If you have hopes of using automated webinar software to make some passive income but are currently having trouble selling your products or services to your target audience, the issue may not lie in your core offers themselves. The real problem could be that you are unknown in your niche. You need to set yourself up as an authority on your topic before you try to host a webinar, let alone pitch a sale.
Authority can be the difference between a $1,000 a year and $100,000 a year or even $1+ million dollar year. If you want the latter, then you need to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. In this post, I’m going to give you the steps you need to take to do just that.
Webinar Best Practices – Show the World Your Expertise First
Step #1: Create a Branded Online Presence
Long before creating a webinar, you need to establish a branded online presence. If you don’t yet have a domain or social media accounts, start by going to KnowEm and entering your name as a username, like geoffronning. KnowEm will tell you if there is a .com domain and usernames available on just about every social network out there, starting with the main ones.
The goal is to create a personal brand that is as strongly recognized as a corporate brand. Take Macy’s as an example. They are known as Macy’s everywhere. For example, macys.com, twitter.com/macys, macys.tumblr.com, pinterest.com/macys, facebook.com/macys, and instagram.com/macys.
Using KnowEm will alert you to any usernames that are not available so you can find a username that is to use on your website and social profiles. Don’t be the person that has a dozen different usernames on every different platform. Be Macy’s.
Confused about whether to go with personal profiles or pages on networks that offer both? Here’s my advice. On Facebook, do both. You’ll need a page for advertising, and you’ll need a profile to create the page. Open your personal profile up to followers in the settings. Use the privacy settings and friend lists to keep personal things private and things that build up your personal brand public. For the username, either add fan or page to the end of your username on the page or add your middle initial to the profile username since you can’t have the same username for both.
Note – when you’re ready to start researching how to promote a webinar, you should know now that it’s against Facebook’s terms and conditions to use your personal page strictly to promote your business. So while it’s important to secure the personal profile for branding purposes, don’t rely on a personal page as your only means of business promotion.
On LinkedIn, all you will need is a professional profile. On Pinterest, set yourself up as a business account for advertising purposes. It’s also important to note that you can’t use any social media management tools with personal profiles, which means you’ll have to update it separately.
Once you have purchased your name domain, set up hosting, installed WordPress, and claimed your social profiles, make them outstanding from the start. Get some professional portraits of yourself – look at the websites and social profiles of other authorities in your niche to see what you need. Keep in mind that not only do you want to look as professional as competitors, but you want to stand out from them.
Choose one image that will be your main profile photo across all of your social profiles and anywhere else that asks for a photo of you. Next, if you have the budget, get a custom website design and custom header images for your social profiles using that professional portrait.
If you don’t have the budget, buy a professional WordPress theme like The Get Noticed theme, Identity, or any others that focus on personal branding. For your website, set it to a static homepage or about page to start with if you don’t have any blog content. You can update it later. Also be sure to create an email list (you can see companies I recommend on the StealthSeminar homepage) and integrate an opt-in form on your website using your WordPress theme or plugins like OptinMonster.
Step #2: Share Great Content in Your Niche
To get the ball rolling, start by finding the top authorities and publications in your niche and sharing their content on your social profiles. This has multiple benefits. It helps you get on the radar of other experts and writers in your niche. It also helps you learn more about what types of topics people in your niche are interested in. It keeps your social accounts active as well, so you can start building a following. Most importantly, it provides value to the audience you will build in Step #3.
Social media tools like HootSuite, Buffer and Sendible give you the option of creating a schedule so you can add updates to the tool and it will post them to your social media accounts at times you have set in your schedule. This would allow you to batch your time and spend as little as an hour each week searching for great content that will keep your social accounts active throughout the week.
Step #3: Grow Your Social Media Following
You’ve likely come across plenty of advice about how it’s not about the quantity, but the quality. And yes, quality is important when it comes to getting leads and sales from your audience. That said, there are lots of things that make authorities in a niche stand out from the rest – one of those things is a large audience.
Where most people go wrong on this is they go from 0 to 100,000 followers, fans, or connections overnight. That kind of activity on some platforms is publicly traceable and completely unnatural, with exception to celebrities that just joined a social network. In fact, growing too fast can cause your account to be flagged for spam. This can happen even if you naturally had a growth spurt. And, if you’ve been found to be in violation of the terms of services for a platform for doing something like buying followers, your account can be banned entirely.
Here’s what you want to do instead to avoid any issues. As you are following the next steps in this post, you will steadily build a natural, quality audience. Supplement that audience growth with paid campaigns to build your followers and fans base in small doses.
There are tons of services that can help you do this. If you have a big budget and want to build a quality social media audience, you can do it through social media advertising by promoting your account on Twitter and promoting your page on Facebook to a specific audience – the audience that you will ultimately promote your content, products, and services to.
If you have a smaller budget, you can host giveaways, invite friends and family, or connect with other influencers to collaborate on content to boost your numbers. Include your social media links in your email signature, and add links to your website as well.
Step #4: Network With Other Authorities in Your Niche
It’s never too early to start networking with the best people in your niche. You’re probably already following their blogs if you implemented Step #1. Start commenting on the posts you read by them too.
Next, follow those authorities on their public profiles and pages. Then look for opportunities to have some quality engagement with them. Offer positive feedback about posts they share, answer questions when they ask, and engage in some intellectual debates.
You don’t have to always agree and kiss up to them, but don’t go too far and piss them off either. To get even more quality networking in with these people, look for opportunities to join them in private groups. A lot of experts in your niche are likely in social media groups (i.e. on Facebook or LinkedIn), masterminds, and communities for their products and training courses. In some cases you’ll have to buy your way in, but it will worth be worth it as they will be more likely to respond to customers.
Step #5: Publish Authoritative Blog Content
Now is the part where you really start to ramp up your authority, and show off your expertise. Start blogging on your personal brand domain and start submitting guest posts to authority sites and publications that accept content from guest contributors.
You can start with smaller blogs and work your way up to the Forbes and Entrepreneur-like publications in your niche. If you’re not a writer, don’t sweat it. Blogging doesn’t have to involve hours spent typing into a Word document. You can record yourself talking about an idea and have someone transcribe it for you.
If you’re better on camera, you can move on to Step #6, record some great video, then have it transcribed as a blog post. You can even hire ghostwriters to turn your topics and outlines into amazing blog content.
Just remember to spread your content around instead of publishing solely on your own website. You want authoritative content on your own domain to share with everyone who clicks through to your website from your author bios and social profile links. And you want authoritative content on major publications in your niche to get the attention of new audiences. Remember to promote it as well. There’s no point in writing amazing posts and then not telling people about them.
The great thing about writing all this content is that you can repurpose it when you’re ready to begin creating a webinar. Later, once you fine-tune your message, you can actually host a webinar and ultimately upload it to automated webinar software to start getting leads and sales on autopilot. But, we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves.
Step #6: Create Professional Video Content
YouTube is the third most popular website / search engine in the world. That’s why you need to cater to it by creating professional video content. Depending on your budget, you can do anything from setting up a webcam and a video backdrop to recording yourself in a rent-by-the-hour conference room to a full-blown shoot in a recording studio.
Skip the “I recorded this in my basement” look and aim for a well-lit environment with quality sound. What you do in your video depends on your niche. You can talk about the latest news and trends, teach, use a whiteboard, or do complete presentations. If you don’t have any good video-specific ideas, lean back on your blog content and create videos based on the topics you already covered there.
This allows you to reach people who like to read and people who like to watch video in your niche. In other words, it allows you to connect with a larger audience of people, no matter how they like to consume content. Like your blog posts, you’ll have to promote your video content to ensure that they get watched. One way to boost YouTube video views is to use the keywords and keyword phrases your ideal audience would be looking for online. YouTube is owned by Google, which is the largest and most widely known search engine. Your videos could be in the top search results for those keywords when you use them as your video titles and include them in your descriptions.
Step #7: Create Valuable Webinar Content
Webinars are the next level of content, and a great way to help your audiences get to know, like, and trust you.
Pro tip: They don’t have to all be focused on sales, and they shouldn’t be!
When you’re ready to host a webinar, you can simply demonstrate your authority by teaching something of value to your audience. If you’re not comfortable in front of the camera, webinars give you the option to keep the viewers watching your slides or on-screen demo versus your face. Creating a webinar series that is available for replay will impress new visitors on your website as they will see that you have a history of creating amazing, educational content in your niche. Using automated webinar software will even give your audience a chance to join you on their schedule so that they can learn more about you at any time of day.
Step #8: Answer Community Questions
Once you have some content in place (think about five blog posts, five videos, and at least one replay or automated webinar), you should move on to becoming a helpful member of your niche communities. Start finding opportunities to answer questions in social media groups, forums, Q&A networks, other blog’s comments, and any other area that gives people the chance to ask questions. Two fabulous outlets to answer community questions are Quora and Reddit.
Going out of your way to find and answer questions about topics pertaining to your niche will help you build authority by offering value. Side effects of this tactic include growing your social media audience, getting traffic back to your website, and becoming a well-known name in your niche.
Step #9: Answer Roundup Questions
When you start getting asked to participate in roundup posts (also referred to as expert answers, crowdsourced, and other types of posts), you will know you are becoming an authority. Answer these posts to get your name included alongside other authorities in your niche. You’ll build links to your website in the process and get the chance to say that you’ve been featured with other niche experts and influencers, opening the door to new networking opportunities.
One outlet you should sign up for that makes it easy to participate in roundups is HARO. HARO stands for Help a Reporter Out. Reporters and writers for blogs, magazines, news websites, and more add queries to the platform on a wide variety of subjects. These queries are then sent out in daily emails to registered users. If you respond to one of these queries with an acceptable answer to whatever question the reporter or writer is asking, you could be listed along with your website in their write-up.
Step #10: Accept Podcast Interviews
Starting to get invites to podcasts? Congratulations! This is usually a good sign that you are becoming an authority in your niche. Most podcast creators aim to invite people who are well-recognized in their niche and who have large audiences. When people start asking you to be on their podcast, that means you’ve made it!
But don’t wait to be asked. Start sending emails to podcast hosts in your niche and ask them to have you on as a guest. Before sending an email though, listen to a few episodes so you can get a feel for what they are looking for in a guest. Then, determine what you can offer the host’s audience. Once you have figured out what value you can offer, send the pitch. You may get selected for smaller podcasts first, but you can use those opportunities as social proof to get onto the bigger shows.
Participating in podcast interviews opens the door for you to reach new audiences and allows you to present new content to your own audience – content that will take you only 30 to 60 minutes to create. In addition, you’ll get to promote your own business, content, products, and services. It’s an overall win!
You’ve Made It!
At this point, you should have a strong online presence, a growing social following, a library of written and video content, webinars, and invites to participate in activities alongside other authorities in your industry. From here, you should be able to launch your products and services with success to your audience and easily find new audiences to promote them to.
You can continue boosting your authority through physical book publishing (with well-known publishers) and speaking at events in your industry. This will cement your authority in your niche, allowing you to gain even more exposure and further grow your audience. Don’t hesitate to get started. Take action NOW! Have you had uncommon success using any of the above or something different? We’d love to hear about it below.
**This article was originally published November 2015, and was updated October 2019.