If you've read my previous posts, you know how critical your platform is to your success as an author. There are, of course, many ways to build your platform, from social media to blogging, public speaking, and more. One of the strategies I haven't discussed as often, although I use it frequently myself, is online events. Webinars, and especially teleseminars, are great ways to establish your reputation as an expert, grow your email database, and captivate your audience with great content.
What more could an author -- and his/her agent, publisher, and publicist -- possibly want?
To give you the full scoop on how online events work, I recently gathered several expert friends, who shared the insider secrets on how to organize, promote and produce online events that attract thousands of new raving fans within weeks.
Here's what they recommend:
Pick your format with figures in mind. Many authors opt for teleseminars over webinars for one simple reason. Numbers. If you're looking at attracting more than 1,000 attendees, which I highly recommend you do, keep in mind that webinars, which include a video component, become cost-prohibitive quickly. Teleseminars, on the other hand, are audio-only events that allow you to accommodate exponentially larger crowds at minimal or no extra expense, explains Brad Codd, owner of InfoQuick, which produces teleseminars for author/expert/speakers.
Network with your idols. Amy Ahlers, now a bestselling author and life coach who made huge strides building her platform in 2009 (and since) using teleseminars, reached out to the leaders in her space for her first online event. "I ended up not only starting to build my platform and email database, I also formed relationships with women I had admired in my industry for so long," she says. What's more, over time those relationships can morph into marketing partnerships, high profile book endorsements, and more.
Abide by the golden rule of good networking. Like fine wine, networking gets better with time. If you're just starting out, expect a higher number of rejections and "no thank you's." In fact, adds Claire Zammit, owner of Evolving Wisdom, which produces teleseminar courses for personal development experts, even when you have a well-honed network of trusted contacts, "there's always a balance between the people who can help promote your teleseminar, and people who can really bring good content and credibility" to your event. Ideally, she adds, presenters are also willing to send a dedicated solo email blast promoting their appearance in your teleseminar, but that isn't always the case.
To sell or not to sell? This is a question you may answer differently from one event to the next. If you're just starting out, it's often best to promote your teleseminar as a free event, which builds rapport with your audience, establishes you as an expert, and grows your email database.
You can also use a single 60 or 90-minute recorded teleseminar as a "freebie" give-away that sells a longer, often five-week or longer, paid teleseminar series or course, as Claire does for Evolving Wisdom.
When you're hosting a free teleseminar or webinar to sell courses, books, or other products at the end of the event, offering top-notch content during the event is critical. According to Brad of Infoquick, the great content you give away, including a "freebie" thank you gift, often builds so much trust with your audience, "selling" becomes a simple invitation to visit a certain link to purchase the product. With a brief, straightforward pitch (and a large enough audience), you can generate significant sales with just a $97 product, Brad explains.
To be fascinating, be fascinated. That's a great tip from Mike Koenigs, author and Internet marketing guru whose online events regularly attract thousands. During your online events, interview other experts in your field, which gives you credibility by association. Rather than expending your effort showcasing your own expertise, give your guests the virtual spotlight. Being a very enthusiastic and sincere interviewer will go a long way toward making your event successful, and making your attendees into newest crop of raving fans.
Over the years I've hosted dozens, if not hundreds, of teleseminars, and in addition to being a great tool for building your platform, they're a really fun and convenient (no travel required) way to practice your speaking skills, learn even more about your topic, and get to know some really interesting, accomplished, and often entertaining, people within your field.
Arielle Ford has launched the careers of many NY Times bestselling authors including Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Neale Donald Walsch & Debbie Ford. She is a former book publicist, literary agent and the author of seven books. Get her free Bestseller Author Blueprint video at EverythingYouShouldKnow.com.