Today’s reader question comes from Renee:
“I was reading through your blog and I noticed that you said that we shouldn’t post the recorded webinar as is. I have been doing that, but I agree with you. I have a very hard time sitting through recorded ones myself. How should I handle this? Should I record a shorter one that encourages them to attend a live event?”
I have indeed pointed out that people’s attention spans are shorter when watching a recorded event than when joining a live session. I like to work on post-production of archive recordings when it is practical to do so. The big exception is for fee-based sessions. You want paying members to see everything that happened so they don’t feel shortchanged. (They would probably still get more value out of a shorter, more focused recording, but you can’t make them believe that!)
You have a few options, in order of time and effort:
1) As you said, you could simply schedule another live session and make a promotional recording that invites people to the next event. This doesn’t really satisfy the needs of people who attended and want to review the material or the needs of people in other time zones who can’t attend your live session for practical reasons.
1) Make some basic cuts to “clean up” your recording of the live session. At a minimum, you should get rid of introductory technical instructions on how to type in comments, change the screen size, etc. Anything that the recording audience won’t be able to do. Cut out pauses where you were waiting for audience input as they answered polls or questions. Keep the recording flowing with pure information delivery.
2) Add additional edits to remove little vocal stutters and flubs. Get rid of long pauses, umms and errrs, searching for the right word. Remove distracting background noises where possible. Balance volume levels between speakers. Remove background hiss if possible. This is grueling work and you need to develop skills with a good digital editor (I use Goldwave). When I do this kind of cleanup for clients, I often go through the recording in two-second increments, removing sub-second problem noises. It takes a long time and each individual edit is inconsequential. But the cumulative effect produces a much more professional sounding archive that better holds the listeners’ attention.
3) Break your recording into smaller chunks. You can use an editor to split the archive into several smaller pieces. Give your recording audience a menu that lets them choose the subtopic of interest and lets them watch just that section. Maybe you can do a break at each speaker in a multi-speaker event, or at different topic concentrations on your agenda. You might need to overlay a short bit of wrapper at the start or end of these pieces so they don’t sound too abrupt.
4) Produce a new presentation (or several) built purely for recorded use. Ouch. This completely doubles your workload, but it produces the absolute best results. Write a real script, word for word. Record it with a high quality microphone. Cut down the information to just convey the key points. Recording viewers want to get in and out as fast as possible. Remember, a YouTube video has to be less than 10 minutes. Your recording should be that short as well!
I know… “I put in all that work and time to get the live event on the air. I don’t want to spend an equal amount of time just to have a recording of it!” It’s your choice. If the archive is purely a backup resource for people who saw the live show, you can get away with less work. If you are truly using the recording to grab new viewers and stimulate their interest, it makes sense to put in just as much work as you did on the live show. The recording will live for much longer.
(I usually stay away from actively plugging my services on this blog, but I should mention that I can do this work for you if you don’t have the skills, software, or time to do it yourself. It involves a lot of manual labor, and I charge accordingly, but it’s worth it to some clients. Use my Webinar Success contact form if you’d like details or a quote.)