Webinars can be an incredibly powerful marketing technique for a lot of businesses. Regardless of your planned usage though, webinars are only as effective as they are quality. As such, it’s really up to presenters to prepare and create the best possible content and experience for the viewers. But what exactly is that?
While there are tons of different ways to prepare and assemble your webinar, there are some approaches that are more proven than others. To help narrow the field, we’ve reached out to some webinar pros and asked them to dish some tips and insights. With that in mind, we looked for the best answers to this one question:
What are your best tips for giving a webinar?
Read on to find insights from twelve experts that have mastered webinar presentations –
Gini Dietrich (@GiniDietrich): Gini is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, “an integrated marketing and communication firm.” Aside from her company, Gini contributes insights and ideas via various blogs—SpinSucks, and Social Media Examiner. Gini also co-hosts a weekly podcast, “Inside PR.”
“Webinars – and content, in general – has a bit of the Field of Dreams mentality. People think if they build it, their audiences will come running. Unfortunately, it takes a lot more than just putting together an hour-long session with compelling information. A good six weeks before your webinar, start some of the traditional marketing things. Add to a central spot on your home page. Send a postcard to your mailing list. Write a news release and send it to trade reporters. Start your email marketing campaign. As the weeks go by, begin social media efforts and keep your email marketing campaign going. Then use your blog (if you have one) to make a final push the last week. While most of your registrations will come in during the last 10 days, people will be expecting it and pencil the time in their calendars.”
Aliza Sherman (@AlizaSherman): Aliza is a social and mobile expert who offers digital marketing services, keynote speaking/presentations, and informative courses through her website. Aliza has over 20 years of experience as a digital strategist.
“Don’t apologize and don’t stop. Webinars involve technology and technology can fail. If your slides stop advancing, point that out quickly then move on and promise to send the slides to the attendees. If you are bumped off the line, go straight back to your presentation when you get back online without belaboring the tech hiccup. Everyone gets the tech issues – don’t make a big deal about them.”
Patricia Fripp (@PFripp): Patricia Fripp is an Executive Speech Coach at Patricia Fripp & Associates. Under this banner, Fripp offers a variety of business communications services including presentation coaching, presentation creation, webinar training, and more. Outside of this, Fripp also runs her blog.
“Once your audience tunes in, make sure they are entertained and feel involved even before the event starts. The best way to do that is with a series of Looping Slides. Looping Slides are a great way to convey important information and keep attendees entertained while waiting for the presentation to begin.“
Cathy Moore (@CatMoore): Cathy runs her blog dedicated to providing her intuition and ideas on how to create interesting and unique training materials. As an internationally respected writer and speaker, Cathy offers workshops designed to heighten skills in specific areas—i.e. scenario design, training design, recording, etc.
“The chat is where it’s at! Your commitment to ask a ton of thought-provoking, open-ended questions — means that you’ll design a series of mini-activities instead of an information dump. Your participants will stay with you, thinking and participating, instead of clicking away to plan their Bali trip while you talk to an empty room. As soon as people realize that you want them to use the chat, they will use the chat. This might happen in ways you might not have intended, such as answering each other’s questions or chatting. Don’t try to control them. At least they’re in the room with you instead of pricing hotels in Bali.”
Tom Treanor (@RtMixMktg): Tom is the founder and primary author of Right Mix Marketing (and its blog). Here, Tom delivers tips, experiences, and insights on how to effectively utilize Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Business Blogging, and Social Media Marketing. Past the blog itself, Tom also has experience teaching Social Media Tools at San Francisco State University, as well as coaching and consulting corporate executives, small business owners, and startup teams.
“I’ve worked with people who’ve been stingy on invites or optimistic about their sign-up and attendance ratios. In more than one case people have had to cancel webinars or have presented to one or two people (if this happens to you, you may want to take the opportunity to practice by moving forward with the webinar – make sure you get feedback afterward too!).”
David Strom (@DStrom): David manages his website and blog, Strominator, where he shares his expertise on network and Internet technologies. Aside from articles, David has also authored two books, Internet Messaging and Home Networking Survival Guide.
“Don’t read bullet points on slides. No one likes being read to, unless it is a bedtime story. Use an illustration of your key message and then talk to that illustration. It could be funny or serious but eye-catching.”
Brendan Cournoyer (@BrenCournoyer): Brendan is the Director of Content Marketing at Brainshark, where he authors several articles that focus on building stronger relationships between businesses and consumers. Brendan has experience in content creation—i.e. blogs, videos, podcasts, e-books, etc. He also has editing experience covering Information Technology.
“Identifying the type of video that will offer the most value to your business and your audience is the key. For webinar promotion, this could be as simple as creating a short “webinar trailer” for your upcoming event. (Hey, it works for Hollywood right?). These trailers don’t have to belong (I’d say two minutes max, though the best ones are in the 45-second range). All they need to do is answer a few simple questions like when the event is taking place, who is speaking, and of course, what it’s about and who should attend. It’s also a nice touch to have the actual speaker(s) narrate the trailer themselves to give your video a more personal touch.”
Christa Freeland (@ChristaFreeland): Christa is the Marketing Specialist for the Powershift Group. Christa has experience in managing strategies and communications, as well as marketing automation software. Christa has not only had experience with delivering superb webinars but has also been a featured keynote speaker at Texas State University.
“To increase your attendee numbers, send an email out with login data an hour before the event to remind the registrants of the webinar. Sometimes they get busy with work and forget or don’t want to deal with digging around to find the information, so sending a timely link again will make it easy for them.”
Roxana Nasoi (@roxanasoi): Roxana is a Digital Advisor who organizes and creates different strategies, webinars, and workshops to help teach how to effectively utilize SEO and other digital tools. Through her blog, Roxana covers various subjects including PR marketing, Social Media, and much more. Roxana also has experience in training the art of freelance, as well as small business expansion.
“Always use two displays: the one on your laptop/tablet/computer and a secondary one, attached to check emails, give real-time support to attendees who have issues attending the webinar. Plus, in case anything goes wrong, just switch to 2nd Display. Ideally, have a person helping you out in the background. The attendees don’t need to know that. You should be the Presenter, the other person the Organizer.”
Brittny Peloquin (@BrittTheBrat): Brittny is the Marketing Coordinator at Experts Exchange. Here, Brittny contributes articles full of insights, tips, and experiences regarding social media best practices and management and website management.
“Don’t underestimate the value of doing a trial run of your webinar. Practicing your presentation at least one day ahead of time dramatically improves your chances of success. Start by reading your material out loud so you can identify places where you might trip over your words. Read with a confident, clear voice. Then, practice your webinar with the software you mean to use, to work out any technical problems. If your audience feels at any moment that their time is being wasted, they will tune out.”
Ken Molay (@KLMonline): Ken runs the “Webinar Success” blog, which is dedicated to providing tips and insights on building and delivering webinars. Ken has experience in software development and marketing. Additionally, he also has a background in public speaking, and stage acting. With this knowledge at his disposal, Ken has been producing and delivering webinars for nearly 15 years.
“Webinars have become a standard medium for informing, educating, and influencing large groups of people without regard to location or the necessities of physical meeting logistics. Companies have instantaneous global reach with the ability to not only broadcast their message using visual aids, video, and supporting documents, but to get feedback and participation from their audience.”
Jill Bastian (@Jillieb3): Jill is the Training and Education Manager at the Vertical Marketing Blog where she delivers several different webinars for product demos, guest speakers, etc. Jill also contributed several articles about social media, copywriting, and more.
“Once your webinar is over, follow up! Some webinar hosting services will automatically send out a follow-up email, which is handy, but you’ll want to edit the message to give it your voice and include a link to the recorded version if there is one. If your service doesn’t send out a follow-up email, you can easily create one yourself (and VerticalResponse can certainly help you with that). Simply download a list of all attendees and registrants from the hosting service, then upload to your email service provider and send out a follow-up.”
There isn’t a singular right way to conduct and carry out a webinar. Instead, there are several ways for presenters to prepare and execute these web seminars. Learning how to create a webinar will take some trial and error. However, the tips and insights above definitely help to ensure consistency and a higher success rate.