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Five steps to webinar greatness

Let's face it, we're seven months into lockdown and are all pretty bored of webinars right now. Only joking!

Well, some of that may be true, but only because we've attended a lot of the same types of event, talking about the same types of things and so are easily getting distracted from about three minutes in.

No one has quite worked out what the other side of COVID-19 looks like yet, but I'm pretty sure webinars will have some place. If you're reading this, it probably means you are needing to be on the other side of the webinar; likely the creator or the host, so buckle up because you're going to want to get good at it.

Before I go on to give you the five steps to achieving webinar greatness (big claim), I want you to pause and take a moment to recognise all of the reasons you get bored when attending a webinar, because that's exactly what you want to avoid (obviously).

Now, with any great creation, it starts with an idea. One that is hopefully derived through relevant insights about your audience. Let's say you have stumbled your way to putting on a great webinar (by your own definition), but disappointment came when no one turned up for it. Why? It's very possible that you didn't quite plan it all.

To help you do a well-rounded job next time, here are your five steps as promised:

  1. Understand who your webinar is for - not just your general audience classification, but at what stage in the buying journey are they? Once you've got these items clear, then you can overlay the persona type. This means you can really start to get an idea of not only what is going to resonate with this audience, but potentially how to deliver it too

  2. Get your squad aligned - you can't do this all by yourself (the majority of the time). Have a collective deep-dive into webinar topics that are going to address real customer problems and answer genuine questions. At this stage, it is also important to start thinking about how it will be delivered and by who. Audio only? Video? Slides? Panel discussion? Audience engagement tools? And so on. To mitigate any on-the-day risks, can parts be pre-recorded?

  3. Start doing - with most of the big decisions already made, it's time to ensure everyone is clear on what they need to do in order to make it happen and then do it. Get yourself a calendar and plot out the dates of the deliverables and owners. Make sure there is a single theme running through everything and that it is clear who this webinar is for and what purpose it serves. Once you've completed and executed the promotional suite of content (email invites, intense countdown campaigns, reminders, socials posts etc.), it's time to start building a webinar console that pops

  4. Rehearse - ensure everyone knows what they need to do on the day, especially right now whilst most events are being delivered from peoples homes. Test all the equipment, connection speed and camera backgrounds. Refine slides if needed, create a script & practice how questions will be managed. Check if all of the content appears as planned. Certain platforms convert files, so test it out in advance of the day in case any changes are needed, even if the slides aren't final at that stage. Also, don't forget to develop a backup plan... if a speaker is struggling to connect, can someone else step in? Is there a video that could be played instead? Is there a telephone line that could be used to dial in? Whatever it is, agree prior and ensure it is ready to go if needed

  5. And action! - Get all those involved to set up exactly like the rehearsals at least 30 minutes before the start time, run through any final checks and go live. Make sure you involve the audience; there's nothing worse than attending a live event with no added benefit to watching it on-demand. Once the event is done, don't forget to initiate the follow-up plan, which should include emails to all registrants, with content depending on whether they attended or not. Remember to get back together as a team to analyse the performance. You should also continue promoting the on-demand version as long as it provides value - this could be done in a number of ways, but repurposing of content is a whole other topic.

To be honest, I could go deeper into each of these steps and maybe I will in the future, but this should hopefully give you something to steer yourself in the right direction for now.

It's as simple as planning, teamwork and organisation.


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