Jul 25 Four Things You Need to Know About Hosting a Webinar
Webinars are a great strategy for businesses trying to show thought-leadership within their industry and generate potential leads at the same time. They can be time intensive to produce as I learned while co-hosting my first webinar this month (check it out here). In this blog post I will share my learnings from experience and research about the must-knows of hosting a webinar.
Pick the Right Time
As you start building out your timeline towards your webinar date, keep in mind that timing is everything. Mid-week, Tuesday-Thursday, are usually the best days to host a webinar. When picking a start time, be mindful of all time zones you are hoping to reach. If you are on the east coast and are wanting to get people on the west coast to join, I would aim for 1pm ET or later start time. My last note about timing is in terms of webinar length. Most webinars last about an hour total. Aim for your presentation to be anywhere from 30-45 minutes and allow time for questions.
Create an Engaging Presentation
Now that you have picked the perfect date, it is time to build the presentation deck. I have attended many webinars and have seen some great presentations and some not so great presentations. From my experience, it is best to limit how much is on each slide so you don’t overwhelm your audience. The presentation should be there to support your talking points, not have every detail written out. Therefore, limit text and select eye-catching visuals or charts instead. Videos can be good, but be cognizant that the audio/visual quality might not be the best experience for the viewer. Finally, sprinkling in polls throughout the presentation is a good way to keep your audience engaged and a way to gain feedback and insight from them.
Promote, Promote, Promote
Given the time and effort you are putting into the webinar, you want to ensure that the right people sign-up and attend. A lot of people will judge whether or not to sign-up for a webinar just by looking at the title, so pick a catchy title, tagline and hashtag. Once you have your title and description, set up the webinar registration page and get the word out about your webinar through as many avenues as you have at your disposal—emails, social posts, a press release, asking co-workers to share, paid media boosting/targeting. It is best to start promoting your webinar at least 2 weeks prior to the date and make sure you do a final push 24 hours before (when most people actually sign-up).
Host a Practice Session
You know the old saying “practice makes perfect”? It is 100% true, even when it comes to webinars.
During the final days leading up to your webinar, I strongly recommend hosting a practice session with the speakers and panelists. This will give everyone an opportunity to practice their talking points, timing and to get a feel for the flow of the presentation. It will also give you a chance to test the room and audio quality to work out any kinks before the day of. I would also suggest recording the practice, to be able to replay it for final tweaks to the presentation before you go live.
Even though you had your practice session, I would still suggest that the speaker and panelists get on the call 10 minutes early to make sure everything is working as it should. Don’t forget to press the ‘record’ button so you can use the presentation later on. And finally…have fun! Participants will easily be able to tell if you are enjoying the topic you are presenting on. You are the most important part of the webinar.
Good luck with your upcoming webinars! If you find yourself needing assistance getting started, we would love to help you get on the right track.