In this episode Lev Cribb, Managing Director of WebinarExperts.com, looks at how to do things differently during times of uncertainty – especially as it relates to your webinar recording and podcast recording. There is a “new normal” for all of us and webinar recording is no exception.
So how can we go lateral and find new ways of getting the same (and perhaps even better) results we did during the “old normal”? We’ll look at the role content, processes, audio-visual tech, and under-utilised teams play in getting your webinar recording done differently.
Podcast Transcript – Going Lateral With Lev Cribb… And Your Webinar Recording:
Hello folks and welcome to this episode of Going Lateral with Lev Cribb and Your Webinar Recording. Today we’re going to be talking about getting things done differently during lockdown. And I know things are different for me, I’m sure things are different for you during this period of time and it’s just the current situation isn’t it? We need to do things differently. We need to think about how we can do things differently. The world doesn’t stop. Business doesn’t stop. Life doesn’t stop, so we just need to deal with it.
I know that we’re socializing via Zoom, which I’m sure you guys are as well. We’re doing this more than ever. In fact, we didn’t do it before. It just, there wasn’t a need for it. We meet with friends, we do quizzes on Zoom. I’m sure everybody’s in the same space at the moment and it’s just a situation that we’re in. We even have a to do jar of things that we want to do after lockdown. We’ve got in there things like going to CenterParcs where you want to go and see friends again. We want to go swimming. We want to do all these kinds of things that we took for granted before and they’re just aren’t possible at the moment. So we’ve started compiling a list of things that we want to do, the kids want to do, my wife wants to do, I want to do, and I’m sure everybody’s in the same situation.
We even miss things that we didn’t do much of before just because we can’t do them at the moment. How do you guys feel about that? Are you guys missing things that you weren’t even doing before and now because you can’t do them, you all of a sudden want to do them. I know I feel like that anyway. And some things that perhaps we don’t want to do like homeschooling but we just have to. Well I don’t, my wife’s taking that role and she’s doing a great job at it. In fact, I’m full of admiration on how well she does it and I think she’s probably hoping to switch at some point with me as well and swap the office for the homeschooling side of things.
But there’s all these different things that we need to start thinking about. How do we tackle them? How do we do them differently?
And at the same time, there are opportunities to help and encourage others. Things that perhaps were there before, the opportunities were there before, but we just didn’t take them. They just weren’t in focus at the time. But they’ve come more into focus now as we are restricted in things that we can do. Things that other people might not be able to do because they are perhaps at a certain age where they have to be more locked down. Food deliveries for the elderly, for elderly neighbours. The NHS Clap I think is great. I think everybody does, and we could have done this before. We haven’t had to and we didn’t do it, we didn’t even think about it.
And all these things come into view now that we have to think maybe more of others, be more kind. We’ve even gone down the road of teaching our kids things that we wouldn’t have normally taught them because they would have been in school or we simply didn’t think about it. And we just feel reminded maybe of a time where we were younger, where we learned certain things because we were out playing. Perhaps the situation was different, there was less technology, there wasn’t any Zoom, there wasn’t any Joe Wicks showing us how to do exercises, our parents or our grandparents told us that.
I know for certain that I’ve been teaching my kids things I didn’t even know I could teach. I didn’t even know I knew. Drawing, who knew that I was creative? And we’ve been following this guy on YouTube and we’ve been drawing things that I never knew I could draw and I’m helping my kids to learn how to do those. My wife’s teaching our kids how to tell the time. I’m sure that would’ve been covered in school as well. But it’s all these different things that we’re having to do now that are different where we just have to refocus, we think and consider how can we transfer that knowledge to somebody who hasn’t got the availability of at the moment or who doesn’t know where to start with it?
We’ve not seen family or friends for almost two months, at least not in person, but we’ve probably seen more of them than before because we’ve got the technology and things are just different now. We’ve had the opportunity or at least the impetus to pick up the phone or FaceTime with friends that we’ve not spoken to for in a while. All of these things are things that we weren’t doing … What? Six, seven, eight weeks ago. And that’s extraordinary and I think that that probably is relevant to us in business as well.
We need to think about how can we do things differently? What can we do differently? What do we have to do now? What do we have to do today in order not to fall behind when this whole thing either blows over or when it just changes our status quo? Everybody’s talking about this “new normal”, what is the new normal now and what will the new normal be when we come through this in 6, 12, 18, 24 months time? I’m sure things will be different and I’m sure that it will be the same for you guys as well.
So we’re even now starting to hatch plans for what we do after lockdown. If we look at the to do jar that we’ve got, I personally can’t wait to go to Edinburgh. I see some friends and we’ll also go out. I love Edinburgh. It’s a great city. If you haven’t been before, check it out. Unfortunately, I don’t think this year we might not see the Edinburgh festival, but the city is great and I just can’t wait to go there. And while we go there frequently, again, it’s almost under one of these categories of “haven’t done much before but now want to do”. And for some reason it’s popped into my head and I just can’t let go of it at the moment. It’s this great city I want to go and see again.
Another example is not far from us where we live, there’s a sort of national park with loads of waterfalls. We just didn’t think we could go. We went about a couple of years ago and dragged out our then, I think, four-year-old or three-year-old son, around the course of about five miles and he made it but in some trance that he went through in the end. But, he made it around but we didn’t think we could do it again, just because it’s out of reach, five miles is way too far. And then at the weekend we walked I think three miles and the kids didn’t quite know how far it was going to be, but they made it round and they liked it. They enjoyed it. They want to go back. So let’s do the waterfalls next time. It’s a few miles more, but just all these realizations are things that we can do that are out there that we can do that we just didn’t consider before.
And I think it’s the same for business. You need to go lateral with your webinars and your podcast recording. You’re probably running them, if you’re listening to this, and you’re wondering “how can we continue on the path that we’re on before”? Well, Newsflash, it’s probably not going to be the same as before. You need to start adjusting and you need to start playing the long game a bit more. Not look at the next three, four weeks and how can we start changing the way we do things, but actually what are they going to be like in two, three, four months time? What are they like now? What do we need to change? And this change is partly required because of lockdown and partly because you need to change your messaging and your short term developments that are impacting what your messaging is and what your customers require.
But then also, you need to change things with your webinar recording and podcast recording, because there are limitations in the freedom of movement. You can’t record together, you can’t run joint video webinar recording or podcasts recordings or simply the facilities aren’t available. You can’t access the studios you were recording webinars in before. The recording facilities aren’t there that you were using before, whether they were in a studio or an office. So we need to think about what can be done differently.
And many of us are still running audio webinars as usual and that’s not impacted as much, but it may well be impacted by the short term change in messaging. What are your customers interested in? It’s likely that at the moment for many of you, what your customers are interested in, how you can support them is different now than it was two or three, four months ago or maybe even just six, seven weeks ago. So you need to adjust and the webinar recording and podcast recordings follow suit that something needs to be done differently.
So what can you do? You can replace your studio recordings for video, for example with webcam webinar recording. Webcams are … Great quality webcams these days. There’s absolutely no problem with using an HD webcam to do your video, but you just won’t be able to sit in the same studio together. The quality is fine, but you need to spend some time on how can you replace the traditional video format that you had with a new video format. And we’re all pretty much used to now of seeing different people on Zoom, not in the room together. So your audience will be happy with that, they’ll be find with that because that is the new normal at the moment.
So what you need to do now though, is make sure that you have the right setup, the right camera, the right audio, the right backdrop. And people are used to how you’re going to produce this this time and for the foreseeable future. So webcam can place a big studio video production. It has to because there’s no option at the moment for many of us. So don’t forget to rehearse this new normal but set it up, try it out. You can’t just ignore the fact that this is going on and you can’t just not run webinars at the moment in a video format. You have to continue. The technology’s there. It’s just a mindset change and consider that sort of, I suppose that long play for home production. Like I said, it’s unlikely to go away anytime soon and if you still think it’d be different in three, four weeks time, it likely isn’t.
And if it is, that would be great. I don’t think it will be, but the point is people will be used to seeing a different style of video presentation. So why not capitalize on that and provide that expectation and content for that expectation and supply your contributors with the home setup. Get the right mix. Get the right cameras, order it on Amazon. It doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy. You can get a great webcam for under a hundred pounds. Create this kind of home production setup with some great lighting. Maybe even the backdrop or maybe just invest in the right enhancement for somebody’s office or home office to change that around and make it look like something that you can have on a video webcast. Why not?
Like I said, it’s you’re investing in the future because things will be different after all this blows over and you’ll still want to be able to capitalize on that because people are used to it. So why not continue doing it afterwards but invest now. And for your high profile contributors, create a setup, a home studio setup, that is maybe more than just 100 pounds or 150 pounds. Invest in that as well, because it will be used afterwards and it can be used afterwards. So why not do it?
We don’t know how long this is going to gone for. That’s the bottom line. And when it finishes, things will continue to be different. So it will be either driven by companies doing things differently or it will be individuals like your contributors saying, “Look guys, I did these video webinars from home for the last three months, six months”, whatever, how long it’s going to be. I want to continue doing this. I’m not coming to studio where I have to commute for two hours. I’m going to do it from home because it worked before. Why not now?”
So you may as well just invest in it now. Test it, try it out, spend some time on looking at what’s going to be the best set up, what’s going to be best lighting. Maybe play around with some camera setups and all that can be done right now. You don’t have to wait for September, October, November time, next year, whenever. This can be done now and you should be looking at this right now.
Another aspect will be the shorter turnaround times we spoke about before. There is likely to be some revised messaging, different interests from your customer base, from the marketplace. So what can you do in those? Well, you can redesign your processes to cope with shorter timeframes. We are big fans of six to eight week lead time for webinars and that was the old normal.
Now we’re in the new normal. How can you change your processes to cope with shorter timeframes? That might mean a change in your promotional strategy. Likelihood is you probably have a lot more emails going out at the moment because you can’t meet in person because there’s no events, so maybe you need to send fewer emails which have longer lead time to set up. You need to set them up. You need schedule them, they need to happen. You can’t just send five emails in one week, you need to send them one a week. And there’s likely going to be a high demand on your database already, so maybe enable other channels, other promotional channels. Social media hasn’t always been the biggest driver of registrations for webinars. It’s an important channel, but email always been the dominant driver for signups. Now, if that channel drops away or is contested by other activities, then you need to look at how you can enable that channel.
We never had the need, really, to make it a big channel or the biggest channel, but why not look at re-thinking how you do it. Enable the wider workforce to help you promote your webinar recording or your podcasts by, for example, integrating apps for social media promo into your CRM systems, into your marketing automation tools. How can you put the power of social media promotion into each employee’s hand and say, “Look guys, we need your help. This is the plan. We’re going to give you … we enable you with an app. You’re going to be connected with your account to …”
Be it LinkedIn elevate or something into Twitter or something into Facebook. Wherever you are promoting socially and allowing people to post promotional content. Pre-write the post for them, schedule it into something where they can just click on share and it goes out in their name. There’s plenty of tools around that and that’s something that if you aren’t already looking into it, that’s something that you need to capitalize on because you have a workforce, they have a vested interest in your webinars being a success, especially your account reps, your sales guys, your marketing colleagues, whoever’s is involved in this has an interest in this taking place and being a success.
Talking about short timeframes, promotion is one item, but what are you going to promote? You may say, “Well, we don’t have enough content. The content is there when we operate normally, but we can’t do that right now.” So why not look at building up an internal hub with resources for content that can be quickly consulted for quicker turnaround times for content? If you don’t have the luxury of creating content that you used to, you might be surprised at how much content is actually available already that you’re already sitting on that just isn’t being utilized. So bring together a team that can look at what is this knowledge base going to be? What content is going to be in there? And it might take some time to build up, but it’s worth the investment.
Even post COVID-19, if you have the content, then it is still relevant or you can build it in the meantime, you should do it right now. If you wait another two, three, four, five months to build up that content and say, “Well, we’ll start it when we’re through this.” That’s going to be too late because others will be doing the same thing right now. They’ll be looking at what content do we have? Where are the gaps? What can we create? What do we need to create to address the revised messaging or the new normal for our customers? That needs to be created right now.
And so in effect, you almost want to maybe even consider crowdsourcing content from within your organization. One great example is HubSpot. HubSpot’s always been great at making all of their employees content creators. If you look at HubSpot’s sales and marketing blogs, a lot of those posts are … and you may like them or you don’t like them, but the point is, the HubSpot employee workforce are the creators of that blog content. So whether it’s a director, a manager, an intern, everybody creates content. So why not create crowdsource content for your webinar or podcast program.
Empower your workforce to say, “Well, this is what our customers want to hear about. So I’m going to write something about it.” And of course, you will want to put some guidelines against that and some approvals to make sure that the content that these folks are creating is right for your messaging, for your audience. But why not allow them to create it? If you don’t have the option to create content differently, this is a great way of doing it.
And why not build an internal task force that is responsible for all of what we just said. The social promo, the creating the posts for social media, creating that knowledge base of content, creating the content itself. Maybe even look at process improvement overall. How can you shorten your process that you have in place already? There will be people in your organization who are under-utilized at the moment because of the changes that we’re experiencing at the moment. So why not set them to task on something that they can get involved with, they can feel ownership of, they can actually make a difference in your organization and create even a cross-functional task force to make sure that you are doing all of this. You’re creating the content, you’re making it available, you’re surfacing it to your webinar recording, for example. And then you can start creating this content and putting it out there.
And part of that might be that you say, “Well we don’t have the crowdsourcing capabilities to create hour-long webinars.” And we are great fans of 60-minute webinar recording. We advocate that because we know the audience likes it. If the content is good, they’re going to stay for 60 minutes. But you might say, “Well, if we’re going to take this approach of crowdsourcing this content but we’re not going to get there to make 60 minute content,” that’s fine. You have options. Why not make your content more bite-size? You create a series of shorter webinar recording s or shorter podcasts that has less content in it. But there is a series and an output that you are able to scale.
So instead of doing, I don’t know, 5, 10, 60-minute webinars, why not create 20, 30 pieces of shorter content, create a series of step one, step two, step three, step four, 20, 30-minute webinars or podcasts that you can create quickly where you have the capabilities and the resources to do it based on this crowdsourcing model, for example. And start putting it out or look at different ways of splitting it into smaller chunks. Make it industry specific or take a very large topic and highlight certain aspects of it. You don’t need to run on a very large topic, two, three hour long webinars or four or five webinars to cover the whole topic. Make it a series that will run over the next 6 months, 12 months and break it down into bite-sized chunks that you can get out there.
Because if you’re not putting content out, somebody else will and your audience will join that content and will consume that content. Anytime that your audience is consuming that content, they certainly won’t be consuming your content. So you need to act now. You need to put content out there. If it is shorter, if it is different, that is fine because that is what people are looking at at the moment, is things are different. And you need to think lateral and make sure that you continue on the path that you are on.
Yes, you need to make some adjustments but it’s important that you do something. You can’t just sit back and say, “Well, we’re going to restart this whole thing and we restart our content engine when we can again go back to the normal process that we had two months ago and we’ll do that at the end of the year.” You’re going to lose your audience. You’re going to almost actively push them to a competitor because they are putting content out there. So it’s important that you act now and improve your throughput and your output.
And you if nothing else, it will increase the morale of the team that is currently under-utilized or those folks within certain teams that can’t do what they were doing before because of the current situation. They’ve got expertise, they’ve got knowledge, they’ve got passion for your company, for your product. Why not set them to work on something where they can help create content, review processes, whatever the strength of that person or those people are, set them to task on something that they can contribute to. Because what else are they going to do at the moment if their role is almost redundant? So there’s a huge opportunity there that I think you can make great use of.
And when we talk about bite-sized content, you’ve got customers, I hope so at least. Invite them in, get them to tell their stories. There’s huge value in that, especially further down the sales funnel. And hopefully they’ll be happy to talk about it. It might be that they already thought about talking about it or maybe they’re speaking to others, just not in a webinar or podcast format. This is content that you can make available straight away without having to write the content itself. It’s customers happily talking about what they’re doing with you. And it doesn’t have to be salesy. It doesn’t have to be sort of a huge big customer story. Just get them on and talk to them, interview them. All you need to do is to find the questions and get them to agree to talk to you about it and record it.
So these are opportunities that you have right now that maybe you didn’t have to pursue in the past, but that you should be doing right now because of the current situation, the change in circumstances and what a great way of using the current circumstances to change the status quo of what you’re doing. If you didn’t do customer stories before in your webinars or your podcasts and you’re doing them now or after you listen to this, you can continue that going forward and say, “Well, great guys, let’s invite you back in six months and we’ll hear an updated story on what you did with us.”
The customers are there and if they’re happy, I’m sure they’re happy to talk about what they’re doing with you as well. So just ask the question, approach them and say, “Look, this is the situation that we’re all facing. How can we work together? And we’d love to hear your story. We’d love for you to tell your story to the audience out there.”
And then it might be a case that you say, “Well, okay, this is all good and well, but we can’t once a week set somebody aside to record something all the time. The home setup they have is great and we have invested in that but they know it needs to put it up it needs to take it down again and they wanted to maybe do that once a month. It’s just too much effort and work otherwise for us to test it again.”
Consider bulk webinar recording. If you struggle to scale in the way that we described, why not record, set somebody’s time aside to say, “Okay, you can’t do it every week, why don’t we do it one day a month and we’ll record and we prepare and record three webinars, four webinars, five webinars in one day.”
You get this economies of scale where, yes, you need to prepare for it all, but actually recording and delivering these in one go will save you huge amount of time compared to if you do it separately every single time once a week and it becomes less of a chore and it becomes more of a project. And everybody likes a project if you set aside time to do the one thing, you may as well extend it to do it more. Especially if we’re talking about breaking things down into smaller bite-sized chunks.
You might say, “Well okay, if we’d recorded the content in the traditional format the way we used to do it, that may have been two webinars, three webinars.” If you break that down, you might get six, seven, eight, nine pieces of content out of that. And actually the webinar recording time is much less overall because you’re doing it in smaller chunks and in one day. And like I said, the recording set up, the video set up, the lighting, whatever it might be. You do it once and you get a huge amount of content out of it. So why not take that approach?
And again, I said it before, if you don’t do it right now, somebody else in your industry will be doing it. So whatever you do and whatever aspects of what we spoke about here is relevant to you, take this one piece of advice. Don’t compromise on quality. There is no need to compromise on quality. You just need to think about how to change things around so you can continue and even scale with what you’re doing. They will be different. We said that before, but don’t compromise on quality.
Don’t feel just because you’re recording from home means that the audio quality will be any less or the video quality will be any less. In fact, I’m recording this right now from my son’s bedroom because he’s got lots of soft furnishings in here. He’s got, I don’t know, soft toys and pillows and whatever. This room is much better than my office, which is in my bedroom. And because that’s got lots of wooden flooring. So you don’t have to compromise in quality. You can get a decent mic for 100 pounds, if you’re doing video and get a half decent webcam, get a ring light or some kind of box lights set up that you can use. It easily set up in five minutes and take it down in five minutes, but don’t compromise in quality, whatever you do.
So now’s the time to innovate and we all have to innovate. It’s the current situation. If you don’t innovate now, somebody else will be doing it. And there’s a lot to talk about innovation. What we’ve just spoken about are really just the basics. And we’ll have another session on innovation in another episode of Going Lateral. So we’ll cover that another time. But do subscribe and follow us so you don’t miss that one.
And I hope there’s some lateral thinking in this episode that will help inspire what you’re thinking of or maybe not yet thinking of. Inspire for you to think about what is possible and how to go about it. And let us know what was helpful to you in specific … Everybody’s going to be different and some of this may have rung true, other things we say, “Well, it doesn’t apply to us.” Hopefully most of it has applied to you, but let us know what you thought. Let us know what particular aspects you think, “Actually, yeah, this was really helpful. This is really great. I didn’t think of this before.”
So just email me at SayHello [at] WebinarExperts.co.uk. SayHello [at] WebinarExperts.co.uk. Email me. Let me know which points. I’d love to hear from you. What points where you thought, “Gosh, I hadn’t thought of that before. This was maybe a small game changer for me, but something that just will make things easier for me. Things where we can actually maybe come out of the rut that we were in before and start doing things differently during this current situation.”
In fact, let’s make this a piece of homework for you. So maybe over the next coming days, or maybe better yet today, identify what is holding you back from running webinars and producing your podcast in the same way as before.
Maybe find just the top two or three things. What was holding you back up until now, up until you listen to this, on running webinars and podcasts in the same way as before? And then find a way to remove those barriers. Those two or three things, think about what’s holding me back and how can I remove that? What is the barrier? What’s holding me back currently? Is it a technical setup? Is it a process setup? Is it something different? Is it just resources that aren’t available?
Have a think about how can you remove those barriers. And as of today, as of tomorrow, end of this week, do things differently and start scaling up again. Start producing something in the current situation that you’re in and then share that story, if you want with me, email me.
Like I said before, SayHello [at] WebinarExperts.co.uk. Let me know “right, these were the two points and actually thinking about it, this is how we resolved it and this is how we’re going to do things differently going forward.”
Okay. Guys, thanks so much for listening. This is a new format and let us know what you think about it. We’re going to do more of these. It’s very simple format, very simple setup, like I said, from my son’s bedroom, and thanks for listening and keep thinking laterally. Until next time, take care. Bye-bye.
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