What makes a good webinar? The competition to stand out is heating up as inboxes are bombarded with invitations to sessions on all manner of topics. “Zoom Events” are more effective now than ever, and our clients have drawn thousands of viewers even to niche industries. But the bar has been raised, and many new hosts fail to consider the basics of what makes a good webinar: a clear discussion topic, knowledgeable speakers and attention to production values.
The OWC team has compiled the essentials for hosting and conducting a business webinar.
- Provide Value – Whether as the moderator or a solo presenter, give the audience the gift of forethought—yours. The informality of the medium invites rambling and digression, but those who tune in appreciate a streamlined and on-topic flow. Faces on a screen are surprisingly personal, much more so than a PowerPoint delivered from a podium. New data prompts discussion, but even more important is its interpretation and implications for the market near and long-term. The value of a webinar moderator is evoking insights. The value of a guest is to give them. Avoid the blunders of selling by reviewing your resume and instead show your expertise, don’t tell them about it.
- Engage and Interact – Webinars put attendees in the front row. Encourage them to use the chat feature and participate actively. Success is when the webinar moves easily and naturally to recognize key points and respond to them in depth. A good moderator recognizes key questions and helps the discussion flow – answer, discuss and move on. A good participant feels the dynamic and keeps energy up. A good webinar seems personal, not scripted. Notes are OK but no prepared script. Sharing PowerPoint slides takes away from the connection and should be used sparingly like when a graph or chart is needed, but it can always be shared separately or upon request afterward.
- Market the Event – Promote the time and “place” on social channels, in eNewsletters, to employees and customers well ahead of the presentation to drive attendance. The simple act of announcing the slate of experts builds brand awareness of expertise, even for those unlikely to attend. Note also that a webinar is not just a one-time appointment. The recording of the production should be posted online for the convenience of those who missed it and as a continuing touchpoint on social media, newsletters and correspondence for everyone involved. Make every participant his or her own marketing force by encouraging panelists, moderators and organizations to share on social channels and within their own newsletters. A speaker’s network is factored into building an audience.
- Production Values– Webinars need not be professionally produced, but every company can avoid amateurism through dry runs and a critical eye. The platform selected—Zoom, Webex, GoToMeetings, Microsoft Teams—should be familiar to you and most invitees. It’s not hard to set up the cameras or laptops, but attention must be paid to appearance (dress up, not down), similar or equivalent framing (heads the same size, backgrounds not distracting) and audio (make sure the audio matches the video). A dry run confirms it all works, and simple as it is, it does need to work.
If done right, webinars are a powerful marketing weapon in a brand’s arsenal in this COVID-19 world. Here are a few of our recent favorites:
- Los Angeles World Affairs Council and Town Hall — Telemedicine’s Time to Change Global Healthcare with Jamey Edwards
- BlackLine — How Finance & Accounting Can Rise in Uncertain Times panel
- — Understanding the New World of Work With Jason Fried
Reach out to me if you’d like some quick tips.