Thu, 18 February 2021
This week on the Salesforce Admins Podcast, we’ve got Megan Peterson, a Trailhead Evangelist based in Sydney Australia. We’ll learn about Trailhead News, a new way to keep up with everything going on with the Trailhead platform.
Join us as we talk about how Megan started Trailhead News, her tips for creating a great online event, and what’s coming up with Trailhead events.
You should subscribe for the full episode, but here are a few takeaways from our conversation with Megan Peterson.
With the changes that have come in 2020, Megan came up with an idea to do a news show to take advantage of the new Trailhead Live platform. “We’ve got our Trailhead Newsletter that goes out, but we don’t really have a way to tell everyone everything that Trailhead does,” she says. So every two weeks, she puts out a new episode to keep everyone in the loop.
Trailhead has so much going on beneath the surface, and Trailhead News is here to help you make sure you don’t miss anything. Megan talks to people behind the scenes to get the full story, and you can get started with a simple Trailmix that gives you links to everything mentioned on the show.
How to get started with online events.
Organizing something new in a changed landscape has taught Megan some important lessons about what works and what doesn’t in a digital format. “I think people get a little stuck on trying to make what would’ve been a face-to-face event a virtual event, but trying to do it the same way,” she says, “shake that off and think about why you’re doing this event. What’s different about it?”
Megan recommends taking the time to picture what your online event will look like, and start from there. Make sure you have a niche: some kind of unique audience or reason for what you’re doing. And, of course, there are the practical considerations: how are you going to record it? How are you going to edit it? Where are you going to share it?
Why you don’t need a big budget to make a great event.
One big difference between digital and in-person is that you need to change it up frequently. “We would’ve sat through a 20 or 30-minute presentation from a single person in the Admin Theater,” Megan says, “the propensity to sit and listen for a long amount of time is getting shorter and shorter.”
It might be changing your voice, having another person come in, or even just giving your viewers a quick visual break. “You can do this on a zero budget, and if you’ve got budget you can make it a little bit more polished,” Megan says, “but there is definitely ways you can make it creative, different, interesting, and natural for yourself.” And one thing she’s seen time and again with guests is that you’re better than you think you are—be yourself and trust that if what you have to say is important to you, it’ll be engaging to an audience.
Listen to the full episode for some more great tips from Megan about online events, and don’t miss the ANZ Salesforce Live event coming up on March 24th.
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Full Show Transcript
Gillian Bruce: Welcome to the Salesforce Admins podcast, where we talk about product, community, and career to help you be an awesome admin. This week, we are diving into the very important world of Trailhead and Trailhead News with Megan Petersen, Trailhead evangelist based in Sydney, Australia. One of my favorite people from down under.
Megan Petersen: Woowoo. I'm so excited to be back on the Admin podcast with you, Gillian. Thank you for having me.
Gillian Bruce: Oh, it's always great to have your voice on the awesome Admin airwaves here. I wanted to check in with you. It's been a while. I know you've been up to a lot of amazing things and one of the things I wanted to start with is Trailhead News. Can you talk to us a little bit about what Trailhead News is?
Megan Petersen: I sure can. So I came up with this idea to do this fun little news show back in 2020, when we were all unable to leave our houses. I thought, why not take advantage of this great platform in Trailhead Live that had just been announced at the Dreamforce just before.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, you've got some star-studded cameos that happen. I think you've done some with Parker Harris, our co-founder. As you mentioned, some of our rock MVPs in the community. And it's a really fun way to get a taste of how we like to keep Trailhead weird. But also as you said, the incredible amount of things that are involved with the idea of Trailhead, it's not just the Trailhead product, but it's the community, it's all the activities around it. And it's pretty awesome.
Megan Petersen: Yeah. Talking to Parker, I do have a lot of admiration for Parker. So that was an amazing moment to be able to interview him on the last episode last year. And we had the wonderful Sarah Franklin is now our CMO. Heather Conklin. Yeah.
Gillian Bruce: It will be in the show notes. Absolutely. And you forgot to mention the fun themes and costumes that sometimes you and your guests don on Trailhead News, which make it even more exciting and surprising.
Megan Petersen: I think I just try and put myself in the shoes of someone that is choosing to spend some time looking at more screen. And I think, "What could make this just a little bit more entertaining than just sitting and talking to someone?"
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. You want to be entertained and informed at the same time. And there you go.
Megan Petersen: Indeed. Indeed.
Gillian Bruce: So, speaking of that, I would love to hear a little bit more about some of the things you've learned doing Trailhead News. Now, while you are in Australia and you have at least somewhat of a normal life that has returned.
Megan Petersen: We're very lucky. Yes.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Not everybody else, especially I'm thinking of me here in San Francisco. We're still on lockdown. I think I've been on lockdown for a year now, it feels like. But a lot of us admins and otherwise, we're still trying to figure out how to engage virtually. Right.
Megan Petersen: Yeah. Lots actually. It's been a really good learning experience to try and... So I actually do write, produce, film, edit, the whole thing by myself. So there is a lot that goes into doing that. So if you are looking to create your own virtual event, you're going to have to dust off a few possible new skills.
Gillian Bruce: The olden days.
Megan Petersen: The olden days. Yes. Back before 2020. And I think people get a little stuck in thinking about trying to make what would have been a face-to-face event, a virtual event, but trying to do it the same way. So I want to say, shake that off and think about why you're doing this event. So what's different about it?
Gillian Bruce: Yes. Well, yes. I have been privy to the planning, at least part of the planning that you go through to put Trailhead News together. And it's quite impressive.
Megan Petersen: Well, you were my first interview on Trailhead News.
Gillian Bruce: I know. It was amazing. You helped me learn things about Zoom I didn't even know I could do. It was great. But I think one of the things that you touched on that I think is really relevant is, this is a one woman production, so to speak. And so, a lot of the things that you've learned... I mean, hey, not everyone is going to probably beef up the editing skills quite as much as you have. But if you're recording a video or something that you're trying to maybe just deliver a training to your users, I think a lot of the tips and the things that you have learned are very helpful.
Megan Petersen: No. You do not have to. You can do this on a zero budget and if you've got budget, then it's just going to make it that little bit more polished. But start small, like you say, if this is about sharing some training with your users.
Gillian Bruce: I think that's a great message. Basically, what you're saying is be authentic.
Megan Petersen: Yes.
Gillian Bruce: And I think any viewer can always tell if the person on the screen is being authentic or not.
Megan Petersen: 100%.
Gillian Bruce: I know a lot of admins, we may struggle with feeling like maybe a little imposter syndrome or whatnot, but hey, if you've got something that you think is important enough to share, you got it.
Megan Petersen: Yes.
Gillian Bruce: You know it.
Megan Petersen: That's what I always say. I'm like, "I want to tell your story, but if I don't know your story, I can't tell someone that you have an awesome story." We had some Aussies on the podcast at the end of last year, which was fantastic because I've seen them at our Trailblazer community group meetings, or I've heard it through the grapevine that they're doing an amazing presentation at their companies.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah, absolutely. Well, speaking of that, this is a great segue. Thank you for that.
Megan Petersen: Cool. Yeah.
Gillian Bruce: We've got a little... Speaking of virtual events, we have one coming up pretty soon here. It's the ANZ Salesforce Live event.
Megan Petersen: Correct.
Gillian Bruce: Can you talk to us a little bit more about that?
Megan Petersen: I can, it's going to be amazing. So this is our first big event here in ANZ. If you don't know what ANZ means, it stands for Australia and New Zealand. Where I am from, I'm in Sydney, Australia. And it's going to be on March 24th, which is a Wednesday here, which would be a Tuesday, Pacific Time.
Gillian Bruce: I would say, yes. I think we've got some community faces that will be a welcome addition to the event. And I think will be really fun. It's one of the things I think we all missed a lot last year, was we did the best we could to pivot and deliver great content to the global Salesforce community.
Megan Petersen: It's exciting. It was very important. It's what we did last year, actually for a world tour Sydney last year. This is when everything was starting to lockdown. If you go back a year ago, we had very short notice to turn around this huge digital event a year ago.
Gillian Bruce: That was a lot of content. It was a lot of content.
Megan Petersen: You tell me now that I had to turn around eight and a half hours of content in 10 days. I still don't quite know how that happened, but it's amazing. Yeah.
Gillian Bruce: I don't think you slept. Right.
Megan Petersen: No, not really. Not really.
Gillian Bruce: Well, that's really... So it's March 24th. And as you said, anyone can tune in, but it is intended for the... I love saying ANZ because we don't say Zed here in the United States, we say Z. So it sounds more authentic.
Megan Petersen: Ah. Oh, Zed. Right. I got you.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah.
Megan Petersen: We can bust out the old Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, if you want to, Gillian.
Gillian Bruce: Yeah. Do it, do it. I love it.
Megan Petersen: Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Then you say, "Oi, Oi, Oi."
Gillian Bruce: Oi, Oi, Oi. Yeah. I remember. Come on. I've been there a couple of times.
Megan Petersen: Yes. Okay. Okay. All right. Yeah, there's a whole chant. I won't take up too much time doing the whole chant. Aussies know what we're doing here.
Gillian Bruce: This has been awesome. Thank you so much for joining us on the podcast. I will keep the Trailhead News awesomeness going. And I'm looking forward to sharing that great virtual event preparation badge that you're working on at Trailhead with the admin community. So, as soon as you've got it ready, I will happily share it out. And reminder to everyone to check out the event of March 24th, to tune in. Yeah. Any other parting words of advice you'd love to share with our admin community?
Megan Petersen: Be awesome. Keep putting yourself out there. Be positive and be authentic.
Gillian Bruce: Love it. Thank you so much for joining us and we'll talk to you again soon.
Megan Petersen: Bye.
Gillian Bruce: Always wonderful to catch up with one of my favorite Aussies. Thanks so much, Megan, for joining us on the podcast. Now, for some of my takeaways from our conversation to help you as an awesome admin. Number one, when you are thinking about creating content to deliver in this virtual environment, really think about how to keep your users engaged. Take a minute and envision what will keep your viewers wanting to look at what you're doing.