Apart from Anya Taylor Joy from Queen’s Gambit, the biggest breakout star of 2020 was undoubtedly live streaming. Since COVID-19 hit, the importance of virtual communication has skyrocketed, with webinar events increasing by a massive 67%.
This is great news for marketers. Live webinars are a proven tactic to bring qualified leads and engage your audience from anywhere in the world. They connect you with your customers in a way that email and social media just can't.
But webinars can be scary, especially if you’re not used to public speaking. And there are a bunch of technical things to worry about: do you have the right screen recording software? Can users see your webcam? Did you even remember to press record?
If you’re not prepared it can be a nightmare. Luckily, we’re here to give you the tools to make sure your webinars and recorded videos go off without a hitch. When the big day comes you’ll be confident and ready to go.
In this post we’ll cover everything - from how to come up with webinar content ideas to finding the right recording tools and distributing the video when you’re done. Let’s get started.
Before you brainstorm ideas for topics, the first thing you should do is determine the goal of your webinar. Do you want to increase subscriptions? Educate customers on the value of your product? Demo new features? Connect with your audience?
Once you have settled on a goal (or a few) you can move on to topics. Think about ways you can use the webinar format to achieve those goals. To speed up the process, tap into the brilliant minds within your team and come up with some ideas.
In the early stages of planning there are no wrong answers. Hold a meeting or send an open invite to team members asking for their ideas. Jot them all down and cull the list later.
If you’re an entrepreneur reach out to friends and colleagues and ask for advice, but if you’re part of a large team there’s a few internal teams you should reach out to:
Customer success teams are often the closest to the pain points customers struggle with on a daily basis. Talk to them about questions that are asked frequently and what kind of frustrations tend to pop up.
Part of sales and marketing is understanding what customers need. No one understands your customers (and potential customers) quite like your sales team. They’ll probably have a good idea of the market too - plus they’re creative, so they're used to ‘ideation’ and all that jazz.
Product and development teams know how to think ahead. Chat to them about what bug fixes and features may be coming down the pipeline. Is there anything they might like to highlight to users?
In the planning stage it’s easy to get sucked in to topics that seem fun to you, but remember to put two things above all else:
If you run a tech company there’s no point recording a webinar about baking. Likewise, if you run a bakery there’s no point streaming tutorials on tech topics. Focus only on topics that are customer-centric and aligned with your company goals.
You also need to decide who is going to execute the project and outline each person’s responsibilities. We wouldn’t recommend leaving the job to one person - recording webinars seems simple, but it’s a big undertaking.
Accountability is important. The last thing you want is your customers to tune in and feel like you're presenting a group project that no one took seriously (we're sure you remember those from school). Their time is valuable, so plan with that in mind.
When you’ve settled on a topic you can start to discuss other details. One of the most important is how many touch points you’ll have with attendees after they register.
We’ll get to marketing automation next, but it’s a good idea to involve everyone in planning the promotional campaign too, especially the presenter.
Whether you’re looking for an online form builder, product management tools, or webinar recording software, having the right tools is key. After you decide on the topic for your video, it’s time to turn your focus to finding software.
There are two areas to cover: marketing automation and your webinar platform. Let's start with marketing. This includes a video landing page, taking bookings, keep in touch with your attendees and promote your event.
To decide how you’ll use marketing automation, revisit your team’s goals. Now is time to think about how people will register for your live event, what information you want to learn from the attendees, and how you intend on capturing it.
On a limited budget? Check out this article on how to market an event without paying a cent.
Depending on your focus areas your marketing efforts will change. For example, you might want to pass leads along to your sales team to use it for an email campaign aimed at attendees. You could use a tool like Demio to automate this process.
Some prominent marketing automation tools include:
Once you’ve chosen a marketing tool it’s time to pick a webinar platform so you can start recording. As with any business tool - pick one that works for your goals. Most apps offer some kind of free trial, so have a play around before making a decision.
Finding the right tool can be a time-consuming process. You can spend hours comparing feature lists and obsessing over little things, like whether you need an .mp4 file or an .avi. Try not to obsess (and procrastinate).
Some popular webinar recording tools include:
Don’t save your choice until the last minute. The last thing you want is to be about to hit record and have no idea what to do.
If you’ve ever had an online meeting, or watched a video where the host’s face freezes, you’ll know there’s nothing more frustrating than a glitch in your internet connection. You want to do everything you can to avoid that happening to you.
As you prepare for your webinar check your internet speed. For streaming video you’ll want to have a speed of 4 mbps or higher. If you find your net a bit dodgy, use an ethernet cable for a more reliable (and potentially faster) connection.
Your internet speed directly influences what you can do. If it’s not up to scratch you might have to switch to a video recording rather than recording a webinar in real time.
To help with speed, choose a tool like Demio that lets you host webinars in your browser - it makes load times much faster.
Creating a webinar isn’t enough. The internet is full of all sorts of exciting content, so it’s up to you to make sure your video is engaging. It needs to hold people’s attention and an important part of that is creating an eye-catching slide deck.
A slide deck is a collection of slides you put together for your presentation. You add information, graphics and images to them that are relevant to what you’re talking about. When implemented well they should tie into what you’re discussing and reflect your company brand.
When most people think of presentations their mind immediately goes to Microsoft PowerPoint. And it’s undoubtedly a great tool. But you might consider using Google Slides. Not only is it free and user-friendly, you can easily collaborate with your team using Google Drive.
Though as the saying goes, it’s not the tool, it’s the person who uses it. With that in mind, there are several design aspects to keep in mind to create great slides:
Creating a visually-engaging slide deck takes time, but the engagement you’ll see from your audience (and the potential leads that come with that) make it worthwhile.
Your webinar video could be the best thing since sliced bread, but if the slides look like a pre-schooler made them, people won’t hang around long enough to find out.
Beyond creating a compelling slide deck, how you as a presenter appear to your viewers is also important. It’s imperative to have a solid hardware and a dedicated recording space.
In the video above, check out how Alex from Paperform utilizes his home. He has limited space, but manages to craft a professional look with a few simple touches and the environment at his disposal.
You’ll need to present your video in a quiet area free of distraction. That can be easy enough if you’re in an office, but with more people working from home it can be hard to find a suitable space. If you work remotely, try to organize time for your rehearsal and live recording time with your housemates and family (or cats).
If you’re able to use a private room, like a home office or bedroom, that’s great, but you can set up anywhere as long as there’s a plain wall and not too much clutter in the background. Once you have an area picked out, you’ll want to focus on three elements of your setup:
Depending on the model of your computer and whether you’re using a Mac or PC, you might already have a webcam built in to your device. Even if you do, you can connect a better camera through your device’s USB-port.
Dedicated webcams are more powerful than built-in cameras and record video files in higher resolutions. If you’re a techie, then you might be tempted to go for a 4K camera with all sorts of fancy features, but most people will only need a model that records in 1080p.
The aim isn’t to win any cinematography awards - it’s to provide a clear picture. The last thing you want is your audience to be distracted from your amazing webinar content by your video resolution looking like it was recorded on an old camcorder.
Most laptops come with built-in microphones that are fine for video calls and FaceTime with your family, but it’s not a great idea to use them for professional recordings.
A lot of webcams come with microphones too, and allow you to record crystal clear video and audio. Another option is to purchase a dedicated mic. They’re reasonably cheap and make a big difference to audio quality.
Your main concern is two things: the clarity of your voice and how much background noise the mic captures. Try the tools you have before rushing off to buy something. Do a trial recording - if it sounds good enough, just stick with that.
You might think that you look great in your company’s weekly Zoom meeting, but the standards are higher when you record webinars. Think of it as the difference between a casual event and a formal one.
To give your attendees a clear view you need to consider your space. If you can try to sit with a source of natural light facing you. Of course you can’t just adjust light on a whim, but do your best to find an area with good lighting.
The objective is to make sure your audience can see your face. That mainly means no shadows. Finding a great place for lighting can be tough, so a popular option is to purchase a simple ring light to do the job for you.
Ring lights take the hassle out of lighting. Switch it on, pop it behind your camera and you’re done. They’re every vlogger's best friend, and are a great solution for when you need good lighting without hiring your own private film crew.
So your tech’s set up. Now is the time to make sure it all works. Don’t just take it for granted - and whatever you do don’t wait until the day of your webinar to test things. That’s asking for trouble.
Rehearsals aren’t just for the theater. We recommend going through a full rehearsal at least a few days before the event (if not longer). You never know what technical problems will pop up, and this way you can iron out any kinks before you go live.
Going through this step puts you in a position to give the best customer experience possible. To make sure you don’t leave anything out, create a simple checklist before you hit the record button.
This will look different for each person, but you can use the list below as a guide:
You’ll notice that we included the marketing automation setup as part of the checklist. Have a test campaign ready alongside your webinar. That way just as you walk through your slides, you can practice the customer follow-up process too.
The dress rehearsal shouldn’t just be the speaker. Include other members of your team - especially those who were involved in the planning. This provides an opportunity for feedback that will set you up for success when it comes time for the real deal.
So you’ve reached the big day. This is where all your preparation will pay off. If you’ve followed the steps in this article, you’ll be a long way towards recording a memorable webinar.
Confidence is the secret ingredient to a great presentation. You should come to it with excitement to share the content you’ve carefully crafted for your audience. Smile, relax and trust in the work you and your team have put in.
But how do you get started? You need an intro, but the rest is up to you. Do what feels natural for your personality and brand. There’s plenty of ways to keep your audience engaged, from telling jokes to showing a useful YouTube video.
By now you should know your slides like the back of your hand. Go slowly through your presentation so the viewers have time to digest what you’re saying. If it’s possible, have a teammate on standby to answer questions via live chat, or collect questions for a Q&A at the end of the session.
If you are comfortable with the material and confident in your setup, the webinar itself will fly by.
Sometimes things get in the way and people who signed up for your webinar might not be able to attend. Luckily, you can choose to make the video recording available to everyone who registered.
Most online tools include a webinar recorder, so your video doesn’t disappear into the ether when you’re done. It’s a good idea to take advantage of this option - that way you can share it after the live event.
Having made this decision you can let your audience know they’ll have access to the content after the fact. You can also announce this at the end of the webinar, so folks have a chance to spread the word to their friends and colleagues.
Dedicated webinar tools like Demio make the distribution of your hassle-free. You can download your video in .MP4 format, and share your recording anywhere on the web. With some simple video editing you could even add it to your company website.
When the webinar is done it’s time to assess your performance. Of course you’ll get a feel for how you went from your team, but the most valuable feedback comes from the people you’re trying to please: your audience.
You can automate your marketing with a tool like Paperform, so that a short survey is sent to your audience as soon as you stop recording. That way you can get an idea of what attendees thought while it’s still fresh in their mind.
The type of survey questions you ask will be tied to the goals that you set up when planning initially your webinar. You might ask basic questions about the experience, how each customer felt, and whether they felt that it was worth their time.
There are plenty of great customer satisfaction surveys to get meaningful insights. No matter what you choose, try to keep the questions to a minimum and respect their time. After all, you want them to come back for your next session.
If you need somewhere to start, check out the webinar feedback form below. You could send it as an email, or host it as its own full screen webpage with Paperform.
After you assess your performance and ask both your colleagues and customers for feedback, it’s time for a mini debrief. Get together with your team and reflect. What went well? What didn’t? What did you learn to implement next time?
There’s bound to be plenty to improve upon. You won’t have the perfect webinar the first time you try. Your entire screen will freeze, the ‘rec’ button will decide not to work and a million other little things will go wrong.
But if you’ve prepared well and chosen the right tool then you'll be fine. It’s now time to be introspective, measure your success and think about how you can do better next time - because the best businesses are always looking for ways to improve.
Now that you know all the work that goes into a webinar. Even though they just look like a person casually presenting to the camera, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes.
Armed with these ten steps you’ll be ready to build your own live event from the ground up. Plan carefully, collaborate with your team, pick the right gear and listen to the needs of your audience.
If you do that the actual webinar will be a piece of cake. All that's left is to actually get started. What are you waiting for?
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