Preparing for a webinar

Are you hosting a webinar? If you are, you should familiarize yourself with what you need to do in terms of preparations. This is how you host a successful webinar!

A webinar is a digital seminar that is usually delivered through streaming. It can contain everything a regular seminar would include: presentations, conversations, and workshops. A webinar is usually more interactive than a video conference, and it opens up to questions from the participants.

Are you curious about what a webinar is? You should have a look at our article to learn more!

It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to prepare for a webinar. Are you wondering where to start? We will go through the important preparations you need to do before hosting a webinar. This is how you host a successful webinar.

Husk disse tingene når du skal forberede deg til et webinar
Preperations is important

Preparing for a webinar

Goals


Set a goal that can lead the rest of your preparations for the webinar. This will guide you through an easier planning phase. It will also make it easier for the participants to follow along. A webinar that lacks context is an annoyance.

The perks of webinars are many, but they are exceptionally effective for communicating with customers, potential customers, and other interested parties. A webinar will generate leads, as you can follow up with interested leads when they sign up for the webinar. You will also get to know your clients better, and vice versa.

You should aspire to have a goal of conversion. A webinar can be incorporated as a part of the company’s communication and marketing. For example, you want the webinar to help increase sales of your products or services. Or perhaps you simply would like to reach more people with your message?

Set a goal for the webinar, but also take the needs of the participants into consideration. Let the goal guide the rest of your preparations for the webinar. Aim for something that can both create conversion and offer value to the participants – that’s how you host a successful webinar.

Topic


Topics and goals do not have to be exactly the same, but they are connected. However, it is important to have both in place before you continue to plan your webinar.

Example: You’re selling cameras. A workshop on editing movies can be relevant to your target group. The goal might be to sell cameras, and towards the end you can present a good offer to the participants.

The setup in the example above has value for both the business and the participants. This is how you successfully host a webinar for both you and your audience. Goal and topic will have a bearing on the rest of the preparations for the webinar.

Format and visual profile


The format and visual profile must align with the goal and topic. A digital seminar can, as noted, include everything a regular seminar has. Will you be speaking alone or with someone from the company in front of a camera? Or will you invite guests for a panel discussion?

Will you have a presentation?

You also have to consider if you want to hold a presentation, or if you are going to speak freely. Often, it can work well with a few keywords on a slide so that the participants can remember important details more easily. Perhaps you already have a presentation you can use?

You can read more about what a presentation should include under “Structure and content”. Not all webinars need to have a presentation. You can also speak in front of the camera – or do a combination of both. The choice will also influence, or depend on to a certain degree, how you want to convey the webinar.

Dissemination: Video conference or video-sharing platform?

In our piece on webinars we compare Zoom, Livestorm and YouTube. There are more alternatives out there. What’s important is to differentiate between video conferences and video-sharing platforms. Zoom is an example of the former and YouTube is an example of the latter.

The difference between the two is based on a unique quality with webinars. With video conferencing the webinar can be a lot more interactive. You can ask questions to the participants, include voting polls, and do digital hand raises.

Q&As give you the opportunity to communicate with the participants in an effective way. It gives you a chance to learn more about new and existing clients. It is also a great way to hold the participants’ attention.

Video conferences also allows you to share your screen, which makes it easier for you to hold a presentation. This means your participants can see your slides in a high resolution.

A video-sharing platform like YouTube allows you to stream videos, but except for a chat function, it does not offer interactivity. If you want to hold a presentation through YouTube, it will need to happen in front of an actual projection screen. It might be difficult to achieve decent quality on the slides.

Dissemination: Streaming or recording?

Webinars are usually streamed. However, some will record them and post them afterwards. This is also an option, but you will miss out on the sense of presence. Luckily, you can record at the same time as you’re streaming, and thus, get the benefits of both options

Med riktig utstyr blir ditt webinar bedre
Med riktig utstyr og lokaler vil du kunne løfte ditt webinar og online stream til nye høyder

Equipment


Goal, topic and format will have an impact on what equipment you need. The equipment might even be determining what type of webinar you can host. The needs of the business will be the deciding factors here.

When you have found out what type of equipment you need, you also need to figure out how to use it. It’s also important to check that everything works as it should. Continue reading to get a quick walkthrough on what type of equipment you need.

Camera and microphone

The camera depends on what you would like to do. Phone cameras or the integrated camera on your laptop might suffice in some instances, but sometimes you will need a higher resolution. It also depends on where the focus should be – on the presenter or the presentation.

Logitech BRIO 4K: Stream Edition is expensive, but you’re also paying for high quality. In TechRadar's test of web cameras the Logitech StreamCam goes all the way to the top. You can also turn your phone into a web camera with suitable apps. Read more on this atTek.no.

Several of these have built-in microphones. To find out if you are satisfied with the sound quality of the camera, try speaking at various distances away from the camera. If you're not content, consider investing in a microphone.

Fast internet

You need fast internet and a steady connection to stream in high quality without any lagging. Rather use a cable than Wi-Fi – it is much more stable. Try to avoid several connections at the same time.

This is how you successfully host a webinar with internet speed in mind: Livestorm, , a software program for webinars, recommend 15 Mb/s up- and download for optimal results. The participants are recommended to have a 5 Mb/s connection. Test the speed of your internet well in advance of the webinar.

Video conference or video-sharing platform

As mentioned, there are several options. Zoom, Livestorm, ClickMeeting, GoToWebinar, WebinarJam are all good alternatives. For video-sharing you can choose between platforms like YouTube, Vimeo and Twitch.

Social media or website

Remember to promote the upcoming webinar you’re hosting on your website and on social media. This is really important in terms of getting enough people to join. More on this further down the article.

Venue

A venue might not be considered as equipment, but just as you do with the equipment, you need to check that everything is as it should be with the venue. It’s important to host the webinar in a venue without any distractions – for the sake of both the speaker and for the audience. Consider using a meeting room, or the office space after your colleagues have left the building.

It’s also important that you avoid any noise, and that the venue has proper lighting. Any noise will make it hard to hear the person speaking, and in the worst case it can ruin everything. Both bright and weak lighting can be disturbing. Pick a venue with constant lighting or set up extra lights – like a lamp.

Structure and content


You now have a goal, topic, format, equipment and a venue in place. Before you get started on promoting the webinar, you need to structure and create the content. You need to be able to tell your participants what you will talk about and what the agenda is. This will be used in the promotion.

Table of contents

It’s obviously also important that this is stated clearly as you go through with the webinar. You should make a plan, or table of content, that you can present at the start. At this point, you can also create a presentation or the other content you will need.

Manuscript

People are different, but keywords are usually a good idea as you are less likely to just read straight from your manuscript. It tends to be more engaging when listening to someone speaking freely. Static reading is something you should avoid at any cost!

Think back to your goal and topic. What is most important to convey your message? How are you planning to achieve conversion? You could finish off with an encouragement or an offer.

This is how you host a successful webinar:

Presentation

A presentation can give both you and the participants a hook to hang what you’re telling them. The presentation can illustrate what you’re saying or underscore important points. However, this is all a presentation is, so don’t put everything you will say into the actual presentation.

This is how you host a successful webinar with a presentation:

Video

A video can work well in a lecture to visualize a point, or to make a tough topic a little lighter. You are sort of already in a video, and it can be hard to use new videos to visualize further. At the same time, a short video clip can be helpful in some instances.

You can also make a trailer or teaser for the webinar. In this short video, you introduce the topic, the speakers, time and how to sign up. An engaging video can be more effective than a post with the same information.

Promoting the webinar


Registration forms

Make a registration form on your website or in the software (Zoom, Limestorm etc.) you’re using. Try to optimize in regard to keywords, so that potentially interested parties find it when they do a Google search on the subject. Include important information about topic, speakers, time and so on.

Promote on social media and your website

As mentioned before, it’s important to promote the webinar on social media and on the company’s website. It’s a good idea to create a Facebook event, or a post with the same important information as in the registration form. Remember to add the link to the registration form.

A Facebook event will give the participants reminders that the date is getting closer. You will also have to do this. This can be done by sending out an e-mail reminder a few weeks leading up to the event, a few days before and on the day of. The reminders ensure that the participants schedule the event and that they don’t forget about it.

It’s a good idea to contact others who can help you promote the webinar. This can be relevant websites, blogs and Facebook groups. You have the opportunity to reach more people than just your own followers.

Hosting the webinar


The big day has arrived! Now it’s time to breathe, keep your tongue straight and do as planned. You should know your presentation and agenda well.

Stick with the table of content so that it’s easier for the participants to follow along. Too many side cuts are distracting.

Remember to check all the equipment before you start. This can be done by setting up a video conference in Zoom with someone at your company. You will soon find out if you have any issues with the lighting or sound. Remember to press record before you start!

Follow-ups


The day after you’re done you can start contacting leads via e-mail. You can encourage them to use the services or products that the business provides, tell them where to find more information or promote future webinars.

This is how you host a successful webinar


You have now been introduced to the preparations involved in hosting a webinar. Try to follow these as best as you can – because this is how you host a successful webinar.

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