Webinars are a versatile way to deliver quality content. Marketers love them for lead generation, professional bodies use them to educate members, and forward-thinking industry experts even charge for access to their events. But how do you ensure your webinar is a hit?
In this article, we’ll consider five fundamental elements – those elements that need to be right to ensure your webinar is editorially sound and presented in a professional way.
Ready? Let’s go…
1)Consider the audience
So many sponsors or host businesses still miss the basic point of a webinar, seeing them as nothing more than a chance to talk about their businesses for an hour. Nothing is more off-putting than a sales pitch.
Forward-thinking brands don’t do this. They pick a topic that’s relevant to the people with whom they wish to connect and plan to educate, inform and delight them by sharing knowledge.
2) Consider the medium
Webinars don’t usually have video of the participants; often, the audience just hears the presenters and sees slides through a playback screen on a browser window. That’s a pretty small screen, so avoid using presentations with lots of text, intricate figures, graphs or tables – they’ll be indecipherable. Instead, it’s best to think of the slides as a visual aid that can encourage the audience to focus on what you’re saying. Compelling graphics or key statements are a great option.
It’s also better to keep presentation light. Don’t bog the viewer down in detail because they won’t remember it. Focus on articulating three or four key points that the audience can remember, then repeat them on last slide as ‘key takeaways’.
3) Guide your speakers
Not every speaker is a natural, but there are things you can do help people communicate effectively. A planning call is essential. Get each speaker to run you through their presentation; this will give you the opportunity to vet the content and understand how the individual is likely to come across.
Some speakers will need a little help. Often it’s just about emphasis and tailoring their message so that it’s appropriate for the audience. Speakers need to avoid jargon and use examples that will help the audience connect their own situation with what is being said.
4) Promote the outcome
Before your webinar takes place, promote the live event by highlighting the topic, the speakers and the principal areas of discussion. You can literally say: ‘In this webinar, you will learn…’ The audience is full of busy people who need to know that spending time on your webinar will be worthwhile.
After the event, you can promote the recording by highlighting the key lessons that can be gained from listening. It might also be worth including reviews of the webinar, feedback from social media, or how the audience ranked it in a post-event survey.
5) Get the audience involved
Ensuring engagement remains high throughout your event is one of the main challenges of running a webinar. If the audience thinks the content isn’t cutting it, they’ll leave.
The good news is there are a number of tactics that can be deployed to keep the audience interested. The most obvious one is to ensure your presentations are engaging; beyond this, it can be useful to encourage audience interaction.
That means running polls in which they can vote or asking them to submit questions and pausing to answer them as you go, but it can also mean structuring your webinar so that this kind of activity isn’t limited to the beginning or end of the event, with a huge presentation sandwiched in between.
Best practice is to keep the pace brisk and to change speaker or activity at regular intervals. This helps to keep everyone engaged and make your event feel like it’s covering a lot of ground.
Give it a go
Taking these five pieces of advice on board should help you create webinars that deliver a high level of editorial quality and ensure your audience returns again and again for your events.
Best of luck!