A webinar is an invaluable marketing tool that can help you promote your brand around the world, provided you get it right.
Creating one isn’t something you want to enter into lightly though, so be prepared to spend a lot of time planning if it’s your first.
How do you host a webinar?
There are many steps to hosting a webinar, including planning the topics and talking points, finding a team of hosts and assistants, and choosing a date and time that’s going to work for your intended audience. From there, you’ll need the right webinar platform, a ton of marketing, and time spent practicing and perfecting your presentation.
A little bit of forward planning will go a long way with webinars, and we can show you how to do just that, every step of the way.
This guide on how to host a webinar from scratch gives you everything you need to create a virtual presentation from the ground up and get the response you’re hoping for from the audience.
The Steps to A Successful Webinar
The best way to attack planning a webinar is to set the entire thing out into simple steps which allow you to create it from scratch.
Make your way through each of these points to create a polished and prepared webinar that will get the results you’re after.
Step 1: Choose the Topic Carefully
A webinar won’t be successful without a good talking point, so make sure you actually have good content to offer before you start planning.
One of the most common issues with webinars today is that people are hosting them without good reason, and if you continue to present mundane topics or broad subjects, nobody is going to want to tune in to your webinars in the future.
Webinars should be used for important and highly specific topics like delivering some form of education, promoting a breakthrough product, offering new and informative insight into an industry-specific topic, or hosting a panel of experts to discuss something relevant.
Once you know the topic you’re covering, break it down into smaller chunks that make it easy to keep the audience engaged.
Step 2: Find a Date and Time That Works
A webinar needs to be accessible to your target audience, so you want to make sure it’s scheduled on a date and time that works for them. The easiest solution to this is holding a poll or questionnaire with some possible dates and times, and having your audience choose.
Webinars used to be primarily a mid-week event, but now that the world has moved to virtual learning and business, they’re common on all days of the business week.
As for timing, consider whether the audience will be tuning in from different time zones, and how this might affect your plans. Aim for your webinar to run no longer than one hour, otherwise, the audience will lose interest.
Step 3: Marketing, Marketing, Marketing
Now that you know the time and date, as well as the core topics you’ll be covering, you can start to market the webinar.
Some of the better webinar platforms have a range of marketing tools you can use for this, otherwise, think about who you want to attend and how you can best reach them, whether it’s on social media, mailing lists, or advertising on industry-specific discussion boards and pages.
When marketing the event, make sure you specifically tell people what they’ll benefit from registering for your webinar, so they can see the worth and value of attending.
Ensure you have an easy-to-use registration page that captures some basic information, like name and email address, and you can use this later to follow up with each of the attendees.
Step 4: Consider Co-Hosts and Assistants
A webinar is usually performed better with a team, whether that means an assistant to handle the technical stuff, or other expert co-hosts that you’ve invited to speak with you.
Before you can start writing the bulk of the presentation, think about who you want on your team and make sure they commit.
Once you know who’s presenting, think about the format you’ll use. Will you be doing the bulk of the speaking but you’ll invite a co-host in to speak for a short time, will it be a Q&A session with you and other experts who can answer the audience’s questions, or is this something you’re comfortable delivering on your own?
Step 5: Writing and Planning the Presentation
With a highly specific topic in mind and the format you’re using, you can get down to writing the webinar’s content. It’s okay to ad-lib some of the speech, and it’ll help your presentation come off more naturally, but you should always have notes to refer to in case you get lost and to make sure you don’t start to ramble.
Try to keep talking points short and sweet, and if there’s more you want to say on a topic, let the audience know you’ll be following up by sending through further information once it’s done.
Make sure you’re offering value to the audience when they tune in to your webinar and that the content you’re presenting is engaging and informative.
#6: Consider Audience Engagement
A webinar where the host just talks at the audience isn’t that exciting, so you want to make sure you’ve got ways for them to get involved. While this can be hard, as webinars are traditionally viewing-only events, there are functions you can enable on most platforms that let them get involved.
Factor in some time at the end of the presentation for Q&As, give the audience the chance to respond to polls as certain points of the discussion and turn on text chat so they can connect with each other while you speak. All of these things will increase engagement and make the participants feel as though they were so much more than just an audience.
Step 6: The Right Equipment
At the very least, you’ll need a dedicated webinar platform that you’re comfortable with, a good quality microphone, web camera, and reliable internet connection for the presentation. Make sure you’ve tested all of these out beforehand to see that they work, and choose a good angle and quiet space to host from.
A good webinar should have more than just you speaking into your camera for an hour, though, so think about other content you’ll incorporate.
Screen sharing is a common method, but it requires some practice, so make sure you’re familiar with the technical aspects, and if you plan on having co-hosts they’ll need a good connection as well. You can also offer links to other websites, discount codes, options for payments, and more, but prepare these before you start.
Step 7: Practice, Practice, Practice
With everything in place, you’ll want to do at least one run-through of your entire presentation to see what needs to be changed.
This is a feature offered on many webinar platforms as it gives you a chance to test the whole thing in the webinar setting and to make sure it runs for the right length of time, but without the audience watching on.
Practicing the webinar is a great way to calm your nerves, which can be heightened if it’s your first time. If you have an assistant or friend who can help, getting input from a third party and hearing their suggestions on how you can improve will be invaluable.
Plan Your Way to Perfection
Like any other live performance or presentation, a webinar is going to do better when it’s planned out meticulously, and you’re prepared for the worst.
If it’s your first time hosting on this virtual platform, the need for a plan is even greater, so consider using our guide to get it right.
Webinars can be invaluable marketing tools when done right, but it takes a lot of planning and preparation to do so.
To learn more about what a webinar can offer your company’s marketing strategy, we’ve answered some FAQs about them so you can be better equipped to host your own.
How Long Is the Average Webinar?
A webinar should run between 30 minutes and one hour, with the standard length being around 45 minutes.
This gives you enough time to succinctly present your ideas to the audience without them getting bored or overwhelmed by too much information, so it pays to keep it short and sweet.
How Many People In A Webinar?
The room capacity of a webinar depends on the hosting platform you use, as they each come with different limits.
The number of people attending also depends on registration, and even then, you may have some people not show up, so this all has to be factored in during the planning stages of creating a webinar.