From content creation to design, hosting, and distribution, here is what family lawyers need to know about creating their own webinars.
By Aron Solomon, Senior Digital Strategist
Trust me. You can do this. You could do this even if you didn’t have this article to guide you – but luckily, you do have this, so you’re already one step ahead when it comes to creating your own webinars.
In this piece, I’m going to share with you the experience of our team in deciding how to make the content we regularly share in webinars available to a larger audience.
First, I’m going to start with my thesis that every family lawyer has content worthy of a webinar. Every lawyer reading this has areas of expertise, accomplishments, and ideas worth sharing in a webinar with potential clients. I refuse to believe that any reader of this piece does not have content worthy of a webinar. In fact, I challenge you to contact me if you feel you are one of those people; during a conversation, I know we could come up with amazing ideas that could become the content basis for a webinar that will resonate with your audience.
4 Tips for Family Lawyers Hoping to Create Their Own Webinars
Here are all the basics you need to consider if you are thinking about creating your own webinars.
1. Webinar Content Creation
First, there are two strategic ways to think about webinar content for family lawyers.
- Broad Focus: The first is that your webinar should cover a very broad topic. I have a fairly popular webinar for lawyers on the importance of using social media. There is no doubt that this is a broad topic – perhaps even overbroad.
- Narrow Focus: The other way you can go with content for a webinar is to look through an extremely narrow lens. This is equally good as a broad approach to your topic and the idea of choosing something within your own area of expertise and knowledge that will greatly appeal to a small segments of clients can make for a very strong webinar and excellent results.
The process that I go through in building a webinar is almost identical to the process that I go through in writing a piece such as this. The first thing I do is lay out the major topic areas that I want to cover. What I am doing here is building the skeletal framework of my piece and the major arguments within.
From there, I add meat to the bones that I have created. I just come up with some points that I want to raise and in doing this I often come across other major points that I forgot to add to the framework. This is a flexible building and content editing process that really doesn’t have a beginning or an endpoint. Start doing this and finish the first draft of your webinar when you feel that you have covered enough.
Don’t make the mistake that almost everybody makes in building their first webinars, which is to come up with way too much content. You need to think about how long you want the webinar to be and make sure that you have just enough material for that amount of time. While it is a natural inclination as people who have gone to law school to want to write more and more, my strong suggestion is to err on the side of having a little bit less content than you think you need. Trust me, you will still struggle to get through the amount of content you have in the set time.
As for how long the webinar should actually be, our research indicates that you’re really stretching with anything over a half hour. It’s not just that longer webinars are difficult to organize and present, you’re dealing with limited attention spans. Certainly in these Coronatimes, people are spending more time in Zoom meetings and more time behind their computers. While your webinar is a great opportunity to convey important legal information and perspectives to people, understand that we are dealing with attention spans even more limited than usual.
2. Design Your Webinar
Even if you have read the first section and feel at least a little bit comfortable with it, design is where lawyers usually stop. An overwhelming number of family lawyers feel they don’t have the basic technology skills to be able to design a simple webinar.
So I’m going to give you two design tips here today that should truly accommodate 100% of lawyers interested in doing a webinar.
For those lawyers who want to give it a shot designing their webinar themselves, you cannot do better than www.Canva.com. While we have an unbelievable in-house design team here at NextLevel.com, I have been working in Canva back to the days I was a beta tester of the software.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that you will become an expert in Canva after using it for an hour or two. What I am comfortable saying is that it is a software that creates beautiful designs for you in a very intuitive way. In one or two quick sessions you can develop enough of a rudimentary skillset to be able to actually make a decent looking set of webinar slides.
But no matter how much I talk about what a great tool Canva is and how easy it is to use, I understand that a lot of lawyers don’t have interest in doing the design themselves. That’s totally fine. We are living in an era where online designers are remarkably plentiful and extremely inexpensive. I personally suggest using the website www.Fiverr.com to find experts in designing presentation decks for your webinar. You can find designers of all experience and price ranges on this site and it is absolutely possible that the design of an entire oven our deck could cost you as little as $50. If doing it yourself is going to cause you frustration or take up too much of your time, this is a superb way to go.
3. Hosting and Distribution
So here is where things can get very complicated for the novice. When I talk about hosting and distribution what I am saying is that you need to have somewhere online where you can load your webinar and present it to people.
Before I get into the details of this we should discuss the fact that there are essentially two main types of webinars you can do. The first is a live webinar where the people watching the webinar or watching presented in real time. The second type of webinar is where people are watching the webinar that you have uploaded with your voice and comments as well but they are not watching it live. Rather, they are watching a female governor that they can access either anytime they want or at times that you set for them to have access.
Both types of webinars can be equally powerful and can resonate with your audience. My suggestion is that you try both and decide what works best for you. The real problem with doing a live webinar, especially for a lawyer, is that it becomes a time you have set in stone. If something comes up that precludes you from hosting a webinar then you are going to leave potential viewers hanging. By uploading a premade webinar that can be played up to hundreds of times, you are creating a real strategic advantage here.
Over the past month or so I have spent a lot of hours evaluating webinar software so you don’t have to. And I’m going to say right off the bat that nobody has given us a sense to talk about the products, nor did I tell anybody that I was evaluating software in part to share this with an audience of lawyers who could become their clients.
The first thing that my experience revealed is that since the onset of the virus, webinar companies, like a lot of other companies that offer software that allows you to communicate with people in real time, has become very overwhelmed. The level of customer service that I received as a prospective client contacting these webinar companies was remarkably bad. I made it clear that I was looking to spend money on finding webinar solutions, and less than a third of the companies I contacted got back to me – even though I was persistent and contacted them multiple times.
So I’m really not in a position to vouch for or disavow any software that gave me nothing in excess of what I could learn about them through the website. There may be good companies out there that offer a good products, but if they don’t want to sell me their products, I don’t know what to tell you.
However, there was definitely one webinar company that appealed to me in several different ways: www.BigMarker.com. What I specifically liked about this company is that while they are clearly in a growth phase, they still seem to have a handle on communicating with clients. Their software still has room to grow and evolve, but at the moment, it offers solid basic products for doing webinars in real time and also to host asynchronous webinars. From my perspective, and I know a lot of family lawyers are going to share this view, I don’t want webinar software that does a ton of things I’m not interested in doing. That was definitely something I saw in evaluating other software – a real sense of overkill in looking at what the software does.
What are you go with BigMarker or another provider, you’re looking at anywhere between $80 and $200 a month in expenses to host your webinars. This is remarkably reasonable when you consider that you can even record your webinars using this software. You essentially have two choices when recording your webinar: you can make your own recording and upload it, or you can record directly into the BigMarker software.
Either way, if you are going to make a real run at having a regular webinar, which I strongly suggest you do, then $200 a month is a very reasonable price.
Feel free to go ahead and do your own research. As I’ve mentioned, I have no relationship in any way with BigMarker – it just struck me as being the best available software from any of the companies that replied to my fairly incessant queries.
4. Spreading the Word about Your Webinar
So now that you’ve created your webinar and you have somewhere to host and distribute it, how do you get people to attend?
First, please be realistic about the number of attendees you’re going to have when you begin to do webinars. It’s going to be very few, which is the case when you do anything from a podcast to a Facebook live to a webinar. Anytime you are putting content out to the world it takes time for your audience to grow. This is totally expected, and while it can certainly be frustrating at times, stick with it, generate good content, and things will come.
I’m going to offer to suggestions today, and probably do a follow up piece at some point in the near future that dive deeper into building an audience for your webinar.
My first suggestion is it fairly obvious one. Use mailing list of potential leads, prospects, past, and current clients that you have and blast out the webinar to them. Some of these people are going to end up being great allies of yours, and will end up spreading use of your webinar through both word-of-mouth and their own social networks.
Which leads me to my second point and one that I write, talk, and do webinars about all the time. You need to be using social media and doing so effectively to spread the word about all of the great things that are going on in your practice and what a fantastic lawyer you are. If you are already doing these things, then simply use those social networks to broadcast news about your new series of webinars.
If you are not yet using social media or you feel that you are not using social media effectively, talk to a marketing agency that understands your business and target market.
Aron Solomon is the Senior Digital Strategist for NextLevel.com – which specializes in online legal marketing – and an Adjunct Professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. NextLevel.com
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