Planning an online workshop is crucial to help you communicate your expertise to an audience that later becomes a part of your community. An individual creator should spend most of his/her time planning and organizing content for efficient implementation.
A well-planned and organized workshop is bound to give you the results if you remain consistent with your approach. You do the best only after experimenting, but the basic structure remains unchanged.
Let’s help you with a step by step guide on online workshop planning:
How to Plan an Online Workshop?
Define your Approach
Once you decide to conduct an online workshop for the first time, you should start with finding the right direction. For doing so, these three major aspects will require your attention:
1. Choose a Topic
You must be having some idea about the talking points. If not, then you should go with the areas in which you have something valuable to share. Choosing a suitable topic is critical as you cannot go out there and talk about anything.
Refrain from choosing a broad topic. Go with the specific one that could get covered in the stipulated time. If you are hosting a cooking workshop, you cannot take up 10 cuisines in a go. You should take one at a time so that it remains relevant for the interested people.
2. Define Learning Objectives
Workshops have a learning experience that is different from all other sources of information available on the internet. While defining the learning objectives, the creator should assess all the possible workshop outcomes and pick some of the broad objectives (2 to 3) that compliment his/her expertise the best.
The exercise of defining objectives will help you remain on track during the content planning and delivery.
3. Come up with the Desired Outcomes
The outcomes are not for the participants alone but you, the content creator as well. Every creator looks for different results, and you should be clear with your intentions from the beginning.
Some aspire to build a personal brand, few look to establish a community, and others want to make money. Yes, people also look to achieve all this from a single workshop, but that’s not a clever approach.
You should define a single objective while other ambitious goals remain in the background of your exercise. If you want to do everything in a single Workshop, you will end up messing with the Workshop delivery part.
Do Market Research
Once you become self-aware, there comes a time to do some research related to the ground reality.
1. Learn about your Audience
The industry has all kinds of people, and every person cannot be your audience. Here, you need to pick and choose according to your expertise and then decide.
Float a small pre-registration form asking about their background and interests. After getting the responses, process them and start working on the content. Only communicate the information that you are sure they would understand with ease. Sharing everything about the subject is never possible in a single workshop.
2. Do competitor Analysis
Wherever there is an opportunity, there is some competition as well. As an individual content creator, it becomes imperative to assess the ongoing workshops similar to your subject and figure out the gaps. There must be something that is not going well about the other workshops or areas where they lack. Your task is to figure out those opportunities and capitalize on them for a better experience.
This exercise will help you during the content structuring and delivery part as well. Try to learn from your competitors and aim to deliver better than everyone else in the industry.
3. Decide on Platform and Equipment
Individual creators need some tools and equipment to connect with the people. Technology helps us in doing that with ease. But, with so many options available, it becomes hard to pick one and move on with the delivery part.
GoSocial is one such community platform providing creators with the tools for efficient communication. You can create online courses, conduct workshops, go for live sessions, do private/group chat, implement discussion forums and a lot more using a single platform.
Along with the platform, you will require some equipment like a noise cancellation microphone, high-resolution camera, tripod etc. If you are a beginner, go with the necessary equipment available in the market and upgrade as you become an expert in delivering workshops.
4. Pricing the Workshop
The competitor analysis will also help you understand the pricing strategy of other content creators. If you are a beginner, then mapping the whole expense and profit part would be difficult. At the start, keep similar prices as your competitors and assess the outcomes with time.
If you want to go further, you can start with budgeting the whole exercise. Here’s how to do that:
Say, you are a freelancer and charge ₹500 for an hour of work.
Assuming you will spend 10 hours on the whole exercise, add 5000 ₹ to the expense.
Calculate the cost of equipment and platform fee.
If you are spending on ads or any other promotional activity, add that expense as well.
Now, you need to come up with an approximate number of people attending the workshop.
Say, your total expense comes out to be ₹10K, and 20 people will attend the session.
So, you would charge 500 per head to reach a break-even (no profit no loss) situation.
Now, you can add the amount to increase the fee from 500 and make the desired profits.
Say, if you add 100 more to the fee, you will earn ₹2K at the end of the exercise.
Don’t overdo the profit thing, as the success depends a lot on your pricing.
Coming up with a suitable pricing strategy takes time. Keep trying with different approaches till the time you get an optimum result.
Work on your Content
Everything else remains in the background, but your content is what makes the real difference. Individual creators should develop a content strategy that helps the participants with information easy to comprehend and valuable at the same time.
1. Structure your Workshop Content
Content flow gets decided in this part of the exercise. I would suggest you start with a brief introduction about yourself and your expertise. Try to engage with your participants and ask them for their introduction. Once done, you can give them an overview of the content without spending more than 5 minutes on it.
After an introduction, you should communicate the information using practical aspects rather than giving lectures. If you are working on a tool, then make people use it along with you so that the interaction remains intact.
You can highlight the key takeaways and talk about your upcoming workshops a bit while concluding. You can also check out our blog on structuring the workshop content if you want to structure the content from scratch.
2. Prepare Questions for Discussion
An online workshop is incomplete without a healthy discussion around the discussed subject. Participants will ask their set of questions, but you should also come up with some to make the session interactive.
You can keep asking these questions in the middle of the modules to keep the charm intact. Only telling your side of the story will turn the exercise into a non-productive, dull monologue.
Promote & Share with Your Community
There is no point in coming up with a workshop without any participants. Individual creators should spend some time and effort on reaching out to the audience and building an online community. If done right, you will end up with many more loyal participants than expected.
1. Social Media
Social media platforms are the greatest assets for individuals content creators. Rather than going directly for the hunt of participants, you should build a plot around it. Here, the plot resembles your reputation of being an expert with valuable information.
Social media reach out is a long-term exercise that requires you to remain constant with the value-driven content. With time, you build that stature of a knowledgeable, helpful personality people admire. Continuous engagement will help you get the desired traffic over time.
2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If you don’t have a portfolio website, it is time to get one. Optimizing your website for getting relevant leads is a long process but worth investing your time and effort. To build that authority and recognition, being visible on the Search Engine Results Page becomes crucial. Talk about your expertise, experience and offerings on your website and keep optimizing it with valuable content.
SEO gets you leads from the people who are not on your social media, email list or any other channel you are targeting. You cannot miss out on SEO if you are targeting the Internet audience.
3. GoSocial’s Community Platform
Community building helps you gain loyal fans/followers who cherish every little detail about you. This exercise is helpful if you are looking for a long-term relationship and want to continue creating content for the audience.
You can go with GoSocial, a community platform that helps creators with the tools for communicating with the community members. You can create online courses, conduct workshops, go for live sessions, do private/group chat, implement discussion forums and a lot more using a single platform.
4. Email Marketing
You will not have an email list if you are new to delivering online workshops. You can ask people on social media platforms to subscribe to your newsletter and grow that list with time. People don’t subscribe without getting something in return. You can offer them a one-to-one session, a discount on the session, exclusive study material and a lot more to keep them interested.
Once you get people to subscribe, you can always reach their inboxes with your new offerings. Do not spam people with irrelevant offers and sessions. Only share the industry-specific information you find interesting.
Prepare for the next Workshop
The first workshop is a start to a long journey of delivering value to the people. While planning for the session, you should also work on a mechanism to make the upcoming content better. Making room for improvement will become your biggest asset in delivering the demanded information to the audience.
You should directly reach out to the participants to review the quality of content and delivery. Share a small feedback form and understand your shortcomings along with the merits of your workshop.
Do not forget to assure participants that you will make the suggested changes in future workshops. This will motivate them to put in honest numbers rather than doing it for the sake of completion.
You can communicate the unique aspects of the upcoming sessions along with the learning objectives. It is your responsibility to make them aware of the forthcoming so that they remain excited.
Communication should not end with the end of the workshop. Keep sending study material and industry highlights so that they never forget the experience you offer.