Because of the pandemic, we are seeing a boom in webinars produced by companies. Webinars have always been a great content tool, but it has surged in popularity the last year due to most conferences and meetings being held online. And since this is the new norm, it’s the perfect timing to provide some tips and tricks on how to pull off a great webinar.
To start off, a webinar is a seminar or educational event held online. It’s used to share information on a subject by an individual – to a group or a company. It’s much more modern take on pre-recorded educational videos as it allows for open discussions and comments from viewers.
There are several compelling benefits when opting for webinars and a few are;
- Show your expertise – By producing webinars, you position yourself as an expert in the subject presented.
- Connect with your audience – As webinars allows discussion, questions and opinions – it creates a valuable opportunity to create a dialogue and thus make lasting connections with viewers.
- Promote your brand – It serves as an opportunity to reach out to new viewers and communities with the right marketing.
Choose subject according to audience
The first thing you need to decide is the topic or theme. Depending on if your target group is your customers or external viewers, picking the topic may vary. If you have your customers in mind, we recommend keeping a tight dialogue with your support team to see what questions they receive the most. Alternatively, send out a questionnaire to receive feedback on what services/features they would like to hear more about. You might find some truly valuable information here that you can use in other types of material as well. On the other hand, if you’re looking to promote your webinar externally, do proper research and visit forums to see what the main discussion topics are to choose your theme.
Choose webinar format
Depending on the content and topic, you need to choose a format that will aid you best as a presenter. For example;
- If the purpose is to show a new feature and how it works – screen sharing is a great tool.
- If you want provide tips and tricks such as how to upsell – a live video would be a suitable option.
- If you’re planning on presenting more complex information – use a PowerPoint with graphs and charts to share a more digestible version.
After you have chosen a format, you also need to choose a platform to host the webinar. At Soluno we recommend MS Teams since it’s a great tool to both conduct meetings and events online. Teams was also recently improved with more meeting functions to better support webinars. For all those who have Microsoft 365 E3/E5, A3/A5 or G3/G5 subscription, Teams supports up to 1000 viewers. With Microsoft Business Standard and Premium, users can invite up to 300 viewers.
In addition, you simply invite users similarly to how you would in a Teams meeting, but with a few more settings. And since it is similar to a standard meeting setup, you can create polls, notes, reactions, and live captions. You can also share information in form of presentations or other apps during the webinar. In addition, chat is also available which many use for the webinar Q&A.
Prep, prep, prep
A great webinar all comes down to planning to the T. Therefore, you need to pick a team that will help you before, during and after the presentation. First of all, as it is held online, the speaker needs to be engaging and charismatic to make sure viewers don’t drift off to la-la land. You also need a member who either transcribes the chat questions or answers them while you speak. You also need someone that is in charge of the technicalities if an issue were to occur. In addition, make sure you have something to fall back on if the internet connection is unstable. Make sure the technical manager of the webinar check the internet connection and camera at least 10 minutes before the event.
Now that you have picked your trusted teammates, it’s time to pick a setting. Either presenting format requires a scene with as little distractions as possible, but it’s more crucial if you are presenting via live video. Preferably choose a setting in your office such as a quiet, well lit room with a professional feel. This may for example be a meeting room or if you have a secluded office. If you are presenting from home, make sure there are no distractions around such as your dog urging to make a guest appearance.
Communicate with your audience
A webinar is such a great opportunity to have a conversation with your customers or new potential leads so make sure you actively engage your viewers while presenting. A few tips here are;
- Be engaging – When presenting, make sure you do this in a natural dialogue and that that viewers are on the same page as you move forward. But more importantly, be as excited about the topic as you want it to be perceived. The energy rubs off!
- Guest appearances – Another great idea is to invite collaborators to boost that dialogue. It may be other coworkers presenting another subject or answering a question, or another industry expert providing another take on the subject.
- Chat – We also recommend using the chat to actively answer incoming questions yourself, or have a colleague answer when while you present. If there are a lot of viewers, make sure someone transcribes the questions so that you can answer them after the event.
If you read our last blogpost on why follow-ups are A and O in successful meetings, webinars are no different. The success of an event almost entirely lies in an effective follow-up. So, when the webinar is over, get back to your audience immediately to keep the dialogue going. Send out a summary, informative PDFs, a quiz to test their knowledge, or a survey to get all necessary feedback. Also, don’t forget to thank the participants. It’s a small gesture that is always more appreciated than expected.