The situation is far too familiar. An entrepreneur with a stockpile of blog posts and recorded interviews decides that creating marketable products is the next step in the entrepreneurial journey. Not being familiar with content development or what it takes to put an ebook, book, workbook, or course together, the decision is made to outsource the process. There must be someone who can create effective products from random ideas, right?
The description above is more indicative of someone who needs a magician, not a content creator. Content creators and instructional designers do their best work when their clients have a well-defined and organized message. Chances are good that you've never applied educational strategy to your products or services. You need to understand this process related to your content. Otherwise, you'll be looking for a magician.
In 1956, Benjamin Bloom and a team of collaborators developed a framework for categorizing educational goals. This framework is called Bloom's Taxonomy. The taxonomy helps us understand how learners work with information. The process is sequential, so skipping steps isn't allowed.
This presents an interesting situation for many subject matter experts. They suffer from the Curse of Knowledge—they don't know what it's like to not know what they know. Therefore, they present information at a more complex level than many people in their audience can understand. This explains the high attrition rates in most online courses.
So, let's use the six steps in Bloom's Taxonomy as a tool for communicating your ideas.
LEVEL ONE: REMEMBER
This is the simple act of recognizing or recalling information. When it comes to your products or ideas, you want people to recall or remember why they need it. No matter how simplistic you think this step is, you can't move forward without it.
LEVEL TWO: UNDERSTAND
If I understand something, I can interpret it or explain it to someone else. This requires me to grasp the basic functionality or benefits of a product or idea. This isn't expert knowledge, but it is one step beyond rote memorization.
LEVEL THREE: APPLY
This describes the ability to implement an idea or use a product or service. Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs start here and wonder why people aren't excited about what they have to offer. People can't get here without the previous two steps.
LEVEL FOUR: ANALYZE
When people are at this point, they can separate complex ideas into smaller parts. They can compare and contrast similar ideas and quickly identify variations or innovative uses.
LEVEL FIVE: EVALUATE
Using the information gathered in the previous steps, learners can view the world through the lens of this new knowledge. They can connect this idea, product, or service to real situations in their lives and identify benefits of using it.
LEVEL SIX: CREATE
Learners can plan and produce new ideas and products based on the knowledge gained in the educational process. These people become the biggest proponents of your product, service, or idea.
Entrepreneurs want customers who are at level six. They want to see their products, services, and ideas being used in many different ways. This can happen for you if you learn how to use the six steps in Bloom's Taxonomy to describe your specialty.
So, here are five questions you need to answer about your specialty...
A content creator or instructional designer can't bring more clarity to your ideas than you already have. If you aren't clear about your message, you need a coach, not a content creator.