A good webinar is a careful synergy of many layers of preparation. Let’s take a look at some of the more important preparatory steps to consider as you develop an effective webinar workflow.
Own the Right Tools
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of investing in a high-quality webinar platform. The top webinar platforms on the market today deliver an impressive array of features, but it’s important to remember that purchasing webinar software with every feature under the sun won’t help if you don’t know how to use them. Moreover, the more comprehensive your software the bigger your budget will need to be.
If you’re on a limited budget (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) it’d be a good step to spend time defining the kinds of customization and branding your brand requires — and then confine your research specifically to that feature-set.
One oft-overlooked consideration among less-experienced webinar developers is analytics. How do you intend to measure your success? Be sure the tools you acquire will make that data easy to access and analyze.
Know Your Brand
Another important preliminary step is to have a clear understanding of your brand. Two of the easiest ways to come at this question are to ask:
- What central message do you most want to convey?
- What does your audience get from you?
These basic identity parameters won’t just help you decide how to present your information. They’ll also give you a sharp awareness of content that strays outside of your brand. Knowing what is off-brand makes it that much easier to hone in on how to keep your audience eager to hear more from you.
Pitch to the Right People
So, you have a great webinar platform and you’ve gained clarity on what your brand represents. The next important step is to build a workflow for attracting the right people. Essentially this boils down to carefully crafting a profile of your audience. Some obvious questions might include:
- What industries do they work in?
- Where do they live and work?
- Where are you most likely to find them?
Your answers to these questions will help you target your promotion efforts. It’ll help you choose where to advertise, how to write your email campaigns, and most importantly, what hooks you can dangle to demonstrate your value proposition, and why your next presentation is well worth an hour of their time.
Develop a Detailed Content Plan
If you’re super-knowledgeable of your content material it can be tempting to decide to just “wing it” during your next webinar. While an impromptu approach might work for short-form materials, podcast interviews, blog posts, and the like, webinars tend to live or die on the strength of their depth of preparation.
Your typical webinar audience expects a deep-dive into a topic. They’re looking for insights they wouldn’t find from browsing your website or dipping into a podcast even. The implied purpose of a webinar is to offer difficult-to-find insights and distilled wisdom. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to fake it until you make it.
So do your homework, even if you’re confident of the material. Make a genuine effort to add real value.
At the very least, your content plan should clearly define your key takeaways. It should ideally also provide a structured summary at the beginning of each section so that your audience knows what’s going on and what’s going to happen next.
Build a Production Checklist
The hour or two leading up to your webinar can be frantic. Presenters may drop out. You might experience connectivity glitches or sudden hardware SNAFUs. When these stressful curveballs come your way, it can help hugely if you have a checklist to fall back on.
The checklist should basically be a step-by-step list of all the practical things you need to do to get your webinar running; everything from what software to have running, through to when to launch your splash screen, and what last-minute content details you need to review so your presentation is fresh.
A checklist helps in two ways. First, it means if you get flustered you can always fall back on your list to give you helpful prompts along the way. Second, a checklist is key if you want to delegate. Circulate the list through your team of presenters and allocate roles and responsibilities. This takes the pressure off of you, and it means you know who to quickly check in with to confirm everything is ready to go.
Preparation is Key
Webinars are a powerful way to reach your audience, but they’re not a communication medium you can trifle with. They require careful preparation, with a focus on using the right tools, understanding your brand and your audience, knowing exactly what you want to say, and staying on top of your workflow every step of the way.