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How To Make Money Travel Blogging With Online Courses [Ep. 31]

Want to learn how to make money travel blogging in a way that truly brings in a sustainable income?

Well, you’re in luck, as in this episode we’ll be talking about how to monetize your blog by creating an online course!

In fact, by the end of this episode, you’ll understand:

  • Why creating an online course is the perfect way to increase your travel blogging income
  • How to come up with a profitable course topic (hint: it doesn’t have to be business-related!)
  • Ways to ensure your course actually sells to grow your travel blogger salary
  • Strategies for continuing to increase profits beyond your first course launch
  • And more!

On that note, let’s dive into the episode.

Disclosure: This episode + post contains affiliate links to trusted partners I think you’ll love!

How To Make Money Travel Blogging With Online Courses [Podcast Episode Audio]

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Monetize Your Travel Blog With An Online Course [Video]

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You can grab my step-by-step strategy for successfully creating and launching an online course as a travel blogger above!

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Free Travel Blogger Resource Library

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Make Money Blogging With These Helpful Tools (Mentioned In The Episode)

Teachable. This is my favorite platform for creating profitable online courses. Their support is fantastic, too.

ConvertKit. A feature-rich yet user-friendly email marketing platform made by bloggers for bloggers. My affiliate link gets you a 30-day free trial — no credit card required!

How To Make Money Travel Blogging With Online Courses

How To Become A Paid Blogger By Creating An Online Course [Episode Transcript]

One of the best ways to grow your blog and have control over your blogging income is to create and sell your own products.

And, in my opinion, one of the smartest products you can create is an online course. If you’re curious how to become a full-time blogger, this strategy can really help. Here’s why:

First of all, the online learning industry is growing rapidly.

According to Forbes, the online learning sector is set to be worth $350 Billion by 2025 — and that projection may soon go up due to the pandemic and more people turning to their laptops to gain new skills.

Additionally, online courses make so much sense for bloggers.

I mean, you’re already sharing knowledge about a topic with your audience and helping them in some way. So, why not package up what you know into an online course that further helps them and increases your travel blogger salary?

Can you really make money blogging with courses?

Now, I want to make it abundantly clear that this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Please don’t start a travel blog and think creating a course to sell through it will be quick and easy.

Creating a course takes work, but it can be rewarding, especially as it can help you truly have a successful travel blog.

And when combined with other monetization strategies like affiliate marketing, publishing quality sponsored posts, writing about travel for outside publications, and running ads on your content — all smart ways to make money travel blogging — you can really make yourself a contender to be one of the top earning travel blogs.

On that note, let’s dive deep into how to make money as a travel blogger by creating a profitable online course — which I think is one of the best digital product ideas to sell online!

Step #1: Choose your profitable course topic

The first step to creating an online course is to come up with the idea. One great way to start this process is to consider how you’re already helping people and who exactly this audience is.

This will be the starting point for coming up with your course topic.

Digging deeper into this, what are people asking you?

Personally, every course I’ve ever created came from listening to what my audience was literally asking me. I highly recommend keeping a spreadsheet of all of the questions, comments, and DMs you receive to really hone in on what people want from you.

For instance, one of my best-selling travel blogging courses is on landing paid press trips. This idea wasn’t something I dreamed up. It was a topic I was consistently asked about by my community.

If you need some additional help with ideas, consider digging into the analytics of your blog posts, social channels, and email marketing to see what topics are resonating most with your audience.

You might also browse niche groups and forums where your audience hangs out to get a sense of where people need help the most.

Finally, see what courses are already doing well in your niche to get inspiration. While I’m not suggesting you outright copy someone else’s course, doing research can give a sense of what is already working.

A quick note on choosing a course topic:

Your course does not need to be business-related to be profitable.

In fact, I’ve seen travel bloggers make money with courses on topics like travel journaling, mastering Airbnb, language learning, smart packing, solo female travel, outfitting an RV, travel hacking, traveling full time with a family, and more!

Step #2: Focus your course curriculum on transformation

Okay, so you’re thinking about what you want to create a course about. The thing is, simply telling people they’ll learn about a topic isn’t typically enticing enough to make your course wildly profitable.

To do this, you need to make it clear what the transformation will be.

Let’s look at the example of a course on Airbnb hosting. “Make A Full-Time Income With Airbnb” is a lot more transformational than “Tips For Being An Airbnb Host.”

To take this a step further, you might consider adding a timeframe to really help people picture how their life will change for the better from your course.

Using the Airbnb example, this could be something like “Make A Full-Time Income With Airbnb In 3 Months Or Less.”

As you’re exploring this, really think about the benefits your course can deliver, as well as the emotions tied to those benefits.

If you’re helping people make a full-time income with Airbnb, this might mean touching on things like financial freedom, the ability to work from home, and having more time to spend time with family in your sales copy.

Step #3: Break up the course journey for better results

To do this, I recommend starting with the transformation you’d like to deliver and then outlining the milestones that need to be reached to achieve the transformation.

Each milestone can be a different module in the course curriculum.

For instance, if the transformation you want to deliver is helping people travel full time in an RV, some milestones might be selling all of your stuff, choosing a vehicle, and working from the road.

Okay, so by now you’re really digging into your potential course topic and how you can create a curriculum that can truly change the lives of your students.

But, how do you know a course topic will actually sell?

Let’s chat about that now in step #4.

Step #4: Increase your travel blogging income by validating your course idea

Before you go and create an entire course, it’s smart to do some work to make sure it’ll actually sell.

One way to do this is to build your email list by creating an opt-in freebie or a lead magnet (such as an online library of resources) that solves the same problem as your course. Here are some top lead magnet ideas.

For instance, if your course idea is to help people monetize their travel photography, your freebie might be a list of platforms and publications that buy travel photography.

Now, there is one caveat with this validation method:

While attracting email subscribers with a relevant opt-in freebie validates an interest in the course idea, it isn’t necessarily proving that people would pay money for a course about it.

To do this, consider pre-selling your online course before it’s fully created.

For instance, you can have a promotional period for your course that is earlier than the course launch date.

Once the course launches, you can publish a new module each week — or even teach the modules live for added value.

What is great about this is that you can get feedback from students in real-time and adapt the content accordingly.

Another idea:

Sell a mini-workshop on the same topic.

This is less work than creating a whole course but still proves that your community is willing to pay for your expertise on the topic.

You can even pitch your larger course at the end of the mini-workshop — and then re-sell the mini-workshop in a tripwire sales funnel to increase profits.

Pro tip:

You should still be building your list with an opt-in freebie that solves the same problem as your course. This way, no matter how you decide to validate your idea, you’ll have a targeted list of people to promote to.

Step #5: Create your profitable online course

Maybe you created your course before promoting it, or maybe you’re going the pre-selling route. Either way, at some point you will need to create the course content.

In terms of software, I highly recommend Teachable.

I’ve been using their platform to create and sell my courses — and even my Travel Blog Prosperity membership community — for years. You truly have everything you need to create your course, accept secure payments, set up an affiliate program, and much more.

They also host your videos, so you don’t have to pay for an outside service like Vimeo or Wistia.

Moreover, I love that students can use the Teachable app to go through the course lessons — something I’ve gotten lots of positive feedback on over the years.

Note that my affiliate link gets you a two-week free trial of their Pro Plan, which is the plan that I personally use.

Now, I spoke earlier in the episode about separating your course content into milestones, but let me quickly share a few more of my favorite course creation tips here:

Use video. Sure, you can have some text-based content, but nowadays people are really expecting video. Bonus points if you record your lessons into short digestible chunks. This will lead to a more engaging course that doesn’t feel like an overpriced ebook.

Offer action steps. So that you don’t leave people at the lesson, provide students something like an implementation workbook or action steps after each module to help them put learning into practice.

Don’t make guarantees. While you absolutely should have a money-back guarantee, I don’t recommend making guarantees about what your course can deliver. The truth is, you don’t have control over how students utilize your lessons, so guaranteeing results can come back to bite you — and can even cause legal issues.

Instead of guaranteeing results, use assisting language.

For instance, instead of saying “This course guarantees you’ll make $1000 on your travel photography in one month” you could say “This course is designed to help you earn $1,000 on your travel photography in one month.”

Step #6: Price your course to increase your travel blogger salary

Keep in mind, people are really paying for the transformation you deliver, not for how many hours of video you upload.

The more life-changing the transformation, the higher you can price the course.

Additionally, including premium assets that make it easier for students to achieve the desired transformation can also increase the course price.

These include things like downloadable workbooks, video transcriptions, live Q&A calls, and reviewing student work.

If you need a starting point for setting your pricing, you can look at what others are charging for similar courses — just realize that you don’t need to charge the same, especially if you’re adding premium assets or if you have more experience than another course creator.

Step #7: Promote your course like crazy to really earn money from blogging

When it comes to promoting your online course, there are many strategies you can use.

I’m actually going to be talking in-depth about planning product launches in a future podcast episode, so I recommend subscribing to the show on iTunes so you don’t miss that.

That being said, I do want to share some advice right now.

First of all, understanding Pinterest for bloggers can be helpful.

Moreover, as I mentioned above, having a targeted email list to sell to can be extremely helpful. Honestly, almost all of my course sales come through my email list.

Moreover, I find it really helpful to only have my courses be open for purchase for a limited time a few times each year. This helps create urgency when the cart is open since people can’t just put it off thinking maybe they’ll purchase next month or something.

Finally, consider what special bonuses and upsells you can promote with your course. Often, I’ll have at least one early-bird bonus then some general bonuses to make my course offer juicier and to entice people to take action.

Then at checkout I’ll also pitch another related product at a discount.

So, if your course is on becoming a full-time travel blogger, your bonuses might be things like a professional website theme, a plug-and-play privacy policy template made by a lawyer, and a masterclass on creating engaging content.

Then, at checkout, you might pitch your course on how to land paid press trips.

Again, make sure you’re subscribed to the show, as I’ll be diving deeper into product promotion in a future episode.

Step #8: Gather testimonials and feedback for easier sales

Asking students for testimonials — particularly that share specific instances of how your course has benefitted them — can be extremely valuable. You’ll want to put these on your sales page, with permission, of course, to show social proof.

Additionally, make sure to ask students for feedback — which can both lead to testimonials as well as opportunities for improvement.

For example, when many of my Travel Blog Prosperity members started telling me they were having trouble pinpointing which workshops to focus on, I created a roadmap that sorted the membership content by blogging phase.

This way, whether they were in the branding phase, the visibility phase, or the monetization phase, they could easily find workshops to help.

Pro tip:

Set up an automated email sequence for your students so that after a certain amount of time you automatically follow up with them to see how they’re doing and ask for feedback. You can easily set this up using an email marketing platform like ConvertKit.

By the way, my ConvertKit affiliate link gets you a 30-day trial, which I’ll link in the show notes.

And speaking of affiliates…

Step #9: Create an affiliate program to increase your passive income

Again, Teachable makes it super simple to onboard affiliates, who can then earn a commission for getting people to sign up for your course through their referral link.

Along with asking students to become affiliates, you can reach out to bloggers and creators who already have content ranking in Google for your topic.

For instance, if you have a course focused on travel photography, you might Google “best travel photography courses” to see if there are any posts you’d like to get your own course promoted in, such as a list sharing the best travel photography courses.

Then you can reach out to the creators of these posts and offer them an affiliate link. I also recommend offering them the chance to try out your course or providing them free access so that they can truly write a review based on their experience.

Bonus tip:

Consider creating a free mini-course or workshop within Teachable that pitches your paid course at the end. Then your affiliates can promote the free course using their referral link — which gives their audience a taste of your teaching before purchasing your paid course.

Step #10: Come up with related products to really make money blogging

As I mentioned above, having bonuses and upsells can help increase your course profits.

So, creating courses and products that complement each other is smart. This way, you can offer these other products as upsells at checkout.

For another example of this, that might mean that when someone purchases a travel writing course they’re then pitched a travel photography course — possibly at a limited-time discounted price — at checkout.

Alright, now I hope you enjoyed this episode.

I hope you feel inspired and empowered to monetize your blog through an online course that helps others have a transformation or learn a new skill.

Don’t forget to grab access to the free travel blogging resource library that I’ve linked here. There are a ton of resources in there on growing your community and increasing your blogging profits.

And of course, make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss future episodes sharing these bite-sized strategies for bloggers who want to turn their blogs into profitable full-time businesses.

Happy blogging!

Increase Your Travel Blogger Salary With These Helpful Past Episodes:

How To Start A Travel Blog & Make Money

Create A Challenge That Grows Your Email List & Business Income

13 Clever Ways To Grow Your Travel Blogging Income

Monetize Your Email List With 4 Smart Strategies

Create A Profitable Automated Email Sequence (With Template!)

Press Trips 101: How To Get Paid To Travel As A Blogger

9 Powerful Ways To Monetize Your Digital Content

How To Presell Your Online Course

How To Get Featured In The Media


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