Launch a course as an authority marketing strategy

By Jim James,

Founder EASTWEST PR and Host of the SPEAK|pr Podcast

There will always be merits to creating a course around one’s knowledge. Sharing a way of thinking that becomes an industry-leading way of thinking is great publicity, because it becomes the standard. One example is how Jack Welch made the Six Sigma the GE way, and it became synonymous with quality and shareholder value. SPEAK|pr course is in the works, and it is the five-stage methodology to getting companies noticed. Through the SPEAK|pr podcast, this methodology, which is Storify, Personalize, Engage, Amplify, and Know, can be shared with business owners so that they can create value from what they know how to do rather than just what they can deliver, and courses are another way to get this done. The SPEAK|pr course is going to be a Mastermind and an eight week-long program with some help from Morry Morgan, who managed to get his comedy training business running in Australia. 

Everyone is trying to find ways to differentiate their business, no matter how big or small it is, but it’s hard to compete with tens of thousands of other agencies. Globally, enterprises employing less than 250 people represent 99% of all enterprises. In other words, there are thousands of agencies and freelancers all pursuing less than 1% of the companies, because companies have to have a certain scale before they employ a third party or an agency to help with their marketing. A SPEAK|pr course is a great idea to pursue, because it schools people on public relations but this is done without the costs complications of hiring an agency. The business strategy is to teach people who can’t afford or don’t want to hire an agency the tools and technologies that agencies possess and, in the process, create value within the company which is attached to the way EASTWEST PR gets clients noticed. While SPEAK|pr now is heard in over 55 countries, the company continues to strive to give listeners an opportunity to have a more structured way of addressing and incorporating the SPEAK|pr methodology into their own businesses or in their own lives.

Where to share your course and the STEPE Methodology

Photo from Online Course How

Udem is a platform that over 130,000 online courses. The issue with Udemy courses is that most of them are in the $20 low price range. With the SPEAK|pr product, this will be a Masterclass where it’s not a hands-off course. It’ll be an eight-week program with just six people per cohort, and they will be taught the methodology. Looking at The Complete 2020 Web Development Bootcamp created and hosted by Dr. Angela Yu, it has 262,843 students and is packed with 53 hours of on-demand video, 110 articles, and 20 downloadable resources. Even if the course price has been reduced to £14.99 from £19.99, it has still grossed around £5 million. So, online courses are not only a great way of developing public relations because it establishes one as an authority, but plainly, it can be a source of great revenue. There’s a another organization called Coursera, which has got courses for corporations as well. They have professors on there, one of whom is Aric Rindfleisch, a Professor of Marketing at the University of Illinois, Champaign, Urbana. His course on Marketing in a Digital World has had 1.43 million views recently. Clearly, online courses are a brilliant way to share knowledge, but potentially in a commercial way too.

Morry Morgan has a STEPE methodology which will be included in the course, because it is a way of demonstrating an expertise, which can be used in public relations and marketing. One of the key learnings from his methodology is the need to create structure within the course time itself. With SPEAK|pr’s five-stage methodology, it’s being broken down into component parts within each method. The S in STEPE stands for Skill, and by the end of each module, participants will be able to identify gaps within the five stages. Next is Theory, which is the T, where the elements within the different stages will be discussed. The third element is going to be the Example of a company that follows the five-stage methodology, and that becomes the key point that validates the SPEAK|pr methodology. Next comes Practice. This is where the participants in the course will be able to use the templates created, which will enable them to identify which parts of the course they already understand and which parts of the five-stage methodology do they currently already implement within their own organizations. Last is Evaluation. This is where the individual participants will share what they’re currently doing and evaluate the performance of their current work, so that they can identify the gaps between what they currently know and what they want to achieve.

This methodology is very structured. It will involve background pre-reading, which will be sent to people in advance. It’ll be a quick, two-and-a-half minute section on the skill to be learned. Next is a video that is seven and a half minutes long on the theory of the Story, Personalise, Engage, Amplify, Know. It’ll be 10 minutes on an example and how it’s worked for someone else. It’ll be 30 minutes on the practice, getting people to try the tools, because it’s only through practice that people start to learn. People don’t learn by being spoken to, especially when everything is virtual. Lastly, it’ll take 10 minutes for the evaluation, where people get to reflect and share their learnings with one another.

Pros and cons to creating a course

The way a course is structured will allow the generation of consistent results for the participants, but will also help the course creators communicate with them within the course’s own methodology. This is why a course could be potentially a great public relations tool, because people will become more and more knowledgeable. Under Engagement and Amplification in SPEAK|pr, it is about getting people from being ignorant to becoming aware, to becoming engaged, to becoming evangelists, which are people who understand, believe, and promote an organization, a good, a product, or a service by having a course. Public relations is not just press releases. It’s about all the different touchpoints between a company and the three different audience groups: the staff, the partners, and the customers. Lots of different people in lots of different roles are required to create an effective company, and courses can help train not only the external group.

The challenge is making the course content consistent, engaging, and compelling, and then delivering it in a way that resonates with people. After all, it starts with good content. It requires choosing people that are at the right stage in running their own business and in need of the five-stage methodology. It has to be delivered to them in a way that is accessible and that fits their timescales, because if it goes wrong, the course could be a liability. Aside from that, training is a core part of any communications program, certainly internally. Externally, it could be another way to build public relations activities. Above all, creating a course is a way of encoding the knowledge within an organization, and multimedia platforms now enable people to do this in a way that’s never been possible before, even for small business owners.


This article is based on a transcript from my Podcast SPEAK|pr, you can listen here.

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