As content strategies continue to develop, webinars have become a vital tool for most marketers. Hosting a webinar is a useful method to help you establish an online presence, generate leads, and create content for your brand. Webinars also create a lot of engagement and the best part of all is that it's pocket-friendly to create, host, and promote.
If you're new to the webinar game and are wondering how to create your own, follow these simple steps:
1. Set Up a Team
For a webinar to run smoothly, you usually need a team of participants who will help you make sure everything is in order. This step mainly applies according to the theme of your webinar and the material you are discussing. It all depends on whether you think you can take on all the responsibilities of the webinar on your own or if you want help putting it all together. If you are planning on having a team, consider your options when selecting the following:
- The organizer: This person is the essential individual responsible for developing the content of the webinar. They are also responsible for finding a suitable speaker (if needed) and promoting the event. The organizer is also in charge of the registrations and communicating with the participants at the beginning and end of the event.
- The presenter(s): Those who will present should focus on developing and delivering a successful webinar presentation. The presenter also looks after webinar programming, troubleshooting, event registration, and any additional details that will help them deliver an engaging presentation.
- Assistance: Having an assistant is important for things like answering questions during the webinar when the presenter or organizer can't. They can also resolve technical issues that participants may have like video or audio. Having an assistant is usually required for larger scale webinars.
2. Pick a Webinar Format
Pick a format which best suits your message while engaging with the audience. Some of the most common formats include:
- Single speaker: This involves only one speaker communicating with the participants or audience. The speaker will also demonstrate the content of the webinar and answer any questions from the participants. This type of format is recommended if you have a small audience.
- Interview style: If you pick this format, the speaker will be acting as an interviewer and ask a set of prearranged questions to the guest or expert you will be hosting in your webinar. This type of format can be very engaging.
- Panel discussion: A panel format webinar has a panel of speakers who talk about a specific topic. A moderator is needed in order to facilitate the webinar and direct the questions to each panelist.
- Q&A: Similar to the interview format, a Q&A webinar also allows the speaker or guest to answer questions but the difference is the questions come directly from the audience. Collect questions from those who have registered for the webinar beforehand, that way you are guaranteed to stay on schedule and prepare the inquiries for the webinar.
3. Prepare your Visuals
Webinars are essentially virtual seminars. They depend heavily on audio and visual materials in order to demonstrate content and keep an audience engaged. Before you begin to plan your content, keep in mind that slides with a bunch of text will not do the trick so stay away from those.
Successful webinars should feel similar to face-to-face interactions. The presenters and/or speaker should use their webcam while presenting. The session will feel more personal if the audience can see who is presenting and providing the information. This not only requires for the presenter or speaker to have a decent camera but also suitable lighting.
Screen sharing can be a huge asset for your webinar. Instead of creating extensive slides or documents for your viewers, share your screen to guide them step-by-step. It'll also be a better experience for your audience to get a virtual demonstration.
4. Select a Host Platform
Choose a platform that best suits your type of webinar. Zoom has recently become popular amongst companies for meetings and webinars. However, there are several other platforms out there that you can use like WebinarJam, Livestorm, and Demio. Take some time to compare each platform and ask yourself these questions:
- What are the objectives of my webinar?
- How user-friendly is the platform?
- How much will it cost?
5. Prepare your Space and Equipment
To conduct a webinar you'll need a quiet place free of distractions. Consider a conference room or any other place which doesn't have background noise and interruptions. If you're conducting the webinar from home, look for a quiet area in your house.
Testing your equipment before the webinar is vital. Try not to test your equipment right before the webinar starts, but instead test it out a few hours prior in order to give you enough time to fix any issues. Use headphones to hear clearly, have a back up computer, make sure your equipment has enough battery, and ensure that you have a strong internet connection in order to avoid any technical difficulties.
You want your webinar to reach maximum participation which is why it's crucial that you promote your event as much as possible before the day comes. Post your event all over social media, send e-blasts, create countdown reminders, and ask others to help you promote. You can also create a landing page with information about the webinar and include a call-to-action button in order for people to sign up and attend the event. On the day of, send emails with the direct link to your webinar so people can tune in right away.
7. Choose the Right Topic
If the topic of your webinar doesn't interest your audience, it will be difficult to get them to attend. Get specific when choosing a topic for your webinar. Avoid vague topics and instead narrow it down to something more detailed and that you know your audience will appreciate.
When searching for an interesting topic try revisiting your past content. Maybe there's a blog which got a lot of attention from your audience and you can expand on that topic during the webinar. It'll keep them engaged since you know that blog previously called their attention and you can speak in more detail about that subject.
Attending other webinars is also a great way to not only learn more about webinars overall, but also get topic ideas. It'll help you understand trends and see what people really want to learn about on a daily basis.
8. Follow up
Send an email to each participant who attended your webinar once it's finished. Thank them for attending and send them a brief survey asking them to share their feedback and rate their experience. Feedback is important in order to help you improve.
You should also send a follow-up email to those who couldn't attend and include a recording of the webinar. Following up goes a long way because it encourages the audience to attend future webinar events and become involved with your company. It also shows your level of dedication and consideration for those who attended or were at least interested in attending your webinar.