5 Tips To Start Your Online Educational Platform & Build A Community
*This blog post is in partnership with Masaion IT Solutions which has been my website’s hosting provider since I started creating my online educational platform.
Ever since I started becoming serious as a content creator years ago, I’ve always had this intense desire to start something I will be proud of. That something is a platform where I can grow my own community and nurture it. I remember thinking, “I should have my own online space that I will start from scratch and where I turn complete strangers into community members.”
I just did not know how to start. I’ve had so many blogs before but they were really more of a personal online repository of my feelings and emotions. I’ve gained an audience from my family, friends, and a few strangers here and there who also became my online friends.
BUT THAT WAS IT. I did not really know how to go from there, until one night when my personal search brought me to Yaro’s blog. It was an epiphany – and the rest is history.
Fast forward to today, I already have my own educational platform where I teach people how to get hired and thrive in their career and work environment in the BPO industry. If you also want to start your own online platform and build a community around it, here’s how.
1. Know your WHY – your purpose.
Even when you tell people that you want to start something for no apparent reason, deep inside you, you know for sure that you have a reason. Otherwise, why will you waste your time creating something and nurturing it? Of course, there is a reason.
The only question now is – WHAT IS YOUR REASON OR PURPOSE? Your purpose is your foundation. It is what you will go back to again and again when the going gets tough and you feel like quitting. Your purpose is what will anchor you to a more stable place when you get confused about why you are starting your platform in the first place.
In my case, I wanted to take advantage of the expertise I acquired in the corporate world and use it to provide value online. My main purpose is to help people get a job in the BPO industry, then help them learn how to enjoy their job, and thrive in the workplace so that their job eventually becomes their career.
My second purpose is to build a business around the content I create. No, you don’t have to hide the fact that you want to earn extra income or even full-time income from your content. In fact, it’s a good thing to have a business strategy if you are indeed thinking of building a business around your platform. IT SHOULD NOT BE the sole purpose though.
This is also why I started Trainer Creative. It’s a website for my business that revolves around creating educational content online and training people. (Update: The Trainer Creative website is no longer up since I started Create Video Now but I’m still using Masaion for hosting this website).
You will better understand all of these soon when you’re already deeply engrossed in your platform. Helping people get from their current situation to their desired situation is one of the best things that you can do for humanity.
2. Decide on your ACTUAL online platform.
I’ve been blogging for over 10 years so it’s no surprise that I used a blog to start my own educational platform. No matter what you want to teach, a blog is one of the best (and still is) platforms to house your articles and other teaching materials.
If you’re just starting with blogging or have been doing so for quite some time now but don’t like the tech side of doing it all, you don’t have to worry. I’ve been using the services of Masaion IT Solutions ever since I started creating my own online platform.
My first website which was Call Center Ninja was hosted by Masaion and I never had a single issue with them. I was worried about all the tech headaches I might encounter but I didn’t have any because their customer support was superb, and still is until now.
For my Trainer Creative website (now defunct), I decided to get the PRO PLAN since I’m already planning to grow my business. It is packed with several helpful features and comes at a reasonable pricing. At Php 2,400 every year, you already have a beautifully-designed website with all the things you need to kickstart your own online platform!
These are what you get from Masaion’s PRO PLAN:
- Hosted and Ready-To-Use WordPress Website
- Free .com Domain Registration/Renewal
- 8GB Media Storage
- Ready-To-Use Website Designs
- Fully Customizable Design Using Drag-And-Drop Page Builder
- Email Subscription
- Website Analytics
- Social Media Integration
- Website Security
- 1 Email Address (i.e. Send/Receive email inside Gmail using your own custom email address like [email protected])
- Email and Chat Support
Full details and website designs can be viewed here: masaionsites.com
The PRO PLAN already has excellent website designs but if you want to have a customized website design, Masaion can also do it for you. I had my website customized to the look and feel that I liked, and again, I did not have any problems at all. Everything was done well and when I needed to tweak something, they’re ready to assist.
Aside from my website, I also found YouTube to be a whole new world for me. I started my channel last January 2018 and my community has grown immensely. Since then, I was given opportunities I never knew were possible.
As a forever blogger, creating videos was an entirely alien thing but it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done for my career. If you are already maintaining a blog or a website and you want to grow your community more, I highly recommend repurposing your blog content to YouTube videos or vice versa.
In my case, I used my blog posts as talking points or video scripts when I was just starting to create YouTube videos. Eventually, I’d write content specifically for YouTube then repurpose them into blog posts. Win-win!
3. Choose a niche.
If there’s one thing that’s changed my life in terms of building an audience, it is definitely choosing my niche. For the longest time when I was blogging, I would always say, “it’s okay, I can blog about anything I like” so I refused to choose a niche.
But when I realized the importance of being a “specialist”, that’s when it hit me. When you’re just trying to create content for everyone, you don’t really know who you are reaching. In turn, you’re only going to guess what types of content you are going to make or teach.
But if you have a specialty, you know exactly who to create for. It’s going to be easier to reach the audience you want to teach! Eventually, it’s easier to build a community of people who have the same interests and share a common goal.
If you want to teach college algebra, for example, then obviously your target audience is college students. You will know how to adjust your tone and your teaching style based on the audience you want to reach.
If you want to teach people about sustainable tourism, then you know exactly that you want to reach travelers and tourists. You wouldn’t bother reaching those who are not interested in your field of work because then, it would just be a waste of time.
Once I had finalized my niche, it was a game-changer. I achieved a more focused vision and it helped a lot with creating my content strategy. In terms of business, it has also become easier for clients to reach out to me because they know exactly what I am offering.
4. Have a plan and a strategy.
If you’re just creating a platform for fun, I’d understand if you don’t have a plan. Maybe you just want to post educational content here and there and whenever you can. I have to say though that it’s not the best way to grow your community. In fact, it’s probably the worst.
If you want to grow your blog, channel, or online platform, you need a long-term plan and a content strategy.
When I started my platform, I did not just start it impulsively. I had an idea but I didn’t create a website or channel right away. I researched and planned what I wanted to do. I wrote several content ideas and crafted my content strategy.
Aside from that, I also planned where I’m going to get the TIME to do all this content with my back to back freelance gigs and a full-time job, plus mothering and homemaking to top it all off. Assess your current situation and PLAN ahead.
I thought of my vision and long-term goals and what I want to achieve. Yes, things may change. Nothing is set in stone. But as Benjamin Franklin said, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Did you know that when I started my platform, I called it Call Center Ninja? From that point, I already planned to change it to my name once I gain traction and get known for what I teach. Call Center Ninja is easily searchable because of the words “call center”. Since I was just starting, I thought that no one would search for my name.
True enough, I gained traction with Call Center Ninja. My channel and platforms grew and I was able to build my authority and credibility in my field. People got to know me as the Call Center Ninja. Eventually, I got confident to represent my brand using my name so I changed it to Rea Ninja.
Even with the channel name change, my community grew consistently. Eventually, I started working with companies to create employee training videos and help them improve their current training programs.
See, it was all a part of my plan and strategy.
And the business side of it all? It wasn’t a coincidence either. It was part of the plan. I already knew I was going to build a business but NOT before providing immense value and free content to my viewers and audience.
Until now, I still create free YouTube videos for my audience and that will never change. I’m starting to grow my business but the core of my vision is still intact.
Just because I have a plan doesn’t mean I’m not changing my strategy. I still do until now. In fact, it’s a good thing to change and improve whenever needed because that’s the only way for you to move forward and not get stuck.
So whatever it is that you want to achieve, have some kind of a plan that will guide you in your journey of creating.
5. Be consistent and always think of the VALUE you can provide.
Starting your own educational platform whether it’s in a blog form or video form is not an easy game. Obviously, part of the reason you want to start is to share. Otherwise, who will benefit from what you teach if you don’t have an audience to share it with, right?
If you plan to build your platform, plan to be consistent too. If you plan to create content once a week, then be there for your readers or viewers once a week. SHOW UP FOR THEM.
The whole point of having an educational platform is to provide VALUE to your audience consistently. It is not a platform just for you to keep. This is a world where you put your target audience in the front and center of what you do because you want to help them.
Once a week is the best balance to start. Try once a month and your audience will not even remember who you are. If you think once a week is not doable, then that only means that you haven’t been planning more intentionally and taking action consistently.
Push yourself because no one else will. If you feel like it’s NOT going anywhere, then it’s time to go back to your WHY and your PURPOSE. Maybe you also need to reevaluate your plan and strategy.
As they say, starting is the hardest part. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier and more enjoyable to move forward.
Ready to start? 🙂 Email me: [email protected] and let’s talk.