Admittedly, the thought of starting a webinar series seems overwhelming. Mostly because there’s always the fear that no one will show up.
Well I’m going to tell you a little secret about webinars: even if no one shows up, you still have a piece of content you can market and share to build up your expertise.
Of course, a full audience would be ideal, but if you take the pressure off yourself by thinking about how you can repurpose webinars, then the prospect seems a lot less daunting. To start a webinar series that you can both repurpose and a lot of people attend when it’s live take a lot of hard work, but with some preparation, you can launch a webinar series that can help you grow your audience, customers, and website traffic.
Make webinars less intimidating by listing out topic ideas first. Often this is the hardest part, while the smaller details like tools and setup take less time and can usually be done by someone else on the team, if needed.
In The One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothand, she recommends first listening out top level topics that are based on either what you offer or what your clients ask you about most. Once you do that, calculate how many webinars you want to do for the year (or quarter, or whatever amount of time you’re planning for). Then, divide that number by how many upper-level topics you’ve listed. For instance, if you want to do two webinars a month (24) and have eight topics written down, that would be three sub-topics under the main topic.
Your next step is to fill in those sub-topics. You can use a Word document, a note-taking app like Evernote, pen and paper, or a spreadsheet– whichever is easiest for jotting down ideas quickly. If your high-level topic was “Social Media 101” your sub-topics could be: how to launch Facebook ads, how to figure out which social media platforms to use for your business, and how to create social media images.
Now you have your webinar topics for the year! Congrats!
Decide on a Format
Before you start creating the content, figure out your format. This could be a sole presenter, walk-through tutorial, interview, or a collaborative presentation. The formats obviously don’t have to be the same for every webinar, but it’s nice to know ahead of time which format you are using.
- Sole Presenter: the traditional webinar format– one presenter using screenshare and/or video to give their presentation with slides.
- Walk-Through Tutorial: Using screenshare to walk the audience through something in real-time.
- Interview: Two or more people, where one is interviewing the others.
- Collaborative Presentation: Two or more presenters that take turn doing their presentations, all in a single webinar.
On your brainstorming document, mark the format of each idea if you want time to organize them in advance. This is especially the case if you’ll need to find additional presenters or interview subjects.
The tools needed to create a webinar are good to know in advance so you know what kind of platform you are creating a webinar for. Some platforms have unique specifications, so it’s good to know what you’ll be working with to save time and energy.
Here are some of the tools you’ll need and recommendations for each:
- Webinar Platform: WebinarJam, GoToWebinar
- Hardware: HD webcam, lapel microphone, headphones if you’ll be talking with others, computer with strong internet connection, chargers for computer and other hardware as needed
- Promotion Scheduling: Sprout Social, Buffer, DrumUp.io, MeetEdgar
- Presentation Creation: SlidesCarnival, Google Slides Templates, PowerPoint
Create a Schedule
Start putting live dates to each of your webinars, according to your desired schedule that you outlined previously. Having real, concrete dates attached to webinars makes you much more likely to stick with them, as you can think about it as a deadline for a performance you can’t back out of. If you have one, put these topics and their assigned dates in your editorial calendar.
If you don’t have an editorial calendar, you can save a new copy of this one to use and modify as you need it.
Once you have these set, why not make it public? Public accountability will ensure that these webinars go out, and it gives more people time to sign up. You can list the webinars and link to the next few for users to sign up for immediately. For most webinar platforms, you have to schedule the webinar before you can get a link to the registration sign-up page. If the dates don’t need to be flexible, do these in batches so there’s more available to sign up for at once by interested audience members.
Start Creating Your Presentation
Start working your way down the list, creating a realistic timeline of when things will get done. It brings out the optimist in all of us to plan a bunch of content all at once, but think about other work commitments and how long it usually takes to create content. Having realistic deadlines is much less stressful for everyone involved. Outline how long it will take to complete each step, and then work backward to get your deadlines.
A timeline, depending on your business and team members, could be something like this:
- Schedule webinar on webinar platform: 1 week
- Create presentation: 2 weeks
- Test and review presentation with peers for feedback, make changes: 1 week
- Schedule social media shares to promote event: 1 week
- Run webinar: 1 day (live day)
Some of these steps, like testing and social media scheduling, can be done concurrently. Once you have your due dates and have assigned out all the tasks to the applicable people, they can start putting the webinar together.
It’s Go Time
As the plan comes together, it’s go time! On the day of the webinar, make sure all tech works okay (test webcam, mics, and internet speed), and have someone either live tweet the webinar or schedule out tweets with a webinar series hashtag that will go out during your presentation. Start on time, no matter how many audience members you have logged on, and make sure you record it for republishing afterward.
Make sure you leave time at the end for audience questions. It’s good to have a moderator the day of the webinar so they can moderate questions and send them to the presenter. At the end, be sure to promote your next webinar or piece of content.
After your webinar is done, there’s a few things you can do to make the content you just created last longer:
- Repost videos on Facebook, YouTube, and other video platforms
- Share a recap image on social media
- Write a recap post with the embedded recorded video on your blog
- Write additional content based on feedback or questions, as needed.
Creating a successful webinar series takes a lot of hard work and planning, but it can be a great way to grow your email list, share your expertise, and gather leads for your business. While those with pre-existing large audiences will admittedly have an easier time getting a webinar following faster, creating good content for your industry won’t be ignored, if you’re properly promoting it and getting it out in front of your audience.