When you create content for a webinar or series of webinars, you should always begin by considering your purpose and your target market. This cheat sheet will take you all the way from formulating your purpose to following up, so that you can create a successful webinar full of content that speaks to your audience.
Before you create content for your webinar, you should formulate your purpose. Begin by asking yourself why you should arrange a webinar. Include a summary of the purpose of this activity.
Begin by considering your brand, your brand’s tone, and your company values. What sort of message do you wish to convey? What would you like your participants to take away from the experience? What do you want them to know, feel, think, and do after the webinar is over?
Keep your target market in mind when you formulate the purpose of your webinar.
Consider your target market. Who are they? Create content that will speak to your audience.
Does your business have a customer service department or a tech support department? They are in touch with your clients on a regular basis and may have useful insights about their wants and needs. Interview one or several members of these departments!
Find out what your target market’s demands are, then meet those demands! One way to do so is to involve your participants in the content creation process. You can send out questionnaires or request topic suggestions for your webinar based on their wants and needs. This can be done as a planned segment in a webinar you have already prepared, or as part of the initial groundwork for developing an entirely new webinar concept.
Another way to meet your target market’s demands is to provide a specific group with exclusive webinars tailored to their wants and needs.
Whether your webinar is free or you’re charging a fee, you need to earn your audience’s attention. Show them appreciation and deliver content of value. Remember to be entertaining. Be sure to put on a good show no matter the nature of the topic, product, or service you are discussing.
Make sure your language and content are not too technical. Regardless of your participants’ prior knowledge, excessive amounts of information of an especially technical or detailed nature makes it difficult for your audience to remain attentive. Simply put, content of this nature does not belong in a webinar.
When you begin to brainstorm content, bounce your ideas off colleagues and other people in your network. Stay updated about the world around you and check what other companies in the industry are up to. Use all of this information to inspire your webinar while simultaneously making sure that you stick out from the crowd.
You can make your webinar more dynamic by allowing several people to present. This is an especially effective strategy when it comes to longer webinars, in that while one of you is speaking, the other can respond to questions and comments in the chat. Make sure you’ve got a replacement lined up in case a presenter is unable to show.
If your webinar will include a panel discussion, you can prepare by interviewing the panel members ahead of time in order to find out what they wish to have said, as well as formulate questions that are clear to both the panel members and the audience. If possible, do a few practice runs and give your panel members tips on how to improve their contributions to the discussion, such as which tangents to avoid and what to clarify.
In short, a webinar consists of three main sections: the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. Prepare a clear and detailed program for each section detailing who is responsible for each part, when their part begins, and what they need to do. Include time estimates, but remember that different sections may be more time-consuming than others.
Remember to vary your tempo, include pauses, and give your participants breaks. Toggle between informative content and lighter, airier topics. Pauses and moments of silence make your presentation easier to digest, as does involving some unpredictable elements.
One useful tip for panel discussions is to allow the moderator to make brief introductions of each panel member. If the panel members present themselves, precious seconds may be lost.
Send an outline of the program along with the invite. Make sure the program includes the most important topics to be discussed during your webinar, along with estimates of the duration of each section. (Remember: the times you include in the program are the most important ones to try to stick to during the event.) Being clear about the purpose of the webinar and its content makes your participants feel in control and helps them adjust their expectations.
Another way to be clear and lower the threshold for participation is to provide your participants with a short, general checklist which they can run through before connecting to the webinar. For example, you could include a few points about how to make sure your camera and microphone are working, or a few suggestions about what to keep in mind during the course of the seminar.
Put effort into making a great and inspiring introduction.
Start off with a greeting in which you welcome your participants and make sure that they can all see and hear you. Allow the person who is responsible for the chat to assist any participants who may be having technical issues. Give a brief summary of the purpose of the webinar and what you intend to provide.
Introduce yourself and any additional speakers. Run through the program, name the main sections, and provide your participants with time estimates. During longer webinars, it is not uncommon for participants to multitask and do other things while watching or listening. It is useful for them to know which sections require their full attention and when those sections are coming up.
Let your audience know what will happen after the webinar, so that participants who need to leave early have an idea of what they’ll be missing. Gather all of this information on one slide in the form of a table of contents.
If you’re using a chat, encourage your participants to present themselves and ask questions.
It may be a good idea to prepare answers to common questions, or questions you suspect you may receive during the course of the webinar. The person managing the chat can use these answers and respond to participants right away. This person may also select questions from the chat for you to answer live.
Make sure you include time for reflection. Encourage participation by allowing your audience to respond to short surveys, asking how they feel about certain topics, or asking them to share their reflections or comments in relation to a relevant topic. Also, set aside some extra time in the program to make room for a summary of your participants’ reflections.
Don’t cram excessive amounts of information into your slideshow. It should include key points, not a full script. It should function as a cheat sheet for you so that you don’t go off on tangents, as well as a helpful list of things you want your participants to remember.
Make sure the overall look of your content is appealing to your target market. Put someone in charge of making sure the final slideshow is both stylish and professional.
If you intend to share your screen to show something online or in a program, make sure this, too, is both purposeful and pleasing to the eye. Ask yourself what these additional pages or visuals add to the presentation, and whether you may be better off without them. If, after careful consideration, you decide that you will need to share your screen, make sure all relevant tabs or windows are prepared. Make sure you do a practice run of these shares.
Write a solid follow-up email and make sure that all relevant links and documents are easy for your participants to access. This content, along with a special offer, could be seen as a sort of goodie bag. Be generous and send this email to everyone who registered for the webinar, even those who didn’t show.
Create a simple survey with as few questions as possible, and include a section where your participants may leave a comment or some feedback. Also, ask what sort of content they would like to see in future webinars. (See tip #3: Meet Their Demands)
The content of your webinar is valuable, as is the content that emerges during the course of the webinar in the form of discussion topics and reflections. Short clips, infographics, summaries, and images can all be repurposed in the form of blog posts or posts on social media platforms. This is a smart and effective way to streamline your content marketing.
For more information, see:
Webinars as Effective Digital Marketing Tools – A How-To
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