Marie Kondo is on a mission to help people organize their world by organizing their homes. Her approach to tidying is rooted in a single question: Does this item spark joy? The Emmy-nominated Tokyo native launched her first consulting business at just 19 years old, while still studying at university. That business has since grown into the KonMari empire, with a pair of award-winning Netflix shows and four (count ‘em!) best-selling books.
Following that success, Marie and her KonMari team have developed an online course that brings the details of the KonMari Method to life. “Most know KonMari from our Netflix series or Marie’s best-selling book, but the course gives viewers a direct line to Marie and her methods. It’s the next best thing to an in-person consultant experience,” says KonMari’s Director of Publishing and Corporate Planning, Kay Amano. The ten-episode “Fundamentals of Tidying” course is powered by Vimeo OTT – and features Marie herself walking viewers through every detail of the tidying process.
The course, which has been purchased by thousands of organizational enthusiasts, is an invaluable resource for those looking to spark more joy in their lives. But it’s also a helpful blueprint for all kinds of course creation, whether you’re teaching guitar or onboarding new employees.
Read on for Marie Kondo-backed tips for designing an online course that, well, sparks joy.
1. Keep it short and digestible
A key element of the KonMari Method is to break tasks into smaller pieces to keep people from feeling overwhelmed. The KonMari team translates this approach to their videos by keeping each video lesson short, digestible, and categorized. Watching the course takes less than two-thirds of the time it takes to read the book, and each video clocks in at under ten minutes each.
“If you take the audiobook, it’s four and a half hours per book. With our course, we were able to condense the content down to 75 minutes. That is how we initially started this project, to make sure that we had visual guides that are easy, digestible, bite sized content for people to be able to actually go through the entire Tidying journey.”– Kay Amano, Director of Publishing and Corporate Planning
The course is also optimized to be highly browsable, so viewers can choose the “chapter” of their lives they need help organizing at the moment.
Takeaway: No matter what kind of course you’re creating, keeping it easily navigable and brief is crucial to engaging viewers. Try to keep runtimes short, and each video focused on a specific topic or theme.
2. Give the people what they want
KonMari developed its video course after surveying existing customers on where they were in their tidying journey, how much they would be willing to pay for a visual guide, and exactly what they most wanted to know about tidying. They also reached out to their community on social media, taking advantage of online feedback from fans.
“We also did a lot of social listening. People were constantly either DMing us or commenting on our posts and asking, ‘How do I do this? How do I do that?’ That helped us really understand what our followers wanted and needed.”– Kay Amano
Takeaway: When developing a course of your own, take the time to understand your audience’s needs. Utilizing email surveys, social listening, and even 1:1 conversations is crucial to making sure you’re making something that meets a need.
3. Make it visual
The KonMari Method is laid out in great detail in Marie’s many books and series, but for visual learners, words on a page just won’t do. “The second book had some illustrations, but didn’t really go into depth other than around her folding techniques,” says Kay. “A lot of people said, ‘How do I store this? How do I fold this? I want to see it in action.’ That’s when we decided to launch the course, to allow people to go through the basics.”
Takeaway: When designing a course of your own, think ‘show, don’t tell’ whenever possible. “This kind of visual is much, much better than just reading a book,” says Takeo Yagi, Vice President of Operations.
4. Prioritize accessibility
As the international “Queen of Clean,” Marie speaks to a global audience. Her bestselling books have been translated into 40 languages, and she has many fans in different countries whose primary language may not be English or Japanese.
Marie speaks Japanese with English subtitles in the “Fundamentals of Tidying” video course, which then allows the KonMari team to provide translation to people in over 100 countries who have purchased the course.
“Because we can’t ship internationally yet, this course is a great offering for our audience. It can reach our international customers when our more tangible products can’t. It allows us to go farther than just the U.S.”– Patti Ni, Director of Growth Marketing
Takeaway: Whether you’re catering to a global audience or not, providing tools like audio descriptions and subtitles are crucial to expanding your reach and increasing your accessibility.
5. Offer supplementary content
The KonMari team thinks of their tidying course as a supplement to the rest of the content their brand offers. “Everything starts by knowing Marie. That’s through Instagram and our Netflix show,” says Takeo. “The next is the book — learning the KonMari Method. For people who try the Method by themselves, our Vimeo course is there to help. But we also offer consultants, for those who tried to do it alone but need some help. Each step leads into the next, but it’s also pretty clearly separated.”
In addition to orienting their course as a step along the larger KonMari journey, the team also uses Vimeo OTT’s “Extras” feature to provide free, supplemental content alongside their course. By offering support throughout every step of the way, KonMari is able to build both buy-in and trust with their audience and keep them engaged as lifelong customers.
“It’s really important to embrace the why versus just the how,” says Kay. “This course really tackles both. ‘Here’s how you do it, but this is also why you want to do it, all the way from beginning to 10.’ That’s really part of the message and applies to everything that we do at the company.”
Takeaway: Your video course is the main dish, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer a few tantalizing sides to go along with it. Consider what else your viewers might need during their journey, and provide it!