Webinars have always been a content tool well recognised by companies for their usefulness. But because of the pandemic, when everything has suddenly gone online and video calls and conferencing have become the new black, the format is experiencing a surge in popularity.
Since everyone’s into webinars now, just making one isn’t enough anymore. For people to wait for your webinar and spend their time on it, it has to be good.
So what actually constitutes a good webinar—a webinar people will want to watch? There are no certain answers or rules, but there are sure some tips that will help you make your online webinar more fulfilling and beneficial, both for you and your viewers.
But first, let’s delve a bit into…
What is a webinar?
A webinar (a web seminar) is, simply put, a seminar or other educational event that is conducted over the internet, most commonly in the form of a video presentation. They’re used for sharing information or knowledge on a subject by an individual, a group of individuals, or a company.
Webinars are different from and somewhat superior to pre-recorded educational videos since they are live events and allow open discussion and commentary between webinar hosts and their viewers.
Why would you want to create a webinar?
For a business, there are several compelling reasons to at least consider creating online webinars of their own:
- Webinars work well for putting your name out there. For instance, promoting a webinar can get it seen in the communities that may be interested in its subject. That way, you can win over people who were not, perhaps, previously aware of your brand but now, through the well-made webinar, come to trust its voice.
- By conducting a webinar on the subject close to your area of business, you position yourself as an expert in your field. And if your webinar is worth its time, and people are willing to come back for the next one, your claim to authority is automatically confirmed.
- Webinars are a great way to generate more leads since most of them require registration for access. This means you get to collect emails of those who are definitely interested in what you have to say and who are already warmed up by your presentation.
- Webinars are a great way to sell more, as well. Not only do you get leads, but you also have a chance to build trust and work with specific objections during the webinar while presenting your product or service as a solution to the problem. Don’t oversell it, though: Your main goal is to educate people and prove that you know what you’re talking about.
- Through a webinar, you can connect to your audience like never before. In the best scenario, you give them value and an opportunity to communicate with you—asking questions, sharing opinions, placing requests in real-time, etc.
And, in turn, they can give you a better understanding of your crowd and what ails them, so that you could improve your product or service accordingly.
- Webinars are a powerful promotional tool, in general. Unlike anything else you have to offer that can be accessed any time, a webinar is both a piece of content and an event, and people can only get the full experience—video presentation, Q&A, and all,—if they make it in time to participate. This factor of scarcity makes webinars even more valuable, so don’t hesitate to use them to promote your brand!
Tips on creating a webinar people will want to watch
Now we’ve covered all the “whats” and the “whys”, we can talk about “how” you can actually create an efficient online webinar that will help you achieve all the goals we’ve listed, from boosting brand awareness to generating leads, and more.
The good news is that webinars are relatively easy to organise—compared to offline events, that is. However, even though you don’t have to book a venue or look for sponsors to run a webinar, you still have to put some time and effort into it if you want your webinar to bring results.
So here are 10 tips to organising an online webinar people will want to watch:
Tip 1: Choose a subject with your audience in mind
The first thing to decide on is, of course, the theme of your future webinar. Don’t go for the ones that seem obvious to you—take a look at your potential audience first instead. Who are you aiming for? What concerns them and what piques their interest?
Do proper research, visit forums and message boards where your crowd usually gathers, and read their discussions. Go through your client base as well, as they’re no less important in your endeavour than newcomers. Talk to your support team—what questions and requests do they get more often than others? Or, better even, conduct a poll so that your audience could actually tell you what they would love to learn from you.
When the subject is chosen, think carefully about the name of the webinar. You’d want it to convey the main topics accurately and clearly, while also attracting the attention of a new audience.
Tip 2: Choose a format that suits your purpose best
Depending on the topic and purpose of your webinar, choose the format that will allow you to do your best as a presenter.
For example, if the purpose of the webinar is to explain the working principles of an online tool or software, the screen-sharing format is the most obvious choice. If you’re going to give a DIY lesson, a live video will suit your needs best, whereas a slide show is perfect for a presentation with lots of graphs and charts. Determine what tools you need the most to tell your story, and take your pick.
For example, here, in her webinar, Showcasing The Success of Marketing Video, Keara from Wistia uses a screenshot of their tool’s analytics to explain how to read the metrics:
And in any case, make sure that your webinar solution supports chats because you will want to keep in touch with your audience during the webinar, no matter the format.
Tip 3: Structure your presentation
Even if you or your presenter are outstanding speakers, you should most certainly outline your presentation. Firstly, to make sure you’ll meet the time limits—you definitely don’t want to fall short or worse, realise in the middle of the presentation you don’t have enough time to cover it all.
Secondly, make your content as concise and coherent as possible. Your goal is not to overwhelm the audience with information. Give them as much as they can consume and comprehend in one webinar.
Try to think ahead as well by guessing what most obvious questions you may get along the way and anticipate them.
Tip 4: Pick a presenting team wisely
Running a webinar is not an easy task even if you’re an expert in the topic. A perfect presenter is not only well-versed in the subject of the webinar, they’re an amiable, charismatic speaker who is not afraid to go off-script if needed, and who won’t have trouble getting the narration back on track either.
Apart from the host of the webinar, we advise having at least one person on set—someone who would be able to answer some of the questions via chat or quickly solve technical issues if any occur—without having to put the webinar on pause.
Tip 5: Prepare a set
Have you given much thought to where you would host your webinar? Of course, it’s not as costly or difficult to arrange as an offline event, but don’t underestimate the importance of a good location.
Preferably, it should be well-lit and give a viewer a professional feel. But the most important thing is that nothing from your side of the camera distracts them from your narrative or interrupts the webinar.
If it’s your office, find a place where voices or phone calls won’t be heard in the background of your video. If it’s your living room, make sure your children and pets are happily occupied elsewhere (they are cute, but you don’t want your cat’s antics to be the main thing your viewers remember from the hour-long webinar).
For instance, the Learn How to Podcast webinar from WordPress is very informative. However, you can’t help but get distracted by the fluffy fellow behind the presenter (fortunately, they switch to slides and screen-sharing further on):
Tip 6: Make sure everything is smooth on the technical side
Being an online event, a webinar depends so much more on the technical details than any offline lecture or seminar. You can recite a lecture from memory or do a seminar without slides to fall back on, but your webinar’s success is completely dependent on a steady Internet connection.
So, check everything beforehand and learn how to use it, too. Especially if webinar software is unfamiliar to you. Check if the webcam is placed correctly and whether the microphone works, so that you don’t spend the first ten minutes with your live audience on soundcheck.
Extra pro tip: Record the webinar if you can. It will make a valuable piece of content you can use later.
Tip 7: Promote your webinar creatively
Think about it: You can do everything right about the webinar, from the relevance of its subject to the most advanced technical support, and yet, all of it will be in vain if no one shows up.
So promote it as hard as you can! And by “hard” we don’t mean “often”, we actually mean “smart”. Use your website and social media platforms to spread the word but also consider, for example, placing ads in the forums and communities where people may be interested in the subject of your webinar—the very same where you’d done your research from Tip 1, in fact!
Promote it among your existing clients as well, by sending them emails and timely reminders to register for an exclusive live event.
Tip 8: Communicate with your audience
We’ve said it before, but we’d better say it again; use the chief advantage of a live event and communicate with your clients and leads. If all you want to do is give them a tutorial without any live interaction, just make a video and save yourself the trouble.
A webinar is a chance to talk to people from all around the globe, engage with them, answer their questions, and pitch your thing. So… communicate. Introduce yourself and ask them where they are from. Build a dialogue. Before moving forward, check if everyone’s on the same page. Most importantly, be as excited to tell them about the subject as you want them to be to hear about it.
And don’t forget to give them all the necessary info before you start, such as the length of the webinar, what it’s going to cover, if there’s going to be a recording, etc.
Tip 9: Go for collaborations
If you want to give your webinars a boost, especially when you’re only starting out, invite a guest to your next one.
It can be another industry expert or an influencer. That way, their audience will also be interested in participating in your event, and you’ll get more viewers while widening your outreach at the same time.
Moreover, if the expert is held in esteem in your field of business, you will gain more authority as a source just by association.
Tip 10: Follow up
When the webinar is over, get back to your attendees. If you promised to send the materials—slides, PDFs, or flipbooks,—send them. But even if not, follow up nevertheless. You can do so with a quiz on the webinar or just a quick survey to learn what could be improved next time.
Thank them for participating, too. It’s a small yet personal gesture, and your leads and clients will both appreciate it.
Webinars are an easy content solution, but they still require quite a lot of time and effort and certainly have to be made with your audience in mind to become successful.
Did you find these 10 tips on creating webinars people will watch useful? Have you conducted webinars before or are you planning to? Tell us in the comments below.
Originally published Jul 13, 2021, updated Jan 16, 2023