As a full-time freelance writer and editor, I find myself looking for resources on a regular basis. I’ve signed up for several newsletters in particular.
But I got sucked into this strange little world that’s just marketing for marketing. That will make sense to you once you’ve finished reading this.
So a lot of these newsletters are produced by people who create webinars.
I was pretty excited, because that’s basically learning like at school, but I get to do it in my pajamas and no one can see me.
Don’t get sucked in.
Webinars often begin with a lengthy preface about whoever’s going to be talking so you’ll feel like they have credibility.
Then, they start talking in vague language. “I can’t wait to share my secret with you.” “This method changed my life.” Stuff like that.
And then they tiptoe around it. They devote a lot of words talking about how great their information is… without actually providing it until you’ve been sitting there for 30 minutes.
Once they finally get to the meat of it, they skim over it. And that’s when the marketing happens. They start talking about this brand-new course they’re offering that covers all of the things you thought you’d learn in this webinar for free.
For an example of this tactic, watch this video:
As you watch, listen for buzz words and ask yourself if you’re actually learning anything about the subject or if it’s just an advertisement.
This is what the video is supposed to be about:
You’ll learn my favorite strategies and tactics to become an author in 2016, even if “write a book” has been on your bucket list for years.
They’ll trick you into thinking the webinar has been useful by telling you a couple of useful things, but they’ll make it really apparent that you should buy their book or their course in order to learn more about these helpful tips.
These courses can cost anywhere from $90 to nearly $1000. And they’ll often offer a discount for these courses since you took the time to attend the webinar. Wow, that $450 course is only $50 now! What a great deal! I’m saving so much money!
No, you aren’t.
They fluff up their webinars with testimonials and all sorts of other stuff to try to convince you that the materials they’re providing are actually worth over $485, but you’re getting it for only $94. Wow! So amazing!
That’s still $94. For that price, you might as well swing by your local community college.
It wasn’t until I’d been to a few webinars that the marketing started showing up. So how is it marketing for marketing? Well, they try to get you to buy these courses and books, but once you pick up these courses, you’re expected to pick up other ones, which will be heavily advertised and hinted at while working on the course itself. The courses are essentially extended versions of webinars but with more useful information to get teased at.
They are marketing to you so they can market more stuff to you.
There are lots of great resources for learning how to write better, but webinars are not worth your time, in most cases.
I have been to a couple of webinars that were useful, but the vast majority of them were entirely unmemorable because they were just tiptoeing around what they want us to learn about.
This isn’t to say that webinar hosts are bad people or that all webinars are bad. But it’s, for the most part, a massive time sink. There are a million sites on the Internet that can help you write better–and you don’t even have to pay $83 to use them.
There is one other factor that makes it difficult to be a repeat consumer of webinars: the people you’re getting e-mails from are getting new subscribers every day, and if their content is important, then they’ll want to share it with as many people as possible (even if that means they just need to promote their online courses every two months). Thus, a lot of webinars will be repeats once you’ve been going to them for a while.
And here’s the thing: I’m actually taking a pretty big risk here. I feel so strongly about these webinars that I want to warn you about them, even though it may make me look bad in the writing community. It is unlikely that an industry professional or the people I refer to on a general basis will see this post, but it is still a possibility and thus a risk. But you have the right to know what is and isn’t worth your time. Honestly, I probably shouldn’t even include the video that I did. But I’m tired of feeling like I’m being suckered. And you have the right to spend your time more wisely than I have the past several months.