I believe cooking courses are one of the most effective ways you can provide massive value to your Fans.
As you blog more and more, you will become an expert at teaching people how to successfully do the type of cooking you write about. Once you get to this point, it can be really smart to start looking at creating cooking courses. These courses are a great way to repackage your content in a new form that your Fans will love.
As food bloggers, we usually are creating content like recipes and how-to guides, so what actually makes a cooking course different?
In my mind, they take a discrete subject or problem the readers have, and then teaches them how to solve it.
So you take readers that don't know how to bake pound cakes but want to. They go through your course and now they know how to bake pound cakes.
It can be a basic topic like "How to Start Sous Viding" or "How to make tofu" to a more complex and nuanced subject like "How to regulate airflow in your smoker to maintain the correct temperature".
A few other examples of course that could be effective:
The easy answer is "As long as it needs to be". I know that's not super helpful, but it's true!
If it takes 40 lessons to teach someone how to accomplish the goal of the course, then that's the right length. If it only takes 4 lessons, then that'll be perfect.
You probably can't charge the same for 4 lessons as you can for 40, but if you try to add in a bunch of fluff to make it longer your Fans will notice and won't be happy. It's better to have a concise, short course than a long, padded one.
The content of your cooking course can be any combination of written text, photos, and videos. It really depends on how detailed you want to get, what you are hoping to charge for it, and how much "seeing" really helps your Fans out.
We currently have 4 courses:
If you are trying to build a rapport with your reader or show them something complicated, then videos are often the way to go.
There are several ways to deliver your cooking course. The methods we recommend the most are through email or through a structured course program.
For email courses, most email newsletter programs will also have something called an "autoresponder" built in. This means when someone signs up they will receive an email every 1 to 7 days that will move them forward in the course. We use that for our two free text-based courses. Though you could also charge for these type of courses as well.
For more structured courses, we really like to use Teachable (they also have a great free training seminar). We use that for our paid video courses and they collect the money, manage the users, and display the videos to the readers. They make it a snap to set up and run the whole course. They can also be used for free courses, or text-based courses.
Charging for courses is what usually comes to mind first, and that's a great way to make money, but free courses can also be a great way to build trust and authority with your readers.
We have put out several free courses that we use as lead magnets to get people to sign up for our mailing list and we have had really great results with them. We usually have around 70% to 80% of people open the first email, and 40% to 60% of people open up the final email. This means that new readers were eager to hear what I had to say for several weeks, or even months.
They can be a great way to turn strangers into Fans.
It really depends on your niche, the subject of your course, and what your goals are for it.
If it's a 4 lesson email course on a topic that is often covered online, then maybe $5 is right.
If it's a 30 lesson video course on a subject that will help professional chefs cut their waste costs by 30%, then maybe you can charge $5,000 since they will make it up in a month or two.
We have 4 courses available. Two email courses, both of which are free, and 2 video courses. We charge $50 for our two video courses, Sous Vide Made Easy and Sous Vide Thanksgiving Dinner, though we try to sell them to new readers at a discount, usually around $20 to $30.
If you feel like there is a discrete problem many of your readers have, and you have the knowledge to solve it, then I believe that a cooking course is a great way to provide value to them.
As I mentioned, they are also a great way to turn new readers, or even existing readers, into Fans.
Cooking courses have been a great way for me to expand my brand, as well as grow my income, and I think they can also work awesomely for you!