Why Recording Webinars as Paid Content is a Bad Idea

I’m a stats monster. So, I watch usership/viewership on both our live webinars and the on-demand versions of the same. I’ve noticed some startling

I’m a stats monster. So, I watch usership/viewership on both our live webinars and the on-demand versions of the same. I’ve noticed some startling differences in viewership.Here’s the thing — it’s the same audience demographic, the same content, and even the same size on the screen (our video streaming allows our videos to be blown up to full-screen by our members.) The only difference is a webinar is presented “live” and often includes a Q&A session at the end, while an on-demand version is by definition recorded. One might expect the viewing patterns to be fairly similar.But they’re not. Not at all. Shockingly dissimilar in fact.Generally 80% or more of live webinar attendees stay on through an entire presentation. However, when you look at stats for the recorded version of the exact same webinar, boy do they change! A big chunk of viewers bail in the first 30 seconds or so. Then another big chunk bail around the 4-5 minute mark. The ones who stick it out then will generally stay around for the entire video. Perhaps 50% make it all the way to the end. If you’re selling memberships to your content as we are, your entire business model is bound up in your members finding your content engrossing and valuable. Clearly the live version of the webinar was, but the canned was not so much.I’ve noted these same stats with several different sites, so although it’s anecdotal data, it’s compelling enough to consider acting on.How? Well, first of all we’re often not using the “live” version of the webinar for our on-demand version. Instead, we’re recording a separate version that’s generally 25-40% shorter. It’s the same slides (now) and same key points, but we hone the delivery so there are fewer digressions and less ‘chatting’.We’re also paying particular attention to the first five minute of the recording, recognizing it’s the “hump” we have to get more of the audience through to carry them to the end.There’s no more attention for a meandering introduction or gentle build up to the sexiest points of your speech. You have to come in and hook them from the start!That’s not to say we’re perfect at that yet, it’s a video editorial art we’re gradually learning how to do. So, while repurposing your webinar content for your membership site sounds easily practicable, it’s actually more work than one might suspect. It’s not just popping up an MP4 with a few edits. It’s thinking through, recording and producing an entirely new version.Who said the Internet age would be easy? Well, at least it’s never boring!

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