In just about any webinar you will ever do, the guts of it will be a content-rich presentation of some kind. How do you put this together?
In this episode of CBB, we’re talking specifically about the content portion of the webinar… that 30-40 minutes of “pure content” that you will deliver to educate your attendee and provide a transformation that they can walk away with whether they buy from you or not.
- How do you determine what the topic of your webinar should be?
- What should be in the webinar?
- How can you build in trust and likability?
- How do you make the slides?
- How can you help increase the chances that they will stay until the end of your webinar?
These – and more – are all discussed in this episode of Coffee Break.
So today, we are going to continue talking about webinars; because the last couple of episodes we have been talking about webinars and various aspects of them, today specifically, I want to talk about how to plan out the actual content portion of your webinar.
Planning Out The Content Portion
Now, the last couple of episodes I have ended it by inviting you to download a graphic that I created called The 60-Minute Webinar Plan. And you can still download that at blogmarketingacademy.com/webinarplan. But as you will see; and as you probably have seen, if you have attended some webinars, is that it is very typical to get some kind of an introduction type of thing at the beginning. At the end of it, it is very typical to get presented some type of an offer; something that you can buy. And you know, for many of us; that would be the main reason why we do that webinar.
In between, however, is the good ol’ content. And you have got to plan that out. This is the part where you are giving away a lot of value to people and really are solving some kind of a problem for them; giving them something they can walk away with of value from you, whether they buy anything from you or not. And it takes some planning; and that is what we are going to talk about today. It is just some things to think about as you plan out your content for your webinar.
So the big thing about your content of your webinar is that you are delivering value in advance. I mean, that is the reason why you are doing it. So I want you to think about your webinar not as just one big glorified presentation, but you are actually giving value to people that is going to have them have some realizations, have them make real headway or something, whether they buy from you or not, because keep in mind that you are creating fans here, with your webinar. Whether they buy from you on this particular webinar or not, most likely they are going to remain connected to you, remain on your list for some time and it is very likely they might come and buy from you later. So we have got to keep in mind the end game here and you want to make a good first impression. And for that reason, keep in mind that it is not that we are just delivering content for the sake of content; you are delivering real value in advance. Stop that “you would charge money for it.” Accept that you are giving it to them for free. You want them to walk away from your webinar feeling like they gained something from you and that it was worth their time regardless whether they buy anything from you. That is an important point.
Length Of Time
In terms of length of time, typically this portion of the webinar is going to go 30 to 40 minutes; sometimes it can go a little longer than that. I don’t recommend that you go much shorter than that unless you built it in advance as being a short webinar. But if your webinar is pretty much some gloss over on some content just for the sake of style but then you spend most of your time talking about yourself and most of your time pitching to them, then that is not a very good webinar. So keep in mind, 30 to 40 minutes; I would lean toward more the 40 minute mark, don’t worry too much about the time there, but you want to make sure that you are not chipping anybody.
And you want to make this “pure content” and I put that in air quotes because it is not a phrase that I like but a lot of bloggers use it. Pure Content. It is not intended to sell anything; although there might be some things that you put in to the content that are designed to lead them up to the eventual offer, that is actually a very smart thing to do. But that being said, this is stuff that should stand alone as value, whether they buy or not. You need to deliver on the promise that you make at the beginning.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about your topic like, “What the hell are you going to do a webinar about?” Well, you want to look at it from the outside, in. Realize that people are going to judge the webinar based primarily on the headline. What is the title of that webinar? It is the exact same thing with a blog post. People will look at a blog post from the outside, looking in. And they are going to make an instant judgment on whether it is worth checking out. And they are going to make those evaluations based on the headline, maybe the feature image, maybe on excerpt.
What is your webinar going to look like from the outside? Look at it from the perspective of an actual headline. And to that end, hopefully, you know your market well enough to know what kinds of things get a rise out of people. What are people most wanting to know? What would be their ideal headline? One great idea that you can do is to go over to BuzzSumo.com and search your primary keyword or particular topic that you are thinking about doing a webinar about and see what the most shared content out there is and what those headlines are. Because the fact that those things are getting a good, solid reaction on social media means that those headlines were attractive. And that can give you some really good ideas about what you can present your webinar on. You could also look at popular blog posts that you have on your own blog. If you would look at your Analytics and you see that one particular blog post is just doing really, really well, well, that is a good indicator that that is a topic that gets a rise out of your market. If you got a long history with email marketing with your audience; what emails have been getting good open rates? What subject lines are working? Look at the evidence that is out there and determine what good headlines are working.
Now, the other thing is that you need to look at where you intend to take your webinar attendee. In other words, what do you intend to offer them at the end? Let’s keep in mind that even though we are delivering valuable content, we as marketers are ultimately looking to take them into something that they can buy. And the content is the bridge that gets us there. So, you need to look at what state we want our attendees to be in when we begin to tell them about our offer. And we need to have the content in such a way that will lead there in a fairly seamless way. What would allow them to make some concrete headway on the transformation that you are looking to deliver? I have used this word “transformation” many, many times… That is ultimately what we are in the business of doing; is enabling a transformation in the lives of our audience members. Now your offer that you are going to make on that webinar is going to be the ultimate delivery mechanism for that transformation, but the best way to set them up for that is to have content which begins them on that transformation and allows them to see that they make concrete headway on that transformation, and they see it and they acknowledge it and they want more. And so for that reason, you need to make sure that the content that you are delivering matches up to the offer that you intend to do.
With the Blog Monetization Lab; it is very obvious by the title of that, that the primary purpose of the Blog Monetization Lab is to make a business out of your blog, to make money out of your blog. I mean, that is what blog monetization means. So for that, if I know that that is the transformation that I want to take people down, would it make much sense for me to do a webinar about how to get lots of re-tweets on Twitter or something like that? No… Not at all because it is a complete topic disconnect.
And so, for that reason I have got a webinar at blogmonetizationwebinar.com that really starts the transformation in a concrete way on blog monetization because it is the perfect tie in to the Lab itself. And so you need to be looking at that, but then when you got that topic down, go out and look at BuzzSumo, your popular blog post and start to turn that in into an attractive headline that contains a real promise that will get their attention and that is how you are going to ultimately arrive at what you are going to be talking about.
Moving on from that, you got a topic in mind, let’s start talking about some of the things that go in to actually planning out the webinar content itself…
First of all, you want to think about that headline that we just talked about and make sure that the content that you are going to put together delivers upon that. So you might have a classic list style headline that says… I don’t know if I would use the word “tips” but realize that I am thinking of this out from the top of my head, but… “10 Tips to Monetize Your Blog in 2016”. So let’s say that that was my webinar. I would definitely want to make sure that my content has those 10 tips. So it is very A to B here, right? You want to make sure that whatever you promise in the headline and title of your webinar; that you build right in to it.
Now the next thing is that you want to keep in mind the mindset that you want them to be in when it comes time to present your offer. We talked a little bit about that already. Now, what mindset do you want that to be? You want them to realize that a solution is possible and that it is real, that they can have it. Now you also want them to realize that you just provided some of it to them; that you were the one that did it, that you can get these results, that it was clear, that it was understandable; you are the one who provided that. And you also want them to think that “Man, if this webinar was this information packed, the paid stuff must be out of this world awesome!” That is what you want them to be thinking. With that in mind, you want to make sure that the content will get them to that point. Is the stuff that you are going to present, is it clear? Is it understandable? Are you giving the webinar structure that they can easily follow? You want to present to them something that is real and concrete; not just a bunch of fluff, not just a bunch of theory that they can surmise themselves with a little bit of common sense. And so for that reason, you want to air on this on the side of the things like an exact process… Step 1, step 2, step, 3… A blueprint. You want to build in some “aha” moment; some things that they will realize “Oh, I didn’t think of it that way.” These are the things that will open up their mind to possibilities and it is not going to be just the same old road that they are already used to, but you want to make it something concrete; something that is real training that is not just a bunch of surface level stuff that is kind of common sense.
Now, you also want to paint for them the end of the transformation. Now at that point you are going to be kind of doing it a little bit throughout but you are also going to be doing it toward the end. You want to know; really know what the transformation is that you deliver and what that “before” and what that “after” state is. And toward the end of your content area, but also throughout a little bit, you want to paint for them what the end of that transformation looks like. You know, in my case, I would paint the picture for them of what running their blog would be like when they got a real business built behind it. I talk about how you don’t have to write for your blog as often… You don’t have those moments where you are wondering what to do with yourself. These are all things that I can paint a very clear before and after because I really understand the people that I am serving. So paint for them the end of that transformation.
Likability & Trust
You want to build in some likeability and some trust factors throughout your content because… You probably heard before the idea that people will buy from people they know, like and trust. So how can you build that in to your webinar? Well, you can build some personal stories… this is a fantastic way to make good, solid points, but it also allows them to get to know you a little better. So, personal stories are really great. When talking about personal stories from a marketing standpoint is that people tend to insert themselves into your story and for that reason they are the ones making the conclusions. It is not because you are telling them what to think. They are actually experiencing it and that they own it at that point. It is a completely different experience in terms of “convincing” people to do things because they are the ones making the decisions and arriving at them on their own and you are guiding them there via the power of story. And so, work in some stories, of course, having to do with your content. Do not go completely off topic here, but these are things that build in, also that element of them getting to know you and getting to trust you as well.
In these stories you will talk about things that they can identify with. So for example, when I introduce myself at the beginning I talk a little bit about my history. I do mention some big changes that happened to my business when I have kids. Many people in my audience can identify with kids and parenthood in general, so these are things that can work really well. The other thing that builds in trust factor toward your content is to embed success stories into it. And so a great way to do this would be to… when you make a point; let’s say you have 10 tips for whatever, and that is your webinar topic. Well, after each one, could you embed some type of a success story or a case study preferably of somebody that you have helped, but if not, you can get it from someplace else – of somebody who has successfully applied that thing and gotten a result from it. So that brings a lot of different authority and social proof factors into your webinar and also lends a lot of credibility to you and the offer that you are going to be making toward the end of that webinar.
You want to build in some empathy also and make sure that they know that you understand them; perhaps even better than they understand themselves. Not necessarily the entire package but in relation to the transformation that you deliver. You want to make sure that they understand that you know exactly where they are at, that you can name it, you can probably even name some of the things that are going through their head and that you really know what you are talking about… So name those things.
Now, a lot of this is the best in the beginning. You want to make clear which end of the transformation that they are on. A lot of people do this by telling their background story. And that background story, very often is sometimes is probably a lie but sometimes they are putting out this background story about how they are sitting or living in their cars… It is all of this “whoa, it’s me” kind of stuff and this rags to riches things. And if you have that, it is legit, go ahead and use it. But if not; don’t. You don’t want to fib on any of these stuff. But these types of things build in empathy. It allows you to show that you have experience where your people are at right now… That you understand it, and that there is a way forward and you figured that out. That is something that you want that to be embedded in it.
Lastly, in terms of planning points here, you want to make sure that you have got some type of a structure to the webinar. You want to have a basic outline to it, that you know the main points that you plan to cover, you can spell those out at the beginning… Let them know “These are going to be the things we are going to cover.
We are going to go through this, we are going to go through this” and name 4 or 5 things, make it clear throughout the webinar where you are at in that thing because that allows people to stay engaged and stay toward the end of the webinar. Because if you tell them upfront “we are going to be talking about 5 different things and here is the broad outline, let’s go and get started… Point no. 1” Well, by the time they get to point no. 2 or point no. 3, especially if you have held their interest, they realize that no. 4 and 5 are coming (of course) so that of course it will help them stay toward the end. So these are things that you can do if you are upfront about your structure; tell them what is coming up and what the plan is.
Structure In Terms Of Planning Out The Content
Now, let’s talk a little bit about structure here in terms of planning out this content.
At the beginning, especially if it is a cold audience who is not that familiar with you already, you need to introduce yourself to them. And so for that reason, typically you’ll tell a little bit about your background story and that type of thing. Now, one important thing about this is you don’t want this to go off topic. You want to keep in mind the transformation that you are enabling for these people and keep your background story relevant to that.
I am a blog guy, I teach blog monetization and online business. Obviously, my personal life has lots of details to it that have nothing to do with that topic. I am not going to introduce them into this webinar and pretty much anywhere at the Blog Marketing Academy because this has got nothing to do with the topic. And that is the way you need to talk about it, too. Most of us are multi-faceted people and it isn’t as if we only talk about the one thing we are known for on our website. So when you introduce your background story, make it relevant. And as much as you can make that background story mirror the transformation that you want to enable for your audience member, the better.
Now when you are presenting your background story and letting them know more about you, don’t get too long-winded about it. I have seen some people, they get into their background story and it is like a 15 or 20 minute deal then they kind of go through a 10 or 15 minute of little content, bullet points and then they go right in to offer and it is like, “Where was that value here? I didn’t come here to learn just about you and just get sold a bill of goods! Where’s the meat?” So you don’t want to do that. They are not in the webinar to learn about you. They are there because of the promise that you made in your webinar headline. So that is where you want to spend your time. At the beginning if you are going to be introducing yourself, just keep it fairly short and sweet. That is the way you want to think about it.
You could also ask people to minimize their distraction. This is something that I would like to do toward the beginning of my webinars. I ask them to honor their original intention for being on my webinar. I thank them for being on the webinar and I say “You came here for a reason, you were here to accomplish X, Y and Z and I want you to honor your commitment to do that and honor your original intention and do that by closing down Facebook, closing down email and really give yourself that time to deliver to yourself the thing that you originally came here to this webinar for.” It’s something along that line. But by giving them that incentive to close down those typical distractions because most people attending webinars; a lot of times they put the webinar off to the background and they are surfing Facebook and they are playing their emails, whatever… And you don’t really want to do that.
They are not really going to get the full value out of your presentation if they are not paying any attention. You can’t enable the transformation for anybody if they are not engaged. And so for that reason, you want to tell them right toward the beginning to shut all that crap down. Another thing that I would like to do is tell them what they are going to learn. It kind of goes back to my original point about having an outline or structure and kind of letting your audience know what it is going to be. Well, that goes very nicely into telling them what they are going to learn; what are the promises that you make for that webinar… Phrase them in such a way where they are kind of teasers for what is coming up in the webinar because that will help keep them engaged toward the end of the webinar.
Another thing in terms of slides; because we are all going to be using slides, there’s a lot of information out there you could go about different styles and philosophies on how to make good slides. The thing that I will just say is that you want to lean toward having more slides rather than less. If you ever watched modern television; which is, let’s face it, we all have… Notice how often they change their camera angles, especially reality TV which I am just going to right out and say it; is aimed at stupider people. See how often they change their camera angle. It is often. Now, why do they do that? It is because that is what it takes to hold people’s attention these days. It is sad, actually, but it is a case.
So for that reason, you want to build your webinar slide presentation so that you are switching slides relatively quickly. What you don’t want to do is have a text only slide with a bunch of bullet points and that slide will sit there on the screen while you talk for 2 or 3 minutes. That is too long. You want to have a slide that is probably not going to be on screen much longer than 30 seconds to a minute, tops. Now if it is text, it is okay. You can do text slides… If you have a 5 bullet points to go over, instead of 5 bullet points on one slide, just put it up into 5 slides. And you also want to put images in those slides so it’s not like mind numbingly boring. And use the notes field.
Keynote in PowerPoint both have a Notes Field so you can put nothing but an image on the screen, but in the notes field, which only you can see it reminds you what to talk about when that slide pops up. That way it is kind of a way of a multi-medium presentation; it isn’t as if you are simply reading the slide back to them because that will be boring as snot. It is like they got an image which kind of brings up one thing while you are talking about another, there is this multi-modal thing going on. But the big thing here with slides; make sure you got a lot, like 80 to 100 slides and you are go through these things and you don’t want to stay on any one slide too long.
Another thing about planning is that if you have a topic that will justify having a download to it, like a PDF that they can download, some type of a hand-out, those kinds of things will increase the perceived value of your webinar. It also can allow you to have some value they can take with them and it allows them to feel like they really got something out of that webinar. And also, you can of course embed a link to your offer in that download. So if you got a PDF… I’ve seen some people do this where they will actually have a “fill-in-the-blank” question type thing and they will ask you to download it at the beginning of the webinar and then while you are going through the webinar you have them fill in the blanks. And so it keeps people engaged, you can incentivize them if you wanted to, but these are things that just help keep them involve in the webinar.
A Promise Of A Bonus
Last thing I will mention here in terms of structure is that you can optionally (OPTIONALLY) promise them a bonus at the end of the webinar. And I have seen people do that in order to get people to stay toward the end of the webinar. So you know, come out with whatever. You might not even tell them what it is; you just say “I have got a surprise for you at the end of this webinar, in order to get and make sure that you stay toward the end” something that is simple; and then you come up with something that is really cool.
Outline It First
The last comment I will make here and that is when you are actually planning out the content is that you want to make sure that you outline it first before you go and make the slides. Now, I have done it both ways, but I will say that the presentations are usually a lot more buttoned up if I am not creating the slides on the fly, if I actually outline it and kind of make sure the thing flows really nicely, and I outline it. In my case, I use Workflowy.com. And then once I see that I am happy with the structure, I will start creating slides to match it. And it kind of just makes it a more buttoned up presentation at that point.
So, hopefully, among all that speaking I just did for the last 25 minutes, you got some good advice on how to help put together the content portion of the webinar. Now, I am not here today to talk about making an offer or any of that, although we will get in to that.
I am going to leave you today, once again with the invitation to download that 60-Minute Webinar Plan document which (again) will provide a rough 60 minute outline on the structure of your webinar including intro, content and the offer itself. And there are notes in there on how to present stuff.
Now in our next episode of this podcast, we will be talking specifically about that 60-Minute Webinar Plan.
Until then, I will see you next time! 😉