Every time we think about running our next webinar, a great big wave of fright washes over us. We have a real fear of running webinars, despite being quite unintimidated by public speaking and slapping our faces all over social media.
Why we’re keen to beat the fear
Webinars are in our social media strategy right now, you see.
We plan to advertise quarterly social media planning webinars to assist social media managers with their content planning each quarter. This should allow you to batch all the “business as usual” and diarised campaign posts early in the year, make sure your editorial calendar isn’t missing anything and generally give yourself a little whitespace at work, which is ultimately what you need to capture creative ideas as you conceive them. The knock on effect is that you have time to put them into practice this way, too.
We like our idea. We wish there was more practical help like this out there on the internet – stuff that defines the process of managing social media, rather than referring to the whole thing in an unhelpful top line way.
No matter who you work for or what you’re promoting, webinars are almost always a good idea. It’s a whole new level of interaction your audience rarely get to share with you. A solid hour where you can teach, debate, have a full discussion and answer their burning questions. Really, they’re great. But they’re not easy.
We’re going to be completely honest. Since putting that strategy in place, we’ve completed one of the two webinars we’re meant to have held by now. And that one webinar taught us a hard lesson: this fear of running webinars will NOT serve you. It certainly hasn’t served us, and we’re going to tell you why – if webinars are a crucial part of your social strategy – it’s worth investing the time to overcome the fear.
Why the fear of running webinars?
Of course, this is different for everyone.
We think our fear points were:
Remembering what we had to say
This is particularly pertinent for us as our short-term memory is hugely affected by depression. We spend every day terrified we’ve forgotten a really important detail – that only exacerbates itself when faced with a live webinar.
We’re huge believers in the painstaking process it takes to get a good photo (selfie or otherwise!). And actually, if you’ve got a big following and lots of influence, we’d consider it pretty important to control the images of you seen by the public. We don’t feel like we have that control on camera while our minds are on teaching something. It’s live, so any stutters, losses for words and generally unplanned fannying about goes out on the internet there and then. We suspect, though, that we just need to focus on how “real” that makes us in the eyes of other people, rather than fixating on our own imperfections.
Ergh, we really use this phrase way too much. But here’s the truth – we will forever be worrying that we’re not teaching something as well or as thoroughly as the tonne of other Digital Marketing experts out there. We don’t just reserve comparison syndrome for webinars – we’re thinking it with every social media post we put live, during every client call, even as we type this very blog post. What if someone just does this better than us? What if all this is useless and wrong?
What actually happened during our webinar?
We’re thrilled to report that despite all our worries above, our webinar was actually awesome.
Here are a few factors that made it a relative success:
- First and foremost, our friends turned up. SO MANY WONDERFUL, KIND FRIENDS. We hadn’t directly asked them to (though in hindsight it turns out we should have, even just for moral support), but we were thrilled to bits that they were there to spur us on and send us the odd lovely message throughout our nervy hour of content planning. We’re so very, very grateful.
- Strangers turned up. It’s such a funny feeling when you realise you actually have connected with somebody you didn’t previously know, isn’t it? We had more than we expected (from trusted Facebook groups, it turns out) and hopefully have retained at least some of them as connections through social media or our mailing list.
- We made ourselves really good notes. Not too scripted, but enough detail not to leave us scratching our heads in confusion. Most importantly though, we’d set them out with lots of space between each line and at no more than a sentence per line. This is a trick we learned from Matt Haig’s book, How To Stay Alive. It’s a book that specifically talks to those suffering from mental illness – i.e. people who are really not up to digesting a long, complicated or wordy book – and it really works for absorption.
- We left ourselves time to put our face on, set up and do tech checks. Ok – about 75 tech checks.
So why the focus on fear of running webinars not serving you?
We’re glad you asked.
Although our webinar ran very well, we had some pretty horrible realisations afterwards that made us realise exactly how much that fear of running webinars – which had made us delay them until MONTHS after we really should have started – didn’t just not serve us. It massively impacted some success we could’ve had. Such as:
- We spent so long letting those fears take hold, that we didn’t take this crucial step in moving our careers forward. And the real pain in the arse is that those fears have firmly rooted themselves again. We guess there’s a decision to make here; do we stick to our guns and work through this, or do we work out something else to do instead?
- We’ve wasted a lot of time not building our own reputation quickly. When we think of all those people who came to check our session out that we’d never spoken to before, we feel so touched. But that nice feeling is quickly usurped with; “if we’d started this a year ago and stuck to it, our audience would be the size we’re now working to grow it to”. That makes us a bit sad. We love connecting with new people, and we want to help as many people with their digital marketing as we can, and listening to our own fears stopped us doing that for ages.
- Another reason we wish to goodness we’d worked on dissipating these fears when we first conceived this strategy was that it was part of our sales plan for our Heart and Soul Digital Content Planners. The 2018 planners went on sale in October 2017. We didn’t do our first webinar until January 2018. Had we done our webinar before then, we are certain – considering the interest we had in them post-webinar – that we would have generated sales from the audience following that video. As it is, we worked up the courage too late – everyone had sorted their content planning tools by then and were skint from Christmas.
To conclude: We wish that we had worked out – much sooner – how to kick our fear of being on camera in a webinar setting. We’re generally quite forgiving with ourselves when it comes to not being able to do everything. But this one… this has presented facts to us that are pretty hard to swallow, when we could have made our workload so much lighter for the year if we’d just put the work in when it made the most sense.
Do you feel like a fear of something has held you back in your digital marketing career?