Do you simply assign someone who wants to present, throw some slides together and fire up Zoom or GoToWebinar? Think that’s the most effective way to organize a webinar? Think again. Webinars can be incredibly powerful but they also bring some reputational risk. Ignore best practices at your own risk. Follow the tips below and you can bet your webinars will shine.
Interact with your audience through promotions before the webinar
- If your audience doesn't know about your webinar or isn't excited about the topic, they won't sign up.
- Be sure to tweet about the event, write blog posts promoting it, and come up with other creative ways to share it online.
- To engage attendees -- even before your event, your promotional messages, such as social posts or emails, can ask for people to submit their questions or comments beforehand.
Dedicate a hashtag to your webinar
- Use a hashtag through the webinar marketing process that is unique to your virtual event. Using a lesser-known hashtag or creating a brand new one will help ensure all tweets with the hashtag are about your webinar.
- Use the hashtag to follow up on any unanswered questions and send additional information.
Seek one or more thought leaders or experts to present
- Nothing is worse on a webinar than a monotone speaker who puts the audience half asleep. Pick a webinar host who is personable, energetic, and an expert in the topic you plan on discussing.
- Additionally, have more than one presenter so they play off of each other, making the webinar a discussion instead of two different monologues.
- The best process is to have a host or moderator along with one or two presenters. This can really liven up the conversation, but that convo can lose track pretty quickly if no one is assigned to moderate the discussion.
- The host will control the flow of the presentation. This person introduces the speakers, asks any questions that come up during the webinar or Q&A, and concludes the event. If any problems arise, this person can address them easily, without causing the speakers to get off-topic.
- And for gosh sake, use your cameras! No one likes a webinar with a mystery presenter who you can’t see.
Meet with all the speakers beforehand and perform thorough audio and video checks
- For an extra smooth webinar, host a quick meeting that will allow you and the other webinar panelists to walk through the webinar topic and get to know each other.
- Even in today's world, technical problems happen with software. Do your best to avoid them when on the air live by testing your webinar platform ahead of time.
- For example, you might not realize it, but your computer's sound could be muffled, or your headphones could prevent people from hearing sounds played on your screen. This is why you'll want to do at least one sound check before you present.
- Similarly, you'll also want to make sure you pick a workspace with good lighting.
Create an eye-popping slide deck
- To keep an audience engaged for 30 minutes to an hour, you'll need to give them something nice to look at. So, make sure your slide deck is visually appealing.
- Create image-heavy slides that relate to the topic you are discussing.
- Using copy on slides is fine -- if done correctly. Don't simply write a paragraph on a slide in black and white. Instead, make sure the copy adds to the presentation.
- Stick to one color palette throughout the webinar deck -- and try not to make it too busy.
Leverage different types of media in your webinar
- To keep audiences engaged during the event, you should consider using a variety of media types for your webinar.
- Do you have a short video or animation that will help your demonstrate your point?
- Does sharing your screen temporarily help get a point across?
- Would a downloadable checklist help your audience follow along with your discussion?
- Think about how you can complement your webinar with other forms of media, either during or after the webinar.
Consider other audience engagement strategies
- With webinar platforms expanding their features daily, there are now many more ways to engage your audiences than there were in the past. For example, many platforms let audiences comment with questions, vote in polls, or take quizzes during the webinar.
- As a moderator or webinar planner, get creative and consider ways to leverage these elements so your audience doesn't feel like they're passively listening to speakers rather than engaging with them.
Follow these tips and watch your webinar success soar!