Ever thought about those online courses? You know, the ones that keep making money year after year?

No updates. No re-launches. Just ongoing profit.

Welcome to the world of evergreen courses. It’s like finding the secret recipe for a money-making machine in digital education.

But what’s the magic ingredient?

Well, you’re in the right place if you’re looking to crack that code.

In this guide, we’re diving deep into the world of evergreen courses.

Let’s get started!

What is an evergreen course?

What is an evergreen course

In the context of online education, an evergreen course retains its relevance, value, and appeal over an extended period.

Unlike courses based on trends or specific timeframes, evergreen courses focus on useful and significant content, regardless of changing circumstances or dates.

These courses are designed to be a stable source of revenue, requiring minimal updates and maintenance. This allows you to focus more on your business growth and less on constant content revision.

Key characteristics of evergreen courses:

Key Characteristics of Evergreen Courses
  • Timeless content: Topics that are always in demand, not influenced by passing trends or specific time-bound events.
  • Minimal maintenance: Requires little to no updating, saving time and resources.
  • Universal appeal: Content that is generally applicable and broadly interesting across different audiences.

Here are some timeless examples of evergreen topics:

Example of evergreen course
  1. Basic skills or foundational courses (e.g., Basic Cooking for Beginners, Fundamental Photography Skills).
  2. Personal development topics (e.g., Time Management, Stress Management).
  3. Essential business skills (e.g., Basic Accounting, Effective Communication).

These evergreen courses offer numerous benefits, like:

Benefits of evergreen courses
  1. Stable source of revenue: Continuously generates income over time.
  2. Time efficiency: Reduces the need for frequent updates or re-launches.
  3. Broader appeal: Can target and engage a wide range of learners.
  4. Marketing leverage: Simplifies marketing efforts due to the timeless nature of the content.
  5. Educational impact: Provides enduring knowledge and skills to learners.

How to find evergreen topics?

How to find evergreen topics

Identifying evergreen topics for your online course involves a process of careful selection.

You’re looking for substantial, enduring knowledge that will stay relevant, valuable, and engaging for years to come. The key lies in understanding both your own expertise and the consistent needs of your audience.

Find your own expertise

Let’s start with a deep dive into your own experiences and skills.

Think about the challenges you’ve faced and conquered, the skills you’ve honed over time, and the unique insights you’ve gained.

This introspective journey goes beyond just listing down your achievements.

It involves connecting your experiences with universal problems they can address.

Consider asking yourself these questions:

  1. In what ways have my personal experiences intersected with broader, universal issues or challenges?
  2. How have I used my skills or knowledge to address a problem that many people face?
  3. Can I identify a moment when my unique insights led to a solution for a widespread issue?

By leveraging your personal achievements and expertise, you’re already on your way to discovering online course topics that resonate widely and withstand the test of time.

Research needs of the audience

Now, shift your focus to your audience.

Who are they?

What do they struggle with?

Understanding your audience’s demographics, behaviors, and pain points is crucial. This is where you align your knowledge and experiences with the needs and aspirations of your potential students.

For instance, if your expertise lies in stress management and your audience comprises busy professionals, a course on ‘Mindful Stress Reduction for the Workplace’ can be a timeless topic, as stress management is an ever-present concern in the professional world.

But how do you ensure the topic you choose will stay relevant?

This is where tools like Google Trends come into play. By analyzing search trends, you can gauge the consistent interest in your potential topic over time.

Steady increase in interest for Freelancing for students
Google trends data for freelancing for students

For instance, the topic of ‘Freelancing for Students’ might show a steady or increasing interest on Google Trends, suggesting its lasting appeal.

It’s also insightful to consider the perspectives of thought leaders and influencers in your field.

Their views on the future of certain subjects can provide valuable foresight into the longevity of a topic.

For example, a respected figure like Naval Ravikant sees freelancing as a professional of the future. This adds weight to the idea that a course on freelancing would remain relevant, especially in a world where remote work and technological advancements are reshaping the job market.

Finally, let’s circle back to the example of ‘Freelancing for Students.’

If you’re a college student with freelancing experience, this topic not only leverages your personal expertise but also addresses a persistent need – helping students navigate the world of freelancing.

It’s a topic that has shown enduring interest and is backed by the evolving dynamics of the job market.

In a nutshell, finding evergreen topics for your online course is a blend of self-reflection, audience understanding, market research, and aligning with future trends.

It’s about finding the ideal balance where your expertise meets ongoing demand, ensuring your course remains a valuable resource for years to come.

How to make course content evergreen?

How to make course content evergreen

Value timeless principles vs. technicalities

Crafting evergreen course content involves a delicate balance between timeless principles and technicalities.

The emphasis should be on teaching fundamental concepts that remain relevant despite changes in technology or trends.

This approach aligns with the philosophy of first principles thinking, where you break down complex subjects into basic elements and rebuild them in a universally applicable manner.

For educators looking to master this balance, understanding the fundamentals of course creation is key.

For this, you can explore my blog post on Course Design Principles, which offers comprehensive guidance on structuring your content to withstand the test of time.

It’s about equipping students with a foundational understanding that they can adapt to new situations or advancements.

By focusing on these core principles, your course will stand the test of time, providing value to students long after specific technical details may have evolved.

Don’t include time-sensitive data

Including time-sensitive data in your course is a surefire way to date your content quickly.

Pokemon Go and Fidget Spinner in Google Trends
Don’t create content around passing trends

Avoid referencing specific years, current events, or fleeting trends like Pokémon Go or fidget spinners.

When sharing examples or case studies, choose those with a timeless nature.

For instance, instead of discussing a marketing strategy that worked for a particular brand last year, focus on universal marketing principles that have consistently proven effective.

✅ Similarly, when recording videos or screen sharing, be mindful of displaying dates or other time-specific elements that might reveal the content’s age. The goal is to make your course feel as fresh and relevant for a student accessing it years later as it does today.

Make it easy to update

In the realm of online courses, the adage “Change is the only constant” couldn’t be more fitting.

Even the most evergreen course content might need updates due to the inevitable evolution of knowledge and technology. Thus, designing your course with ease of updating in mind is not just a convenience; it’s a necessity.

strategies to design course structure for easy update

Here’s how you can smartly structure your course for easy and efficient updates:

  • Modular structure: Design your course like building blocks, allowing you to update individual modules without disrupting the entire course.
  • Distinguishing timeless principles: Clearly differentiate between timeless principles and technical details to update the content efficiently.
  • Creating short, focused videos: Opt for short, topic-specific video lectures to facilitate updates and enhance the learning experience.
  • Scalable module and lesson names: Use broad and inclusive titles to accommodate future additions or changes.
  • Scripting videos and utilizing transcripts: Scripted videos make updates easier, and maintaining transcripts helps in identifying outdated information.

With these techniques, your course will remain relevant and valuable for a long time.

For those looking to dive deeper into the intricacies of keeping their online courses up-to-date and engaging, our comprehensive guide on how to update your online course offers a wealth of information and actionable tips.

Follow evergreen marketing

Follow evergreen marketing strategies

To ensure your evergreen course continuously attracts and engages students, implementing evergreen marketing strategies is crucial.

These strategies focus on creating a sustainable and long-term approach to marketing your course.

Own your audience

Own your audience

A pivotal element in evergreen marketing is building and owning your audience, primarily through email marketing.

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to maintain a direct line of communication with your potential and current students.

It’s not just about sending out emails but also cultivating a relationship with your audience.

By consistently providing valuable content, updates, and offers, you can keep your audience engaged and interested in your courses.

Email marketing is the only channel that allows you to have a reliable and controlled channel to promote your courses, separate from the ever-changing algorithms of social media platforms.

Evergreen funnels

evergreen funnel
Evergreen funnel

Evergreen funnels are systems set up to sell your course on autopilot.

The process typically will be like this:

  1. Traffic driving: Start by driving traffic from sources where your target audience is active.
  2. Landing page: Direct this traffic to a well-crafted landing page. The landing page should be concise yet compelling, clearly outlining the benefits and unique selling points of your course.
  3. Signup prompt: The core of an evergreen funnel is a signup prompt for a webinar or mini-course, which serves as a lead magnet.
  4. Automated evergreen webinar: The goal of these webinars or mini-courses is to give potential students a taste of what your full course offers, nudging them toward making a purchase. It’s vital to refine your webinar content through live sessions and then record the most effective version for ongoing use in your evergreen funnel.
  5. Course purchase: This approach allows the webinar to run automatically, creating the illusion of a live event but without your constant involvement.
  6. Success stories: Showcase success stories from your course students. These stories serve as social proof, promoting trust and interest among potential students, and can be used to drive more traffic to your landing page making this funnel a flywheel!
Clickfunnels funnel workflows
Clickfunnels funnel workflows

When it comes to evergreen funnels, it’s crucial to build them in an all-in-one platform like Kajabi or ClickFunnels.

This allows you to track your entire funnel metrics and make necessary adjustments to your strategies. For example, if a specific traffic source is offering a high webinar attendance rate, you can identify it and double down on it.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, creating an evergreen course is a powerful way to generate sustainable income and provide enduring value to learners.

By focusing on timeless topics, minimizing maintenance efforts, and aligning with the needs of your audience, you can develop a course that stands the test of time.

Remember to prioritize fundamental principles over technicalities, avoid time-sensitive data, and design your course for easy updates.

Implementing evergreen marketing strategies, such as building and owning your audience through email marketing and setting up evergreen funnels, will ensure a continuous flow of students.

So, dive into the world of evergreen courses and unlock the potential for hands-free, long-term success in the realm of digital education.