With the majority of the world stuck at home during quarantine, business owners everywhere are struggling to adapt to a remote workforce, and have been forced to cancel in-person events.
Rather than completely cancelling these events, however, hosting webinars has proven to be a very productive solution.
If you’ve never hosted a virtual event before, it may seem complicated and intimidating.
Fear not! It’s far less scary than it sounds, and we’ve created this 7-step guide to walk you through hosting the perfect webinar.
1. Choose a webinar software and format
There are endless software options available for hosting your webinar. TechRadar offers a great list of free and paid webinar solutions, with detailed descriptions of the features of each.
Once you’ve chosen your software, you’ll need to pick your format. Some of the most common webinar formats include interview-style Q&As, individual-presenter style, and panel discussions. Your format will depend on your audience, topic, and speakers.
2. Pick a topic
If you’ve been forced to cancel your event, you likely have a topic in mind already. If you don’t, we recommend choosing one that’s very specific so that you can provide the most detailed, valuable information possible.
For example, discussing a specific topic like content marketing will be much more efficient than discussing a broad topic like marketing in general. Broad topics will increase the probability of unrelated discussions occurring during the webinar.
3. Create an outline
Because a webinar is a live conversation, it’s important that you engage this aspect of it. Do not sit in front of your computer and read a word-for-word script to your attendees. Instead, we recommend writing a brief outline of what you plan to speak about to help you manage your time, stay on topic, and avoid sounding like a robot.
Regardless of your expertise, speaking for an hour straight can be very nerve-wracking and overwhelming. Having an outline at hand will help you feel more at ease and confident with your presentation.
4. Get the word out
One of the biggest advantages of hosting a webinar over an in-person event is that you can start promoting it as little as seven days prior, and still obtain a decently-sized audience. While we don’t necessarily recommend promoting at such a short notice, this will depend on your audience. Use your own judgement when deciding how far in advance to promote your webinar.
How to promote your webinar
If you plan on presenting to your current clients, setting up a quick email marketing campaign to notify them about the webinar and where to sign up will suffice. On the other hand, if you’re looking to attract a larger audience, you will need to promote the webinar using a variety of platforms, including your website, social media, Google or Facebook ads, and press releases.
5. Test your equipment and set up in advance
There’s nothing more embarrassing than starting your webinar, only to realize halfway through that your microphone isn’t working. To avoid this, we recommend running a test webinar with all of your guest speakers at least a couple days before the event in order to diagnose any technical issues. Make sure to test the following items:
Upgrading your lighting is one of the best ways to increase the quality of your webinar. You’d be surprised at the difference a ring light or softbox light can make. Placing one of these lights behind your computer or on your desk will fully illuminate you so that the audience can see you clearly. Before starting your webinar, make sure that your lights are fully charged and in working order.
A high-quality external microphone is another great way to increase your webinar experience. Echoing and staticky sounds will cause your audience to tune out and become distracted. Always test your microphone ahead of time using the built-in software test or by asking your other speakers how you sound.
When hosting a webinar, you should always have your webcam on. Your presentation will be more effective if your audience can connect a face to the audio. Make sure to clear your background so that it’s free of distractions and clutter.
The day of your webinar, you’ll want to mute any notifications that may come through and distract you and your audience. Close all unnecessary applications and pause all updates so that your computer doesn’t restart in the middle of your presentation.
6. Record the webinar
Recording your webinar is critical. This will allow people who were unable to attend or stay for its entirety to watch at a later date, and you can leverage this recording as a marketing tool in the future.
7. Send follow-up emails
After you’ve completed the webinar, we recommend sending a follow-up email to your attendees including the resources from your presentation and a link to the recording of it. Sending a feedback survey is also a good idea, as it can provide valuable insight to help you grow.
Hosting a webinar doesn’t have to be scary. At Bizzuka, our goal is to ease your mind and help you stay afloat during these trying times. For more information on how to host a webinar or market your business during the COVID-19 crisis, contact us or check out our blog!