Planning and Setup:
Planning a webinar can take a while so giving yourself time to plan is ideal. Scheduling a regular series of webinars over a six month or one year period in advance will help you properly plan and execute. Webinars are a good way to keep connected to your audience and build more brand awareness. Choosing an appropriate platform is important when considering your audience; Zoom and Google Meet are good options because users do not require an account to join the meeting. Accessible and user-friendly platforms are recommended so that as many interested people as possible can attend. When scheduling the date and time for your webinar, we suggest considering the time zones of your target audience, as well as when they are most likely able to attend. Between 60 to 90 minutes is a typical webinar length. Once you decide on your webinar’s schedule and allotted duration, it is good to avoid overrunning and interrupting your audience’s schedules. Having a registration process for your webinar will allow you to capture potential leads for membership and collaborations. For data privacy purposes, ensure you ask a question that allows participants to agree to be added to a mailing list.
Marketing your webinar is a good way to increase reach. Utilise social media as a means for promotion. Creating visually appealing promotional materials and sharing them to your social platforms is recommended to catch people’s attention. We suggest including your webinar’s topic, speakers, time and date in your promotional content. Canva has many free templates for advertising your webinar. Here is another tip for expanding your webinar’s reach: tagging the speakers and any relevant organisations will help your content be shown on more pages! Using a catchy, interesting or informative title will also increase interest. Two to three weeks before the webinar is the sweet spot time, in terms of best practice, for advertising your webinar and we recommend pushing it heavily during this time. We also recommend sending out reminders so that your audience keeps their diary open for your webinar.
To make sure you are prepared and confident for the webinar, we would recommend having at least one dry run with your speakers and panellists. When presenting, be certain to set all participants who are not speaking to “mute”, this will help avoid any disruptions and unclear audio. Making sure beforehand that the panellists and speakers have stable internet connection and a quiet place to present will also help in ensuring good audio and visual quality. When testing your video, make sure to have the light coming from behind the camera, facing you and avoid having light come from behind you (which means your face will be in a shadow), this will ensure you are well-lit on the video and visible to the audience. We recommend having all the panellists and the moderator join early on the day of the webinar for one last dry run and audio/video check.
A webinar does not need to disappear after it is completed live. You can keep it around and use it in even more ways by recording the webinar. This not only allows those who were unable to attend to watch at a later stage, but the recording can also be used for marketing and brand expansion. Sharing the particularly interesting parts of the webinar as short clips to your social media will increase engagement. Many social media pages do this with their podcasts, to great success. In SEMrush Blog’s “20 Content Promotion Strategies To Make Your Content More Visible” there is an emphasis on the power of repurposing content, as well as in utilising the trend of sharing short mobile-friendly clips. You could also further promote the full recording through the email of registered participants. Some people also might want to re-watch the webinar! As a last suggestion for things to do post-webinar, we recommend keeping a list of attendance versus sign-up attendance to evaluate the success of your webinars.
Structuring and running a webinar:
Define your objectives
Select a topic that you know well, will be interesting to your target audience and is relevant to your field and industry.
Plan the content flow
Plan a well-organised outline or script that is structured into a clear introduction, agenda, main presentation, interactive segment and conclusion.
Plan the format
Decide on how you would like to present. Will you have presentations or a panel discussion, or both? It is an excellent idea to decide on your times and create a schedule now.
Plan the speakers and panel
Invite reliable industry experts to be on your panel. They will bring credibility and more eyes to the webinar. Engage with your panellists before the webinar to make sure they are comfortable and primed for the event.
Engage the audience
Incorporate interactive elements throughout the webinar to keep your audience engaged. This can include live polls and Q&A sessions.
Create visual aids and slides
Prepare visually appealing and branded slides to support your presentations. Use key points and sharp visuals to enhance understanding and engagement. Encourage your panellists to also use images, graphs and/or bullet points to convey information more effectively.
Find an effective moderator
Find an experienced and confident moderator who can confidently and smoothly guide the webinar and introduce the panel, manage the time, facilitate the interactive segments and facilitate the Q&A segments.
Provide Valuable Takeaways
Your audience should leave your webinar with valuable and actionable takeaway. Make sure to include practical tips, insights, or resources audience members can use or refer to after the webinar. The moderator should also provide a comprehensive short summary of the webinar at the end.
Follow-up and evaluate
Follow-up and evaluation: After the webinar, follow up with participants by sharing additional resources or a recording of the webinar. Gather feedback through surveys or evaluations to understand what worked well and identify areas for improvement.
If you are looking for an easy-to-understand visual resource for running a webinar, we have you covered! Here is a synthesised infographic on structuring and running a webinar.