Hayli De Jong is the writer and mastermind behind HayliDeJong.com.

By day she is a 7th and 8th grade teacher, but as a side-hustle she enjoys working on her blog and business. In this article, Hayli shares with you how to create your very first webinar.

It’s my mission to help bloggers and small business owners to find their unique voice and perspective, build up their brand, and create and sell products using their blog. I write blog posts, host training events and create courses to give bloggers the information and tools they need to turn their dreams of entrepreneurship into a reality.

I originally got into blogging in college when I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do for a career and couldn’t decide on a major. I ended up quitting my first blog after I decided to be a teacher and focus on school, but shortly after graduating and getting a full time job I knew that teaching wasn’t exactly the right choice for me – so I decided to give blogging another try.

What is a Webinar?

A webinar is basically a live video class that is shared with other people around the world. Although there are different ways of presenting, I typically create a slideshow presentation and talk over the slide so that it is easier for my guests to take notes. Guests can typically expect a 30 to 45 minute lesson followed by a pitch for a new course or product at the end.

Benefits of using Webinars as a health blogger

Webinars are a great way for ANY blogger to present loads of information to an audience in a short period of time. They are a great way for bloggers to build up an email list (during the advertising period) and also to make quite a few product sales in a short period of time. During the webinar you have the chance to show your expertise on a topic and humanise your blog and brand. Since you are sharing knowledge live, it really has the potential to build up trust with your audience that you know your stuff, which in turn allows them to feel confident when purchasing a product during your pitch at the end.

Advice for your first webinar

My biggest piece of advice for someone wanting to create their first webinar is to just set a date and do it. You just get better with practice so getting the first one done with can be a huge sigh of relief (and a huge confidence boost). I also suggest that you build your presentation off of your most popular blog post. This will allow you to work with something that your audience has already shown interest in. It can also save you time and stress by not having to come up with a whole new topic and set of talking points.

Potential challenges

I don’t think that actually setting up the webinar itself has come with too many challenges after you initially figure out the process (besides one time when my email signup decided to stop working in the middle of advertising…). I actually have had more issues with tech breaking down during the webinar itself, such as the internet crashing or sound not working, than with the webinar. Luckily, people are pretty understanding since they have most likely worked with tech themselves and know that sometimes it just decides not to work! I have actually completely set up a new webinar session WHILE my webinar was live and had to have guests join in all over again due to sound issues. Guess what, I still made sales! So that just goes to show that people are understanding and forgiving if you are giving out solid information.

Just try not to panic if it does happen. Test out all of the tech beforehand and know how to troubleshoot during the webinar so that you can make any fixes as quickly as possible. Also, always have a chat box so that you can update your audience by text if the video or sound is for some reason not working.

Creating your webinar

When it comes to which programmes to use, I use my squarespace site to create the page I share with my audience, and that has the video stream and chatbox on it. I create a Google Hangout to stream the video and Chatwing to create a chatbox, and I embed both of these into the squarespace page. Just recently I invested in Leadpages and I use this programme to share the replay page with anyone who was not able to attend live.

Creating a loyal audience

There are many ways to create a loyal audience for your webinars. I have found that creating a Facebook group has been a great way to create a community around my blog. This is an opt in incentive that I have used on my site and it has become a great space for bloggers to chat, respond to daily prompts and become friends. Having this community around my blog has helped to create an audience that gets excited for webinars and courses that I put out – plus they are willing to share it with their own followers.

I also believe that putting out great content to begin with is very helpful in building up a following. Of course having an active community helps, but having content that people enjoy and find helpful to start with is what will get people into your community.

To get the word out about my webinars, I do a combination of advertising to my own email list (which of course gets a ton of people to my webinars) but also to Facebook groups that I am a member of. The Facebook groups allow me to get new people into my webinars besides the people that are already on my email list AND by default it helps my email list to grow as well.

Blogging lessons…

The biggest lesson that I have learnt from blogging so far is that it pays to be creative and not just do the same thing that everyone else is doing. If you feel like you are starting to blend in too much there is nothing wrong with taking a step back and having some time off to re-focus and and gain some inspiration from places besides the internet.