webinar

Your Webinar After: Distribution

When we think of an “event,” most of us forget that they don’t have to be a one time thing. This is especially true if you’ve had the foresight to record them. For instance…webinars!

Not only can you host a webinar live but you can offer it as a replay or even sell it as a course.

You may ask yourself, ok so I have this recording, what are my options for ‘archiving’ or ‘distributing’ my webinar?

CDs

Arguably the most old school choice, you can save your recordings in a physical format (CDs or on a thumb drive). I completely forgot this was something we used to do until I ordered a good course I heard about a few months ago online… and got mailed a binder with notes in it, CDs (that were like DVDs I guess since they played different sections of the course), and a personalized thank you note. It was all very old school but, hey, got the message across.

Podcast

A lot of people don’t realize podcasts do not have to be an exclusively audio format- they can be video, too.

You can chop up your webinar into a series of video podcasts… or if you are going to do multiple (regular) webinars, you can use a podcast format to curate them together.

Note: You can have a one episode podcast… but everyone will wonder.

An example to show that, yes, video podcasts are a thing.

An example to show that, yes, video podcasts are a thing.



A Third Party Course Website

So there are plenty of ‘learning’ websites that people go on to learn skills: Skillshare, Lynda, etc.

Your material could go on one of these websites to be distributed by these providers. The upside is these sites are already attracting traffic of people who like webinars. The downside (if you are trying to sell something) is your relatively small cut if you are approved as a provider. (Ex: Skillshare is around $1-2/student as I understand it.)

Basically, these websites vet you as a teacher and in exchange for the marketing and customer service, they get a pretty good cut.

udemyteachers

Your Own Website

Your own website will always give you the most options. You can put your webinar behind a login screen or you can send participants/customers a unique download link via email, it’s entirely up to you.

The main takeaway: using your website, you keep more money, you do more of the customer service and marketing, you give your customers the exact experience you want them to have. And you can take the good and bad that goes along with that.

Here’s a video going over the third party option versus the on your website option:

However you decide to distribute your webinar will ensure more people will see it for your efforts. Don’t skip this step, even if you want to.


Promoting Your Webinar

So you’ve thought about the technology and content of your webinar… Now it’s time to get the people in the ‘door’…so to speak.

Like most events, most of the work is done before the event even happens. Whether you have 5 or 5000 people attend, you do the same base amount of work, so it makes sense to maximize the amount of people who know about (and will potentially attend) your webinar.

Email a ‘save the date’ to your list.

Start with what you’ve got: your customer list. Whether you have an email list, a Facebook group, or any other ‘platform’, it is good to begin getting your friends and customers excited about the event long before the webinar happens.

When they RSVP, allow them to add it to their Google calendar or share it on social media. Getting some initial interest will encourage you to go further.

Make a Facebook event and invite.

I am always surprised at how many people want a direct invite to something on Facebook. Even if publicly posted, people seem to want me to personally invite them to every workshop we do.

Hey, if that makes them come, I’ll take it. If you have a Facebook page or group, make an event and invite away! Ask your friends to pass on the invitation to those who would appreciate it.



Make several ‘teaser’ videos.

If you are going to listen to someone talk, you want to have an idea of what you are in for. So give your webinar audience an idea of what they are in for!

Post a few teaser videos, they can even be a minute or less, to let your prospective webinar attendees get to meet you and know what it’s about. Think of it as a trailer for your webinar.

If you feel bold, ask them to tag any friends who might be interested or RSVP to the event (which of course, you’ll link in each video caption like the smarty pants you are).

Add ‘calls to action’ on appropriate online properties.

Your webinar is going to be the most exciting thing you have going on while you’re leading up to the event. Think of changing things like the homepage of your website or the link in your Instagram profile to reflect this.

Also creating multiple calls to action on each social platform, multiple email sends, and multiple personal invites (online and in real life) will remind people this is coming up. Trust me, they need the reminders.



Consider ads to appropriate audiences.

Let’s say you’re doing a desk yoga webinar. Taking out a targeted ad to human resource managers of mid sized companies as an example audience may be a really smart move for you. Make sure your ad creative (the image you make to go with the promotion) seems specific to that audience only. You want them to feel like you are talking to them.

This may also be a good time to use remarketing data you’ve been collecting from Google and Facebook on your website, making a targeted ad for people who already have ‘met’ you online.

Paid ads have their place and you may find in attracting 100 more people and converting three of them to customers that your ad spend was well worth it.

Seek opportunities to cross promote.

Let’s say you’re doing a webinar on writing for the web. Consider connecting with university writing centers, libraries, and writing groups (online or off) to let them know what is happening.  They may not only promote it within their group but want to otherwise be a part of what you’re doing in your business. We’ve found involving more people, while it does take time, allows not only for a better attended webinar but a more interesting one as well.

You’ve already put in the time to create something interesting and of value for people, so it’s worth the extra time investment to spread the word and get your content in front of the right people. If you need any help/have questions about the marketing, we’re always happy to talk about that sort of thing 🙂 



Hosting A Webinar: The What

So we’ve talked about the mechanics of hosting a webinar but there is an even bigger question: What will your webinar be about?

Webinars I have seen go by:

As you can see, they range from general to specific, from regular on-demand offerings (ex: every Thursday) to one-time events.

But they all have some things in common: Most webinars are free, interactive, and offer participants a way to learn about something they care about. 

Most people have initial questions about the technology of webinars, which can feel intimidating. But once they realize the setup is doable, most people suffer another round of paralysis.

“What am I going to talk about for 30 to 90 minutes?”

We wanted to give you a couple places to start and a sample outline to frame your thinking.



Answer a question people ask you ALL the time

An example for us may be, “How do I get more people to like my Facebook business page?”

Maybe as I brainstorm, I can think of ten helpful ideas, each with a real life example illustrating the point. Add an introduction and a call to action at the end and that is easily 30 minutes of content!

Feel free to give a disclaimer. For example, you are a lawyer giving an informational session about business structures but can’t advise any individuals in the webinar with what they should do, but you still know enough to be valuable in a general sense.

Bonus is when you have a prospective customer or friend ask you this question in the future, you have a response ready to send them.



Information they can’t get anywhere else

Let’s pretend you’re getting married on an island in Maine. Can you rent portapotties there? Can the church hold 100 people? What is parking like? These questions will involve at least half a day of phone calls… unless you are an area wedding planner or caterer.

If you have informal but useful knowledge, introducing it to people in a webinar is a great ‘social proof’ that can give people the confidence to book your planning service.

Worried about giving away the milk for free? Think of narrowing this down: “Choosing Your Wedding Venue On Mount Desert Island” could not only be well attended virtually but valuable to those attending in and of itself, leaving you plenty of room to still get hired and help them with other things.



A group consulting session

If you feel brave, holding a live Q and A (maybe a brief presentation at the beginning to make sure everyone is starting with the same basic understanding of what you are talking about) can be a great format. You can have people submit questions while registering to get a little prepared but being off the cuff knowledgeable can help your webinar participants with their specific questions while showing you are intimate with your subject matter.

Note: Most people in webinars lurk rather than participate so you’ll really need to encourage people and groom them to send questions in many cases.

Much like structuring a blog post, you want your webinar subject to be specific enough to attract customers but give you enough breathing room to benefit a large group of people. 

If you have a couple ideas, take a quick Facebook or email poll of your customers about which they’d prefer to learn about. Or ask us, we are always happy to give an opinion!

In short, you know something that’s webinar worthy. Now go figure out what it is!



Hosting a Webinar: The Where

It may sound a bit crazy, but I kind of miss the “Back to School” excitement from when I was a kid, perhaps because I have a strange fascination with school supplies (to this day, brand new notebooks and bright sticky notes excite me).

Learning new things has always been fun for me, too, unless we’re talking about complex theories in physics and anything beyond second semester calculus. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of ways for me to keep on learning with the help of online resources.

Webinars are a great way to share information, for educators and students alike. A lot of businesses use webinars as a way to educate people about their products or services, and it can serve as a middle section for the sales funnel. For a more in-depth look at how webinars can help with gaining customers, check out this article from Unbounce and check out our other webinar related posts on this blog.



But, where can you create these webinars? The technology part is what stops most people… but not you of course! Here are some ideas of what technology you can use to record your webinar:

Social Media

Many of the video streaming apps we have discussed (Facebook Live, Periscope, even Snapchat) can work as an informal tutorial of sorts. Although these do not count as “webinars” they are still great ways to offer quick tutorials and other informative content. Our goal with our Tech Thursday and now Ask Us Anything Facebook Live is to answer questions our followers/customers might have.

Google

An equally easy but more formal way to host a webinar is a Google Hangout. All you’ll need are a Google+ profile and a computer or mobile device. Not only can people watch and ask questions in real time, the video will be saved on your Google+ profile for future viewers.

The downside of Google Hangouts is that you can’t make this content exclusive. You can invite who you want but anyone with the link or following your page can jump in and watch.

Extra Credit: Link your Google+ Profile and your YouTube Channel (if you have one) and your Hangout will automatically be published there once you are done recording.



Webinar Software

Webinar services (Anymeeting, GoTo Meeting, Abobe Connect, and others) has a few more bells and whistles than your free options including things like private registration and being able to offer the webinar for replay to those who have registered via email. For example AnyMeeting’s cheapest plan is $70/month or $780/year, and allows you to host 100 people per webinar. All the service options include video broadcasting, PowerPoint and PDF sharing, Live Polls, Live Chat, and Recording Hosting. In the case of AnyMeeting (and many other webinar services), a higher subscription rate offers the same services, but with an increasing number of attendees.

webinarpro

There are LOTS of options in this space. What features you want, what integrations you need (ex: for there to be interfacing with Infusionsoft), and how many people you plan to host can help you make the best choice for you.

Your Website

You can also host webinars on your own website. If you already have software built into your site to, say, support a group chat and streaming video, you may be able to do this without using third party software at all. Note: Most websites aren’t built to handle this but there exists learning management software and online course plugins to help your website become a website that can do this.

(If you want a more detailed breakdown of softwares and options, please subscribe to our email newsletter and get it right in your inbox!)

Still feel overwhelmed by buyer paralysis, some questions that will guide your decision:

  • Do you want the webinar to be available to the public or as exclusive content?
  • Do you want people to pay for access?
  • How “polished” do you want it to be? (i.e. livestreamed content that is uploaded “as-is” or something more professional?)
  • How much do you want to pay for a service? (or, how many attendees do you anticipate?)
  • What features do you need versus want?

If you are trying to decide between two pieces of software, check out online demos and attend a few webinars yourself and see what software the presenters use.

Stay tuned for more posts about webinars throughout the month!



 

Live Video: Some Considerations

You’ve been reading our posts about live video and thinking, “Hey, I want to do this!”

First of all, go you.

Second of all, besides downloading a live video app (like Periscope) and thinking about what you want to talk about, what else should you know?

Here are a few considerations, in no particular order, that we’ve learned so far in our live video adventures:

Consideration #1: WiFi will drain your battery much slower than going through your cell phone’s network.

(If you want some technical explanations why, here’s a Quora post about it.)



 

I was filming the Belt Sander Races, a local tradition that helps us all get through the winter with some humor. I had a cell signal but the 20 minute introduction of all the contenders sucked 50% of my battery. Angry fans begged me to keep filming but since I didn’t bring my backup battery, I let them down by getting only one race on tape. I know, I know.

If you can, get on the WiFi connection of wherever you are filming. If you can’t, bring a backup battery. Video over data is going to suck battery faster than other things apparently. Lesson learned, I’ll be ready next year for the Belt Sander Races.

Consideration #2: If you are hosting a webinar, consider a corded internet connection.

It’s one thing if, when you are attending a webinar, your WiFi connection resets and you miss five seconds of what the speaker says but what if the 200 people attending your webinar experience this kind of outage, even once? Not good.

You may have noticed using Periscope that the signal cuts in and out at times, and that’s to be expected. But if you are hosting a business-y webinar (something more formal or that people are paying to be at), do it over a corded internet connection to avoid latency issues. (More tips on hosting webinars here.)

Consideration #3: Experiment with timing… and tell people it’s happening WAY ahead.

There are some tools like Tweriod which will tell you when your Twitter followers are most active online, so that might be a good place to start with a time to Periscope.

But what if your Twitter followers are most active at 1 pm and you can’t Periscope at your day job? Don’t worry, just pick a time and let people know WAY AHEAD.

You can experiment with timing by trying to scope during different days/times of day and see what feedback is like. There seems to be no one, right answer for the best day/time… which is annoying but also probably accurate.

Consideration #4: Your videos are NOT automatically saved anywhere.

If you want to save your videos, you’ll have to download them to your device or use a program like Katch.me. You’ll have to also put it in your settings that you want this to be a regular thing that happens. More in this blog post about this issue but just to warn you if you did something brilliant and didn’t save it less than 24 hours after, it went *poof*forever.

If you want more tips for offering live video, this article is pretty darn useful: http://sociallysorted.com.au/21-periscope-tips-broadcasts/

This Week In Business: The Educational Edition

This week was busy at Breaking Even Communications but since I was waiting on a few different stages of some ongoing projects, I found myself with a little time for some professional development then usual. That’s right, I schooled myself!
Here’s what happened:
I attended a webinar, and actually paid attention.
Most of the time, I am quite the slacker webinar attendee. I am usually filing papers or making lunch while I listen to a presentation. When I listened to a webinar sponsored by Verizon and given by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing. I made myself get out my notebook and actively listen for the next 45 minutes.
You know, paying attention really does help you get more out of things! Being a good student paid off in some new ideas for improving my product. Partnerships with complementary organizations and video testimonials anyone?
Wish you had sat in on the fun? All of the Verizon sponsored webinars are achived here. And it looks like there are a few good ones for me to go back and listen to later.
I got a couple iBooks from a school sale for a song.
Those of you who live outside the state of Maine may not be familiar with the fact that Maine has a laptop program, which gives students 6th grade and older access to their own laptop. Beginning in grade 7 or 8, students can take it home after signing a sort of “I will be responsible and so will my parent/guardian” agreement. Every few years, the schools replace the machines, which are all Apple iBooks. To make a bit of cash (but probably more accurately, save themselves from disposal fees), the schools sell them off on the cheap, in my local case $25 a pop.

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