Christopher Mitchell

Writing Mentor

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My Marketing Project for my life writing course "Writing Without Fear"

Hello,

My experiences on Skillshare so far have been very positive. I appreciate the work that Megan has put into teaching this course and making it available to all of us. There are some great pieces of advice in here.

I wrote, recorded, and posted my course Writing Without Fear: Using Life Writing to Free the Writer Within You over the four-day Thanksgiving 2015 holiday.

I am currently a public school teacher and this opportunity allowed me to recharge my creative energies. It was a whirlwind experience, but it was worthwhile! I have been teaching a similar class to students for many years now, and I loved the idea of bringing the course to life asynchronously on Skillshare.

You can see the course here, if you wish: http://skl.sh/1kZcBmi

In this post, I want to share what I have done so far.

How I enrolled my first 25 students 

After publishing the course, I followed Skillshare's advice to reach my first 25 students. I hit up friends, family, and co-workers on Facebook with a quirky "call to action." I have a dark, self-deprecating sense of humor, and I wanted that to poke through in my Facebook post about the class.

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Thankfully, these people supported me, and I had my first 25 students very quickly. My course starting trending as a result.

Here's where I deviated from some tried-and-true marketing methods though. Since I am a brand new teacher to Skillshare, I realized that my free course would benefit from a larger pool of enrollees before I switched it over to a premium course. I wanted this course to be "evergreen," which is a way of saying that the ideas and concepts are not time-sensitive or dated. There were no pop culture references chaining my course to the year 2015, and the authors I quoted have been popular for several years.

How I enrolled 125 students

Taking the long view, I allowed my free class to fill up with more and more students. It wasn't until after I reached 125 students that I switched it to a premium course. I realize this may have cost me some royalties in the short term, but again I am hoping for more enrollees to start producing projects and leaving positive reviews. Consider it an investment in the future of the course. 

How I enrolled 320+ students

It's been about five weeks now since I published the course, and I am seeing an average conversion rate of about 10% each day. It's slow and steady progress, but again I hope to post another course soon that will reach some of my current followers. If they enroll in the new course, I will up my revenue stream quite a bit.

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A quick update (January 24, 2016):

I recently enrolled my 500th student! Woohoo!

Then, the traffic fell off. Like off a cliff. Was it related to the recent superstorm Jonas? I'm hoping so.

To celebrate the 500th student enrollee (and to get some eyes back on the course), I opened the course up for free to the first 25 enrollees. I'm still sitting at a reasonable number of students, but I hope the Teacher Success Challenge: Learn to Market Your Skillshare Class workshop will give me some ideas for pushing forward.

I am too new at this to host an AMA, but I am hoping a new course I am currently writing and recording will help spike the numbers again.

Did anyone else see a recent drop-off beginning on or around January 21?  

I'm enjoying this journey!

Let me know what you think about my approach. Any comments are welcome.

Another quick update to fulfill day #3 of the Teacher Success Challenge (January 27, 2016):

I tweeted about my course to my Twitter followers. It includes a free enrollment link:

https://twitter.com/MisterMitchell3/status/690363526347628544

Thank you,

Chris

An update to fulfill day #5 of the Teacher Success Challenge (January 29):

I asked Jake Bartlett a question during his AMA.

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An update to fulfill day #6 of the Teacher Success Challenge (January 30):

Eric provides some great advice in his course Maximize Your Skillshare Success: Engaging Your Student Following.

From the list of advice, I have done the following:

1. Post a welcome message in the Community section of your class in its first week, and check in every 1-2 days for questions.

2. Leave your helpful feedback on student projects in the Project Gallery.

3. Funnel your engaged students into your next Skillshare class!

Here is how I have done it:

1. The welcome message:

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2. Project feedback (just one example):

Feedback for a student's memoir

3. I just posted my new class, Rekindling the Art of Letter Writing. Just in time for the Valentine's Day rush!

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In this course, we will cover techniques for writing great prose as we discuss the importance of keeping the personal letter alive. Want to see more? Click this link!

An update to fulfill day #7 of the Teacher Success Challenge (January 31):

To complete the challenge, here are my initial numbers and thoughts about what is working:

1.) 563 students enrolled

2.) 12 positive reviews

3.) As a new Skillshare teacher, and an instructor who does not have a following on a blog or social media, I realized I needed to find a way to enroll students in other means. I allowed the first 125 students to enroll for free, which I think has helped the overall numbers for the course. That means the next 430 or so students who have enrolled since then are premium members (with the exception of a few people who got into the course through referral links). I still think this is the smartest thing I have done with the course so far, as I hope it will lead to bigger things in the future. I now have a following of 600+ Skillshare students over the past 10 weeks. Let's see if we can keep it going!

4.) I'm currently running a contest giveaway in the course to try to drum up interest in posting student projects. We'll see what happens there. Also, just this weekend, I posted my second course Rekindling the Art of Letter Writing, and I hope will funnel some of my followers into this new class. There may be times I offer free links to both of these courses to continue building enrollment numbers and followers. That would set up nicely I think before I post a third course this spring. After that, hopefully I will have a large enough following to host an AMA or a workshop. Let's see what the future holds!

Thank you again for hosting this challenge!

Chris

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