Content marketing offers a variety of options for self-promotion depending on your internal strengths as well as your clients’ communication preferences. Do they respond well to blogs? Emails? Newsletters? How about webinars?
Webinars in particular are a great way to gain new leads while providing valuable information to your target audience. But before you commit to creating a webinar from scratch, ask yourself one important question: should you even produce a webinar?
To answer that, you’ll need to ask yourself yet another question: will your webinar provide genuine value and interest for your audience? If so, take a look at our easy-to-follow steps to creating and hosting an engaging webinar.
1. Determine a Topic, Speaker, and Date
The first three decisions are also your most important. What do you want to talk about? Who should speak? And when?
Let’s start with content—how do you decide what’s worth speaking about for an hour? Any topic that thoroughly examines something that has yet to be discussed is a good place to start. This could be an adaption of a conference presentation, an example-driven how-to, or an interview with an industry thought leader. Ideally, you want to avoid speaking about topics that have been thoroughly covered in the past or that provide no valuable information to your audience.
Next, you’ll want to pick a speaker. Although asking an industry thought leader to speak would be a big draw, more than anything, you want to feature an expert on the topic. It could be your CEO, or your manager, or even you, depending on the topic!
Lastly, date and time. We recommend giving yourself at least two months’ lead time from start to presentation. Generally speaking, webinars see the most success on Tuesdays and Wednesdays around 11 am EST.
2. Develop a Promotional Strategy
So you’ve got the nuts and bolts of your webinar settled—how do you promote it? Best practices suggest three weeks of promotion prior to the webinar with a mix of email blasts as well as social media marketing. For emails, we recommend sending a reminder email the day before the webinar; we’ve found that a last-minute reminder garners quite a few sign-ups. For social media, we suggest utilizing LinkedIn Sponsored Content and sending personal invitations to your connections on LinkedIn.
3. Create an Appealing Slide Deck and Script
It can be tempting to open up PowerPoint and slap all of your information together. While that’s a good way to start, you want to be mindful of how your slide deck works, especially when it’s on your attendants’ screens. If you’re not a graphic designer, you might consider freelancing this task out to Upwork; we’ve also compiled a few basic graphic design tips you can follow.
Scripts work better for some speakers than others. Regardless, your speaker should know what they’re going to say and how they’re going to say it. More outgoing speakers may be tempted to “wing it” since they are experts on the subject, but we strongly advise against jumping in blindly.
4. Run a Practice Session
The old saying is true: practice makes perfect! At least a day or two before your presentation, run a practice session with the speaker—go through your deck slide by slide to make sure the information flows properly and whether any last-minute edits need to be done. This also helps ensure you’re all on the same page with regard to technical production (how the microphone sounds, if there’s any feedback, etc.).
Lastly, if you plan on hosting a question-and-answer session after your presentation, we strongly suggest preparing three or four of your own questions to ask the speaker just in case the audience doesn’t participate.
5. Go Live
On the day of the webinar, require your webinar hosting team, including the speaker, to log in to the session at least 10–15 minutes beforehand. This way, everyone is accounted for and you can do last-minute technical checks.
Finally, when it’s time to press play, remember to relax and enjoy!
6. After the Webinar
Afterwards, you’ll be left with lots of great new leads! Even those who signed up for your webinar but did not attend for whatever reason can still be followed up with.
Although the presentation may be over, remember to send out two more emails: a thank you to attendees, and a “sorry we missed you” email to non-attendees; you might even consider putting the webinar recording on your website to promote the content and make it available for anyone who missed out.
Of course, that’s all easier said than done. There’s a lot of work that goes into planning and coordinating a webinar, and it takes practice to get it right.
Looking to set up one of your own presentations? Contact us today for more information on successfully hosting a webinar.
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