Last week I hosted my very first live blogging workshop! Well…co-hosted with Katherine of Slightly Savvy! Widely referred to as a “webinar,” we decided to call it a workshop because that’s more fun (and has a better ring to it, doesn’t it?) Since it was definitely a journey, I want to share what I learned to give you some insight into what it takes (and how long it takes) to plan one, but also promote, get people to show up, and go live without any (major) tech issues. If you have plans of hosting your own in the future (which I TOTALLY recommend) you can always use this post to help and give you some direction!
Our workshop was all about helping bloggers stand out online and get their blogs noticed. Divided into two parts, I kicked it off with my top strategies to grow a blog with purpose and then handed it over to Katherine who shared her best tips on how to create stand out content that attracts readers + brands.
Let’s dive into the lessons I learned!!
1. Having a Co-Host Kept Me Sane
Doing my first live workshop was definitely less stressful with a co-host. I don’t even remember how I came up with the wild idea of doing an online training, but when I DM’ed Katherine on Instagram and pitched the idea to her, she was immediately into it!
We shared a bit of our blogger friendship story at the beginning, which was really fun to go down “memory lane” haha!
The short version: After she found out I was a fan of the Netflix series Reign it was *history from there.*
Our personalities mesh so well and since we are both very passionate about blogging, we were able to easily bounce ideas off each other, provide feedback, and keep each other on our toes. Plus we have similar branding and target audiences, so it was super easy to collaborate! Although I think I could have survived my first workshop by myself, I’m glad I had a co-host.
Our workshop theme + goal for our viewers allowed us to blend our different sets of expertise + provide some wicked-awesome-juicy-AF info. Plus I love Katherine’s blog and her in general. She always supports me, offers personalized blog + life advice, and also loves Game of Thrones. Honestly, it was a match made in heaven.
2. Online Workshops Take A Lot of Planning
Sure you can come up with the idea of doing a live workshop and then actually do it (the fun part), but it’s all that stuff in between that can cause your life to become totally consumed. Let’s just say I indulged in some tremendous self-care once it was over, haha.
After I pitched the idea to Katherine, we scheduled a day to jump on a call together and swapped ideas for what we could cover. Next, we had to pick a day and time to host our workshop, specific topics, tech stuff, a promotional strategy, etc. Then I spent some time personally learning as much as I could about webinars. This post from Allison Marshall of Wonderlass helped me A TON plus she has a free webinar on webinars that I took some serious notes on.
To give you an idea of what all goes into a webinar:
- content idea outline
- slide show presentation (if you choose to have slides)
- sign-up page
- thank you page
- email copy
- promotion strategy
- setting up the actual page where it will stream
- choosing a streaming platform (we used YouTube Live)
- chat box
- freebies/bonus material
- Q&A time at the end
- and more probably haha
I have to give a HUGE shout out to Krista of Blog Beautifully and her online course Profit From Your Passion that practically walked me through creating a successful webinar. Krista even signed up and came to cheer me on, which honestly meant the world to me.
(Inside scoop: she’s one of my favorite bloggers and not only is she super inspiring, but she’s super helpful + down to earth.) Her course is opening back up for enrollment in the fall, so definitely keep an eye out for that!!
In total, the planning stage took about a month. Katherine and I ended up bumping the live stream date later a few times since she had just launched her Summer Camp program at the beginning of August and then dipped out to Italy for a week. In the end, everything fell into place the way it was meant to!
3. There Is No Such Thing As Over-Promotion
The key to getting people to show up to your webinar is 1) providing something super valuable and 2) PROMOTE the heck out of it. Humans needed to be constantly reminded of things in order for them to register it in their brains. Here are the different ways we promoted our workshop:
- announcements + reminders to our email lists
- posted in Facebook groups
- created multiple pins (here, here, here, and here)
- blabbed about it for a week on Instagram
- shared behind the scenes + sneak peeks on our Instagram stories to hype it up
- posted about it on Twitter multiple times a day
- retweeted each other’s tweets + everyone that tweeted about it
- made it easy for attendees to share it with their friends on our thank you page and with tweetable links in my emails
- I created related blog posts leading up to it: this, this, and this
- I created different promo images to share on various platforms
- Lastly, we guest-posted on each other’s blog the day before the event. This was a great way to give a little preview and warm our audiences up to each other. Check out my guest post on Katherine’s blog here and you can read Katherine’s post on my blog here!
On the night of the workshop when we went live we had 113 sign-ups. Our goal was 100! Like I said, there is NO such thing as over-promotion.
4. You Need To Know What You’re Talking About (And Enjoy It)
In college, the one thing that stressed me out the most was giving presentations. I’ve come a longgg way in my public speaking journey, plus grad school and my career prepped me too. My problem was that I’d always lose my train of thought while speaking and go totally blank. And whenever that happens I either pause and feel super awkward or just start blabbing on incoherently and get really repetitive (it seemed like this to ME anyway).
The only time I was ever able to BEAT this mental blankness, was when I 100% knew what the heck I was talking about…and was really passionate about! You guys can probably tell that I’m obsessed with blogging and sharing my tips and strategies with you…but the OTHER problem I deal with is that I feel like I can talk and talk and talk about a topic and veer off in other directions or dive into a personal story and 10 minutes later I finally get to my point.
Since Katherine and I had a time limit for our workshop (20 minutes each to present) I knew I had to work really hard to make my points concise, while also full of info.
Creating an outline REALLY helped with this and fun fact: during the beginning of my presentation, I lost where I was in my outline and had a mental block *omg* I guess I covered my a** pretty well because no one noticed *phew*.
Bottom line: if you KNOW what you’re talking about inside and out and really LOVE it, you’ll be able to teach people about it.
5. Community Is Everything
Katherine and I were SO overwhelmed by how lit the chat was during our live stream. I literally felt like I was hanging out with my girl friends. You guys were amazing!!!
When I say bloggers should focus on community over competition to find success, I REALLY mean it. Over the past 3 months, I’ve spent time building relationships with my readers (y’all) through my email list, social media, and even on these blog posts, because I learned that that’s how you grow a trusted audience (p.s. it works.)
Most of the ladies who attended the workshop are already a part of my blog squad and those who weren’t, now are! ALSO, having a co-host is a great way to connect with more people and expand your communities…by growing together!
6. Tech Problems Are Inevitable
Technology is great, but it can also be hella unreliable when we need it most. A few hours before the workshop my wifi started going in and out and I was praying that it would calm down (thankfully no internet issues ensued.)
Fortunately, the only tech problem we ran into during the live stream was that my slides weren’t showing for the first couple minutes, whoops! Totally my fault, which I learned from and know what to do next time 🙂 Luckily I was monitoring the chat and saw you guys telling us that the slides weren’t showing (ty!!)
Totally my fault, which I learned from and know what to do next time 🙂 Luckily I was monitoring the chat and saw you guys telling us that the slides weren’t showing (ty!!)
- One problem that we ran into during our run-throughs that made me nervous was this horrible echoing sound on my end. Thanks to Krista I realized that I needed headphones to fix that problem.
- As for lighting, I invested in this little kit from Amazon for only $30 which I had been meaning to purchase for a while since I can use it for my photography as well.
My only advice is to plan for the worst and check your tech DAYS in advance–not the day before! We did our test run-through two days prior and then hopped on again the next day to check the echoing problem.
7. I’m Definitely Doing More!
I had SO much fun and honestly, all the late nights and stressful planning moments were totally worth it in the end. Your guys’ feedback was what I needed to hear to give me validation + confidence in what I’m passionate about. On top of helping you guys, I’m also learning new skills, techniques, and more things about myself, which is what I’ve been called to do.
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