Every time I think about running my next webinar, a great big wave of fright washes over me. I have a real fear of running webinars, despite being quite unintimidated by public speaking and slapping my face all over my social media posts.
Why I am keen to beat the fear
Webinars are in my social media strategy right now, you see.
My plan is 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.
I like my idea. I 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.
I’m going to be completely honest. Since putting that strategy in place, I’ve completed one of the two webinars I’m meant to have held by now. And that one webinar taught me a hard lesson: this fear of running webinars will NOT serve you. It certainly hasn’t served me, and I’m 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.
I think my fear points were:
Remembering what I had to say.
This is particularly pertinent for me as my short-term memory is hugely affected by depression. I spend every day terrified I’ve forgotten a really important detail – that only exacerbates itself when faced with a live webinar.
I’m a huge believer 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, I’d consider it pretty important to control the images of you seen by the public. I don’t feel like I have that control on camera while my mind is 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. I suspect, though, that I just need to focus on how “real” that makes me in the eyes of other people, rather than fixating on my own imperfections.
Ergh, I really use this phrase way too much. But here’s the truth – I will forever be worrying that I’m not teaching something as well or as thoroughly as the tonne of other Digital Marketing experts out there. I don’t just reserve comparison syndrome for webinars – I’m thinking it with every social media post I put live, during every client call, even as I type this very blog post. What if someone just does this better than me? What if all this is useless and wrong?
What actually happened during my webinar?
I’m thrilled to report that despite all my worries above, my webinar was actually awesome.
Here are a few factors that made it a relative success:
- First and foremost, my friends turned up. SO MANY WONDERFUL, KIND FRIENDS. I hadn’t directly asked them to (though in hindsight it turns out I should have, even just for moral support), but I was thrilled to bits that they were there to spur me on and send me the odd lovely message throughout my nervy hour of content planning. I’m 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? I had more than I expected (from trusted Facebook groups, it turns out) and hopefully have retained at least some of them as connections through social media or my mailing list.
- I made myself really good notes. Not too scripted, but enough detail not to leave me scratching my head in confusion. Most importantly though, I’d set them out with lots of space between each line and at no more than a sentence per line. This is a trick I 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.
- I left myself time to put my 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?
I’m glad you asked.
Although my webinar ran very well, I had some pretty horrible realisations afterwards that made me realise exactly how much that fear of running webinars – which had made me delay them until MONTHS after I really should have started – didn’t just not serve me. It massively impacted some success I could’ve had. Such as:
- I spent so long letting those fears take hold, that I didn’t take this crucial step in moving my career forward. And the real pain in the arse is that those fears have firmly rooted themselves again. I guess there’s a decision to make here; do I stick to my guns and work through this, or do I work out something else to do instead?
- I’ve wasted a lot of time not building my own reputation quickly.
When I think of all those people so came to check my session out that I’d never spoken to before, I feel so touched. But that nice feeling is quickly usurped with; “if I’d started this a year ago and stuck to it, my audience would be the size I’m now working to grow it to”. That makes me a bit sad. I love connecting with new people, and I want to help as many people with their digital marketing as I can, and listening to my own fears stopped me doing that for ages.
- Another reason I wish to goodness I’d worked on dissipating these fears when I first conceived this strategy was that it was part of my sales plan for my Ultimate UK Content Planners. The 2018 planners went on sale in October 2017. I didn’t do my first webinar until January 2018. Had I done my webinar before then, I am certain – considering the interest I had in them post-webinar – that I would have generated sales from the audience following that video. As it is, I worked up the courage too late – everyone had sorted their content planning tools by then and were skint from Christmas.
To conclude: I wish that I had worked out – much sooner – how to kick my fear of being on camera in a webinar setting. I’m generally quite forgiving with myself when it comes to not being able to do everything. I’m only one woman after all. But this one… this has presented to facts to me that are pretty hard to swallow, when I could have made my workload so much lighter for the year if I’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? Tweet me – let’s chat about it!