using WordPress for your webinar

using WordPress for your webinar // tiny blue orange

How many things live on your to do list for a long time simply because you aren’t sure how to even begin or what items need to be on the task list to get it done? A webinar was one of those items for me until an opportunity came up to be a co-host + not have to do it alone.

Partnering with 2 other business owners, we came up with, planned, prepared, hosted + wrapped up our successful webinar in just 2 weeks — with a holiday landing right in the middle. It was no small feat, but we did it! And here’s how…

1. decide on the subject matter, name + date

Once we had the idea to do a webinar, it was time to get specific about it. We talked about who our collective peeps were, what they needed help with, what we wanted to talk about + when.

My advice: don’t spend a ton of time on the name. Get something that you like + can make a hashtag for — it comes in handy for promoting + live tweeting/gramming during the event.

2. create graphics

After we settled on a name, hashtag + date, we had all the info we needed to put together our promotional graphics. We targeted these places in an effort to focus on specific graphic sizes –

  • registration page (more about this in step 4)
  • instagram
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • google+ event page header (since we used google hangouts)

My advice: focus your efforts on your skills — if that’s not designing graphics, get help. Or keep your graphics simple + move on to the next step.

3. create your webinar event

When talking over the options, we decided to use Google+ hangouts on air simply because they are easy to set up + use. (The free price tag didn’t hurt either.) They can be scheduled for the future + feature a pre-call q&a box, which we wanted to offer. Plus, we were able to record the entire thing through Google.

When we set up our events, we created two — one was the actual event + one was a private test event. (More on this in step 8.)

My advice: don’t let analysis paralysis keep you from doing a webinar. Pick one tech solution that seems the most reasonable for you + run with it. Know that you can change it up next time, but you have to do this webinar for there to be a next time.

4. set up + test the registration process

Because we had 3 co-hosts, we wanted a neutral place for people to register that also gave them the chance to sign up for 1, 2 or all 3 of our regular emails. Since we were testing the waters with webinars, we used free options — our registration process was Typeform with Zapier to trigger signing folks up to our respective lists.

If you’re not co-hosting, or have a neutral site between you + your collaborator, you can easily embed your registration form directly on your WordPress site.

My advice: if you’re the only host, keep this simple. Use an opt-in form from your mailing list provider + embed it onto your site.

5. create email reminders + messages

Now that we had all of our details lined up, we each drafted our own email campaigns — some to introduce the event to our list, reminder messages for the day before + a follow-up message after the event.

Because we knew there’d be some overlap on our lists, we purposefully staggered the messages to avoid our peeps from getting 3 similar emails within minutes of each other. Being in 3 different time-zones helped with this, but we also wanted to be conscious of it as we sent out emails.

My advice: give yourself time to email your primary list about your event. They may not catch the news the first time.

6. promote, promote, promote

The first 5 steps happened pretty quickly since we knew we needed to promote this event in order to get folks to participate. Once we had the graphics + registration page, it was time to share across our favorite social networks. Plus, our spaced out emails gave our favorite peeps a chance to register right away.

Having 3 hosts certainly made promoting this easier, but it was still the bulk of the work since it needed to be done daily. Based on our webinar sign-ups + individual list growth, it was totally worth it.

My advice: I do wish we had allowed more time for this process simply because I would have loved to write a blog post to promote this event directly on my WordPress site. But our 2 week timeline didn’t allow for it.

7. draft your agenda

While promoting our webinar, behind the scenes we created an agenda/outline of what we wanted to talk about. This was basically a deeper dive into the discussion we started in step one.

We also created some backup questions in case no one had any for us during the webinar. That’s unlikely, but we wanted to be prepared. Plus, thinking of questions your audience may have helps you craft the agenda around those topics.

My advice: print out your agenda in case you have enough items on screen + need to refer back to it mid-webinar.

8. practice run

Holy cats, Batman! I cannot stress this step enough.

Being my first time hosting an event, I didn’t know how to add presenters to the hangout. Know that I know, it seems obvious, but it took us about 15 minutes of back + forth texts to get there.

The practice also gave us a chance to test our agenda flow + talking points. It was a chance to shake out some of the first-webinar jitters + I’m grateful that we took the time for this step.

My advice: if you’re providing a replay, test your recording setup during this practice run.

9. host your webinar

And now it’s time to have your webinar! If you’re using Google+ hangouts like we did, I’d recommend having presenters join you 10 minutes early but don’t start the recording until go time. That way you can make sure everyone is situation, can hear, can be heard, etc.

My advice: have fun with it! Your audience is sharing their time with you, make sure they are glad they did + you’ll crush it.

10. create notes + bonuses for the participants

We could have done this step before the webinar but we all wanted to shape the bonus content around the types of questions that were asked.

Some webinar hosts like giving out bonuses just before or during the last 10 minutes of the webinar — the choice is yours to make. It is worth having some form of resource list if you mention sites, books, people, etc during your webinar.

All of these bonuses can live on your WordPress site as a password protected (or public) page. You can add links, downloads, images + embed the webinar recording directly on this page for your audience to reference.

My advice: hide these bonuses from google. Make sure folks are getting the content through the proper channels + not with a clever google search.

11. send out bonuses

Once we had our bonuses ready, the registration form was updated to link to the recorded event. We also updated our mailing list sequences to remove the webinar reminders since folks signing up now would get recordings.

My advice: include the replay link — or better yet, include the replay video on the page with your bonuses so that it’s all in one.

Are you interested in watching the webinar that I co-hosted? You can check out the Smart Start webinar here.

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