An engaging webinar is like a well-directed movie. It leaves you entertained and inspired. Bad webinars, on the other hand, are like poorly directed movies, watching which you want your cash and two hours of your life back. They make you wonder how subpar or badly executed content can sell at all.
So how do you begin making webinars more engaging? Knowledge is power (and money). This blog focuses on bringing you up to speed on the process of conducting an engaging webinar.
Before you begin preparing your slide decks, you should be sure you want to conduct a webinar. Also, you should know why you want to create one in the first place. There is a reason why there are so many substandard webinars on the internet.
The reason is simple: people create webinars to generate leads. However, your primary reason to create a webinar should be to provide your audience with value.
Before you begin webinar production, question yourself: is your webinar content valuable? Will people be interested in what you have to say? A webinar that is done for the right reason will fetch results.
Some topics to make a webinar on are as follows:
● An interview with an industry thought leader
● A webinar adaptation of a conference presentation
● An in-depth how-to tutorial
● An expert panel discussion on relevant news
● A fresh look at a niche-based topic
Here are some webinars that don’t work:
● A webinar that is just a sales pitch
● A webinar an on ambiguous topic
● A highly generalized webinar
● A minor product update
Settle for an interesting take on fresh content. Don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Give people their money and time’s worth of content.
Producing engaging webinars requires you to be mindful of both the technical and content-related aspects. You need to be up to speed on technicalities while dishing out amazing content. Here is a 15-point checklist for making your webinar more engaging.
Make your webinar topic focused and niche. Don’t dwell on generalities. Zero in on the focus topic and go into the details. Don’t go off tangent. Instead of a broad topic like search engine marketing (SEM), focus on specificities such as bid management strategies. Remember, you will know if your topic is a success only after the webinar.
The webinar speakers need to be subject-matter experts. This will show in their authoritative speaking style. Only engaging speakers will be able to hold an audience’s attention. The chosen speakers should know the topic completely and be camera-friendly. Expertise also helps when they field unexpected questions.
The visual nature of webinars separates them from face-to-face presentations. In presentations, if there are no visuals, the audience’s attention focuses on the presenter. But in webinars, the lack of interesting visuals makes the audience’s attention wander. Even if the same slide is on screen for an extended period of time, the audience begins to lose interest in the webinar. Also, ensure your slides have a bit of animation and moving elements.
The webinar format is crucial to creating engaging webinars. Will your webinar be in single-presenter, Q&A, or interview format? Make use of the subject complexity and availability of qualified speakers to decide the format.
In face-to-face presentations, you can point to the part of the slide you want to focus on. In webinars, you can use drawing tools to pull attention. Alternatively, you can use highlights in your animation. Also, in order to switch things up a little and increase engagement, you can insert polls and surveys into your webinar.
So you’ve zeroed in on a great topic and chosen your speakers. But how will prospective attendees know of your event? Decide how to market your webinar. Which channels are you going to use for publicity? Are you going to use social media, email lists, or co-marketing? Ask yourself these questions before you begin webinar production.
Your webinar slide deck should be interesting, entertaining, and engaging. It should build upon the script. Provide data and evidence for everything you say. The audience will be focused on the slide deck, so don’t make it bland.
Most webinar hosts use scripts. It is difficult to talk impromptu for an hour. A script provides direction. It helps you stay on the topic and keep track of time. The slide deck should complement the script and vice-versa.
Sometimes you want to show slides for a minute or so. But due to the time lag in webinar software, the slide may get shown for only a microsecond. These slides are best avoided.
A print of the slide deck helps in organizing the presentation. Also, it helps you know exactly where each bit of information is located in all slides.
Using a remote control to navigate the slides gives you the feeling of a personal, face-to-face presentation. It can also help bring more order to the presentation.
Depending on the purpose of your webinar, there will be an ideal platform out there. Some webinar platforms you can choose from are WebinarNinja, Zoom, WebinarJam, EasyWebinar, ClickMeeting, Zoho Meeting, and many others.
Poor-quality audio can ruin a great webinar. The built-in laptop mic can create distorted, faint, or tinny sounds. Headset microphones make the presenter sound clearer. Some presenters like to use landlines. They dial into the webinar from a landline if they’re unable to connect to the webinar through other methods.
Make sure laptop batteries are in place before your webinar. Also, keep spare batteries for all webinar equipment. Dead and malfunctioning batteries have been known to ruin webinars.
Keep a clock near the screen, so you don’t lose track of time when conducting the webinar. It also helps you allocate a specific duration to all segments of the webinar.
Prepare for disturbances from kids, pets, and neighbors. Minimize the chances of distraction. Find a quiet corner where you won’t be disturbed. Keep your studio space neat and clutter-free. Turn off all distractions like cell phones and computer notifications before the webinar.
Creating webinars is a big job on its own. Outsource your technical preparation to an assistant. An assistant can troubleshoot technical problems, while you handle other aspects of the webinar.
Be at the webinar desk at least ten minutes before time. This gives you enough time to relax your nerves and prepare yourself for the event.
In face-to-face communication, speakers often use long pauses for a dramatic effect. This doesn’t work in webinars. Instead, webinar speakers should use micro-pauses, which last for five to ten seconds.
If you are going to be silent for a while, let the audience know. For example, if you are showing a quote from Gandhi with his photograph, initialize your audience by letting them know. You can say something like, “I will now let you read a quote from Gandhi.” This should be done so that your audience doesn’t disconnect from your story.
In the case of webinars, a little overpreparation won’t hurt. Always have a backup crew and equipment ready in case something goes wrong. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
When you are taking questions, there should be a slide on display that lets the audience know you are answering questions now. If you have any other slides on while you are taking questions, it could distract the audience.
Taking questions at the end of every section is a good idea. Attendees can type in questions when they like. This ensures they don’t have to wait too long to see their questions answered.
If possible, have someone who can collect questions for you. This gives the event a professional feel. It is also a good structure to have. Also, get a spotter to attend the webinar. The spotter lets you know (from an attendee’s point of view) if something is wrong with the webinar.
You need to set up campaign tracking and test the webinar a few days before it takes place. This ensures that all the gear works well. It also ensures that everyone knows their role beforehand. It also gives you the opportunity to fix loopholes or tie up loose ends before the actual event.
The most important tip to create an engaging webinar is to provide your audience with value. The attendee should come out of the webinar with the feeling that they have gained something, and that their time and money have been put to good use.
● It is essential to do a dry run of your webinar. This helps it appear smooth and natural.
● Engage your audience with polls and surveys. This gives them fresh first-hand data and makes for an engaging webinar.
● Promote your webinar across digital channels from one to two weeks in advance.
● Put up presenter bios on the registration page with headshots.
● Run an A/B test on email invites and the webinar landing page. Optimize based on the results.
Webinars are one of the top digital channels for lead generation and engagement. If you follow the best practices for making engaging webinars, you stand a good chance to score internet gold. Just like any promotional medium, you can make webinars more engaging, provided you follow the rules. Use this short guide as a ready reckoner for your next hit webinar.
The advantages of a webinar are personal connection and brand building. They are also a solid tool for lead generation.
You should conduct a webinar when you have something unique and valuable to offer to your audience.
Slideshows are the most important aspect of an engaging webinar. The information should flow from one slide to the other logically and naturally.
The host should ideally be an expert on the webinar topic, and the angle should be one that hasn’t been explored before
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