If you’re thinking of buying an online course, you may be wondering about the costs involved in creating the programme.
With that in mind, here’s a rundown of the costs involved with running the BETA or trial version of my online course Soulful PR for Starters.
You will also find this blog post useful if you’re thinking about creating your own online course.
About Soulful PR for Starters
Soulful PR for Starters is an eight week online course for small business owners who want to learn how to get coverage in newspapers, magazines and on radio and TV.
Last year, I ran a BETA version of the course for £195+VAT so I could run the materials through and gather feedback and testimonials. Around 80 students signed up for the programme in response to a light-touch email marketing campaign.
When the course launches again in February 2018 it will be priced at £295+VAT. I am also trialling a VIP option for those who want 1-2-1 support and accountability which will cost £995 (+VAT).
The course consists of six core modules (video lessons of 30 minutes or less) and four ‘bonus’ modules. I’ve also created a number of cheat sheets and templates for writing email pitches, press releases and even pitching journalists over the phone.
I also generally hold two live group coaching calls (at the beginning and end of the course). Students also get access to a free Facebook group where they can chat with others working through the course.
Session 1: Setting your intentions
Session 2: Connecting with journalists who are already looking for help with stories
Session 3: Developing story ideas for journalists
Session 4: Pitching to journalists (including press release writing)
Session 5: Dealing with journalists (including finding their contact details)
Session 6: Maximising your press coverage (how to make each story go further)
- Traditional PR for social media managers and marketers
- Newsjacking (using topical news stories to get media coverage)
- 3 x video interviews with editors from Marie Claire, Grazia magazine and the Huffington Post - in which they share their tips on how to get featured in their publications
- Influencer marketing (an introduction)
Where do you host an online course?
I use the free version of Memberpress to host the learning materials in a password protected area on my website. There are dozens of alternatives including Wishlist Member, Paid Membership Pro and MemberMouse.
Some online course creators host their programmes online learning platforms like Teachable, Thinkific or Kajabi. These can be great as the course outline is all set up for you - you just need to upload your own content and adapt to suit your students. You do have to pay a transaction fee of around 5% per students or a monthly membership fee (which will generally be reflected in the cost of the course).
How much time does it take to create an online course?
On average it took 2-3 hours to create the content for each module of Soulful PR for Starters although do bear in mind I’ve been creating educational content for years, so am quicker than most. For most of the bonus modules, I was able to repurpose existing content from live events and/or my membership. That's not to say this content was 'free'; not only did I have to cover the costs of the events itself (find out how much it costs to host a live event here), I also hired a videographer to shoot the event and edit the content into bitesize lessons I could use for other purposes.
I also created a physical workbook for the course, which was posted out to students.
How to measure the cost of an online course
When it comes to online courses I like to split my costs into measurable and lifetime costs.
Measurable costs include the tools and resources needed to create and promote the course.
Lifetime costs are more difficult to measure and include things like: education, experience and authority (i.e. do you know a little about the the subject of your course or are you THE go-to person?)
Both need to be considered when it comes to setting your prices.
Measurable costs for Soulful PR for Starters
These are approximate costs but should give you an idea of what's involved.
- Screenflow (screen recording software for Mac to record online lessons) £100
- Zoom (video conferencing software for live calls) £30
- Infusionsoft email marketing software £600
- Email marketing assistance £300 (e.g. setting up an automated email marketing campaign)
- Course admin £300 (e.g. setting up automated delivery emails for student registration and course content, student support, troubleshooting)
- Design £400 (e.g. course logo and branding, social media images etc)
- Workbook design £300
- Print, postage and associated costs £400
- Paypal/Stripe fees £200
It’s worth bearing in mind that some of your costs may be shared with other products/services you sell in your business. For example, I use Zoom, Infusionsoft and Screenflow in all of the products/services I sell in my business.
Infusionsoft email marketing software is more sophisticated (and therefore more expensive) than other options like Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign and AWeber, which cater for business owners with smaller email lists than mine.
As this was a 'soft launch' I chose not to invest in Facebook advertising for this particular campaign but some of the students came from advertising I'd done in the past. Given that most online campaigns convert at 1-2%, if I'd wanted to double my intake, based on previous spend, I'd have been looking at an advertising spend of around £5665.
You do also need to factor in your time into your costings. I charge £400 + VAT for a one hour consultation, but when you're creating a course, you need to take into account that you're creating evergreen content that could potentially serve hundreds - if not thousands - of students for years to come.
Lifetime costs for Soulful PR for Starters
When it comes to pricing your online course, I believe you need to take your lifetime costs into account.
To put this into context, the only reason I could create Soulful PR for Starters was because I’ve spent 17 years writing and editing for national newspapers and magazines. Without that experience I wouldn’t be able to give advice on topics like how to write a press release, how to write an email pitch and how to find journalists’ contact details - and answer specific questions my students ask about getting press coverage.
I also have a teaching qualification and experience working in schools and several UK universities. This means I understand how people learn (including specific learning styles), how to explain difficult concepts in an accessible way plus how to put together engaging learning materials.
And as a blogger, podcast author of a book on how to get press coverage and a speaker on the topic, with a large online following, I also have authority.
Let’s me break that down for you:
- 2:1 degree in English
- Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism
- Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)
- Four years teaching in UK Schools
- Five years lecturing in journalism at UK universities (including London, Kent & Oxford)
- Founder of two membership sites: the Soulful PR Studio and Media Diary Owners’ Club
- Host of 30 + live events
- Author of a successful book about PR
- Host of the Soulful PR podcast and author of hundreds of blog posts on the topic
- Media pundit who has been featured in dozens of publications and programmes
- Speaker on international stages like the Youpreneur Summit and CMA Live
- Podcast guest: including high-profile shows like Entrepreneur on Fire and Youpreneur.fm
While it’s difficult to put a price on education, experience and authority it’s certainly something that should be considered when setting your prices. The more time and/or money you've invested in your training/development and the more relevant experience you have the, the more you can charge.
I hope that helps explain the cost of my online PR programme Soulful PR for Starters.
To find out more about Soulful PR Starters and/or get on the waitlist, click here.