When it comes to delivering corporate professional development or continuing education, the quality of your content will be of the utmost importance for capturing registrations and keeping users engaged.
Some questions you will have to consider when delivering virtual professional development or continuing education:
What type of content will I be delivering?
Will I be monetizing my content?
What Learning Management Solution (LMS) software will I be using?
How do I plan on capturing and utilizing attendee data?
A major part in delivering corporate PD or CE is figuring out what the content itself will be. Will you be outsourcing industry professionals as guest speakers? Will you be delivering the content yourself? How will you conduct research into industry trends and learning opportunities?
In this blog, we will outline 13 tips for preparing your content and improving your eLearning content strategy.
- Research Timeline
- Quality Over Quantity
- Create Captivating Registration Pages
- Determine the Goals of Your Content Delivery
- Identify A Target Audience
- Delegate Tasks Between Presenter, Host & Event Services Team
- Send out Pre-Event Surveys
- Connect With Industry Thought-Leaders
- Prepare Blog, Book & Podcast Recommendations
- Write an Introduction Script
- Find Sponsors for Your Event
- Build a Microsite
- Conduct a Tech Run
1. Research Timeline
The first step in preparing your content is to conduct research. Some questions to consider when brainstorming content topics:
What are the current industry trends?
Where do industry professionals feel deficient?
What are the recent industry innovations?
What are common pain points amongst professionals in your industry?
Give yourself a sufficient timeline to research and prepare compelling content. You will want to make sure your content is relevant and provides your attendees with a value-add. Use websites like Reddit or Quora to research industry conversations and gain a general understanding of the questions people are asking and topics they are interested in.
2. Quality Over Quantity
Focus on highly curated content, instead of an excessive amount. Keeping attendees engaged virtually is hard; attendees have the ability to log off at any point and disengage with your content. You need to accept short attention spans and focus on delivering high production value on specific learning modules.
When conducting research and preparing your content, make data-driven decisions on what people are actually interested in. Send out surveys and gain some tangible feedback and analytics from professionals in your field, a.k.a. your potential attendees.
Consider the advantages of MicroLearning - delivering segmented, specific learning modules that cumulatively make up a learning course or certificate program. Utilizing methods of microlearning, you are able to hone in on specific learning topics and objectives that can easily be edited and added to over time. Research shows that attendees stay more engaged overtime and have higher learning retention rates when participating in microlearning modules.
Some elements to consider when planning the production of your content delivery:
Will this be a live presentation or a pre-recorded, OnDemand learning module?
Will there be quizzes or surveys? Will they be distributed before, during or after the presentation?
(For live content delivery) Will there be interactive features like chatrooms, live polling, Q&A sessions?
Will there be mixed-media integrated into the learning module? Ie: video, audio, images, PDFs?
Will users have access to downloadable resources?
Will users have access to educators? Will they have access to a community of people also participating in the course?
Will users be receiving a certificate of completion? How will they be tracking their progress during learning courses?
3. Create Captivating Registration Pages
You will need to create clear, captivating registration pages in order to get participants to sign-up for your eLearning courses. Creating a registration page, or an event landing page, requires some design work and critical thinking about the most important parts of your eLearning course.
Keep registration pages simple, actionable and provide a brief outline on the information the learner is expected to gain. Evaluate how much information about the course you would like displayed on registration pages; there should be enough info that a user clearly understands the learning outcomes and value-add of attending your eLearning course, but not too much information that it becomes distracting and overwhelming.
Your registration page should reflect your brand, should highlight guest speakers and should provide the user with critical information like: time/date (if a live presentation), certificates awarded / credit amount earned, duration of course, bio of presenter and course expectations.
Some advice for the design aspect of your registration pages:
Less is more
Use contrasting colors to highlight CTAs & critical information
Use design tools like Canva for aesthetic appeal
4. Determine The Goals of Your Content Delivery
What is your purpose for your eLearning content delivery? Are you:
Monetizing your content?
Creating in-house professional development opportunities?
Trying to build brand awareness?
Required to make a certain ROI?
Delivering Certificates or Continuing Education credits?
Trying to promote your company’s or presenter’s brand?
Trying to record and repurpose your Live Event content?
All the above are reasons why you would want to deliver corporate professional development or continuing education. Make sure you and your team are on the same page about your goals and objectives for your content delivery. That will ensure that you are aligned with content production and delivery throughout its entire lifecycle.
To get some inspiration on content delivery, check out these 10 slide decks we're loving right now.
5. Identify a Target Audience
Having too broad of a target market can be detrimental to your registration. When in your research and production phase of content delivery, make sure your content is aligned with the needs and interests of that specific target audience .
One learning course cannot be everything to everyone. Choose a narrow topic for your segmented audience. It’s okay to have multiple learning modules that appeal to different audiences. Hone in on your specific target audience and do research specific to them when planning and creating content.
Some attributes to consider:
Demographic information (age, gender, income, race, first language)
Education - What level of education do they currently have? Does their profession require certificates? Are they expected to participate in Continuing Education or is this by choice?
Professional Title - Are these executive-level or entry-level professionals? Are they decision makers within their organization? Are PD courses required for promotions within their organization?
What are the pain-points within their industry or job role?
Understanding your different target audiences is why and how asynchronous learning can be beneficial for your overall content distribution strategy. Utilizing OnDemand learning modules within your OnDemand Content Catalog or Knowledge Base will allow for learners to access information that they find relevant to them whenever they want.
6. Delegate Tasks Between Presenter, Host and Event Service Team
Preparing to deliver an event or producing educational content can be more involved than you think; you will want to use your team wisely. Creating a checklist to delegate tasks between your team.
Your presenter should focus on:
Preparing relevant content for your target audience
Practicing verbal delivery of their presentation
Creating supporting materials (handouts, videos, live poll questions) to distribute to your eLearners
Your host should focus on:
Understanding the audience
Building a relationship with the presenter(s), knowing how to accurately pronounce their name & introduce them
Learning the tech platform & learning how to implement interactive features
Coming up with thought-provoking questions to ask during the presentation
Your Event Services team should focus on:
Branding event visuals
Implementing interactive features
Creating web pages
As the organizer, you should focus on:
Promotion & marketing: social media, email campaigns, paid ads, etc.
Ensuring everyone has sufficient knowledge & skill using the tech platform (consider conducting a tech run before live event production)
Encouraging communication between your team
Setting deadlines for an efficient schedule
With the right tech partner, you should have assistance in all of your technical support and pre-production needs. Make sure to ask your tech provider what level of technical support comes along with using their platform. Will you have 24/7 support? Do they assist before, during and after live events and production? What additional resources do they provide?
Some DIY event platforms will require you, as the organizer, to manage all technical operations and event services. At the other end of the spectrum, there are fully-managed platforms that will take care of all the technical operations, customer service and event production for you. To compare virtual event platforms, we've put together this free resource.
7. SendOut Pre-Event Surveys
You can use pre-event surveys for a wide range of reasons. Consider sending out surveys in your initial content production phase while you pursue your research questions, providing you with market research into what trends your audience is interested in, where they feel they would like to learn more, and what excites them about pursuing continuing education within your field.
Surveys are also great for you to understand where your audience’s knowledge level is at. You can ask questions that gauge their level of understanding in the educational material. You don’t want to deliver intro-level content for advanced learners. Conversely, you don’t want to deliver nuanced, niche topics to learners that have limited baseline knowledge in your topic area.
Surveys can also be used to ask questions about why learners signed up for this course and what they expect to gain from attending. What skill sets are they looking to acquire? What are the tangible outcomes they expect (certificates, continuing education credits, etc.)? Just as you have goals in delivering educational webinars, courses or videos, so too do your learners have goals for attending them.
Use this pre-event data and feedback to tailor your content accordingly. Consider your audience when planning the content itself, choosing the most optimal platform (will this be a live webinar or virtual event? Or a pre-recorded video hosted in a Content Catalog or Knowledge Base?), and setting guidelines and expectations for engaging with your content.
8. Connect With Industry Thought-Leaders
Utilize your social media network & connections you have in your industry to provide thoughts, ideas, and feedback to your content production. Pose questions out to the community on your social platforms, send emails to industry thought-leaders, grab lunch or coffee with people in your network who might provide insight into your process.
By activating your network, you will enlist novel and intriguing perspectives that can enhance your content curation and delivery experience. Learning and education does not happen in a silo - the most compelling learning experiences happen when educators and thought-leaders collaborate on the educational material.
You may even excite someone in your network enough to recruit them as a guest speaker in your content delivery. Oftentimes professionals will feel excited to be a part of a public experience where they get to share personal insight and expand their own professional community.
9. Prepare Blog, Book & Podcast Recommendations
You will want your educational experience to be far more than a one-off webinar or video. You want your eLearners to feel compelled to engage further with your content, to sign up for more courses or webinars and to feel like they engaged in a holistic and worthwhile experience.
A large part of this is preparing supporting materials that will complement and enhance the educational delivery experience. This comes in the form of: creating downloads and interactive worksheets, incorporating videos and multimedia into the delivery and preparing blog & book recommendations for additional learning opportunities.
You want to continue conversations and expand knowledge opportunities long after your course has ended. Preparing additional resources and recommendations for your learners will go a long way in ensuring a long-lasting educational experience.
10. Write an Introduction Script
Whether you are working with a live moderator or are having someone from your team host your virtual event, it’s important to prepare an introduction script to kick it off.
Provide your attendees with a brief agenda, learning outcomes and introduce presenters. Explain how to utilize interactive features, how to download educational materials and how to access additional OnDemand content.
Your host or live moderator will be in charge of welcoming everyone to the event (for live event delivery) and making sure everyone knows what to expect out of your time together as well as how to engage with your tech platform. They should be sure to explain how to access customer & technical support should your audience have any questions.
11. Find Sponsors for Your Event
For both live and OnDemand content delivery, it is great to have organizations sponsor your content. This will help you cover the cost of event production, your tech platform and paying for guest speakers. Organizations that are looking to get exposure to your target audience will be very interested in paying for their logo on the event webroom, playing a brief commercial during the presentation or hosting their own exhibitor booth and breakout session.
You can offer several different sponsorship packages to appeal to various budgets. Offer them tangible marketing value that they will get out of this exposure to your target audience. This is another reason why it is important to have a specific target audience; it will be much more conducive to selling sponsorship packages to organizations that are also trying to target the same audience.
Check out our blog on guaranteeing ROI to your sponsors & exhibitors for more information.
12. Create a Microsite
Microsites are a great way to deliver clear, concise information about your educational content and any live, hybrid or OnDemand events that you are delivering. As HubSpot explains, “a microsite is an individual web page or small cluster of web pages that act as a separate entity for a brand. With our attention span shrinking below that of a goldfish, it should come as no surprise that we’re beginning to crave more focused content at a smaller scale, too.”
Your microsite can host a whole slew of information. You can create a site for your continuing education content as a stand-alone site, or as an extension of your existing website, as you can see here, in the American Bar Association CLE catalog:
This microsite will host registrations for live events & OnDemand content, display your sponsor’s information, and provide the attendee with speaker profiles.
You can also host administrative information like; how many CE credits will a participant gain? Will they receive a certificate of completion or a master certificate? Is it a one-off course or are there bundled courses for extended learning opportunities? Notice the information Bloomberg Law provides in their microsite:
13. Conduct a Tech Run
Last but certainly not least: you want to make sure that your host, speakers and event services team are completely prepared with the material itself, know when to implement interactive event features (live polls, Q&A, chatrooms, etc.) and are well versed in how to use the tech platform.
Just like the presentation of your educational content should be highly curated, so too should the implementation of tech features and the how and when your presenters and hosts plan on utilizing them. The last thing you need during content production or live event delivery is a presenter who does not know how to unmute their mic, administer quizzes and poll questions, utilize chatrooms, etc.
You want to ensure a professional and seamless experience for your eLearners. Make sure your team is well prepared and well educated on how to use your tech platform. You will also want to be at an understanding with who will be in charge of monitoring customer support lines and tech support with your end-users.
Make sure to test every detail before the event production or live event delivery, especially if it requires the use of interactive features like polling, chatrooms, breakout sessions. Test all links and additional resources and make sure they are redirecting and downloading properly.
We hope these 13 tips will help to create a more impactful, efficient and holistic content strategy for your eLearners. Delivering Continuing Education and Professional Development can be a complicated process. Ease that delivery process by following these ideas and by partnering with a full-managed Learning Management Solution & Virtual Event platform like BeaconLive.