The Udemy Game

Recommitting to Udemy

Nearly two years I was contacted by Udemy to develop a custom WordPress theme course for them in an effort to refresh their offerings. They told me a number of things, like how much money I could make and what it would mean for me as a featured instructor. They didn’t tell me how to play their game. Like how my price didn’t matter; it’s usually $10. I also wasn’t told that I’d be constantly hit up for free content, no matter how I felt about the amount of money I was making. The whole thing annoyed me. But I’ve decided to recommit, and I’m going to play the game.

Why Was I Annoyed?

The main reason I was annoyed is I was promised gold and got copper at best. Every action that Udemy took since launching my course showed me that they only cared about getting free/cheap content onto their platform, with no regards for content creators. It’s ultimately why I decided not to work directly with them anymore.

There are some risks when using hosted platforms. You don't set the rules. Click To Tweet

Now, I do understand that’s part of the risk when using a hosted platform; you have no control over what they do. In exchange you get their audience and no worry about the technical aspects. But I felt personally slighted.

What Changed my Mind

After talking to a few people about how they’re making Udemy work for them, I decided I’d let go of my anger and see if I can do the same for me. See, on top of their platform, I self-host most of my courses.

My success in this endeavor depends largely on how I play the Udemy game.

I've decided to make Udemy work for me. Click To Tweet

What’s The Udemy Game?

A while back a friend of mine told me about, “The Udemy Game.” It’s a way to get the most out of Udemy while having to play by their rules. A few of the rules. You can:

  • Set the price, but they really set the price
  • Only promote your other Udemy courses to your students
  • Send 4 promotional emails per month (promoting your other Udemy courses)
  • Flash your social media on the screen at the beginnings and ends of videos
  • Include links, as long as they provide educational value to the students

Alright! Here are the rules. Let’s play the game. Here’s my plan.

Use the Tools They Give You

First of all, I’m going to take advantage of those promotional emails and social media bumpers. It will take a little more output from me in order to be able to cross promote. But I’ll also be able to link to free content I offer on my blog, etc. to help students learn.

Abridged Courses

I’m going to say this right off the bat: I’m going to put short versions of a lot of my courses on Udemy. I can’t possibly justify putting all of the content I develop on the platform when most of the time I’m going to get $5/student. The name of the game with Udemy is volume for value.

The name of the Udemy game is volume for value. Click To Tweet

It’s going to take a little more planning, but I’ll be able to remove certain lessons or sections from each of my courses and upload that version to Udemy.

Creator Courses as an Author on Every Course

Udemy allows co-authors. I’m going to make sure my brand’s logo is included everywhere on each course by making it an author on every course I upload. This will help people recognize the logo and hopefully get them to click through to the website.

Live Demo Sites with a Banner

This was a fantastic idea I got from a friend. Have a live demo site for students to visit, and make it very clear to them who created the course. Have a top or bottom banner inviting them to learn more about you and your other products. You’re still playing by the rules, but you’re still building that audience.

Have live demos that drive traffic to your courses. Click To Tweet

Still Deliver Value

It’s important to me that I still deliver value. I like having my own courses, and eventually memberships to help people build better websites and grow their online business. Udemy can be a great way for me to start building that trust. I won’t do that with half-baked or half-hearted courses.

No matter what, always offer value. Click To Tweet

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