So you have realized the usefulness of doing a webinar, of how doing a virtual seminar over the web will increase your audience reach and enhance your organization’s overall marketing values. You know how promising doing a webinar is, you can almost taste success. The operative term, however, is almost. For in every endeavor that takes a fighting shot at success, there is a planning and preparation stage that defines the outcome. It should not be any different with your first webinar; how well you prepare for it will eventually define its outcome.
You may already be a seasoned speaker who is transitioning from traditional presentations to a virtual one, or you are taking the first plunge at speaking and hosting your very own webinar. Either way, it can be quite overwhelming to plan and prepare your first webinar. But never be disheartened. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to host a webinar, just careful planning and preparation, coupled with some advice to guide you through your successful first webinar.
Identify your message and how you will deliver it
The first golden rule when it comes to hosting a webinar: Attract your audience. True, you can go with just about any topic of your interest or expertise, but how will you make them listen? You can talk expertly for hours in front of a live webcam but if there is no one out there listening to you, how are you going to achieve your goals for your webinar?
There’s no webinar without an audience, and having just a couple of attendees does not seem worth all the trouble of hosting a webinar, right?
This is why choosing a topic for your webinar is not choosing a particular subject matter per se, but identifying what your audience will hear from you. Doing a webinar is a two-way communication between you and your audience, so be sure that you have your audience’s interests, their problems and the solutions they are looking for in proper perspective.
Choose a topic that will be important to your audience and prepare to carry out your presentations in a format and process that will hook your audience. Identifying your webinar topic and format with your audience in mind will enable you to earn the interest of your target audience enough for them to sign up for your event and actually attend your scheduled webinar.
Get a team to help you out
Be advised that the dictum ‘no man is an island’ works even with webinars. Doing your webinar all by yourself is not only lonesome, but trust me, it will diminish the seamlessness and fluidity of your event.
Think of it this way:
Just because a webinar is done online does not mean it is any different from a traditional face to face seminar.
When doing a webinar, you will need a presenter who will be the face of your organization, a host or a moderator who will open the webinar event and manage the floor during the Q&A, a person or two in charge with the technical aspect of the presentation such as transitioning screens from the presenter to presentation slides and recording the webinar, a social media manager who can do simultaneous media feeds or post-event releases. Some webinar hosts also enlist the help of spot-on researchers who assist in formulating responses to questions and clarifications raised by the audience.
Enlisting a team to do a whole gamut of tasks involved from preparation to the actual execution of your webinar will help you deliver a seamless and professional event that is sure to earn the trust and respect of your audience. Plus, having a team to help you will enable you to focus on giving your target audience the best live webinar experience they could probably have.
Make technology work for you
Bear in mind that a great part of a webinar’s success relies on the technology you will be using. First, you need to identify which hosting platform you will use. Choosing a well known brand that is known for quality, like ClickMeeting, is always a sound decision because reputation is everything when it comes to efficiency. Before you choose, do some research on the strengths and limitations of the most popularly used hosting services out there and decide which works best for your needs and goals.
Ensure that you have access to all necessary equipment and resources, such as computers, microphones, headsets, webcam, power cords, network cables and high-speed internet connection well ahead of your webinar event. It is always best to do a run-through of your webinar at least a week prior to your actual event so you have enough time to source or reserve additional resources and gears that you may find necessary.
When you address potential technological challenges prior to your event, you are removing obstacles to a successful event and are then better able to concentrate on the presentation itself come your actual event.
Decide on the best possible date and time
Choose the date and time of your webinar well in advance to give you ample time for preparation and promotion. Once you have chosen your webinar schedule, you can make a backwards calendar to set deadlines for team meetings, presentation drafts, equipment arrival, venue identification, and promotion timetable.
Coming up with a timetable for your webinar will allow you to distribute the bulk of your preparations across the days leading to your event while also providing your team with ample window to immerse in crunch time mode.
When scheduling your webinar event, consider possible blackout dates, such as, holidays or weekends when your target audience may have personal matters to attend to. Take note of time zone differences as well, especially if you are inviting attendees from different regions.
You may also decide against scheduling your webinar too close to either the start or end of the day when your attendees may be distracted by other professional or personal concerns that might make them lose focus on your presentation.
Promote your webinar
Start announcing and promoting your webinar as soon as possible to make it known that you are brewing something great for your target audience. Publicize your event to your email list, through social media, on your website or blog and even through webinar listing sites. Engage bloggers in the industry or even affiliates to promote for you as well.
Incorporate a reply or registration mechanism in your invitations to get an idea of how many are committing to attend your event so that you can adjust or troubleshoot accordingly. Send out reminders or pre-webinar teasers to registered attendees strategically ahead of your event to encourage them even more to show up online on the date and time of your webinar.