Hosting a Successful Webinar: The Basics

Monday, July 27, 2015
Jessica Larkin
Director of Communications
Schooner Strategies

Chances are if you a part of the digital marketing and public relations sphere, you have attended a webinar. Webinars are useful and innovative sessions that can communicate a variety of important information: from basic steps, to how-tos, to more in-depth discussions about product suites or health care topics (as our clients at Schooner do).

Hosting a webinar in your own company may seem like a daunting task, but it is well worth the efforts and pains that it may cause. By hosting your own session, your company can position itself as a market or thought leader in the industry, thus gaining more clients. 

So what do you need to know and do in order to host a successful webinar?

Let’s start with the basics: know your audience and what you want to accomplish in order to generate the most leads. It’s helpful to think of a webinar as a seminar that is broadcast via the web, especially if you regularly host in-person, educational speaking sessions. Key considerations should focus on:

  • Audience
  • Content
  • Logistics

Audience

Knowing your audience is crucial to planning and executing a successful webinar. Remember that the session is not about you; it is absolutely about your audience: educating and entertaining them. That being said, keep your message current and focused on topics that they will find interesting. By informing them of relevant matters, you are giving them real tools and knowledge to use in their jobs or lives.

Content

Choosing content for a webinar is a similar process to selecting content for a blog or web page. Regardless of the information in the session, selling your products or services should be involved—even if you’re just “selling” your thought leadership.

So, for example, if you make a product that helps people utilize their time more productively, you might choose a topic involving time management. At the end of the webinar, you can mention your product in a soft sell approach; however, the emphasis of the webinar should focus on how to help your audience better manage their time. You might also consider hiring someone who is well-known in your industry to draw in viewers, which can add value to your message and increase your attendance.

Logistics

The actual business of broadcasting a seminar includes many details similar to planning a big event. For example, if you were hosting a live seminar, you would set a date, time and location and register attendees.

The most important factor is that you will need to secure is a service that can broadcast your webinar. Other things to consider include:

  • How are you going to broadcast your webinar?
  • How will attendees register?
  • Are you going to use a PowerPoint? If so, will you be distributing it to attendees after the webinar?
  • Are you recording your webinar so that you can continue to use it long after the date of the live event?

Once you make decisions on these points, compiling the technical aspect of your webinar should be no problem. At Schooner, for example, we use GoToMeeting and record all of our webinars so we can publish them online for future audiences.

These are just a few thoughts to get you started on your webinar process! Our next two blogs will discuss the marketing and follow up processes. If you are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of putting together your own session, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Schooner; we’re happy to help!

Sources

https://www.readytalk.com/sites/default/files/docs/support-training/Hosting%20a%20Successful%20Webinar.pdf

http://www.gotomeeting.com/fec/images/pdf/GoToWebinar_Definitive_Webinar_Marketing_eGuide.pdf