Webinars are a great way to reach out and connect with customers, while at the same time building and solidifying your brand. In last month’s productivity article we discussed what webinars are and how they can help your company. This month we’re going a little deeper and examining what it takes to put together a successful webinar.
1. Is a webinar the right tool for the situation?
When planning a meeting or training session, you should take into account who your audience is, the purpose of the meeting and the message you’d like to get across. Some messages are better delivered through other mediums, or in-person. If you’re hosting a seminar that’s scheduled to last longer than 2 hours, webinars are probably not the best medium to use. A 15 minute introduction of your products to a potential client will go over well as a webinar.
2. Who will speak/ who will be support?
If you decide a webinar is the medium to use, you need to assemble staff to help you run the webinar and choose the person who will speak. If you have experience addressing small audiences and running a powerpoint and related visuals while doing so, you can do it by yourself. If not, it will help to have a support team to help answer questions, run visuals and act as tech support.
3. What format will you follow?
Like any meeting, webinars require a format to be successful. Will you or your speaker be addressing the audience like a traditional classroom, with questions and comments to come later? Or do you want to run more of an open forum and discussion where the speaker moderates? Picking a format will help you develop the content and maybe predict outcomes.
You will also need to think carefully about how you will host the webinar. If you’re unsure of the options available, we’re here to help.
4. Create an agenda
When you feel the webinar is almost ready and the key ideas are in place, you can set an agenda. Try to make an educated guess on how long it will run and how much time each part will consume. Write the schedule down and include extra time for technical issues and questions. Sticking to an agenda will help you stay on schedule and get the message across, and your audience won’t get lost or become bored.
For any webinar to be successful, you need to publicize who is speaking, when the event will happen, the topics it will cover and what programs will be used to run the event. It’s important to get this to as many people as possible, so put the info on your website, share it on your social networks and create an email to send to participants.
A few days to a week before the webinar, you and your support team should conduct a dry run of the event in the location it will take place. This is an important step as it can help identify technical issues and weak spots with the presentation itself. If you have staff who are unfamiliar with the technology or the process, this is also the time to train them.
By following these general steps, you will have a solid foundation with which you can host a successful webinar. We are here to help if you would like to learn more about webinars and other online communication.