How to start teaching online: A quickstart guide

Updated: Apr 15, 2020




Invest in a revenue stream that can continue to pay off long after we're all back at our dance studios.


Contents:

  1. Marketing for online dance professionals

  2. Online class prep for dance professionals

  3. Streaming for online dance professionals

  4. Getting paid for online dance professionals



(By the way, none of the links or recommended services below are paying us for your clicks! We just genuinely think they're useful.)



Marketing for online dance professionals


Guided by | Courtney Mansell | Web designer at courtneymansell.com


I [am online]; therefore I am.


Right now, there's no convenient and stable job-finding option for lindy hop teachers seeking work. The standard job sites don't exactly have listings for lindy hop instructors and dance companies don't often post jobs for them. Until now, your main avenues are restricted to (1) your immediate social media circle/word of mouth and (2) exposure on youtube.


It's time to place yourself on a more strategic, practical, and integrated path to getting jobs.


The following tools will not only help you get hired, they'll help you look like the stunning true professional that you already are while making communicating about that profession so much easier.



Use Swing Hire. (😉 of course)


I can't tell you we're not biased, but getting on Swing Hire is the first step in counting yourself among those ready to keep the dance going! The more dance teachers sign up, the more Swing Hire can be considered the go-to place to find the right instructor. It provides all kinds of ways to stand out in the crowd, get discovered, and get back to work. Sign up for a free instructor membership now.

Make a website


Website Builders

You can make a free, and quite-nearly-free website on

You can also host recorded classes, earn income, and display basic info about yourself on these online teaching platforms:

Great scheduling and booking tools that you can link to or embed on your website:


Wix (where this website was made) is my favorite. What's great with Wix:

  1. Wix is a lot like swing dancing: In just a few hours, even brand newbies can master enough of it to have a good time. So it's great for those with zero web experience. Likewise, it offers enough artistic freedom and advanced capabilities to keep a seasoned web professional learning for years.

  2. Wix has the most extensive network of free quality tutorials of any website builder I've ever seen. 98% of the times that I google "Wix how to [scary complicated task]" there is a ridiculously easy tutorial showing how to get it done.


Other tips for web design: make it organized, actually include contact information, and test it on mobile.

Engage with Social Media.


Meet people where they already go. I recommend creating a professional dance page on facebook, instagram, youtube, and twitter.


Build the relationship.

A professional social media presence isn't about hunting for likes; it's about cultivating honest, meaningful, and brand-relevant conversations in order to build trust with your customers. That doesn't mean you shouldn't straight up advertise on your page (you should); it just means you need to keep the main thing the main thing: Building the relationship with your customers.


The 80/20 Rule.

The best rule I've found for keeping the relationship the priority is to use the 80/20 rule. That means that 80% of the stuff you post contains zero advertising, but instead offers something useful, relevant, or entertaining to your readers. For example: a video of a performance you're in, a blog you wrote, or just a high-quality dad-joke. This shows people who you are, builds trust, and only serves to amplify your message when it finally does come time to advertise your classes.

Hootsuite.

Used by professional social media managers across the globe, Hootsuite has a great free plan and makes your social-media-life easy by giving you the power to

  1. post to multiple social platforms all from one place at one time.

  2. schedule your posts in advance so you can do a whole month's worth of posts in a just few hours.



Start networking.


Net. WORK. IT. honey.


Get people rooting for you. Tell your friends and family how you're just starting out on your online marketing journey and you're trying to get noticed; ask them to share your website or reshare something you've posted.


Cross-promote: Identify the dance schools, dance venues, and other teachers whose work you really believe in. Ask them how you can cross-promote for mutual benefit. This might take the form of anything from you both simply making a post about the other, or that you offer classes under the banner of a school (eg "Check out DanceSchool because I'm teaching a class for them!" and "Check out InstructorPerson because they're teaching our class this week!").



Online class prep for dance professionals

Interview with | Kevin St Laurent & Jo Hoffberg | Lindy hop instructors at joandkevin.com and iLindy.com



1. How does your approach change when teaching is streamed or pre-recorded, versus done in-person? Are there any differences you didn't expect when you first started?

This biggest difference is the energy that the video can project. If you think you’re being overly happy/excited/positive it’s probably not enough. Kevin filmed an entire DVD in 2003 and only a week later after viewing the footage realized that it was all unusable. So be sure to do some tests and then watch yourself afterwards before releasing.

2. What advice might you give to long-time teachers, new-time online teachers?

Embrace the technology you are using. Recorded classes don’t need tons of repetition. Do it/say it once and then move on. If the student didn