Hosting a webinar is much different than hosting an online event. While you don't have the hassle of renting a venue, and hiring a catering company, getting started with webinars requires careful planning and preparation.
With the recent shift to remote work and an increase in online activity, people and brands rely on webinars like never before. Since the pandemic's start, virtual events are up 1000% and compete for attention with entertaining content on social media. This article will give you some practical tips for hosting a successful webinar that your participants will remember.
How does a webinar compare to a video conference? What good does a webinar do?
If you have ever asked any of these questions, you have arrived at the right place. After reading this article, you will have the tools to plan and host a great webinar that your attendees will love.
We will cover the following topics:
The term is composed of "web" and "seminar." In other words, it is a digital seminar. In simple terms, webinars are virtual lectures, conversations, or workshops. Here are the key features of a webinar:
Webinars can be live-streamed or recorded
A webinar is usually conveyed live via video. There are several applications for video conferencing—for example, Zoom, Skype, Teams. You can also stream live on a video-sharing platform, like YouTube. You can also record a webinar and upload it to a video sharing platform for people to watch.
Webinars are interactive
A webinar is an opportunity to interact and network. It connects the speaker to the audience and allows participants to communicate with each other. Modern webinar tools have many options for speakers and attendees to have an engaging experience. Including chat functions, voting polls, or virtual hand raises. As a result, participants can comment, ask questions during or after the webinar using chat or voice.
Webinars are a great way to engage with prospects and customers.
Webinars provide a great platform to spark engaging conversations and build relationships with prospects, customers, and boost brand awareness. Virtual events and conferences are excellent tools for generating high-quality leads and increasing conversion. The ROI from effective webinars and virtual events can be much higher than from other marketing initiatives.
Webinars can replace seminars.
Unlike seminars, webinars are interactive and encourage collaboration. Regular video conferences can be too official and less engaging. This article will show you why webinars and virtual events are a great way to make your internal meetings and training practical and fun.
Webinars can vary from basic to advanced.
Webinars are a cost-effective and easy way to communicate your message to the world. It can have all the components of a real-world event: lectures, conversations, virtual networking sessions, round tables, debates, virtual workshops, and much more. You can set the objectives of your virtual event and decide what to include. For example, if you would like to host a simple webinar, your laptop and presence are enough to connect to your customers and prospects to discuss business or a new project.
Like real-world events, webinars allow you to create a more advanced event to host a panel discussion or a debate. They require thorough preparation and more equipment than basic webinars, but the benefits are invaluable. You get to create authentic and informative content that your attendees will remember. Virtual events are a fantastic way to build trust in your brand.
Now that you know what a webinar is, let's look at the benefits of organizing one and how and where you should host it. We already mentioned that webinars and virtual events are up 1000% since the start of the pandemic
With quarantines, furloughs, home offices, and social distancing, webinars have become a sure winner. Virtual events are now the only option for many businesses to stay in touch with their customers and employees.
As we are slowly moving to the "new normal," webinars and online conferences remain as relevant as a few months ago. They allow you to speak to wider audiences, reach more people, and get your brand noticed by potential customers. And, unlike with real-world events, with webinars, you don't have to worry about the venue's size or catering. What's more, you can record and share the webinar after it's finished. It will continue driving engagement with your brand long after you pressed the "End" button.
Webinars are an excellent lead-generation tool.
Webinars are an efficient and engaging way to reach your prospective customers and generate high-quality leads. They offer you an opportunity to connect with your target audiences at the early stages of their buyer journey. Here is how webinars can help you create leads:
During a webinar, your customers will get to know the people behind the product, service, or message. Prepare and research your target audience's pain points and needs. You can offer actionable insights into solving their problems and address topics that are important for them. It will help you build trust and strengthen your brand positioning.
Webinars are an opportunity to build authority by inviting experts.
Invite subject matter experts, influencers, and thought leaders to share their insights at your webinar. Such collaborations help you boost attendance and create buzz around your online event. Your team members, who are experts in specific areas, can also share their know-how and help you build your brand authority.
Once you decide on your webinar's format and size, you can determine what kind of equipment you need. For example, depending on the topic, you can use your phone to stream live on Facebook or YouTube.
For more complex webinars with a larger number of attendees, you have to consider using a proper virtual events equipment. It will help you create a professional image and efficiently run your webinar.
Here is the list of equipment that you need for a successful webinar:
A good camera is essential when hosting a webinar. The type of camera depends on the scale and format of your online event.
You can use a built-in laptop camera and share your screen to the present. The downside of using a laptop camera is that attendees will only see a small squared frame with your face.
So if your webinar will focus on the person and you need to produce a high-quality recording, you may want to consider using a more professional camera.
Have a look at the four cameras we picked for webinars and virtual conferences:
BRIO 4K: Stream Edition
This camera costs almost USD 280, making it more expensive than its rivals, but the quality is impeccable. Using BRIO 4K, you can stream anything from 720p to 4K without chopping. The camera has 13 megapixels, autofocus, and 5x digital zoom in full HD. This camera is the perfect equipment for webinars.
In TechRadar's test , Logitech StreamCam took the first place. Although its resolution is 1080p, it costs The resolution is not over 1080p, but it also costs USD 100 less than BRIO. The camera has autofocus, smart exposure, and a frame rate of 60 fps. It also uses USB C, allowing it to transfer videos faster.
Trust Trino HD
This camera you get for USD 35 - that is much cheaper than BRIO for USD 280. However, the downside is that it only delivers resolution in 720p. As a result, you might be better off with your phone or laptop camera.
Turn your mobile into a webcam!
Purchasing a camera seems like a hefty investment? Then there are plenty of apps that can turn your phone into a decent webcam. With the help of the apps and a phone, you can stream in 1080p.
Equipment for webinars: Microphone
Most cameras have built-in microphones. They are usually enough if you have only a couple of presenters. But if you are hosting a virtual event with several people presenting, you might want to consider investing in a good quality microphone.
Recommended Internet Speed for Webinars
A fast and reliable internet connection is essential for hosting a webinar. When streaming, avoid using Wi-Fi and opt for a cable connection because it is more stable and secure. Before starting a webinar, ensure that your internet connection can handle the number of expected participants.
For example, Livestorm , a webinar software, requires the organizer to have a minimum speed of 5 Mb/s for both up- and downloads. They recommend 15 Mb/s for optimal results. Participants should have 5 Mb/s.
We recommend picking the time for your webinar outside regular working hours, so the internet connection is less loaded with the number of users.
Run a quick test to check your internet's speed to see if it's within the recommended range.
Video Conference and Video-Sharing platforms for Webinars
The demand for the video conferencing market has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Zoom was one of the most popular platforms, followed by Microsoft Teams. YouTube and other video-sharing platforms are also an excellent choice for live streams.
So what software should you pick for your webinar? Continue reading to learn about our top software choices.
Using Zoom for Webinars
One of the reasons for Zoom's popularity is its user-friendliness and ease of use. You only need to share a link with your attendees, and they can join your online event. The advantage of Zoom is that participants do not need to register or login to Zoom.
However, the free version of Zoom is limited to 100 participants and 40 minutes duration. With the paid version, you can host longer webinars with more participants. What's more, you get access to handy functions like voting polls, chats, virtual hand raises, and more.
Livestorm for Webinars
Livestorm is an easy and straightforward solution for hosting webinars. One of the best features of Livestorm is that it allows you to upload content before your online event and then present it live. You can also host a regular "live" webinar. We love the post-webinar analytics that show how engaging your session was.
Using YouTube for Online Events
YouTube is a great streaming platform. Just press the "Go live" camera widget in the right upper corner, and you are online! After the webinar, your live content is accessible on your YouTube channel for those who missed your live stream.
One downside of YouTube streaming is that it lacks interactivity. Your attendees can use a chat on the sidebar of the video. Still, it becomes challenging for many participants to engage in conversation and keep track of the messages. YouTube also lacks a screen sharing function.
Video conference or a video-sharing platform?
If you compare Zoom and YouTube, as an example, you will find a lot of differences between video conferencing programs and video-sharing platforms. A lot of webinars will work with YouTube, but they will not be as interactive. Think through what type of webinar you want to host.
So you planned a great webinar and now need to get the word out there and get people to attend. The chances that your participants will find out about it organically are low. So you have to promote it on your social media and website to get people to register.
Before you post on social media, think of creating an optimized landing page for your webinar that would contain the following:
You can also create a promotional video, embed it on your landing page, share it on your social media accounts, and in an email campaign. Video should include a teaser to spark interest in your webinar among the visitors.
Leverage your network when promoting your webinar on social media. Create a calendar of promotional posts to be shared on Ultify , Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Create a Facebook event with essential information about the webinar and a link to your landing page's registration form.
Take advantage of posting in specialized groups that would find your webinar helpful. Ask registered attendees to share your posts to maximize exposure.
Now that you are ready to start, let's talk about the best venues for different webinar types.
Choosing a venue can be challenging when hosting a live event. Such factors as location, size, catering, and equipment play a critical role in event planning and affect your event's cost.
The advantage of webinars is that you can host them in a venue of any size. However, there are other points to consider when choosing where to host a virtual event.
Avoid distractions when hosting a webinar.
Ensure that there are no distractions or background noise that can annoy participants. It doesn't mean that you should pick a venue with a plain background that might seem monotonous. But avoid any elements that might take away the focus from the presenter.
We recommend hosting a webinar in a separate room. It can be a meeting room in your company's office or an isolated room in your house. It will help you avoid distractions and noise and allow you to set up your equipment and lights properly.
Avoid noise and low lights.
Run a soundcheck before starting a webinar to ensure there is no background noise or other issues with your sound. To keep your webinar participants engaged, you must ensure that they can hear what you are saying. The venue must suit your microphone and camera. Find the optimal distance from the camera and microphone that allows for the best quality of sound and picture.
Pick a location with good natural light or optimal external lights. Lighting can make it or break it when it comes to a webinar. Both insufficient and intense lighting can ruin the entire experience.
Test all your technology at the chosen location, including internet speed and software.
Should You Rent a Venue for a Webinar?
Sometimes the best solution is to rent a venue that offers modern equipment, stable and fast internet, and good lighting.
Live Streaming vs. Recorded Webinars
If you decide to publish recordings of your webinars instead of streaming it live, you must be aware of the pros and cons of this method.
Recording a Webinar. Pros:
Recording a Webinar. Cons:
Live streaming a Webinar. Pros:
Live streaming a Webinar. Cons:
In other words, there are many benefits of both streaming and recording a webinar. Luckily, you don't have to pick just one. Video conferencing software like Zoom allows you to record as you go. Video-sharing platforms, such as YouTube, enable you to upload those live recordings once your live session is over so that you get the best of both worlds.
Before you start planning your webinar, set clear objectives, and identify what you and your participants want to achieve from this online event. Sometimes your goals and goals of your audience can be different. So think how you could combine the two and generate leads that convert from the webinar.
Once you set the goal, you can start defining the topic and the format of the webinar. For example, if you are looking for prospects for a web design company, you should not host a webinar talking about interior design. Instead, give valuable insights into web design, tips, tricks on creating stunning websites, etc. Focus more on creating value for participants than on selling.
If your goal is to promote your services, it doesn't mean that the webinar needs to revolve around your brand and offering. You will find many companies doing podcasts on their business topics, without directly selling or promoting anything.
Suppose your company does web design. A webinar on web design will be relevant for your clients, potential clients, and other interested parties. Your goal might be to acquire new clients or to improve the relationship you have with existing clients, but the topic might be "10 tips for improving the conversion on your website." or "UX tips that increase session duration and reduce bounce rates."
Towards the end, you might encourage your attendees to get more info by leaving their contacts, and perhaps offer the participants an exclusive deal. In other words, the webinar has to present value and provide actionable insights to your audience.
Your objectives and the topic of the webinar will determine the best format. Whether it is a presentation, an interactive live session, or a recorded video will depend on what suits your needs best. While deciding on the webinar format, you can select guest speakers and experts for a panel discussion if you discover that they will enrich your webinar content.
Define the structure and the content of your webinar.
You can choose to go with a strict schedule and stick to the plan and timing. Or improvise, be more casual and speak freely on camera. If you decide to present slides, avoid overstuffing them with text, and use as many images and videos as possible.
Contact your attendees after the webinar to thank them for their time and input. Encourage them to fill out a survey to help you improve your future virtual events. Keep in touch with them by promoting your future webinars and sending them exclusive deals for your products or services. Creating a series of webinars around complex topics would help you build long-lasting relationships with your participants and create a loyal customer base.
In this article, we covered essential items to help you plan and conduct a successful webinar. Subscribe to our blog for more actionable tips and insights on hosting virtual events.
A webinar is an excellent tool to engage with your customers, expand your reach, and tap into new audiences to convert them to your brand's loyal clients. After this introduction, you should be ready to rock your webinar!