The beauty of creating your own webinar is that it can be about anything! And the downside of creating your own webinar… is that it can be about anything!
Choosing a Great Webinar Topic Is All About Validation
Thankfully, creating and delivering your own webinar includes a built-in mechanism to learn if your topic is a good one or not, and that’s the point when you ask people to register. If your webinar is getting a ton of registrations, that’s pretty good validation that you’ve chosen a great topic. And if signups are few and far between, that’s a good indication that you chose your topic poorly.
So does this mean you should just pick a topic you think will make a good webinar, create a landing page, and wait to see how many people sign up? Although you could, I don’t think it’s the best strategy because you could easily spend a lot of time just to find out nobody wants to show up.
That’s why I recommend doing work upfront to understand the topics and concerns your target audience might have, so you can create a webinar that addresses those subjects.
Because remember, when you invite people to a webinar, you’re asking them for something special: their time. And if your topic isn't interesting enough to inspire them to trade their time to learn about it, then they’re not going to opt in.
That said, not getting interest can be valuable information, too, because it helps you validate that the topic isn't worth pursuing.
There’s nothing magical about a webinar topic compared to anything else you’re trying to create, whether it’s a course, a book, or a podcast episode. Thankfully, that means that you can apply the same strategies you may already be using to come up with content ideas for other channels to find a webinar topic that will resonate with people.
Six Steps to Find and Validate Your Great Webinar Topic
With all that in mind, I want to share a few different approaches that you can use to find a topic that will get your audience excited to join your next webinar. Keep in mind these strategies aren’t foolproof—even if you do the legwork, you may still find that people aren’t interested. Just remember—this is still valuable information you can use to refine your topic or find a better one!
Number 1: See how your existing content is performing
Your content is a goldmine to easily determine the topics of proven interest to your audience. For example, if you have a blog, what are your most popular blog posts? Could you build a webinar that goes deeper on that topic or a piece of it? The same thing goes with your podcast. What are your most downloaded episodes? Which of your YouTube videos have the most views and thumbs up? You should also look at your social media channels to find out which pieces of content have gotten the most traction or engagement. (See Number 3 for another way to use social media.)
Number 2: Check your email marketing stats
Another way to validate your webinar topic is to see how people have “voted” to learn about that topic when they join your email list. You can do this, for example, by tracking how many people join your email list to download a lead magnet, like an ebook or short video course, on a given topic. You can take this approach a step further by using your email service provider to “tag” people who join your list via that lead magnet. (I like ConvertKit for this reason.) You can then follow up with these folks to see what they need additional help with (see Number 4 below) related to that topic and if they might be interested in learning more about it from you in a webinar.
Number 3: Run a social media poll
One of the great things about all the social media platforms we have access to these days is the ability to connect with and learn from our audiences. A simple but powerful way to use your social media following to identify potential webinar topics is to run a poll. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, make it easy to create polls that let you seed certain ideas with your audience and see which ones people are interested in.
Number 4: Talk to people
Running online polls and tracking the performance of blog posts and lead magnets are all great tactics, but maybe my favorite thing to do if you already have access to a community of followers or subscribers is to have one-on-one conversations with people. This helps you better understand your audience’s pains and problems and areas of interest. Something I started doing a few years ago was to randomly select ten people from my email list each month and ask them if they’d be willing to hop on a video call with me to understand what they’re working on and how I can be helpful. Even if you have a small email list, this can be a great way to learn more about what your audience needs, and how you can use that information to create a great webinar topic (among other things!).
Number 5: Do some research
It’s time to put on your detective hat and do some reconnaissance on the websites and social media pages of other entrepreneurs in your space. See what content they’re creating and what’s getting traction. You should also go outside your direct sphere and see what’s happening in other spaces and industries. You can also try to uncover topics that aren’t getting much coverage yet but that people might be interested in learning about. For example, if there is a brand new social media platform out there, could you be one of the first people to talk about how people can leverage it to build their audiences and their online businesses?
Number 6: Niche down
If you’re having trouble coming up with a topic, it may be because you’re trying to reach everyone in your audience. Instead, think about a topic that might be underrepresented—even if it applies to a smaller number of people. That said, knowing how narrow to make your topic can be tricky. Go too narrow, and you lose a lot of potential audience that could benefit and learn from what you're teaching. However, with this approach you're more likely to become the “go-to” authority for that topic, because there will be fewer competitors talking about it. If you select a more general topic, it may be more difficult to become the expert and go-to resource, but you open up more of an audience. Typically, I recommend going a little more narrow than you might think (based on my experience). But the most important thing is to start with a broader topic that you know people are interested in, so you’ll need to try some of the earlier tactics in this list first so you understand what people actually need help with before you niche down.
Building Out Your Webinar Topic
Once you’ve decided on your overall topic, you need to turn it into a webinar. So how do you get from an idea to an actual webinar? It starts by answering a few key questions:
- What transformation do you want people to experience as a result of attending this webinar and/or taking the actions you recommend in the webinar?
- What outcome(s) do you want for your business from this webinar?
- Related to the previous question, do you plan to sell anything during the webinar, or is the webinar itself going to be the “product”? (You can also do both.)
- Are there any experts or guests who can help you teach this topic and drive both the intended audience transformation and business outcomes of the webinar?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should start to have an idea of what your webinar will look like!
The next step is to map out the entire webinar in detail, and for this you can use my Post-it Note strategy for planning anything. This is a technique I developed for book writing, but it can apply to any kind of content creation. It’s a great way to plan out all the different sections and subtopics of your webinar and organize them into a coherent structure.
My Post-it Note technique is a straightforward, three-step process:
- Write down each idea for your webinar content on a Post-it Note
- Arrange all the notes
- Use the organized notes to create your webinar!
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How Not to Choose a Webinar Topic
A great webinar topic isn’t going to just fall into your lap—but it’s definitely within reach if you’re willing to do some learning and take action outside your comfort zone.
One of the least productive things you can do when it comes to your topic? Guess randomly about what people want in a webinar. I hope this chapter has given you a good starting point to learn about what your audience wants so you can figure out a webinar topic that will resonate with them.
In this chapter we’ve talked about how to research and validate your webinar topic beforehand to make sure it’s something people will show up to learn about. But your webinar itself can also be a great way to validate an idea you could build on in other ways—for instance, to see if the topic is something people want to engage with you via a higher-value offering like a course or a membership.
And there’s another great advantage to putting in the time and legwork to find a webinar topic that will resonate with your audience: You’ll not only be giving people what they’re looking for, but you’ll also be more confident when you’re on screen sharing that knowledge with them! That confidence will translate into more trust from your audience, which will build your authority and help you cultivate your own batch of superfans.
Once you’ve chosen your topic, the work of creating your webinar begins by picking a webinar platform.