier to entry, which means that it is easy to enter, as the competition is low.
Since the competition is low, you’ll be able to acquire increased visibility in your niche with relatively little effort. Being easily accessible to your target customers will lead to more sales and improve your online presence.
Niche markets are also more word-of-mouth-friendly. Because you are offering a solution to a specific need, people who find your course helpful will most likely talk to others in the same position, making it easier for you to leverage word-of-mouth marketing.
Serving a small market will also allow you to create relationships with your students, engage with them and personalize your content according to their interests. This will help you build authority around your topic and improve your online image by collecting positive reviews.
Finally, in terms of marketing, having a precise and specialized audience makes it easier to target the right people and increase your conversion rate.
So let’s sum up the benefits of choosing a specialized niche market for your online course:
- Low entry barrier, low competition
- Improve your online presence and authority
- Leverage word-of-mouth marketing
- Create strong relationships with your students
- Easier marketing
Choosing a niche is a critical initial step that will set the tone for your whole online course, and if you do this right, you’ll be able to tap into a market with low competition and high rewards.
“While broad and general courses can absolutely work, niching down can help you build a course that provides people with real value. When you go deeper, people feel you’re speaking directly to them. And in a lot of ways, you are.”Joseph Michael, in an interview with Forbes
We have created a list of 40 Ideas for Profitable Online Courses, to help you find inspiration for your new online course. You can download it for free here:
How to Find the Perfect Niche & Topic for your Course
Now that you’ve learned about the benefits of choosing a specialized niche for your online course let’s see what you need to consider to find the perfect topic.
1. Think about your knowledge and passions
Are you an expert in a particular topic? What are you passionate about? Do you have experience in a specific field?
If you are an expert in or passionate about a certain topic, you may already have an audience base or some ready-to-use material to take inspiration from.
Besides, it will be much easier to start building content for your course if you know what you are talking about and have some experience in the field.
That said, don’t worry too much about your level of knowledge in the topic you choose. If you are not an expert, that’s ok too.
As long as you can teach something of value to your student, you shouldn’t worry too much about being the absolute best in your field.
2. Identify your buyer persona and what they need
The “buyer persona” refers to the profile of the audience or user-type you wish to target.
Who are your customers? What do they like? What are their problems? What can you do for them? Where do they hang out online? What are their demographics?
Once you’ve figured out which topic to focus on, think about the primary needs or issues that customers in your specific niche might be experiencing.
For instance, let’s say that you decide to create a course about “running” because you are passionate about it. Think about the biggest “pain points” for someone who is starting to run. They might want to improve endurance, run faster or longer, train for an event, solve runners’ injuries, and so on.
Think about what your potential students need and want, even if they might not be aware of it just yet. Once you have mapped out a comprehensive “buyer persona,” you’ll have a clearer idea about what your course should look like.
3. Focus on the results
Thinking about your clients’ needs and desires and focusing on your online course’s end-goal will make your course more appealing to a potential buyer.
When you explain to your customers what they will learn from your course and what results they will achieve upon completion, you are setting a competitive advantage in your favor.
People are more likely to invest their money in something that guarantees them a specific outcome and solves a particular problem for them.
Let’s go back to the example of before. You have decided to tap into the “running” market, and you’ve mapped out a buyer persona with its pain points.
Now it’s time to offer a solution to your potential customers’ problems and set up a result to achieve. At the end of this process, you should be able to develop a course idea and have a title in mind. In this case, it might be “Run Your First Marathon After 30-Days”.
This is a good example because it targets a relatively small niche (beginners marathon runners) and promises a specific result (learn to run a marathon in 30 days).
Do You Need to Be an Expert in Your Topic to Start an Online Course?
Many creators fall into the trap of thinking, “I am not knowledgeable enough to teach others” or “I am not an absolute expert in my topic.”
You may be experiencing these feelings because you are “only self-thought,” or maybe you don’t have enough qualifications to teach your chosen topic.
These feelings may lead to what it’s called “impostor syndrome,” a psychological pattern where a person doubts their skills, and fears being exposed as a “fraud.”
Impostor syndrome is extremely common among online course creators and entrepreneurs in general.
However - most of the time - these feelings turn out to be unjustified: being self-taught doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot teach something of value to your students.
Learn more about this in this article from our blog: “How to See the Value in What You Have to Teach and the Fable of “I’m Only Self Taught”.
There are other qualities that make a good teacher: the ability to communicate value, to follow up with your students, to help them overcome their difficulties, and so on.
Furthermore, as a general rule, you only need to be a single step ahead of your students in order to teach them something new. If you are too much ahead of your students in terms of what you know, it might be harder for you to relate to them and help them achieve their goals.
While if you are only one or two steps ahead of your students, you’ll be able to efficiently guide them through the learning process since you’ll better remember the common mistakes and pitfalls of that stage, which you also experienced on your own skin not too long ago.
“A lot of people [...] say they’re not an expert or that nobody wants to hear from them. They spend so much time wondering whether they’ll fail that they never work up the guts to follow their dream. The key to success is to start taking action right where you are with what you have.”Joseph Michael, in an interview with Forbes
To Sum Up
Choosing your niche is one of the most important steps of building your online course. A niche will define your content and set a direction for your course.
Picking a selected niche market will make it easier to stand out from the crowd, gain authority, improve your online presence and create strong relationships with your students.
To find the perfect topic for your course, think about your knowledge and passions. Once you’ve chosen a market, try to identify the profile of your buyer persona and come up with a goal, a result that your students will achieve thanks to your course.
And remember, you don’t need to be the most knowledgeable expert on the planet to start your online course. As long as you are one step ahead of your students and you can communicate value to them, your course will be a success.
If you need more inspiration, download our FREE list of 40 Ideas for Profitable Online Courses.