April 12th, 2013
In three words, webinars can be summed up as complicated, stressful, yet effective. Unlike the majority of video content, webinars are conducted live which leaves leaving plenty of room for errors. Still, research shows that they continue to grow in popularity. In a 2012 study by the Content Marketing Institute, 46% of B2B marketers say they are using webinars, and 70% believe that webinars are either a “very effective” or “effective” content marketing tactic.
At Sales Engine International, we plan to conduct one webinar per month in 2013. Taking our past experience and our current plan into account, we have developed a running checklist of significant items to cover when preparing for an upcoming webinar. This is by no means an entirely comprehensive list, but it is a good place to start. Next time you find yourself about to prepare a webinar, pull this list and give it a quick run through before going live.
For each webinar, consider the following:
- Before all else, answer the following question: What is the desired outcome of this webinar? Start your plan there and build the pieces to make it happen.
- Create an agenda with milestones and tasks outlining the steps to complete the webinar preparation. This should include the objective to be accomplished and/ or a call-to-action (what do you want the attendees to do next).
- Consider your ideal attendee. It is important that the presentation takes your target persona into account during development. Think in terms of presentation length, the use of charts and graphics, how to leverage data, etc.. For example, if you are presenting ideally to sales people, consider their attention span.
- Presentation slides should be used as a visual tool, NOT as an outline. They should support the speaker’s presentation, not lead it.
- Be sure that the presenter is in a closed room with NO audio devices (including cell phones, desk phones, computer audio, etc.). If there are any audio devices present, they must be turned completely off.
- Determine who will advance the slides. At presentation time, this person’s computer screen should be clear of everything except the slide show. This includes exiting all programs that send pop-up notifications (Outlook or other email applications). We learned this one the hard way.
- Have an employee in-house (but outside presentation room) monitoring audio and video quality. They should be in silent communication (via email or chat) with someone in the presentation room—someone other than the slide manager. For our webinars, the moderator typically plays this roll.
- If applicable, let the audience know at the beginning of the webinar that you will be recording the presentation and will provide it to attendees shortly after the presentation. Someone will inevitably ask.
- Leave room at the end of the presentation for Q&A.
- Follow-up via email personally with those attendees who ask questions that were not answered in the presentation Q&A.
- Create as many prepared questions as possible. This is a good way to prep the speaker for the true Q&A session. Also, if the webinar runs short, then you will have some talking points ready.
- Schedule a practice session for the whole team and use the same technology planned for the live run. That way, any possible kinks will get worked out before you go live.
Join us next week for our latest webinar, Finding the Optimal Marketing Mix, where we will have (hopefully) successfully implemented our webinar checklist.