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⚡️ Start here: What is a Lightning Lesson?
⚡️ Start here: What is a Lightning Lesson?

A compelling free lesson that showcases your course and content

Chelsea Wilson avatar
Written by Chelsea Wilson
Updated over a week ago

⚡️ The Maven Lightning Lesson product is currently in beta. To request access, please fill out this form.

What is a Lightning Lesson?

Lightning Lessons are free 30-min workshops covering practical skills and tangible tools for tech professionals. They are created and hosted via Maven, and fully integrated with Maven's course marketing tools.

Why host a Lightning Lesson?

If you’re looking to buy a car, you’d want to test drive it first. Before buying a pair of shoes, you’d go to the store to try them on. In online learning, it’s common for course creators to offer a few free videos to show the quality of their content and style of teaching.

With Maven Lightning Lessons, you’ll find new leads, get valuable face time with your prospective students, and it’s highly leveraged.

If you're building a course, hosting a Lightning Lesson can help you to:

  • Build your waitlist: Every registrant is added as a new lead to your school waitlist, so you will be able to email them when you launch course.

  • Understand your course market-fit: Lightning Lessons are a great way to test audience interest. Based on their questions and engagement in the lesson, you get to see what topics resonate, what kind of professionals to target, and what are their biggest pain points.

  • Build your following: Building an audience is about creating value for your followers, and building an ongoing relationship with them. Hosting a Lightning Lesson every month is the ideal way to do this.

  • Establish credibility: Lightning Lessons are a perfect opportunity to share information about your professional experience, your-hard won expertise, and your credentials. This creates trust and establishes your credibility.

Sign ups for your Lightning Lesson are added to your course waitlist. As part of your waitlist, they'll receive information about your course and the automated Cohort Launch Campaign.

What's the format?

Here's the standard 30-minute format for a Lightning Lesson:

  • 2 min: Intro and icebreaker

  • 18 min: Hands-on lesson showing your framework or demo

  • 10 min: Q&A

Lightning Lessons are flexible in format, for example you can run different lessons for lead acquisition or audience activation. Here are some ideas:

  • Host a Q&A with one or several guest speakers. This will increase your audience reach.

  • Invite companies to demo their tools (eg. people in Developer Relations and Community). This will attract students looking to gain practical, applied expertise.

  • Interview senior operators in trail-blazing companies in your field. This will help attract students looking to stay at the cutting edge.

  • Talk to successful alumni from your course. Ask them to share how they used your ideas to get promoted or get new jobs. This will help convince students of the value of your course.

What topic should I teach?

The best topics are highly practical and specific so students can apply what they learned immediately. The topic should appeal to the same target audience as your course.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  1. What is a hot and trending topic in your subject matter area? Popular topics are most likely to get strong traction on social and reach new audiences.

  2. Who is the ideal student of your course and what struggle do they have? Then write a list of topics that are very close to this struggle / problem / solution space. These topics will attract audiences most likely to want to buy your course. If you have many topics, you can ask your friends/network which one is most interesting.

  3. What's the ONE big idea/framework/skill/tool from my topic? Always pick topics that are concise and actionable, meaning there is one big idea and only one. This will make your positioning and marketing easier, and allow you to quickly get into the "how". If a topic feels too broad, consider how you might split it into several topics.

👉 Check out examples of Lightning Lessons here.

How do I set up a Lightning Lesson?

Here's an article on how to set up your Lightning Lesson in Maven.

How many Lightning Lessons should I do?

We recommend doing at least one lesson during every cohort marketing period, but doing more is likely to improve your sales. For example, many successful instructors run a different lesson every week for a month, for a total of 4 lessons during their cohort marketing period.

If you are actively building your personal brand, we recommend doing a lesson every month, even outside of your course marketing period.

Can I repeat the same lesson?

Every lesson is recorded and available to watch on-demand. You can reuse your Lightning Lessons as an evergreen lead magnet in your marketing. This means there isn't a strong benefit to running the exact same event live. You're more likely to attract new leads and keep your existing ones engaged with fresh, new topics.

That said, many instructors repeat a lesson in order to improve it, in an iterative approach.

Big picture: Lightning Lessons are a strategy for continuous marketing outreach. It's an opportunity to keep building your personal brand, responding to changes in your professional field, engaging with and learning about your audience. Frequently repeating the same lesson is not the ideal way to achieve this, although it can make sense to repeat a very successful lesson a few times a year.

How do I promote my Lightning Lesson?

Here is a detailed guide on how to market your Lightning Lesson including templates for social and email.

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