The elearning market is growing constantly. After a global pandemic, the demand to create high-quality educational content and offer it to those who need it and can’t access education in any other way but online is huge.
For an online course creator who is creating and selling online courses, however, the competition is fierce. An excellent way to stand out from the crowd is to host masterclasses.
Since a masterclass offers more in-depth knowledge, it is worth exploring further.
In this article, you will learn all you need to know about a masterclass from planning to creating and hosting one successfully.
Table of contents
- What is a Masterclass?
- How to Plan a Masterclass: Where to Start?
- How to Create a Masterclass
- 1Step 1: Come Up With A Topic
- 2Step 2: Give Your Masterclass A Name And Structure
- 3Step 3: Create The Content
- 4Step 4: Decide On A Business Model
- 5Step 5: How to Promote & Sell Your Masterclass
- How to Host & Market a Masterclass
- Online Masterclass Examples
- How to Create Your Own Masterclass With LearnWorlds
- Ready to Create an Online Masterclass?
What is a Masterclass?
According to Dictionary.com, a masterclass is ‘a small class for advanced students, especially a class in performance skills conducted by a distinguished musician’. The Collins Dictionary says ‘a masterclass is a lesson where someone who is an expert at something such as dancing or music gives advice to a group of good students’.
Looking at these dictionaries, it’s easy to tell how the meaning of ‘master class’ has changed through the years.
While the first master class took place in music education, today it is used throughout various disciplines. Now, a masterclass is a lesson where an expert at something offers learning and advice to a group of advanced students and it has significant value attached to it.
Fun fact: The standardized term for this is ‘master class’ but its popular alternative version is ‘masterclass’, which is a term that has become popularized by Masterclass.com.
How to Plan a Masterclass: Where to Start?
Delivering a master class requires vast knowledge, understanding, and preparation. Before you do anything, as the masterclass expert you will need to think about:
The best way to create a successful masterclass is to plan for it in advance. Such questions can help you prepare and gather all the resources you need for your masterclass.
Why create a masterclass?
Creating a masterclass can seem like a time-consuming process, but the benefits it offers are many both for you and your learners.
A masterclass can increase your revenue as a course creator, improve your reputation, and position you as an expert in your field. It can also attract more loyal learners who are more likely to stay with you or refer you to their friends.
A masterclass can also help students overcome obstacles, share their knowledge, express their opinions, get direct feedback, and learn.
The purpose of a masterclass is to bring all the aspects, activities, and tools together in a one-time event to create an effective and aspiring learning environment that allows learners to be heard. No other educational setting gives it such a focus.
Who is a masterclass for?
In a masterclass, it’s important to find out as much about your target audience – your learners, so that you prepare your educational content accordingly.
To ensure that people will benefit from your masterclass you will need to present information that is going to be relevant to them, and complementary to what they already know.
This means that you need to choose whether you want to create a masterclass for beginners or more advanced students. Most people who are interested in a masterclass are highly-motivated learners who want to learn more about a subject in more detail so you can use this to your advantage.
Remember, a masterclass is carried out so that they can learn something new and get valuable information from it. As such, learners will have high expectations from it.
Think about it like this – as the expert you know what you already know, students don’t; and it’s your responsibility to make things easy, explanatory and understandable.
What should a masterclass include?
A masterclass can be anything from a standalone event to a series of sessions, a workshop, or an online course.
These are the key elements of a masterclass:
Having said that, the instructional material and content of a masterclass can be determined and delivered accordingly to fit your learners’ needs.
At this point, it is important to decide what you want your learners to achieve by the end of the masterclass. Try to get into the details, pick which specific questions you want it to answer, and create content that gives a comprehensive knowledge of a niche topic.
To do this, set up a learning goal and start thinking about how you are going to structure your masterclass.
Masterclass content can take the form of:
The content can be presented through a series of video tutorials, slideshow/PowerPoint presentations, live or pre-recorded webinars, or any other way that suits your learning objectives as long as it allows you to have regular check-ins (or short breaks) with your learners.
How much does a masterclass cost?
What is the real value of your masterclass? Having confidence in what you know and teach is one thing, but putting a price on it is quite another. Follow the process of pricing your course and calculate the time, the effort to create the learning material, and the knowledge you put into it.
While there is no one ready-made recipe for it, it’s important to avoid giving it a low price. A minimum price should start from 300$ considering that there is a lot going on in it – interaction, engagement, and more than 30 hours of ‘behind the scenes’ preparation work.
A masterclass is a premium product and it’s different from a single course and offers much more to students than a single webinar. So, think about this when pricing your masterclass.
How long should a masterclass be?
The masterclass can take up as long as you want but it is recommended that you keep it below 3-hours. According to Business Insider, Masterclass classes on MasterClass.com are about 2,5 hours on average with each individual lesson ranging from 2 to 5 minutes, which is a good indication of the class duration.
Microlearning – which helps learners acquire knowledge through small chunks of information, seems to be the most appropriate method to deliver masterclass content effectively.
With the microlearning method, you can help structure your masterclass in brief sessions, lessons, or activities, create an outline, and break down the allocated time.
A Masterclass outline example:
Total time: 2,5 hours
Learn more about microlearning and its benefits.
Generally, it is a good idea to prepare a draft plan and revise it as you go. Once you have decided what you want it to include, send it out to your attendees to help them prepare for the lesson as well.
How to Create a Masterclass
To ensure the success of your masterclass, you need to go through the following steps:
Step 1: Come Up With A Topic
Just like you would do for your online course, first, you need to conduct some research into the subject you want to teach. Identify key topics you can talk about, choose one and explore specific concepts.
For example, if you were to offer a masterclass on cooking, you would want to focus on an area of cooking like restaurant cooking, or a specific type of cuisine. Then you can come up with recipes, implement them and offer tips on essential cooking techniques as you go.
To do this, identify your key topics and subtopics and find out which of these are more important to your target audience.
You can check the demand for specific keywords on tools like Google Trends and Ahrefs that relate to your subject and find out which of the corresponding topics your learners want to learn more about. Alternatively, you can try surveys to gather interest around niche topics.
Need help? Check out trending course topics for different industries in this article.
Step 2: Give Your Masterclass A Name And Structure
Since your masterclass is essentially a product you want to sell, you need to be thinking about the marketing aspects early in the process.
Coming up with a suitable name for it can help you create a buzz around it and attract the right audience for all the right reasons. It also helps to build the foundation for success because it gives learners the opportunity to understand what the masterclass is all about.
The name of your masterclass needs to be short, strong, enticing and to the point.
A few examples of successful masterclass titles:
Such titles give learners just enough information and context to help them decide if they want to take part in it but also the curiosity to check it out.
Apart from the name, you also need to create a brief description of the masterclass and add your content into as many sections as it needs.
When creating your masterclass content keep in mind the following:
Create content around the potential to learn: what are you trying to solve? Identify the topic and then break these down into smaller points/lessons. Try to offer different perspectives on each lesson to challenge opinions and add more value.
Decide how long each master class will be: depending on the content this could range from 2 to 4 hours, but it’s a good idea you can break them down into 30-45 minute classes with pauses in between.
Break down the lesson: decide on activities that help you develop your idea and content. Calculate the time spent on discussion, individual and group exercises, and questions and stick to a plan.
Think about the next move: consider what’s the next step your students will take once they finish the masterclass and give your attention on there as a conclusion.
Step 3: Create The Content
Next, you will need to create the content that you are going to include in the masterclass.
Get our workbook to help you with creating the outline and content for your masterclass:
At this point, you will need to decide how you want to design and deliver the content so that your learners can get the most out of it.
The best way to do this – especially with online education, is creating short videos explaining key concepts and breaking down each topic. These videos can be followed by text, PFD explanations, an ebook, or instructor notes that complement the lesson.
This is the example Masterclass.com is following, and it works very well. But as research shows, there is more to video and its ability to transfer information in a more engaging, direct, and interactive way is gaining a lot of popularity.
These are some benefits of video in learning:
There are many ways to teach and present information through video and this will depend on the instructional style you choose to follow.
Need help? Find out how to create educational videos from start to finish.
Step 4: Decide On A Business Model
Your entire sales funnel needs to be guiding prospective learners to sign up for your masterclass. If you want people to join in, then you need to find the best business model and optimal price for it.
The business model you choose for your masterclass has a direct effect on your end goal.
Achieving that goal is the sum of metrics you need to decide whether your masterclass was successful or not. So think about what can help you achieve your business objectives.
A business model that works well with intangible products like online courses and masterclasses is the subscription model.
With a subscription fee, learners get to have unlimited access to your product – masterclass for the time they are choosing to pay for it. For example, you may allow learners to buy your online class and have access to it for a month or up to a year.
So instead of lifetime access, learners get access to your gated masterclass content for a specific time which can motivate them to buy immediately.
Learn more about subscriptions and memberships here.
Step 5: How to Promote & Sell Your Masterclass
Once you prepare the content for your masterclass and put a price tag on it, it’s time to start promoting it. When it comes to marketing, there are many ideas to try out.
These are the best ways to spread the word:
Create a landing page
With a landing page in place, people are more likely to discover your masterclass and enroll in it. If you already have a website, it should be really easy for you to create another page dedicated to your masterclass. On there, give as much information as you can about the masterclass, create a lead magnet and allow people to register through an opt-in form.
If you are running a pre-launch strategy, you can create a pre-launch page with a ‘Coming Soon’ sign, and have people signing up for the masterclass before it’s even ready.
Promote on social media
On social media, you can create a community group with people who are interested in your subject. Through the group, you can gradually build interest and excitement while keeping posting relevant content and asking people to chip in. In time, you can start answering questions and then invite them to join your masterclass to get more knowledge on the topic.
With a Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or LinkedIn page you can also promote your expertise and reach out to different audience segments.
Use email marketing
If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to start creating an email list. With an email list, you get to create a group of subscribers and keep nurturing them with relevant information through email. Apart from sharing your monthly newsletter, you can give them regular updates on your business or industry news, and inform them about new products.
For best results, build an email sequence and prepare your subscribers for the launch of your masterclass. Create a promo video for your masterclass, list out the benefits of joining in and get them on board.
Want to learn more about email marketing? Check out our elearning resources and join our JustLaunchIt workshop on email marketing for free!
How to Host & Market a Masterclass
To host your masterclass, you will need to have some key tools in your inventory.
Depending on the type of content you are planning to create for the masterclass you will need a different set of tools.
For example, if you want to conduct a live masterclass for free try Facebook or YouTube Live.
If you don’t mind spending some money on a web conferencing or webinar platform, then check out Zoom Premium, GoToWebinar, WebinarJam, or ClickMeeting to name a few.
For best results, you can invest in an LMS or an online learning platform.
The most effective way to host your masterclass is using an all-in-one solution like LearnWorlds, which can host and deliver your online learning content through one dedicated platform and integrate with tools like Zoom and Webex allowing you to conduct classes or webinars in real-time.
LearnWorlds comes with features like video-hosting, integration with Zoom or Webex, eCommerce, marketing features to sell your masterclass, and more!
Online Masterclass Examples
Before you start creating your masterclass, you might want to check out some of the most successful and popular examples of masterclasses out there.
This should help you gather some ideas and ensure that you are offering your learners the best tools and resources for success.
Example 1: ICEP Hotel School
The ICEP Hotel School allows its students to take a deep dive into the sweet culinary world of hotels. It comes with several courses offering guided and practical online learning experiences but also on-site baking masterclasses conducted by various internationally renowned chefs.
Most of their masterclasses require online registrations, include intensive pastry training, a certificate of completion, and last up to three days.
Example 2: Upskill
Upskill teaches people on various subjects that fall under the professional development umbrella. With live events, masterclasses, training resources, and on-demand content, Upskill helps its students develop their technical and professional skills and achieve better in their careers. Their online content consists of videos, ebooks, audio, notes, assessments, and certificates.
From ethics to emotional intelligence, leadership, and communication, the school has many live events and masterclasses on various subjects lined up.
For each masterclass, people can get more information relating to its key outcomes, who can join, how it can help with CPD accreditation, and which competencies they can learn and develop from the training.
Example 3: Udemy
As an online course marketplace, Udemy is packed with online courses offered by various experts, instructors, and industry professionals. Amongst the online learning content it provides, there are also many masterclasses on popular topics ranging from digital marketing, web development, business analysis, social media, and more.
In the following masterclass example on Digital Marketing, Udemy presents lots of information regarding the training. It gives out a course description, an outline of the learning outcomes, enrollment requirements, joining in bonuses, and instructor information.
A great emphasis is given on what the course includes e.g. a total of 35,5 hours of on-demand video, 18 articles, 25 downloadable resources, full lifetime access, access on mobile and TV.
Example 4: Lewis Howes Podcasts
Lewis Howes offers a different type of masterclass that is entirely based on audio through his series of podcasts. As Lewis interviews industry leaders for The School of Greatness, he records podcast episodes that have immense value for his audience. Listeners who are interested in learning more about the topics the school explores, tune in to learn something new.
In the ‘A Masterclass in Monetizing Your Side Hustle & Personal Brand’ podcast, Lewis has a discussion with Rory Vaden – the world’s leader in the study of Reputation Strategy, who explains how to overcome the fear of selling for good.
This is an excellent example that shows how a podcast can be part of a wider masterclass session (or even a standalone product) and offer additional value to the audience.
Example 5: Masterclass.com
Masterclass.com has many notable examples to take inspiration from. The platform has a number of masterclasses, that present a series of brief video lessons taught by celebrities. In there, celebrities like Christina Aquilera and Natalie Portman are sharing their own tips and advice on the subject they know best.
One of the most popular masterclasses is Chris Voss’s Art of Negotiation. In this masterclass, as a former FBI lead hostage negotiator, Chris teaches key communication skills and strategies that people can learn to use in their daily life.
On each masterclass page, prospective learners get all the information they need including class duration, subject category, instructor intro, and lesson plan. On top of that, it shows related classes, FAQs, a class trailer, and a video class sample that can help learners get a look inside the class before they decide to join.
How to Create Your Own Masterclass With LearnWorlds
LearnWorlds comes with all the tools instructors need to be able to create, market, and sell online courses, and it can help you create your own masterclass in no time.
Let’s find out how you can do this using the LearnWorlds platform step by step:
Step 1: Sign up and log in to your LearnWorlds school
Once you have created an account with LearnWorlds, you will be able to log in and access your school dashboard. From there you need to go to the ‘Courses’ Tab on the left-side navigation menu and click on the ‘Create Course’ button.
Step 2: Create your online course
Go through the course creation wizard and choose a title for your course. Come up with a URL for your course, and select the type of access you want for your course (Paid, Draft, Coming Soon, Free or Private).
Give it a price, upload an image for it, and write a brief description. Finally, choose if you want to drip feed your course.
Step 3: Add content to your course
Once you complete the course wizard, you can start adding learning content to your course.
Go to the ‘Contents’ tab from the central navigation bar and click on ‘Add Section’. Give the first section a title e.g. ‘Introduction’, choose the type of access, give a description and click ‘Save’.
For the purposes of creating a masterclass, and allowing your students to get to know you better, a brief video introduction is the best choice (e.g. a recorded YouTube video, where you let them know who you are and what you do).
This comes down to your own preferences, so alternatively you can start adding learning activities and presenting information through an interactive video, ebook, or PDF, Soundcloud and audio clip, or a SCORM package right away.
To start adding learning activities, click on ‘Add Activity’, and under the ‘Multimedia’ tab, choose the type of content you want, write down the learning activity title and click ‘Save’.
Step 4: Create an ebook learning activity
The best way to present text-based information is by creating an ebook. Go through the same process of adding an activity, click on the ebook icon and save.
To add learning material to your ebook, you can either upload an MS Word file directly or start building content and inserting more elements to it from the right-hand side menu. Choose from headings, text, images, columns, educational blocks, embed content and links or customize it further using HTML.
Repeat the process to add more learning activities and downloadable resources for your learners e.g. PDFs.
Step 5: Set up a live lesson
Most masterclasses are conducted in real-time so that you can get that direct communication with your students, so it’s a good idea to set up a live session.
To do this, click on ‘Add Activity again, but this time go to the ‘Live Session’ tab. From there you have 3 options – either to schedule a live Zoom Meeting, Zoom Webinar, or Webex Meeting.
Choose what you prefer and connect the corresponding tool with your LearnWorlds account.
Ready to Create an Online Masterclass?
Success in a masterclass depends very much on your own teaching style, knowledge, and the ability to transmit your enthusiasm and passion for what you do.
Focusing on the potential it offers, you can invest more of your time and money in it to offer a unique learning experience to your learners. While creating a masterclass will undoubtedly need much effort on your behalf, the benefits it carries for your business are all worth it.
Are you ready to create your first online masterclass?
Get your free 30-day trial with LearnWorlds, and let us know how it goes!
Further reading you might find interesting:
Kyriaki is a Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team writing about marketing and e-learning, helping course creators on their journey to create, market, and sell their online courses. Equipped with a degree in Career Guidance, she has a strong background in education management and career success. In her free time, she gets crafty and musical.