So you want to find the perfect topic for your masterclass but you have no idea what to talk about?
We all know that live trainings are magical when it comes to establishing credibility and connecting with your people but how do you come up with that your audience is excited to show up for?
What’s a masterclass anyway?
A masterclass is where you deliver free content on live video. A masterclass can go by a bunch of different names like webinars or livestreams but basically it’s a live, in real-time video where you shower your people with love while answering their burning questions.
Before I get into how to finding the perfect topic for your masterclass, let’s get clear on the difference between a free training and a traditional webinar.
In a regular webinar, there is a structured presentation prepared ahead of time that is built a certain way to encourage sales at the end. Webinars can be live or recorded (or a combination of the two if you want to get really complicated). Webinars generally follow a format that has some sales psychology baked in and last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
A live masterclass is pitch-free and done in real time. There’s no hard sales pitch at the end and slides are completely optional. When you hold your free training, it’s a lot more casual and laid back which gives you the perfect chance to connect with your audience. When you find the perfect topic that your people are dying to hear about, your live training will build credibility, establish authority and generate good will with your audience. Plus, they can be a lot of fun too!
Preparing for your masterclass
Unlike webinars, you don’t need a ton of prep time or expensive software to make an impression on your people. You can host your free masterclass on your Facebook page with a livestream, inside of your Facebook group or even Instagram live if you’re not worried about having a link for people to find you from other platforms.
If your launch strategy includes webinars in your future, you can always go ahead and use the webinar platform of your choice to hold your free masterclass. This gives you a chance to get used to the tools and tech in a low-risk way with the added benefit of your people getting used to signing up for them.
Because your free training is more casual and low-key than a regular webinar, you don’t need to set up a huge email sequence in advance. You’ll want to go ahead and let your email list know you’ve got a free live masterclass planned so they can put it on their calendar and then send them another email the day of the training to remind them to show up.
All your emails for your free masterclass need to include is when you’re holding it and why they should show up. Give them a few bullet points talking about what’s in it for them and what takeaways they will have when they show up. That’s it.
When you’re preparing for your free training, don’t overthink it or make it more complicated than it has to be. If you want to have slides becuase it makes sense for what you’re talking about, go ahead and include them. It’s totally up to you if you want to use slides or not but for a free masterclass, no one is going to expect you to come prepared with a 45 minute long slide deck.
You don’t want to take something that could take 15 minutes to prep for with a simple outline and over-complicate it by working for 5 hours or your slides. Going straight to camera is absolutely fine.
If you do want to do slides and you have google chrome for Facebook, you can share your screen for your masterclass. Another option to share your screen for slides or some ‘over the shoulder’ type of content is Ecamm Live. Ecamm live has some bells and whistles like video effects and transitions if you’re the kind of person who likes to play with new tech toys.
Don’t get too caught up with having a perfectly polished presentation for your free masterclass. Remember, your goal with your live training is to get people to say, “Hey she knows a lot about (topic)!” or “She’s super-awesome and I can’t wait to buy something from her.”
A free masterclass is designed to be pitch-free. That means you’re not pitching a product, service or discover call at the end. What you can do is talk about a freebie related to the topic of your free masterclass at the end to grow your email list with your social media followers.
The main thing to remember is it’s all about getting in front of your people live, giving value and making a real connection.
Finding the Perfect Topic for Your Masterclass
#1: Look at your numbers
The first thing to look at when trying to find the perfect topic for your masterclass is to take a peek at your current traffic. If you have a blog, look at Google analytics or whatever you use to measure your blog traffic. What blog posts are getting the most traffic? If you have a podcast, take a look and see which episodes get the most attention. What YouTube videos do you have that people keep watching over and over again?
Don’t be afraid to rehash “old” content, especially if it’s a topic your people are interested in. We are a little self-obsessed and sometimes we think that everyone consumes every piece of content that’s we’ve ever created. Reality check: that’s not the case. The truth is, some people are not into reading and others don’t listen to podcasts and some people don’t watch YouTube videos.
Even if you have super-engaged raging fans who rabidly read everthing you write, you’ll connect with other people who would rather watch you on video. Plus, the chance to show up with you live and get their questions answered in real-time is exciting! People are curious about what you’re going to say in real time with no chance to edit anything out.
Remember, this doesn’t have to be an hour long presentation, it can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as 45 minutes. You can aways send your viewers to your blog, podcast or YouTube for other content you already have that relates to the topic of your free training.
#2: Call out common stumbling blocks
Regardless of what the topic for your free masterclass is, there are bound to be at least 3 common mistakes people have when they try to go it alone. Finding the perfect topic for your masterclass is easy when you know the common misconceptions out there for your people. This is the perfect time to address them.
What are the 3 most common mistakes people make when it comes to your niche? Use those to come up with your topic.
It can be as simple as:
- “How to meal plan if you hate chicken”
- “How to meal plan when you have picky eaters”
- “How to negotiate a contract if you don’t speak legal-ese”
Again, this isn’t a full-on webinar so your topic doesn’t have to go deep into the subject or cover all the variables. Just make sure you’re calling out a few common mistakes and you’re good to go.
#3: Pull out your list of “buts”
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that a) I have a thing for all things 90’s and b) I’m a firm believer in the Sir Mix-a-Lot principle. The Sir Mix-a-Lot principle is based on the song “Baby Got Back” where the whole song was all about the “butt”.
When we try anything new or aim to hit a new goal, we all have our “yea, but” moments that come up.
- I want a blog, yea but how do I get traffic?
- I want to manifest success… yea but it’s never worked before.
- I want to grow my traffic but everything I’ve tried has failed miserably.
Think of a whole bunch of “yea but” scenarios so you’ll have them to fall back on when you’re stuck finding the perfect topic for your masterclass next time. Then when the time comes, just pick one and go with it. Not only will your audience be riveted to your training, you’ll also find that they are a lot of fun to do!
#4: The ‘listicle” strategy
A ‘listicle’ is an article that consists of lists. You’ve seen tons of these because people love them. They just work. They have title like “10 Child Stars You Won’t Recognize Now” or “20 Songs to Play on Your Next Roadtrip”.
Finding the perfect topic for your masterclass is easy when you use this same structure as a topic for your masterclass. When you’re holding a free training, keep your list down to 5-7 things instead of 10 or 20. You don’t want your audience to get overwhelmed by giving too much information all at once. A list of 5-7 things is enough to give you plenty of stuff to talk about without losing their interest.
#5: Use your keyword research findings
When you use tools like Buzz Sumo or Google Trends, for your keyword research, you’ll find the perfect topic for your masterclass by default. SEO research is great for inspiration. Add your ideas to a content library card in Trello so you’ll always have it there for easy reference.
Not only is SEO research a goldmine for finding your perfect topic, you’ll also be certain that your topic is relevant and interesting to your audience (plus, your SEO research is taken care of too!)
#6: Ask Me Anything (AMA)
“Ask me anything” is wildly popular on Reddit and for a reason. People are nosy. They want to know what you ate for breakfast, what books you read, what podcasts you listen to… the list goes on and on.
You can hold a literal “ask me anything” and have no topic off limits or you can limit the questions to your expertise by framing it the right way like:
- Ask me anything about email marketing
- Ask me anything about copywriting
- Ask me anything about growing succulents when your house is a dungeon
You can use this format to answer questions about a product or program you have in place, the behind-the-scenes of running your business or the struggles you overcame on your way to success. The possiblilities are endless with this format.
#7: Ask your audience
Poll your audience and find out what topic they are most excited about hearing from you in a masterclass. Give them 3 options and have them click on a link in your email with the one they are most excited about. If you have a Facebook group, you can also ask with a poll and give them the option to add their own topic. Who knows, they might come up with something you didn’t even realize they needed help with.
Once your audience has given you their input, send out an email to let everyone know what the most popular choice was and when they can tune in to your masterclass where you’ll cover the favorite topic.
What if No One Shows Up for Your Masterclass?
So what do you do if you spent all this time finding the perfect topic for your masterclass, preparing your notes, putting on your make-up and a clean shirt and then no one shows up?
Remember, the reason we are doing this is to build your credibility and get used to being live on camera. We all know the most effective way to sell right now in 2020 is to go on video at some point whether it’s a webinar, a video challenge, Facebook live or YouTube.
Yes, email funnels still work but there is something magical about being live and seeing your smiling face on camera.
Who cares if no one shows up live? Yes, it might hurt your ego a little bit, but go ahead and deliver that Facebook live like it was 100 people or 15 people, or whatever amount would make you happy without freaking you out. I cannot tell you how many lives I’ve done for empty rooms and it’s no problem at all. You just want to get out there, test out material and get comfortable with being on camera.
If you feel like it would hurt your credibility if no one shows up live, put a little money behind it and run some paid traffic. You can also send out an email aout the replay to remind your auidence of the topic that you covered in your live training. Let them know that it’s got some juicy content and that you’re thinking about taking it down because it’s that good.
Relax and have fun
I don’t want you to psyche yourself out when it comes to going live. Even if that means most of the people are going to be watching the replay and not be live, I’m totally cool with that since it’s common in my industry. Connect with your audience so they can see your passion for their success because ultimately this is what it’s all about.
Finding the perfect topic for your masterclass can be fun. You get more clarity about your niche and the struggles they face. When your people know without a doubt that you have the answers to their biggest struggles, you create fans (and buyers) for life!