Webinars can be excellent tools for educating audiences, providing training, discussing products and generating leads. Producing a successful webinar for your business can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s important to utilize your team to create a strong plan ahead of time.
In this article, we discuss the benefits of webinars for your organization and eight steps to help you plan a successful webinar.
Why is planning webinars important?
Planning webinars can help organizations present information in an engaging, useful way. Instead of just creating paper research reports, they can conduct webinars, or web-based seminars, to interact directly with their audiences in a conference setting. Since webinars are over the internet, they can connect participants located all around the world. Webinars can be a low-cost, convenient way to share information across great distances. They often involve communication through video and chat, the display of visuals and the option to access other resource materials.
Webinars are often tools for B2B content marketing, promoting products to a business. Libraries, nonprofits and other professional organizations can also use them to educate members about significant issues. Here are some other purposes they can serve:
Outreach: Organizations can use webinars to reach target audiences and expand their member or customer base.
Training: Webinars can be helpful tools to train and onboard new employees about a company’s policies and operations.
Education: Teachers and professors can use webinars to educate students about many topics in all kinds of fields.
Industry conferences: Webinars can be great ways for industry professionals to connect and discuss advancements and new techniques in their fields.
Sales presentations: Webinars allow salespeople to conduct presentations remotely and interactively, helping them generate leads and build relationships.
How to start planning successful webinars
Thinking through the content and structure of your webinar can ensure it is professional and engaging to audiences. Here are eight steps for how to start planning a high-quality webinar:
1. Determine your goal
Consider the goal of your webinar, or what you hope it can achieve. In this step, you can also identify your target audience by creating a profile of who you are presenting to. Here are some reasons why you may want to conduct a webinar:
Sell a product or service
Educate people on a topic
Increase brand awareness
2. Conduct research
Research how other organizations have created and implemented webinars. It can be especially helpful to study webinars by authorities in your field. You can have conversations with colleagues or interview industry professionals to learn about their experiences with webinars. You can also collect feedback from your members or customers through surveys about their thoughts and opinions about webinars. This can help you make a satisfactory webinar to everyone involved in your organization.
3. Compile a team
Build a powerful team to create and implement your webinar. A strong team can ensure that a webinar is easy to understand. Here are the common members of a webinar team:
Organizer: This person leads the webinar by welcoming participants, introducing presenters, interviewing presenters, and moderating audience questions. They also typically develop the webinar topic and perform administrative and marketing functions, such as corresponding with other team members, locating speakers, checking that registration is functional and promoting the webinar itself.
Presenter: Many webinars have guest speakers as a primary part of the presentation. These are usually subject-matter experts or other professionals in a field who deliver speeches or lead activities.
IT support specialist: Since a webinar is over the internet, it’s helpful to have an IT support specialist on your webinar team. This person can troubleshoot, address and solve technical issues, including problems with the webinar’s audio and video.
4. Create and outline your content
In this step, you can create the content of your webinar. This involves developing a central issue or topic and what you are going to say about it. You may need to research to find reputable sources you can summarize for your audiences. You should also determine the arrangement of your webinar. Make sure to create a logical flow for your information and activities so that audiences can understand them easily. If you are featuring a speaker or panel of presenters, you can decide whether they are going to perform a speech or you’re going to interview them.
Here are some common slides a webinar contains:
Title slide: This slide offers information like the title, topic, date and time of the webinar.
Introduction slide: This slide introduces presenters by featuring their full names, position titles, companies, contact information and a photograph of them.
Table of contents: This slide provides an overview of the webinar agenda, which topics an audience will learn about.
5. Choose a software
Decide on a webinar tool you will use to host your presentation. There are many different types of web conferencing software, but you can choose one based on your needs and budget. It’s typically a good idea to choose a system that allows you to share your screen, talk or message with participants, engage with audiences through surveys, offer a technical support helpline and record the webinar so that audiences can view it later.
6. Add graphics
Graphics such as images and icons can be a great way to capture and maintain the attention of audiences. Make sure your graphics are simple and relevant to your webinar topic so that they can help you convey your messages. You may also want to limit text so that readers can focus on listening to presenters.
Take some time to practice or run through the webinar with the team you have compiled. This is an opportunity for you to test the presentation agenda or schedule to make sure it is short enough, as usually, webinars are two hours or less. In this step, you can inform team members and presenters on how to use the webinar tool, check to make sure computers and other equipment are functioning and have proper network connections, solve any technical issues that come up, answer questions from team members and ensure the presentation slides are in the right order.
8. Market your webinar
After creating your webinar, it’s a good idea to promote it so that you can have an audience. You can typically market a description of your webinar through ads on websites, newsletters, social media and even community event boards. Specify a target audience and whether beginners can attend. Make sure to send out the information two or three weeks before the event so that your audiences can remember to attend. You can also include email reminders to help encourage people to participate.