What comes to mind when you hear the word “webinar"?
Due to either tuning into a webinar or trying to host one yourself, you probably think of an hour-long live video stream of helpful information....that eventually ends in a sales pitch.
We’ve been conditioned to believe that the only way to use a webinar for our business is to sell. (And I don’t know about you, but that’s annoying from an attendee perspective and overwhelming from a host perspective!)
But webinars don’t have to be used solely for promotion. They don’t have to be hosted once in a blue moon. And they definitely don’t have to be salesy.
A non-salesy weekly webinar series can not only benefit but transform your business.
Episode 8 Livestream Replay
Episode 8 Podcast
Ellechat is now available on iTunes! Listen to the episode by clicking the link below and be sure to subscribe to stay up to date on new episodes.
Lauren Hooker: Hey, guys and welcome to Ellechat. I'm so glad that you all are tuning in on this Thursday afternoon.
I'm just going to jump into the content. Why I wanted to talk about this topic. This is something that I wanted to talk about for a really long time. Why do I host these weekly webinars? What are the benefits and why don't we see more people hosting weekly webinars? That is what has really blown my mind because there is so many benefits of hosting webinars in general but especially hosting weekly webinars. I actually stumbled into weekly webinars. If you all have been following along with Elle & Company for any length of time, maybe back to before January of last year, you might remember Ellechats being on Twitter.
That was great. I did Twitter chats, which used to be a lot more popular. People would tune in for an hour. I'd have a topic, I'd ask questions, people would retweet the question and then answer the question, and it was really great for engagement and just getting to know people in the Elle & Company community, in the audience. It wasn't super visual, you were limited into how many words you could say, and I really wanted a visual platform. I wanted to be able to teach more. I love being able to foster conversation, and I still love doing that, through the comments section, the questions of weekly webinars.
I really wanted the video component too, and we'll see in a second that, that's the way everything is headed. If you've been paying attention to Facebook, Instagram, everything is headed toward a live video component and so, webinars are awesome for that. Why I made the switch, number one, I wanted a visual outlet, especially for a creative business. If you are in a creative business that's very visual, whether it is design, event planning, photography, web design, whatever it might be, webinars give you a visual outlet. I love being able to share these slides. I love being able to share my screen.
Webinars are awesome for that. I also wanted to invite guests on, and I wanted to be able to teach information like I said while maintaining that live interaction that I was getting in the weekly Ellechats on Twitter. I also saw that no one else was doing this, so I thought it was a cool opportunity to try something different and differentiate myself from everyone else in the industry because I saw people doing podcasts, and I saw people using webinars to sell, primarily to sell, and I had ... I just wanted to do something different. At that time, when I moved in to webinars, I had no idea how many added benefits there would be from making a switch to webinars, and I continue to come across more and more benefits.
I had to narrow it down today because we only have an hour, and I wanted to be able to answer your questions, but I continue to come across ways that these Ellechats have really benefited and transformed Elle & Company, and I don't say that lightly. You might have seen webinars before and maybe even participated in webinars, that are basically tools to sell. You jump into a webinar, you're promised a bunch of tips and tricks and strategies and you get there and there might be a couple of good tips in the beginning and then they start into a sales pitch. That's not only annoying for attendees, but I have even considered doing these types of webinars in the past, and it's been really overwhelming.
I am not a good sales person and so, I like to use these webinars a little bit differently. I love just to provide helpful content, week after week, like I would in a podcast or in blog post or in newsletters and do it in a visual format, and just give people tons of helpful content, and I do this for a few reasons. Here is some of the benefits of hosting a weekly webinar if you aren't convinced.
The Benefits of Weekly Webinars
1 | Increased engagement and trust
This is huge, and I can't stress enough just how important trust is. I know I say this week after week, probably a couple of times in each webinar.
I can't stress enough that if people don't trust you, they aren't going to buy from you. They're not going to book your services, they're not going to buy your courses, they're not going to purchase your products. They're not going to connect with you and engage with you and buy from you, if they don't trust you and so weekly webinars are a fantastic way to build trust, and they're also super engaging. Did you know, just a little fact. I thought these statistics were crazy, but I don't doubt them. Live video is more appealing to brand audiences and here is some statistics that back that up, 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog.
This is easy to know why. This kind of content, video content, is much easier to digest than sitting down and reading a blog post, while you might not be able to watch a video when you're at work and listen to the audio, maybe blog posts are better in that situation, but most people would much rather sit down and watch than read along blog posts. That's the way it's headed. It's easier to digest. It doesn't really feel like work and 82% of people prefer live video from a brand to even social post and that's why you see things popping up like Facebook Live and Instagram Live and that sort of thing.
It's easy to understand why. People prefer live video because it's unscripted content from the host. You can even hear me saying um, this is not scripted. I'm talking to you like I would be talking to you if we were out for coffee and talking one-on-one. Yeah, it's more personable and more relatable. When you're on a webinar, people get to see your mannerisms. They get to hear your voice. I think it's funny that people who followed along with the Elle & Company blog for a long time, when they come in and hear my voice for the first time on a webinar or on Facebook Live or Instagram Stories, they're always surprised by my Southern accent, which is hilarious.
You get to know me a little bit better through tuning in to an Ellechat because you get to hear my voice, and you get to see my mannerisms and, hopefully, it starts to feel like you know me, and the same would be true for you with weekly webinars. People start to feel like they know you and that build stress. You also have the participation aspect of live video rather than recorded video. When it's live, you can tune in, in the comments, I can read your comments and interact with you. You can ask questions, you can participate in the polls.
There's a lot of options for engagement when you do a live video as opposed to recorded video, that's cleaned up, that's scripted, not as personable and feels a little bit more salesy, whereas live video, is a lot more informal, doesn't feel salesy and encourages participation and whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, live video is the future for businesses, that's the way it's headed. Rita says, she's part of the 20% who doesn't prefer video over reading a blog post, and I could probably relate to that. I love reading but statistics show that we are the minority, Rita, and everyone else is headed toward live videos, you better jump onboard.
When you host weekly webinars, the result is that your audience begins to feel like they know you. They feel like you're a trusted friend. If they do end up meeting you in person, they're really not surprised because they feel like they know you already. They also begin to experience your teaching style first hand. If you hope to move in to coaching, if you hope to move in to courses, speaking engagement, even with your clients, if you do design work like I do people can see your teaching style, see your mannerisms and see all of that and get a good idea of what to expect if they hire you.
I also love weekly webinars because I hate selling and so I love blog posts and newsletters because you can sell more organically. If you're a business owner, you have to get over not wanting to sell, but you don't have to do it in a super salesy way. Weekly webinars allow you to organically talk about your products and your services, they can actually come up when you're talking about certain topics. You can gear your topics around your products and services in a more organic way. You can start planting seeds for new offerings. You can do it in a way that's authentic while still being strategic.
It doesn't have to be manipulative, and it definitely doesn't have to feel salesy. Your audience also starts to trust you because you're providing value. They go into a weekly webinar, and they don't feel like they're being sold to every single time or that you want to take from them, instead you're giving to them, so they're naturally going to want to sign up for weekly webinars because you're giving them free content, and you're helping them, and they will also start to prioritize your content. They'll start, hopefully some of you ... I know Suzanne tunes in almost every single week to these Ellechats from Norway.
They mark out that time in their calendar and start to make it part of their routine. They start to prioritize your weekly webinars like they would a TV show, that comes on every week. That's the hope, is that you get that kind of engagement, you build that kind of trust with people that they want to come back week after week and that makes it so much easier when it comes time to offer something new, to launch a new product or service and go to sell it, it'll be so much easier. A couple of ways of engagement ... Denmark, I'm sorry, Suzanne, I should've known that but after I said it, I was like, "Man, I think I botched that." I'm so sorry. I won't forget it now.
You can see in this Crowdcast window, and I took a screenshot of it for those of who are watching the webinar, just the ability to ask a question, I already have seven questions in here from you all that I'm excited to answer. The ability to ask polls and have the comments section, leads to more engagement in these webinars and allows me to interact with each one of you personally, which is a lot of fun.
2 | An influx of new email subscribers
This is something that wasn’t even really on my radar. Although it should have been, when I first started.
I wasn't putting a ton of time and effort into growing my mailing list and honestly, at that time, January of 2016, I was just starting to buy-in to the benefits of starting a mailing list and later that year, I would run validation sequence and do a launch through it and be totally convinced but at that time, I didn't switched over to doing weekly webinars for this reason. However, if you look here, every single time that someone signs up for an Ellechat webinar, they sign up with their email and their name and so, I know who's tuning in. I can't automatically add those emails to my list, that's illegal, but what I do is I connect Crowdcast to ConvertKit through using Zapier to connect the two and to end up sending them an email saying, "If you sign up for this Ellechat ..." so all of you who tunes in, who are tuning in to the Ellechat right now and tuning in live to the webinar, or you're watching the replay, have already seen this, I can't automatically add your email address to my list, but I do send you an email that says, "If you enjoy this Ellechat, you'll probably enjoy my weekly newsletter," and I give them the opportunity to click a button and opt-in to the newsletter.
You can see that as of last week, I had nearly 6,000 newsletter subscribers simply from Ellechat registrations, which is awesome. I didn't have to do any extra work to grow my list, actually. This is one of the best ways and simplest ways and most effective ways that I found for growing the Elle & Company list. I have found ... I need to do a little bit more research on this and pull up the numbers to prove it to you all, maybe in a blog post in the future but I found that the people who subscribed to the list from the Ellechat are way more engaged and end up opening more of my emails and clicking on links and that sort of thing.
This has been so incredibly helpful. Here's a look at my incentive email. I'm about to fix this too because I realized that you all get an email every single time you sign up for an Ellechat, that invites you to subscribe to the newsletter, even if you've already subscribed, so I'm so sorry about that. Thank you all for bearing with me. You can see in the message, it says, "Thanks so much for signing for an Ellechat. If you enjoyed the helpful content in the webinar, you might also enjoy the weekly action tips I send in my newsletter each Tuesday. You can sign up here. Best wishes, and I hope to see you in another Ellechat soon.”
Super easy, on my end. Hopefully really easy on your end too, when you sign up. Zapier helps me connect the two, and you could do the same thing in MailChimp or whatever app you use to keep up with your list. Then, you can start using your list once you have people on your list to point back to your webinar, so they go hand in hand just like blogs.
I think this is a great way to keep people returning. I recently segmented my list so people who want to know about Ellechats every week can know about the Ellechat and subscribe, and I saw, I think an 80% open rate and almost 50% click rate from that, which was awesome. Again, you guys, who tune in to Ellechats, are very engaged, and I'm grateful for that. It shows you how helpful video content is for this, who might still be a little skeptical even after that great percentage of 80 and 82 percent. You can use your list to point people back and you can take it one step further when you segment your list because based on your webinar topics, you can start tagging those new subscribers according to their interest.
For example, I have done webinars in the past on Squarespace. If I'm thinking about offering something on Squarespace, I can tag those people because I know they're already interested in Squarespace and I can send emails out to them if I have a new offering that has something to do with Squarespace, which I might be doing in the very near future. You can also add a tag for your list and start to keep up with people and segment your list that way. You can then target those tags for new content and offerings so you can get very strategic as you go along which I think is awesome and I'm starting to venture more and more into that.
If it ... at the very least, one of the biggest benefits is being able to grow your list from these weekly webinars.
3 | Repurposed content
I know some of you fear all the work that goes into hosting a weekly webinar and I'm not going to lie here, it does take time to think up topics and for me to create slides which honestly, I love creating the slides. That's one of my favorite part of preparing for webinars but it takes a lot of time and then it takes an hour out of every weekday to host them live which I really enjoy doing too. Once you get the hang of it, it's really not that bad.
It's a little awkward at first when you're in the room all by yourself and you know people are watching you but you can't see their faces, but I really do enjoy it. You put all this time and effort into preparing and hosting these webinars but you get to repurpose the content in so many ways and I continue to come across ways to repurpose Elle & Company content. Here's a few things that I do, every time I finish these Ellechat webinars with the help of my assistants, even if they weren't here I would do this, we take the video, and upload it to YouTube.
We're able to expand our reach through YouTube, especially on certain topics, depending on what you're talking about in your weekly webinars. That's a super easy way to repurpose content. Again, video content is much more digestible and people are more interested in it so YouTube is an awesome place to put your replays. The Elle & Company blog. I do a blog post not only for show notes but also just to bring it to people's attention. People are used to following along with the Elle & Company blog.
It pops up on feed readers. An easy way to repurpose the content is to put it on the Elle & Company blog and I have a slide for this. If you go to the blog, you can see my show notes and I include a few different things in them which I'll tell you about in a second. I also have an Ellechat archive on the Elle & Company site, if you go to elleandcompany.com/ellechat, you can see all of the old Ellechats and I'll link you right to those show notes. I also, am doing a Facebook Live event at this very moment. You can repurpose the content right to Facebook and generate more engagement that way, for those of you who are tuning in on Facebook. Hello.
I also have been able to take the content and repurpose the audio into a new podcast on iTunes. I've been able to expand my reach to YouTube, to the blog, to Facebook Live and to iTunes without doing very much work. That's huge, that's ... If you all are trying to post all of these different platforms separately, you know how much work it's going to take. If you can just take the work that you're already doing and repurpose it on all of these platforms, it saves you a ton of time, it expands your reach and it's video content so you're killing a ton of birds with one stone.
Every time that I do publish the content to the Elle & Company blog, like I showed you a second ago, the show notes that I put in there, I include an embedded replay. Crowdcast not only allows you to download the video but it also allows you to embed the video. It gives you a little code and you can put it right into a blog post or a page on your website and instead of showing the video right away, it has another little opt-in. You can start to collect email addresses right from that blog post too and grow your list that way, it's pretty awesome and people can watch this Ellechat right from the blog.
They don't even have to go to another window. I can also share the slides if I wanted to, which I ... I thought of this, this week for repurposing content, since I go through the trouble of creating slides, I could also share them on SlideShare but since I have the slides right in the blog post, people can share those slides and pin them to Pinterest and I can get more traffic on by, which is awesome. I share, mention links in there so if I mention anything in these Ellechats and you didn't catch the link, you can go to those show notes. I'll put the podcast audio right in there so you can listen to it on iTunes or you can listen to it right from that post and then ... and guys, this is another huge thing.
I'll put the full transcript so every time this Ellechat is done, my assistant, Marisa, downloads the video and sends it off to Rev.com to have a transcript made and they charge like a dollar per minute. It can add up throughout the month but for people who don't prefer live video, I think it was Rita that said that earlier, I'm not going to scroll through the content or the comments but I think it was Rita who said, "I would rather read a blog post." You can because the transcript is right there. Not only that but SEO, it's huge so the thing about videos that is a little less than ideal is that they aren't scannable by Google.
They can't scan your video for keywords unfortunately but when you have the transcript there, you naturally have all of these keywords that you're saying and Google can search it and your SEO will go up on those topics which is pretty awesome. It's the best of all worlds, so you can see how these Ellechats take a couple of hours out of my week but in the long run, I'm able to repurpose the content, get more emails, do a podcast off of it, have a full transcript that helps with SEO and I'm able to expand my reach. That is a ton of benefits. I hope you're convinced already. If not, I have one more benefit for you.
This is a look at the replay page too. Suzanne, Rev.com did the transcribing. They have a bunch of people who transcribe and they turn it around within 24 hours which is pretty incredible so we've been really pleased with them. Here's my replay page too so the awesome thing is that the content isn't only around just for the live option. It stays up so people can come back and watch past Ellechats, that content is evergreen so you can continue to point people to it again and again and again.
4 | Expanded reach with minimal effort
Here's another awesome thing that I didn't mention a moment ago. Expanded reach not only through repurposed content on sites like YouTube, Facebook Live and that sort of thing but also through inviting on guests and highlighting guests who have a different audience, of full of potential clients and customers. You're able to expand your reach by having guest on, I hope to have a few on in the future so stay tuned for that, I'm going to get back to that but you can expand your reach in new audiences. A couple of weeks ago, in an Ellechat, I was talking about how our industries can get so ingrown.
It feels like everyone is following the same people but when you bring on guest who are similar to you and have a sister audience but don't have all the people that are following along with you, you're able to open up your business to new people and break in to other networks which is awesome. It's also a really great reason. If you've been wanting to reach out to someone and network with them and start to build connections with industry leaders, you have an awesome reason to use, simply by inviting them onto your weekly webinars every week. It's another awesome way to not only expand your reach but also network with other people in your industry.
5 | An opportunity for another income stream
Once you get what weekly webinars, up and running ... I've been doing mine for about two years now, I'm about to venture into live sponsored ads. Now, I know what some of you are thinking. Ads can be a little icky. However, live ads could be really fun so inviting some brands on, maybe even some of you are interested in advertising in this way, maybe you have a product or service that's coming up that you want to advertise. I can invite you on for 30 seconds to a minute, you can talk all about it.
I think it's super fun. Nobody else is doing this and you could get really creative with this. That's where I'm about to venture into but another income stream is another really helpful benefit. If you're interested, reach out to me, email@example.com. Email me. All right. Hopefully, you're convinced that you should be doing weekly webinars. No one else is doing it. People are doing podcast. They do have video podcast now which I've thought about doing a video podcast version two, which would basically be the same thing and another way to repurpose content.
Hopefully, you're convinced but you might be a little overwhelmed about where to start so how do you start these weekly webinar series? I'm here to help.
How to Start and Implement a Weekly Webinar Series
1 | Choose a platform
You can see which platform I love. I tried three other platforms before stumbling upon Crowdcast, at the recommendation of both Jamie from Spruce Rd. and Paul Jarvis. I'm indebted to them because it has been a huge game changer but I tried WebinarNinja. I tried it. I tried WebinarJam and GoToWebinar and it was so frustrating. They didn't looked the way that I wanted them to. They were hard to set up, they weren't dependable and so here's why I love Crowdcast, just a few simple reasons, I have 10 here.
First is that it's super easy to set up. I can set up a webinar in two minutes flat and get it done in no time. It's also very user-friendly. I enjoy using it from a host perspective, I hope you all who are tuning to Ellechats, live week after week or watching the replay find it super user-friendly too. There's not even any scrolling involved from that window. It's really easy to access replays. You just go back to the same link where you registered, the polls, the comments, the Q and A, all of those ways that people can engage are really awesome, especially separating the comments from the question section, I love that and the polls are really fun too.
I can also see stats and analytics which I love so I can see where people are tuning in from, which people are the most engaged, and answer questions or participate in the comments. It's really cool. I also really appreciate the email registration. Again, for growing my list that's been huge. There's a subscribe and follow option so you can follow along with accounts. If you want to follow along with me, you can click on ... I think there's a button with my face on it. I don't know from my side of the screen but I know on your side of the screen, you can find it and you can follow along with me and be notified every time new Ellechats pop up.
There's also an embeddable window, which I told you about a second ago so I can take a code, put it in blog post, put it on another page in my website and people can sign up right from that page. There's also a prominent call-to-action. I don't use these all the time but if you have like a free opt-in or something like that or a page of your website that you want to send people to, a big green button appears for a call-to-action, which is awesome. I can screen share with you all, which is how you're able to see the slides right now. As I was creating this, I was thinking and getting ready for the Ellechat today and thinking about Crowdcast in particular.
I always forget the biggest reason I love Crowdcast and I never share about it, I don't know why but it's dependability. I have never, fingers crossed, had an issue with streaming live on Ellechat and I had hiccups with this all the time on other webinar platforms and it was so embarrassing because it looked like I didn't have my stuff together. Crowdcast, it works every single time, watch, I'll say that and some freak accident will happen next week. I've been doing it for ... on Crowdcast for about two years now. Yeah, I think that's right and so I've never had an issue. It's been awesome.
2 | Invest in good equipment
All right so once you choose a platform, I highly suggest Crowdcast. Invest in good equipment. I've gone through a couple of different pieces of equipment. You don't have to spend a bunch of money for this but it does make a difference especially, for audio but I use ... you can't see it right now but it's a Logitech C920 HD Pro webcam. It's really easy. I just hook it on the top of my laptop. The quality is pretty good. The lighting in my apartment makes me look like a ghost but that's not the webcam's fault. Yeah, it's a USB, I plug it in to my computer. I could host these from anywhere because it's so little and mobile.
I also use this Rode Podcaster USB Dynamic Microphone. I love it. I use to have a blue yeti. It wasn't as dependable. The sound quality wasn't as great. It was cheaper than the Rode Podcaster. I think it's a couple of hundred dollars but it's well worth it. The Boom is not included and the Shockmount. You might want to buy those two. You can see ... I'll move it real quick this arm for my audio and it takes away some of the bounce so if I hit my desk or inevitably my cat likes to jump up on my desk when I do live webinars, it doesn't mess up the audio or make any other noise because of the Boom and especially the Shockmount.
Those are the tools I use. A few hundred dollars in all, you can start out with maybe not even a webcam and a blue yeti and upgrade as you go but if you're going to start from scratch and you really want it to be worth your while, I would suggest the webcam from Logitech, the Rode Podcasting Mic and then the Shockmount and the Boom. I think Amazon Prime has a discounted price if you buy the Rode Podcaster Mic, the Shockmount and the Boom altogether too.
3 | Start brainstorming content and a name
I know, I have a question in there so I'm not going to go into detail about it quite yet but how to consistently come up with new topics because I know that task can be a little bit daunting.
First, pay attention to FAQs. FAQs are an awesome place to start. I say this with any content, if you get asked questions all the time on certain topics, those are a great place to start for the content that you're sharing, especially in weekly webinars. Pull your audience and ask them for feedback. I did this in Elle & Company Facebook Group, the community on there is awesome. I asked them what Ellechat topics would you like to see and they gave me a slew of them, and that was super helpful. Bring on guest, that's a great way to come up with new topics. What is their wheelhouse or maybe even just get them to share their story of how they got started.
Then, consider specific takeaways. You're not going to get very many people to sign up if you're too broad on topics but if you're very specific on what they're going to get out of it, you'll have an easier time getting people to sign up.
4 | Choose a consistent day/time for your series
Consistency is key. You might even pull your audience for this so when I was making some updates to the Ellechat and considering ways to make it better, especially for the summer, I ask people, "Do you want me to continue with the Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time time slot?" I had them vote on a few other times and they stuck with this one.
I wanted to make sure that as many people could sign up for it as possible.
5 | Create promo graphics
This isn't very hard, if you have a template, you can do it through Adobe Illustrator. Here's a look at my templates. Every week, I just go in and change the text and change the colors. You could also do it through something like Canva, has good templates. I don't know if they specifically have them for webinars but you could work with one of their other templates and make it work. I'm a huge fan of Adobe Illustrator though and cannot function without it so I do everything in there.
6 | Create a specific page on your website for replays and registration
If you go to the Elle & Company's site, an example of this is the Ellechat page. It's in the top navigation, I tried to put a lot of emphasis on it and allow people to not only register for upcoming Ellechats but then I have a replay section underneath. It's a great way to just get people's foot in the door to watch replays and yeah, build trust and engagement with people, even if it's just through the replays and then hopefully, they'll come and see or tune in live to one of your weekly webinars as well.
7 | Promote your webinars
So a couple of channels that I found helpful for promoting, mailing list is huge. I cannot under or overestimate how helpful using your mailing list is, to pointing people back to your webinars. Every time that I send an email out to my newsletter and point to the Ellechat, I get hundreds more viewers than if I don't. The mailing list has been the most effective way that I found, especially because I have people who've signed up for Ellechats in the past and that's the way I've been able to really build my list and so that's a good method. Social media.
I've been trying to do Instagram stories to make it a little bit more engaging. We've even done Facebook Lives to try to point people back to Ellechat or generate hype about the upcoming Ellechat. In your blog side bad if you have your graphics there for people to be able to sign up, draw more attention to it, add a Facebook event. Marissa, my assistant does this every week. She goes in and adds an actual Facebook event so that people can see that there and hopefully sign up. Then, Crowdcast makes this really easy too with the follow along feature and you can actually send emails out to the people who have followed along with your account on Crowdcast and that's an effective way to get people to sign up for, if you're using Crowdcast.
If you're not, you won't be able to use that feature but it's really helpful for emailing those who are following along with you.
8 | Repurpose your content
Once your host a webinar, don't just leave it there. You're missing out on a huge opportunity to expand your reach by repurposing content so consider things like a blog post recap. That's super helpful with show notes and again, you can include the Rev transcript, if you choose to use Rev. Your slides, your Crowdcast window so that you can have the replay there, any links that you share is super helpful resource for people.
Post it to YouTube to expand your reach there. Facebook Live, if you use Crowdcast, you can stream it right to Facebook Live. You can also stream it to like Periscope and YouTube live stream. You can do that too. SlideShare for your slides, if you use slides and then eventually, you might not do it right away but once you get the hang of it, start a podcast, take the audio for a minute and start a podcast or now, they have the video podcast option, which is another fantastic option, so I want to leave enough time for questions because we have 13 in there right now and I'm sure there are a couple of more.
If you have any questions about starting a weekly webinar series or the benefits of it, feel free to ask them in there. I'm going to make the screen a little bit bigger. Awesome. If you want to go back to see those slides for any other resources, like the equipment or any of that, I'll link to that in the show notes so you can find that on the blog on Monday.
All right. Questions.
Remesa, I hope I'm saying that right, asks, "Should you wait until you have a considerable number of followers before starting a webinar series? I'm starting a new business and I'm scared my webinar will have a low and embarrassing turn out."
I understand that. I think that's a fear that a lot of you have. I'm going to check back in the poll. Yes, so 30% of you also have that fear and 50% of you have the fears of all of the above so about 80% of you are afraid of people not tuning in so I definitely understand that. What I would suggest doing, I do think that you need to have somewhat of an audience so that people do tune in and are engaged. You can start doing other things like Facebook Live events and start out there. YouTube Live, start doing more video content and you can use those outlets, I will definitely do Facebook Live and Instagram Live and then you can start pointing people into a platform like Crowdcast and start doing these weekly webinar series.
I think that getting your face in front of the camera and doing more videos, even if you record a video and put it on your blog, I think that's a great way and then you can start spreading the word and maybe even do a little launch around your weekly webinar series and gain a lot of attention and hype through that and start to build your following or start to invite some really great guest on who have a good sized audience and a great web presence and maybe make that, if you're going to invite guest, make it standard that they need to share it on certain outlets too if they're going to join you and that way you know that some people will be tuning in or another option are all of the above.
You could do all of the above, would be to reach out to some people who do webinars already and try to get on with them as a guest. Those are all options but I do think it's helpful to have a little bit of an audience beforehand but I think that you can go ahead and do some things like Facebook Live and Instagram Live to start prepping the audience you do have for these weekly webinars. I hope that's helpful. Also, what you could do is do the weekly webinars even if you don't have very many people tune in. Stream it to Facebook Live and stream it to YouTube Live and you might start to have more people tune in that way. I hope that answers your question.
Rachel says, "How do you consistently come up with ideas for webinars and create so much content for them each week? I love to do more webinars but I worry about how much time it will take up."
A lot of times I look at the FAQs, like I mentioned a moment ago and I also reach out to the Elle & Company community for ideas. If there's anything that I've done where I've gotten a specific result like a few weeks ago, I shared about creating and keeping up with the client waiting list or how I grew my client waiting list to 250 plus perspective clients, that had a direct result.
I also hope to do one soon on why I deleted 7,000 subscribers from my list last week. Some of those are more specific, are really helpful and what I'd encourage you to do, if you find yourself talking to people about certain things and you go on a coffee date with someone and you talk to them about it for an hour and it's business related, consider doing webinar on that. I think it was last week, I shared about growing website traffic, and the idea for that webinar came from a conversation I had with a guy who is struggling to grow his website traffic. Again, that's an FAQ but if you find that you could talk for an hour on a certain subject, that's a really great place to start.
The more and more you do that, same thing goes with blogging. The more and more you blog, the more and more you host weekly webinars, the more and more you create content, the more you'll get to know your audience and what they're looking for and it will be easier to come up with topics. I think the hardest part is just getting started. I also have some brainstorming exercises on Elle & Company blog for blog post but they could also apply to weekly webinars and so if you go there, one of them is called, 50 no-fluff content ideas. You can find that one, there's 50 more no-fluff content rich blog post ideas and then there's how to come up with 60 blog post ideas in 30 minutes I think.
That's a really fun exercise so I'll link to those in the show notes as well. Kristy says, I have a series of webinar topics but to make the most out of the exercises, the attendees participate by ... or participation by speaking or chat would make all the difference. How do you encourage people to chime in? I try to encourage people to chime in through fun things like the polls. The polls are the easiest way to chime in because those who are a little shy can just click a mouse. I like polls for that reason. I also have the question section which is super helpful and I try to ask people a question when they first come in, usually where you're tuning in from because I want to know that but because people can all chime in with where they're tuning in from.
That's something that I need to think about more often too, is asking more questions like that just throughout the webinar so people can tune in to the comments section. I think also it's easy when you're sitting in a room all by yourself, hosting a webinar to just think it's you presenting and it can be a little awkward but if you really think about it, as having a coffee date with a friend, it opens you up to make it more conversational and people will start to feel that and feel like they could tune into. Also mentioning people by name when they do reach out is helpful, even if I botch the name which I'm so terrible at but you all are so patient with me.
Those are always to create just more engagement but Crowdcast does make that easy with the questions and the polls.
Shakira says, "What systems and gear do you use for your webinar?"
You probably asked this before I got to that part but the camera, the microphone, lighting, I just set up near a window but if you are a photographer or a videographer and you have good lighting tips, feel free to leave them in the comments or comment on the show notes or better yet, let me know in the Elle & Company community on our Facebook Group that we have. I would love to know those but really I just use the webcam, the Rode Podcasting Mic and the Boom arm and the Shock thing, yeah, that I told you about a second ago.
All right. Melissa says, "What ways for sharing advertising about a webinar are most effective?"
The ones I shared a moment ago, all of those are great but really what I can't emphasize enough is your mailing list. Tell a story, tell people why you are hosting the webinar to generate interest. Maybe do a little teaser. You could even do a short video and put it in an email to your subscribers but I found that writing emails and only having one call-to-action which should be to register for the webinar is an awesome way to go.
Suzanne says ... from Denmark, not Norway, says, "How do you convince someone else to join your webinar as guest if you're new in business and therefore don't have a large following or authority?"
I don't think that you have to have a large following or authority. I think if you're really specific on the takeaways for people and you focus on the benefits, that it really doesn't matter. If I was first starting out, I would start talking about logo design and how to create a one of a kind logo. I would start talking about the critical elements on your website that make it more user-friendly and keep people coming back. Some of those topics that I know about and can start to build an authority, if you don't do things like blogging and weekly webinars and pumping out content, you'll never have a chance to expand your following or build authority on anything so this is a great way to start.
Also by doing Facebook Live events, partnering with other people in your industry, like I said a moment ago but don't let it hold you back from getting started. You have to start somewhere and when I started, I had like 40 people sign up and I was thrilled. Now, I have a few hundred people sign up and I'm still thrilled. You have to start somewhere and if you don't, you'll never have an opportunity to grow.
Michelle says, "Would weekly Facebook Lives be a good alternative versus using a platform like Crowdcast or WebinarJam?"
Facebook Live is great but ... I'll get back to your question in a second, Suzanne, I'm sorry. I misunderstood it.
Facebook Live is a great option and I've actually gotten back and forth on this for a long time. The only thing with Facebook Live is that I can't get email addresses from it. I could if I had something like a content upgrade which is great but I love the engagement options on Crowdcast. I love the replay option and I love that I can repurpose it. I think Facebook Live is a great way to start but I think moving into something like Crowdcast could be super helpful too. Suzanne says, "I meant, if you want to invite guest and speakers for your webinars." If you're just starting out, I would go for it. You never know unless you try.
Some people will be totally up for it, some might say no at first and that's okay but go for it, ask people. You might not go for super big fish right off the bat but you can start to invite people, absolutely reach out to people you might be surprised. Quick story on this, just to go ... that goes to show that you never know unless you ask and I tell people this all the time. My husband's aunt. She's a short little thing like 4'10, went to a book signing for President Bush after he was in office. After he came out with his book, and slipped him a note and asked him if he mentors young men thinking about her oldest son Quinn, Jake's cousin.
She put herself out there thinking, the worst he can say is no. She got a call from some people who worked for President Bush and he invited him to his office in Dallas, I think it was, one-on-one and he got to spend an hour or two one-on-one with President Bush because his mom slipped a note at a book signing. It just goes to show that if you're willing to put yourself out there, you never know what can happen and the worst they can say is no so I say go for it.
Alicia says, "I second the question about Facebook Live versus doing a webinar. What advantages do you see in hosting a webinar versus Facebook Live, I also love that you transform your webinar into a podcast and I was wondering if you knew if that was possible with Facebook Live too?"
I don't know if that's possible with Facebook Live. Hosting a webinar gives you the advantage of the engagement. Also, on Facebook Live, it can be a little finicky. People have to ... if you are to say, I'm jumping on a Facebook Live, they could write it down but with the webinar and with Crowdcast, people register and then it sends an emails that, "Hey, it's starting soon." You collect those email addresses which is one of the biggest benefits and you cannot do that on Facebook Live. I also think that webinars can be seen as premium content. I don't know, that's why I did it in the Elle & Company Facebook Group, the community rather than on my page because it's more premium content.
I also don't know if you can download the videos from Facebook Live onto something like YouTube. That's something to think about but if you do it through Crowdcast, you have the best of all worlds. You can stream it to Facebook Live, you can have the interaction and the polls and the questions. You can download the videos, you can embed the window so there's a lot more versatility with doing it in a platform like this but definitely start with Facebook Live and see how it takes there, if you already have an audience on Facebook.
Alicia also asks, "What pricing level do you recommend on Crowdcast, light professional or business?"
Start out on light and as you grow, move up to professional and then move up to business. I have, I think a 500 attendee cap, not for people who register but for people who tune in live. I don't think I've hit 500 yet. If I get to that, I might need to reach out to Crowdcast and see if I can move it up a little bit but start out small and see how that works and then bump up as you go. You can always bump it up if you need to.
Kristy says, "Can I make the video of myself smaller so that the slides take up most of the screen?"
Yes, for example, I'll just show you right now. I can focus the screen just on the slides if I want to. I found that when I did that though, that some people lost engagement. I don't know, there's something about seeing the face in the slide at the same time. You can go back and forth between the two like this or I can focus it just on me too. You can also have a guest on and do the same thing so you can focus on your guest, you can see the two of you. I think you can have up to five people maybe, four people, live at a time so that's helpful in there too.
Michelle says, "Would you suggest working on creating more blog post and building a bigger blog following before starting a webinar or at the same time?"
I think they can go hand in hand. I think it was helpful for me to have a blog following beforehand but honestly, I don't know, I'd say go for it. Test it out, see how it works. Use them to go hand in hand so you can host a weekly webinar, post it to the blog. Use the blog to point people back to the webinar. They go hand in hand even if you're just using, repurposing the content. In some ways, if you already have a blog following, it might be easier to start a webinar because you have people following along already but you might have people following along on your mailing list or your social channels so I say go for it.
All right. Melissa, "What topics would you recommend for an illustrator/artist who desires to sell their work? As an illustrator, I can do the webinar topic of teaching art tips that I don't think some of that will really draw the audience I'm looking for. Would love help and suggestions. If anyone in the audience has ideas too please do chime in."
This is an awesome question for the Elle & Company community group on Facebook. People are awesome with tuning in, with their opinions on this. I think this would be especially helpful for you because you could even show people how you draw, so Screen Share.
Share with people how you draw your art work if you do it online, if you're digitizing things. I think tutorials would be a humongous advantage to doing it on ... in a webinar form, right off the top of my head. That's what I would be really interested in seeing, stuff like the tools you use and depending on what you do for illustration, if you paint or do things like that but I know for a video content, I follow an illustrator on Instagram and she always post Instagram stories of her work. I could watch her all day long. It's like watching Bob Ross or something. I think doing things like that and tutorials would be really awesome.
I love everyone else's opinion on this too and truly go ask this in the Elle & Company Facebook Group and you'll get some awesome answers. All right. We only have one more minute and three more questions. I'm going to try to fly.
Alicia says, "If your webinar content also covers something you've covered in a blog post, you link the video to that blog post or you just create a new blog post specifically for the new webinar or both?"
I hope that makes sense. Yes, because I've done this. Every purpose blog content that was like two years old for an Ellechat and I've done it recently. Go for it, you might title it something different.
You might add to the content but what I would do is yeah, absolutely got for it. Share that same content on a webinar and then share the show notes on the blog. Chances are, depending on how long ago it was, people won't notice and people probably won't see the same two post unless you know it's the last post that you wrote. You might want to spread it out but definitely, you can repurpose blog content for a webinar content too. Thank you for saying that because I totally forgot to share that in this webinar.
Alicia says, "Do you ever use your webinars in a traditional way, meaning to promote a certain challenge or to promote a product? If so, how often do you space those out with the informative webinars?"
I have done that in the past. I definitely done it recently with Freelance Academy and sharing how I grew my waiting list to 250 perspective people and mention Freelance Academy in it, just organically and use that call-to-action to get people to sign up. I do, do that but I space it out and I usually just do it during launches and my launches come at least every few months or at most every few months so they're pretty spaced out in between. I don't do a huge push for selling right at the end either, like if you buy now, you'll get these bonuses and all that stuff.
I'm not good at that at all, ask my husband. I've tried it before and it failed miserably and it was really embarrassing.
Eliza said, "Why do you think weekly webinars are better than YouTube to promote your website or a blog?"
Because they're live and you can do YouTube Live too but I feel like there's something special about getting people to ... I think you get so much more engagement when people register and make time for your webinars too, and you can collect emails so I think that weekly webinars are much better and you can then repurpose the content to YouTube to see the best of all worlds.
Great questions you all, 15 of them. Sorry to go a couple of minutes over but I felt like it was worth that this go round. I hope that you all enjoyed this webinar. I'm grateful that you tune in every week and I would love to see some of you hosting weekly webinars for yourself and reaping all the benefits that come from hosting weekly webinars. If you have any other questions on this topic that you didn't ask or that for some reason, I didn't get to or you're tuning into the replay, go to the Elle & Company community and I'll actually grab a link to this right now, before you all go.
If you go to Facebook and you look up Elle & Company community, you can find it there too. Okay, guys. I should have grabbed this ahead of time. If you have questions, that's a great place to ask them. Let's see, sorry, I don't know what I'm doing. There we go. I'll grab a link for you all. There we go. Awesome. Thanks for bearing with me. Here we go. You're going to ask questions in there and I would love to answer them for you. If you're on Facebook Live, I'll go back and answer some of those questions too. Thanks so much for tuning in. I hope that you all have a great week.
Best luck with your weekly webinar series, if I can help out in any way, don't hesitate to contact me and let me know. Next week's Ellechat is going to be focused on the emotional ups and downs of starting and scaling your business. I don't talk about emotions that much. I'm very much an action stuff kind of person but I have dealt with perfectionism and I have felt it with trying to find my worth in my work and some topics like that. What I do if I'm feeling doubtful over my work or doubting myself, and so I'm going to dive into those topics next week. If you're interested in that, go to my account, you can see all of the upcoming Ellechats or you can go to elleandcompanydesign.com/ellechat and you can register for it there.
I think that will be a good one and that you all will enjoy that one as well. I hope to see you in another Ellechat very soon and I hope you have an awesome rest of your week. Bye guys.