Our primary focus as a learning community is creativity, and so many of our more popular classes are creative in nature. If you’re struggling to figure out what to teach, we offer a strategy to help you decide on a topic — and some suggestions to ensure it will be valued by our members.
In this article:
- What categories and topics can I teach on Skillshare? lists the top level subcategories (what we call content areas) that we actively source content for.
- Class Content & Topic Restrictions outlines what topics are not permitted on Skillshare. Classes that focus or touch on restricted topics may be removed by our Moderation team.
Choosing a Class Topic: Six Things To Consider
Many teachers come to Skillshare with multiple class ideas in mind. We recommend the following six-step strategy to help you narrow down your options into the most viable idea:
- Your Expertise and Authority
- Your Uniqueness
- Your Level of Excitement
- Topic Popularity
- Content Gaps
- Level Gaps
These prompts are ordered from most to least important — we encourage you to go through the prompts in order to help you discover the topic for your first (or next) class.
Your Expertise and Authority
Teaching something you already know a lot about is easy! Plus, showing that you’re a subject-matter expert on a topic builds trust with your audience and makes a strong case why they should learn from you. To help you narrow in on your areas of expertise, use the following questions to guide you:
- How would you describe your work?
- What are you most known for?
Which area of your work do you have the most to “show” for, i.e., images or documentation of completed work, existing classes or media? Alternatively, you might have a technique or approach that is easy to demonstrate.
Even though plenty of classes are built around similar topics, Skillshare members are eager to learn from teachers who bring a unique style and perspective to what they teach. With that in mind, consider the following questions:
- Which topic is most distinctive to you?
- What is unique about your work, style or approach?
Your Level of Excitement
Teaching something you’re excited about is a no-brainer. Bring that enthusiasm for your subject to your future students — that energy makes for a more engaging class! Consider:
- Which topic would you be excited and energized to teach?
- Which topic are you most passionate about?
After you’ve examined your class topic through those three personal lenses above, dig into what your potential external audience might be interested in. Our In-demand Class Topics list (updated quarterly) shares the top search terms Skillshare members and non-members are looking for in our catalog.
You might also poll your existing audience to help you narrow in on that next topic and hear what they would be interested in learning from you. Beyond your students and followers on Skillshare, tap your social media followers as well as friends and family for suggestions.
Sometimes the class that hasn’t been taught yet might be a tantalizing offer! Search our catalog to see what might be missing, or better yet, review our Areas of Opportunity on our In-Demand Class Topics list. These are specific class topics that we want to grow in our catalog — we are actively sourcing for these!
Plenty of people come to Skillshare to learn something brand new. If you’re teaching your first class, we typically recommend starting with a beginner-friendly topic to maximize your reach and establish yourself in our community. Consider the following questions:
- Which of these topics teaches a skill that may seem intimidating to a beginner?
- What do you wish you had known when you were just starting out?
- Which topic casts the widest net possible, i.e., has broad appeal and is beginner-friendly?
That said, an intermediate or advanced-level topic might be the right choice if you have specific expertise and authority on that topic outside Skillshare.
Define Your Class’s Value Proposition
Rather than teaching a broad, sweeping skill set, the most successful classes hone in on one specific skill, concept, or project, which is taught over a series of shorter lessons. We call this core element of a class its value proposition, and it’s more than just what students will learn. As you develop your class topic, you should also consider why the class is valuable in a larger context, who the class is for (or your intended audience), and how that audience will benefit from your guided lessons.
In other words, classes with strong value propositions:
- Emphasize the skills taught in the class and how they can be applied outside the class project.
- Offer and encourage multiple ways to complete the project, rather than focusing on a specific outcome.
- Go beyond just providing a tutorial and include your unique expertise, style, and narration as you teach.
- Demonstrate a clear benefit for a targeted audience.
Honing in on your value proposition can help you create a streamlined class that has immediate, actionable value to your students. To help you think through your class’s value proposition, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why is the topic or skill(s) you’re teaching important?
- What skill(s) will students gain by completing the project?
- In what ways can students apply those skills beyond the project?
- Why should potential students learn from you?
- How did this skill transform your workflow or creative practice?
- Find a way to summarize the value proposition in your class’s title. This will help grab your students' attention and and illustrate the value of what they will learn.
- In your introduction video, take some time to explain the value of your class, and answer out loud some of those same questions above: why the skill you're teaching is important, what students will do in the class to learn it, and how that learning relates to their larger creative journey.
- It’s also relevant to echo your value proposition in your class description and marketing materials.
- Class Planning Template
- Build Your Skillshare Channel: We’ve provided some additional tips for choosing a class topic beyond your first class.
- Teacher Hayden Aube’s System For Choosing A Winning Class Topic: Stuck on what to teach next on Skillshare? Follow the advice of teacher Hayden Aube who has developed a system for choosing a winning class topic every time.
- Still stuck? Email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to provide feedback.