I love cooking courses and if you want to provide massive value to your Fans, then you should definitely explore them as well.
I go into a ton of detail about how to create an amazing cooking course, but in this article I wanted to share with you more details about the ways you can actually DELIVER these courses to your Fans.
Cooking courses can be delivered in a few different ways.
The easiest way to deliver a course is via email. It will usually consist of 5 to 15 emails, and contain a mix of writing, photography, and often videos.
The simpliest way to set this up is to use what is called an "auto-responder series". Once the reader signs up, they receive an email with the latest 1 or 2 lessons every few days. Most of our recommended email programs for bloggers have this built into them. So you can probably use the same company you host your general mailing list.
We have done 2 email courses, a shorter 9 email "Sous Vide Quick Start" course and a huge 20 email, 35 lesson "Exploring Sous Vide" course that we also turned into a sous vide cookbook and a separate video course.
We actually opted for these to be free courses that we use as lead magnets to get new readers comfortable with our site, and hopefully to buy a larger course later. But you could easily charge $5, $10, or $25 depending on how thorough your course is.
Because my course was free, I hosted the actual articles from the course on my website.
They were accessible to anyone since it was a free course, and some of them have also become very popular in Google now, leading to more new readers and signups for the course. If it is a paid course, you can provide the emails directly in the email, or on a hidden section of your website.
During the first year of running the Exploring Sous Vide course, we had over 10,000 people sign up, 8,000 of which received all 20 emails. Our open rate started at 71% and slowly decreased to 43% on the final email.
This means that almost half of the people still opened the final email and were actively listening to me once a week for more than 3 months. The course established my authority in sous vide and converted strangers into Fans.
While I personally prefer to read, it's an undeniable fact that video is taking over the world. From entertainment to learning, people are turning to YouTube and individual sites like MasterClass and Udemy. Trying to capitalize on this market can be a great way to expand your revenue, especially if you are familiar with creating videos.
Your videos can be of any style and quality, and while adding on a microphone or using a high-quality camera is ideal, many people are successful filming directly on their cell phones at minimal cost.
Setting aside the difficulty of creating the content, making the course itself is relatively easy. There are several platforms available now that handle the registration, money collection, and assembling of the course pages themselves. Many are free to use and only charge when you start to get users. This makes it easy to offer classes sold at any price point, or even to do free courses.
We are using Teachable for our courses since it meets our needs the best, but there are several other options out there.
We just started attacking this market last year by releasing 2 courses. They are Sous Vide Thanksgiving Dinner and Sous Vide Made Easy (want to see the course content itself? Just let me know and I'll get you free access). We are still getting into the swing of things of how to best promote these courses, but the Thanksgiving course launched with $1,000 in sales, and the Sous Vide Made Easy with $2,600, and is still bringing in $250-$500 a month.
And you can actually use many of the platforms to create text based courses as well. So if you don't make videos but want something more robust than an email course, you can easily use Teachable to create a text-based course as well.
If you already know how to create food videos, then a video driven cooking course is an incredible way to get in front of your Fans and SHOW them how to succeed in their kitchens.
I know this may be heresy to us food bloggers who live on the internet all day, but you can always get out there in the real world!
There are lots of opportunities to teach classes in the community. Often there are community colleges, adult education, culinary centers or institutes, or sometimes YMCAs or local community centers. And many people also teach small classes in their own homes.
This is even something you can do for free. If you know another blogger or two in your area, and a few friends that like to cook, you can use this as an excuse to get together once a month and teach each other about your favorite style of cooking. It can be an amazing social outlet.
Also in this category would be creating seminars or conferences where you bring in other speakers to help present content.
I'm actually involved in hosting a big sous vide conference in July with many of the biggest names in the industry. It's a fantastic way to make connections, meet other content producers, and really grow your brand in your niche.
That said, it's a TON of work for a full conference, and I don't recommend it unless you have a partner with conference planning experience like I do, to handle most of the load.
But you could definitely do a one day, or even half day, conference much more easily. If there a few other local bloggers or chefs in your niche, you can bring them in for an afternoon of presentations that you can market to people in your area. Rent a small space and sell 20 or 30 tickets to it. It's an easy way not only to make some money, but also expand your professional network.
If you don't live in an area with other bloggers or many home cooks, you can even expand this online. Connect with some of the bloggers in your niche, record a series of presentations from each one, package them together and sell them to your combined Fans.
Regardless of how you actually deliver them, cooking courses provide massive value to your fans. It's a great way to package content that will certainly resonate with your Fans, in a format that they are looking for.
Cooking courses also have the benefit of relying heavily on the same skills that blogging does, making them a great option for any experienced blogger.
What type of cooking course are you interested in creating? Let me know in the comments below.