Book review: Stop Speaking for Free!

Save yourself a little time reading this blog post and just go buy the book.

Or if you’re so inclined, here’s why I’m making the recommendation:

As the old saying goes, “If I had a nickel for every time…”  In this case, it’d be every time I’ve been asked or have seen a post on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., asking, “How much can I/should I charge for a webinar?”

The question makes me near nauseous.  To be fair, it’s usually asked with the right intentions, but the reason I think it’s a sign of not necessarily thinking things through is that a webinar is a delivery mechanism.  It’s your virtual room.  And you wouldn’t ask “how much would people pay to attend my hotel conference,” right?

My friend Lee Salz (with Jenny Hamby) has done a fine job of tackling this question in Stop Speaking for Free! The Ultimate Guide to Making Money with Webinars.  And as the CEO of Business Expert Webinars, he knows well the (secret!) numbers behind the scenes of what sells and what doesn’t.

Here’s a brief outline of the book with a couple teaser nuggets thrown in:

Chapter one assesses the market opportunity for attendee-funded webinars.  I won’t say much other than this:  live, instructor-led training has always had a market for which people will gladly open their wallets…if the goods are what they want.  They buy content in books, videos, mp3s, and a a hundred other delivery forms for content, so why not webinars?  There’s no good reason at all.  In fact, they will.

Chapters two through four are DA BOMB.  This is where people need help…creating content that someone else will pay money for.  Lee answers the “what people buy” question and offers practical advice for how to transform your content to get where you want to go.  In short, are you delivering skills in a tightly-focused and immediately actionable way?  Lee offers some killer advice here that you’d be a fool not to consider.

Chapters five through eight cover the essentials of marketing your virtual training.  Nothing here is revolutionary, but if you need a solid method for getting the word out, here it is.  BUT, if you’ve never stopped to think about how your audience is viewing your message, this is good stuff.

Chapter nine covers the basics of how to choose a webinar solutions provider.  To be fair, this can be a radically deep subject, AND given that my own research suggests that still about seven out of ten people in North America have not hosted their own webinar, this is a great place to start.  This chapter will get you started.

Chapter ten (written by a guest author) is about creating presentations for webinars.  Well, it’s about creating presentations.  Call me a little biased, but this is the weak link in the book.  If you have no idea where to start, this will get you started, but then I’m guessing if you’re getting ready to tackle getting people to pay for your content, this isn’t the first time you’ve touched the subject of PowerPoint and presenting.  The challenge is that many “best practices” for presentations change in the world of presenting virtually, and this chapter doesn’t quite get you there.

All in all, if you’re thinking that you want to charge for webinars, you’re pursuing thinking like a pro.  And pros do certain things like making sure that they’re better tomorrow than they were today.  And they buy books like Stop Speaking for Free!

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