Over the last couple of years I’ve run semi-regular webinars for ProBlogger readers (sign up to get invitations to these free webinars here).
These webinars have not only received a lot of positive feedback, they’ve also been among the most energising things I’ve done on this site.
Here’s a few quick thoughts on why I love doing webinars:
1. Real time Interactions
When I first discovered blogging, one of the things I loved was that it opened up the potential to have almost immediate reactions and feedback from readers. You can have a post up and then 10-25 minutes later there might be a comment or two there.
A webinar speeds up this interaction to the point where it is virtually instantaneous. I can ask webinar attendees a question and within seconds, see a stream of responses.
Someone can submit a question and I can ask for clarification and get it immediately.
I can share what I’m thinking on a topic and get a gauge on whether it is resonating with those listening very quickly.
I find this live interaction is very energising. It keeps me on my feet and thinking fast too!
On the other side of this interaction is that after a webinar I notice that those who attended are more interactive with me. For example, I often see webinar attendees leaving more comments on blog posts, tweeting and even writing blog posts that link to mine on their blogs.
I guess a webinar has the benefit of opening the flood gates of interaction with some people – a very valuable thing.
2. It is personal
Quite often, the reactions I get after a webinar are readers telling me that they felt like they ‘know’ me more as a result of listening to my voice for an hour – as opposed to reading words on a page.
While I try to write as I speak, something often gets lost in the written word. A webinar allows me to more easily convey emotion, humour, tone – all of which has a big impact upon those listening.
Webinars have the ability to humanise your brand and break down false perceptions of you.
3. Verbalising your ideas has benefits
Verbalising your ideas in a webinar type situation also forces you to think about your topic in a different way. As a result, I quite often get moments of clarity on issues I’ve been struggling with in the preparation or running of a webinar. I’m not sure exactly what happens but something about ‘hearing’ myself rather than reading myself seems to crystallise my thinking.
4. ideas for content
One of the biggest benefits for me about doing a webinar is that I ALWAYS come away from running them with ideas for things to write about here on the blog.
Quite often, as you’re speaking, you get ideas but the ideas also come from questions and responses from your audience.
One of the things I do every time we run a webinar is include an option on the signup form to submit a question for us to answer on the webinar. These questions are GOLD!
I also like to run purely Q&A webinars at times which are great for this too.
Earlier this week we ran one of these Q&A sessions and had 600 questions submitted! While we could only get through a fraction of them I read each question and many of the posts I write in the coming weeks will come directly from those questions.
5. They scale ‘you’
One of the challenges that bloggers face when their audience begins to grow is that there is a ceiling on how accessible you can be to all of your readers.
While you start out responding to every question, email and tweet there comes a point where the incoming messages get beyond what you can respond to while still maintaining creating content and managing other aspects of your blog and business.
I’ve grappled with this for years now and find that webinars go a long way making yourself more accessible to readers.
6. Webinars Lend Themselves to Different Types of Communication
I’ve tried a variety of different styles of webinar over the last few years including:
Interviews/Story Telling – where I interview a blogger about their story and what they’ve learned. This story telling approach has been very well received. A couple of popular ones include webinars with Tsh Oxenreider and Ana White.
Teaching – in these webinars I almost ‘lecture’ on a topic. I use slides and take attendees on a journey through a topic from A-B. For example recent webinars on Finding Readers for a Blog and Monetizing Blogs
Q&A – in these webinars I’ve either had open Q&A sessions on any topic or have named a topic and made attendees focus their questions on exploring more narrow areas. For example here’s last weeks open Q&A session in which we covered a heap of topics.
Selling – I’ve not done much selling in webinars (I like to keep mine pitch free) but occasionally have run webinars with a pitch at the end (I warn attendees that there will be). I still make sure that these webinars are high in value/usefulness so that even if they don’t respond to the pitch that they come away satisfied.
7. Great Practice for Public Speaking
Lastly, webinars are a great way to get practice and experience for public speaking.
One of my favourite things to do is to speak at events. However, due to my location in Australia and the fact that the majority of speaking invitations I get come from overseas, I’m not able to accept the vast majority of them.
Webinars are a great way for me to get a ‘fix’ of speaking but I’ve also noticed that they’re a great place to hone my presenting skills. They’re also a good place to showcase what you can do and land you presenting gigs too!
What is Your Experience with Webinars?
I’d love to hear your experience with webinars.
Have you run them? How did they go?
Do you attend them? If so – what makes a good webinar in your experience?