Sunday, April 22, 2018

online-course producer/ SEO marketer

Oct. 11, 2017 "So, you want to be an online-course producer?": Today I found this article by Jared Lindzon in the Globe and Mail:

The fast-emerging industry comes with some challenges, though self-driven entrepreneurs stand to make a pretty penny


Online-course producer

The Role

Digital technologies are enabling everyday people to learn new skills online, and the market for these services is booming. In fact, the global eLearning industry surpassed $165-billion (U.S.) in 2015 and is predicted to reach more than $275-billion by the year 2022.

Countless users are taking to their desktops, tablets or smartphone screens to gain knowledge in fields ranging from marketing to nutrition to entrepreneurship, and it is up to course producers to plan, shoot and market all of this content.

“As a course producer, I create educational experiences and content online to teach people new skills,” says Gwen Elliot, who works for Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify Inc.

Ms. Elliot explains that the job can involve relationship building with instructors and experts, shooting and production, talent coaching, copywriting, lesson-plan development as well as marketing and branding. As a relatively new profession with constantly changing expectations, Ms. Elliot adds that staying up to date on trends and innovations in the industry is also an important element of the job.

“A course producer, a really good one, wants to create an online course that is engaging and helpful and teaches a student a skill that they can apply in their life,” she says. “I have had to become a jack-of-all-trades.”


The salary of a course producer ranges widely because compensation can be structured in a number of different ways. Ms. Elliot says that, while she now has a consistent salary with an employer, course producers often work as contractors first and can be paid in a lump sum, by the hour or through a percentage of sales.

“From an industry perspective, course producers can make anywhere from $55,000 [Canadian] to six figures,” she says. “This depends on their experience in content creation and content marketing, though there is no limit to what course creators can earn, especially as an independent creator.”

Ms. Elliot explains that, since anyone can post an instructional video and charge any amount, there really is no limit to what someone stands to earn. Los Angeles-based course producer Melyssa Griffin, for example, selfreported e-course sales of more than $258,000 (U.S.) last year, earning a net profit of more than $190,000.

“It’s an industry that’s growing so fast, there’s really no ceiling to this industry to how much money you can make and how much impact you can make,” Ms. Elliot says. “It really is a limitless kind of job.”


With no oversight or regulating body, there is no mandatory educational background, licence or qualifications required to be employed as a course producer.

“If anybody reading this article has a skill, and they want to market it and create their own course, they can do that. No one will stop them,” Ms. Elliot says.

While there are no official requirements, however, Ms. Elliot explains that a postsecondary education in media, content development or online marketing is a great foundation for a career as an online-course producer.

“My education also involved investing thousands of dollars in online courses myself to learn skills like how to run a webinar, SEO [search-engine optimization], learning about Facebook and Instagram advertising, affiliate marketing, branding and copywriting,” she says. “It’s really a self-directed education at this point.”

In other words, Ms. Elliot believes the best way to learn how to produce online courses is by watching relevant online courses.

Job prospects

Though the industry is young, it is growing quickly, and opportunities for both independent and in-house course producers are expected to skyrocket over the coming years. Ms. Elliot says that today many of the big technology companies, including her employer, are investing in course producers to help teach customers how to get the most out of their products, but she expects the field to become even more mainstream moving forward.

“This industry is booming,” she said. “Companies like Twitter and Facebook and Hootsuite are all creating their own online academies to teach customers how to have success with their product, so this is definitely a growing industry.”


The industry continues to face the growing pains typical of any new and quickly growing field, which results in a number of challenges for today’s practitioners. For one thing, Ms. Elliot says it’s often difficult to articulate her role, even to co-workers. Working in a quickly evolving field also requires today’s course producers to be constantly updating their own knowledge and expertise to stay up to date.

“There’s no go-to place to learn everything,” she said. “Because there is no holy grail of resources, there’s no one place to go, it does require some hustle and being scrappy and figuring out who are the north stars that are leading this industry and learning from them.”

Furthermore, without the oversight of a regulatory body, Ms. Elliot says she comes across many “flashy” ads that seem to present the field as a get-richquick scheme. These ads typically offer expensive courses that claim to teach students how to make a lot of money producing their own expensive courses.

“People who are new to creating a course and want to create one themselves, they might see marketing saying they can create a six-figure course or make a million dollars really fast, and that is really painful for people to learn the hard way when they try to do it themselves and don’t make the money back they spent on the course,” she said.

Why they do it

Ms. Elliot says that course producers enjoy working in a fastmoving and growing field where they have the opportunity to take on a wide variety of tasks and roles each day.

“If you’re a person that thrives in an environment that’s changing and you enjoy the challenge of one day being on set and one day just writing and being in a quiet space, if you enjoy that, you’ll thrive as a course producer,” she says.


Though the role is too young to have many established conceptions, let alone misconceptions, one that Ms. Elliot hears often from those with some understanding of the position is that it’s as simple as speaking into a camera and uploading it to YouTube.

“It takes a bit longer than people think to create an online course,” she said. “There’s a lot to learn about the technology, there’s a lot to learn about online marketing and actually taking time to do the work to understand who your customer is and what’s the best online marketing to use for your courses, so it’s not as easy as it appears to be.”

 Nov. 8, 2017 "The expertise and skill of an SEO marketer": Today I found this article by Jared Lindzon in the Globe and Mail:

Search-engine optimization means using algorithms to land your employer as high up in results pages as possible

The job:

Search-Engine Optimization (SEO) marketer

The role:

When you type a query into a search engine, it uses a complex algorithm to provide you with the best possible results. The role of an SEO marketer is to land their employer, company or client as high up on those search results pages as possible.

“Ultimately, we convince search engines that we provide the best answer to a question someone might ask,” said Tony Tie, a senior SEO specialist for travel website Expedia. “If you’re number one, if you’re higher up on [the results page], people are more likely to click on you, which leads to more transactions.”

There are a number of techniques SEO marketers use to improve their client or employer’s ranking, which Mr. Tie breaks into three broad categories. One is technical, which may encompass anything from how quickly the page loads to how it’s coded; second is content, ensuring the page best answers the question users search for; and the third is online buzz, or how many others have shared that page.


The salary of an SEO marketer will range depending on their level of experience, the additional skills they bring to the table and whether they’re employed by an agency or work in-house.

“Entry level, when you’re starting off, expect anywhere between $35,000 and $45,000 as an annual salary,” Mr. Tie said. “As you get to more senior roles, like a manager, anywhere between $60,000 and $80,000 and when you’re talking about a director role, about $90,000 to $150,000.”

While in-house roles are often harder to come by, Mr. Tie says that their compensation typically lands one full bracket higher than those employed by an agency. He adds that having a proven track record or some technical-development skills could increase salary expectations as well.


There are no formal education requirements to become an SEO marketer.

Since the rules of the search engine algorithm are subject to change at the whims of the provider, the industry values self-directed learners more than those with formal educational backgrounds. Enrolling in crash courses, e-learning programs and reading through the content provided by the searchengine providers themselves is a great way to build a knowledge base.

“A really good SEO person has the ability to be fairly scrappy with their learning,” said Mr. Tie, adding that they’re often expected to remain active in online communities and forums. “Anybody who upplays their education paints an image that they may be more of an academic than a practitioner.”

Mr. Tie adds that it’s good for SEO marketers to know the basics of HTML coding, but that doesn’t necessarily require formal education.

“Many of the best SEOs I know have had degrees in arts or unrelated fields,” Mr. Tie said. “The only thing that might be important is engineering or computer science; that will give you a bit of an advantage.”

Job prospects:

London-based content and SEO platform Conductor has tracked the SEO industry in nine countries, including Canada, since 2012. In its 2017 study, it was revealed that SEO jobs are at an all-time high, after seeing a decline in both job opportunities and compensation in 2016.

The report concludes that while the need for SEO skills is increasing, they are often being rolled into other content-marketing roles. As a result, the need for SEO skills is growing faster than the rate of dedicated SEO positions.


Mr. Tie says one of the biggest challenges SEO marketers face is managing their employer or client’s expectations, as results are not as immediate as other marketing efforts. “SEO is a slow burning process in terms of results,” he said. “It can take months, even more than a year, to yield results.”

Mr. Tie adds that staying up to date on the ever-changing standards and algorithms is also a common challenge.

Why they do it:

SEO is increasingly recognized as a key pillar of any digital marketing strategy, and those with SEO skills are able to put them to use in a lot of different arenas. “SEO is the hardest marketing channel to learn, and if you can do SEO you can do anything else [in digital marketing],” Mr. Tie said.


Many confuse SEO marketing with what is known as “paid search,” or paying to appear at the very top of the search rankings as an advertisement. SEO is instead a form of what’s called “organic marketing” and focuses on improving results rankings on merit alone.

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