Content is king – I know you’ve heard this a million times.
But who said your content only needs to be a blog post, an eBook or an email course?
How about running a live webinar with your audience?
It’s great for your brand image, connects you with your audience at a more personal level and helps you build dozens of new connections and relationships. Niche leaders and industry gurus like Neil Patel leverage webinars regularly for lead generation. In fact, Neil generated 74,381 visitors, 16,394 leads and $1,638,000 in revenue from webinars in 1 year. These are serious numbers and, of course, beyond the reach of most bloggers early in their careers.
But even if you’re a newbie blogger, webinars might just be the shortcut you need to skyrocket your growth. You can use webinars to connect with influencers and establish yourself as an authority.
So if you’re thinking of conducting a webinar, here are a few tips to help you get going.
1. Develop a Webinar Plan
Conducting webinars is similar to holding real life presentations. Both can make you panic and both can make you look awkward if things go wrong. So you need to be well-prepared before you actually kick off your first webinar. I recommend attending a few webinars yourself first. See how the top guys in the industry are using webinars to engage their audience, what’s their tone, how much content they are presenting, what’s the duration of their webinar etc. Based on your learnings, develop an outline for your webinar and list the main points that you plan to cover.
2. Focus on One Problem Only
Focusing on one burning issue of your target audience and then addressing it comprehensively is the key to successful webinars. It’s similar to how you create an eBook. You choose one issue and then dissect it for your audience. As a newbie, it’s easy to get overawed by the occasion and divert from the core topic. Don’t make that mistake. But since webinars are interactive platforms, you might get questions or requests that are not directly related to the core content of your webinar. Share your email address with the participants and respond to such queries after the webinar. You can also share links to reliable resources that can help your audience (here’s a good example) or free tools that can give them immediate value (like this business tool)
3. Choose a Flexible Webinar Platform
I’ve seen many potentially great webinars go wrong just because of the webinar platform. Choose your webinar wisely because the wrong selection can ruin all your hard work. Here are the key things to consider.
- It should have a simple registration process
- Your audience can be anywhere, using any devices. So your platform should support both mobile and desktop users.
- It should integrate well with social media so that you can get the word out.
- It should integrate with your mailing list and blog.
- You should be able to record the webinar for later use
- You should get detailed stats of your webinar participants so that you can draw further actions from them.
Google+ Hangouts On Air is a free platform that can be used for webinars. It does have some limitations but it’s a great place to start if you’re a newbie. But if you’re looking to provide a more professional webinar experience to your audience, with customized branding and many other webinar specific features, ClickWebinar is also a great option that is used by some of the top bloggers and corporations. Whichever solution you choose, make sure it provides a smooth and error free webinar experience to your audience and puts you in their good books.
4. Use Outreach To Maximize Webinar Attendance
There are thousands of blogs on the web with millions of combined readers. But very few blog owners get the time to offer free products or trainings to their readers. You can take advantage from this. Shortlist the most relevant blogs in your niche and reach out with your webinar offer. In my experience, targeting the mid-range bloggers (those with a higher social media and blog following than yours) gets you the most responses. Don’t go for the top influencers. They’re already short on time and receive such offers every day.
Send an outline of your webinar to your target bloggers and ask them to share it with their followers. Highlight how your webinar will give value to their readers. If you also plan to sell a product at the end of your webinar, offer affiliate commissions to your target bloggers on every referral sale.
5. Add a Bit of Humor to the Mix
Nobody likes listening to boring lectures. Your webinar needs to engage your audience in a fun way. So maintain a light tone from the start. It’s natural to be nervous in your first webinar. Just share your feelings with the audience. There’s nothing wrong in telling them that it’s a big occasion for you. As long as you deliver the content that you promised, your participants won’t care if you’re a bit nervous.
6. Summarize the Key Points and Encourage Discussion
Webinars can drag easily and it’s important to stick to your agenda. Ideally, it should not exceed the original time limit. But still you can’t always guarantee that everything will go according to plan. So it’s important that you clearly summarize the key points and takeaways of your webinar at the end. Tell your audience in bullet points what their next actions should be. Tell them how they can use this information to achieve their business objectives. At the same time, encourage discussion and answer as many questions as you can. This is a great opportunity to interact with your audience in real time and understand their key issues.
7. Use the Webinar for Future Content
Conducting webinars is a two way learning process. It’s not just your audience who’re there to learn. You’d also get to learn a lot of new things about your target audience, their needs, their actual problems and how you can resolve them. After you’re done with the webinar, structure this information and use it to extract future content ideas for more webinars and blog posts. You can share your learnings in a series of blog posts, or create an eBook or a case study for your audience. In short, use every webinar to create more useful content.
Content marketing has been evolving rapidly over the last few years. Many leading bloggers are now shifting from just written content to visual media. By integrating webinars in your content strategy, you can brand yourself as a niche leader, build a much closer relationship with your audience and develop a dedicated blog following much more quickly than simple text based blogging. Even if you’re a newbie, this can open new opportunities for you – try it!