10 Distance Learning Opportunities Through Webinars

I’m a firm believer in the adage “you get what you pay for.” However, I also can’t deny the incredible value being put out onto the Internet for free by some very talented people. With the decreasing costs of web conferencing software from the likes of Calliflower, DimDim, PalBee and Rondee, offering webinars has never been easier or more affordable. Webinars these days can include audio, video and slide presentations, some with audience participation, and be either live or on-demand.

In order to showcase their apps and services, many of these web conferencing companies offer free or affordable webinars on a variety of business topics to lure in new customers. Additionally, some companies hold free webinars to showcase their expertise. Either way, there are more and more free webinars offered every day. You can use them to gain knowledge from credible consultants, authors and other experts.

A caveat: When companies have something to sell, their webinars may tend to be skewed toward their products. Go for the webinars that include diverse topics and especially those where the experts are not from within the host company.

Here are some webinars on topics that can help you with your work.

  1. Webinars on WebEx — free sessions hosted by experts using WebEx software. Upcoming webinars include a WebEx Q&A where you can ask a WebEx expert about holding large virtual events on December 8, 2009 and on December 15, “Reward & Recognition on a Limited Budget” led by Senior Consulting Partner Mark Paskowitz of The Ken Blanchard Companies.
  2. New Marketing Labs — Coming up December 3 is “Measuring Success in Social Media” from the team at this reputable social media consulting firm led by Chris Brogan.
  3. Radian6’s Twebinars — Sample topics include case studies of “engaged brands” like communications company Mullen and beverage company Molson Coors.
  4. Sustainable Industries — This magazine holds free webinars about the issues of sustainability for anybody wanting to reduce their carbon footprint both (in both their personal and professional lives) as well as to learn about the latest trends in sustainability.
  5. The IRS — Yes, even the IRS has gotten on the webinar bandwagon! Topics include tips on e-filing, tax updates (often based on specific states), and IRS Disaster Assistance.
  6. Hubspot — While I do not endorse the Hubspot product, it does offer useful archived webinars like “5 Tips for Advanced B2B Business Blogging” and “How to Use Social Media to Manage Your Company Brand Online” There are also live webinars.
  7. Awareness Networks — Watch archived videos of webinars with such industry leaders as Paul Gillin and Brian Solis.
  8. Marketing Profs — For an annual membership fee, you can access archived webinars on topics ranging from “Monetizing the Long Tail of Search: Rethink Your Keyword Strategy” and “Love or Marketing? How Word-of-Mouth Will Save Your Brand.” Marketing Profs also holds live webinars including webinars on how to succeed with webinars.
  9. Constant Contact — This email marketing company offers live webinars on email marketing, event marketing and online surveys. (Disclosure: I am a paying customer of Constant Contact).
  10. Small Business Administration — The SBA has a series of small business training webinars covering finance and accounting, business planning and business startup, among other topics. You can also find webinars offered for free by local SBAs by state.

Virtual events company On24 takes webinars a huge leap further by sponsoring — and providing the platform for — virtual summits such as last month’s Social CRM Virtual Summit, essentially an all-day series of webinars and webcasting.

Webinars are a convenient way to learn best practices, hear case studies and hear from some of the world’s top experts in their field, all from the comfort of your office, your home or anywhere.

What webinars have you attended that you recommend?


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