Classes and Courses to Promote Your Online Community - dummies

Classes and Courses to Promote Your Online Community

By Deborah Ng

One way to bring offline members to your online community is through education. Whether you have a hobby community or are representing a brand, you have information to offer, so why not teach classes?

This method is used more often than you may think. A local library, for example, features classes put on by businesses and individuals all the time. Several classes have instructors who recommended that students connect with them online as well.

Classes don’t have to be academic. Craft communities can give scrapbook or woodworking lessons. The hardware-emporium chains Lowe’s and Home Depot are good examples of brands that offer classes for children and adults as a way to grow their communities and generate sales.

Consider what you have to offer your community:

  • A wine brand can offer wine tasting or pairings classes.

  • A food brand can give cooking lessons.

  • A camping-goods brand can teach gourmet cooking on a camping stove.

  • A writing forum can teach the fundamentals of novel writing.

  • A social-media firm can give blogging lessons.

  • A pet brand can offer grooming or training lessons.

Offering these types of classes is inexpensive and fun, and you don’t have to give up more than an hour or two of your time on a night or weekend.

Chances are that your community members don’t all live in the same neighborhoods, so test your classes on a local level so that the expense is minimal. See whether a local high school, recreation center, clubhouse, library, municipal building, or other space will donate a room or let you rent it for a couple of hours.

After you have a subject and space, you need a teacher. That part is trickier, because you want to make sure that the person giving the lessons knows her stuff, and many experts come with a high price tag. If someone on staff with your brand can teach, that’s the best-case scenario. Otherwise, see what you can do about getting some local experts to donate their time.