A strong, effective personal brand has several benefits. It can establish you as a thought leader, attract attention from prospective employers and be leveraged to grow at your current employer. Hosting a webinar, or webinar series, is a great way to gain exposure.
Webinars are one of the tools most used by people and brands in the personal marketing niche, and for good reason. Entrepreneurs use webinars in many ways to strengthen their following, and executives can use webinars to propel their career forward.
Why should you hold a webinar?
- Generate trust, increase credibility and raise brand awareness
- Position yourself as an industry expert, opening up new opportunities
- Increase visibility, create new connections, and generate new leads
5 Steps to Hosting a Successful Webinar:
Choose a topic.
Choosing a topic can be overwhelming. If you don’t know where to start, poll your network via social media, e-mail and surveys and simply ask them what they’d like to know about from someone with your background and experience. Brainstorm by considering your sales needs, your customers’ needs, your company’s needs, industry trends and training gaps. See if you can find some fresh angles.
Once you have a list of possible topics, niche down as much as possible. It might seem counteractive to choose a very niched topic, but you are likely to get a more engaged audience and with a webinar, it really is quality over quantity because it is the more engaged audience members that will convert to sales or meaningful connections.
If you are extremely comfortable with a topic and don’t have a lot of time to put into preparing a webinar, do an open Q&A; your audience will stay engaged and glean powerful information, and you’ll establish yourself as an expert. You can also take some of the pressure off yourself – and provide a great resource to your audience – by hosting a panel discussion of some relevant issue in your industry.
Create great content.
Nothing is worse than a boring, irrelevant, or purely fluff webinar. The average attention span of a typical audience is about 10 minutes; webinar audiences are even less because they likely have other screens open or are getting dinged by text and e-mail. So you need to capture your audience’s attention immediately, and keep it.
Don’t be fooled into thinking people care deeply about you and your brand, or even your services. They care about themselves. They want to know how you are going to make their lives easier, make them money, make them look smarter, or give them some kind of advantage. Your presentation should clearly show your audience what their problem is and that you are going to deliver the solution.
Effectively deliver that great content.
Not only should you make sure you are solving a problem for your audience, but you want to be sure they trust the solution. Using interesting facts, research, graphics and examples are all important, but people remember and connect to presentations more when they hear a story. Tell your own story, use others’ success stories, even tell a metaphorical story. Your audience will digest the message more easily if it’s told in the form of a story.
Use “you” statements instead of “I” statements. For example, instead of “I’ll be talking about…,” say “You’ll be learning about…” Interact with your audience, use humor, vary your tone and pace. Speak clearly, and don’t rush because you will seem nervous. Practice your presentation so that you sound relaxed and natural.
You might also consider creating an easy victory to keep people engaged: during the presentation have your attendees take some sort of action in which they get an immediate, positive result. A great example would be to have them post something pertinent on their social media account; undoubtedly, others will react pretty quickly.
Finally, be sure you have a great slide deck but resist the urge to read from the slides. People will “check out” as soon as you start doing that. Let the slides speak for themselves, and keep your script discussion-based instead by adding details and telling stories.
Find the appropriate platform for your goals.
There are some free platforms – like Google Hangouts, YouTube or Twitch Live – and those will work if you want to do something with few frills or if you are just starting out.
But you’ll likely want more from your platform. You want to choose something that is easy to use, reliable and affordable. Webinar platforms have all kinds of options like interesting video and audio tools, analytics tracking dashboards and different presentation features. Choosing a platform that has attractive appearance settings, might seem cursory, but take it a step further and look for a platform that does other jobs for you like meeting organization, paid room features, and other meeting-related tasks. Some of the most popular paid sites include GoToWebinar, EasyWebinar, WebinarNinja, Demio, WebinarJam, EverWebinar and ClickMeeting.
Gather your audience.
Now that you’ve created a great webinar, make sure you have great attendance. Generate a buzz by using different social media platforms; not just on your own pages, but pages your audience frequents. E-mail marketing is another tried and true method, but you can even add a tagline and link on your signature so that every person you e-mail with has the information.
Another advantage of webinars is that they can live on after the event. Be sure to record the webinar so that your audience can freely access it later to further digest the information. You can also offer the recording paid to those that did not attend the webinar. Further, you can also repurpose your script and presentation into new content in the form of a blog post series or a series social media posts.
See how the experts do it! Check out our live and on-demand classes and webinars.