How To Build Your Online Audience

Blog Nov 10, 2020

As an online educator, building an engaged online audience is critical to your success. As you think about your own purchase decisions, when you buy a product or service, it’s usually from a brand you know, like, and trust. Courses, memberships, and bootcamps are no different. While spending on advertising is one way to get your offer in front of your ideal audience, another way is through content marketing.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing strategy where you consistently create relevant and valuable content that attracts your ideal audience and drives sales. Instead of using aggressive sales tactics, share content that captivates your audience and converts them into new leads for your business. Over time those leads become customers.

In this blog post, we are going to focus on the two types of content you can create to build an audience for your online school: long-form content and short-form content.

Short-form Content

Short-form content offers surface-level information, quick tips, and wins. Consider short videos and social media posts (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn). Usually, under 1,000 words or less than 2 minutes to consume, short-form content is straightforward and does not require critical thinking. It should be eye-catching and encourages your audience to stop scrolling. For those who are interested in creating videos, aim to grab viewers’ attention within the first five seconds. Overall, creating bite-sized content is a great way to continuously keep your business top of mind and build brand awareness.

Here are some short-form content ideas to get you started:

  • Create a 1-minute explanatory video sharing a tip or insight.
  • Comment on industry news and trends on LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Share links to your articles or articles from thought leaders in your industry.

Benefits of short-form content

  • A quick and effective way to communicate with your audience.
  • Fewer resources are required to create.
  • Easy to stay consistent.

Cons of short-form content

  • Timely and easy to forget.
  • Less likely to rank in search engines.

Long-form Content

Long-form content is anything that takes more than two minutes to consume and usually is above 1,000 words. These are in-depth and insightful pieces. Since long-form content performs well on search engines, this will help more people find your website or platform organically (without paying ads). It includes detailed blog posts, podcasts, and YouTube videos.

To get started, choose one primary way you will create long-form content. Find a balance between how you prefer to communicate and the type of medium your audience prefers to consume. If you like to write, start a blog. If you prefer to speak or be on camera, create a podcast or YouTube channel or even live stream via Twitch. Each medium will have a learning curve and best practices.

Here are some examples:

  • How-to tutorials
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Webinars
  • eBooks

You can always repurpose your long-form content to create shorter pieces. For example, after a podcast episode, share your favorite quotes on Twitter and Instagram. Refer back to the original podcast episode to drive traffic back to your website.

Benefits of long-form content

  • Search engine optimized.
  • More likely to solve a problem or address pain points that lead to higher conversions and more sales.
  • Evergreen (easy to reference and can stand the test of time).

Cons of long-form content

  • Time and resource-intensive.
  • Longer to create.

Overall, both content types work together to propel your course creation business forward. Each offers a unique opportunity to showcase your expertise, connect with your audience, and make their buying decision easier. However, to know which type of content performs better, experiment to see what resonates. If one does better than the rest, replicate your success by doubling down on it.

If you are ready to build your online school, we are here to help. Give Virtually a try with a 7-day free trial.


Did you know that in addition this blog, Virtually also has a podcast?

Reshaping Education is a podcast all about the future of learning. Guests include CEOs and founders of the most innovative education companies.

Listen to Reshaping Education on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.

Read Next: Tools For Managing Your Online School

Danielle Desir

Danielle Desir is an author and the host of The Thought Card, an affordable travel & personal finance podcast. When she's not writing, you can find her traveling, hiking, and running outdoors.

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