Starting Your First Webinar? This Is What You Need to Know

Webinars are amazing. They’re taking all the power of a real, live seminar, and putting it into a package that practically anyone can organize and market without having to worry about insane costs or marketing material. You don’t have to travel, you don’t have to rent a venue, you don’t have to worry (as much) about production values – all you need is a following large enough to warrant a video conference, and in due time, your first webinar will open up the way to dozens more.

You’re not alone in that level of success. Although webinars are still under in-person events, blogs and the infinitely-proven earned media success of social media, 60 percent of business-to-business marketers use webinars and webcasts to market their content to clients, according to the Content Marketing Institute.

Contrary to what you may be thinking, webinars aren’t difficult. They don’t have to be scary. And as long as you follow a few guidelines, you’ll have people coming back for more – guaranteed.

Get Your Requirements Together

Gather Around for Your Webinar

To begin, you’ll need three things – a video tool, an audience, and a producer. Webinar producers or moderators aren’t necessary, but they help smooth the production and transition of your brand into the webinar world.

Professional producers can help you translate your content into the sort of interactive video format that you need to keep an audience engaged for every second of the webinar, no matter what you’re talking about. They’ll also help you manage the marketing for your webinar, making sure you get your message out to your audience and get them assembled in time for your upcoming event. Marketing your webinar heavily helps – according to ReadyTalk, roughly 40 percent of contacted leads turn into webinar attendees.

Benchmarking_Webinar_Best_Practices__Pre-Event___ReadyTalk

If you’re wondering how to broadcast live video, any competent video tool will do – as long as it’s from a highly professional service, such as Blue Jeans. Premiere services differentiate themselves by providing better service, more useful features, higher levels of security and more functionality for both you and your audience. Premiere services also let you make joining your webinar as easy as clicking on an emailed link on any video-capable device, rather than requiring a software download.

Focus on a Specific Goal

This is slightly easier. No matter what you’re marketing or discussing, you’re bound to be an expert on many things – but cramming all of them into a single line of discussion is counterintuitive. People can only learn so much at once before they shut down – and that’s not something you want.

Set a goal and an agenda for yourself – what do you plan to achieve, and how do you want to achieve it? And finally, set a time.

Try to Deliver More than a Lecture

A Q&A session is a good way to end a webinar – but there can be more to the client-marketer communication there. You could, as an example, demonstrate concepts by asking members in the audience to perform an example.

If you’re holding a seminar on selling more effectively through video technology, you can have an audience member in the webinar show through their camera how your lessons on pitch, tone and body language really work to achieve the kind of trust between a client and salesperson that you’re aiming for.

You Don’t Have to Work Alone

If your webinar focuses on a topic that touches on something more specific in an area you’re not fully comfortable with – say, for example, the efficacy of a certain car’s new hybrid motor while you’re in the position of the car enthusiast – you can invite an expert on engines and sustainable technology to speak briefly or send in a playable sound bite on the matter.

Zac Johnson and John Chow Webinar

Put the Stage in Your Mind

While you’re not going to be on any kind of actual stage during a webinar, it’s really essential to make sure that you’re doing a good job of being a professional presenter. That means a few things: first, lighting. Keep the lighting behind the camera, to avoid taping any shadows and to make sure you’re getting the best possible lighting quality.

If you want to use natural light, simply work with your computer facing away from a southern-facing window – or an east/west-facing window if you’re hosting your webinar in the afternoon/early morning, depending on where you are.

Body language is important as well. Lean forward, but not so much to be intimidating, and keep your eyes close to the camera – an easy way would be to put your camera and camera output close to each other, so you can keep an eye on how you look without being obvious about it. Do a mic-test and buy a pop filter, and go through a number of words to get a feel for how you’ll sound, as well.

Finally, the last tip is that your work will never be over. That’s not meant to be discouraging – rather, it’s a good thing. Webinars have to be expanded upon, and with the right relationship, you can turn them into a powerful tool for yourself.