Best Practices for Hosting a Webinar

As most offices have gone virtual, webinars have become an alternate way to connect with clients, members, and other key audiences from afar and continue to provide value. But where to begin? We’ve put together some best practices learned from our own experiences to give you a jump-start.

Create Anticipation

Is your topic meeting a unique need? With a myriad of webinars offered each day, yours will need to stand out from the pack, and any potential attendees need to understand what makes your event worth their time. Highlighting what is different and useful about your webinar will help attract people and encourage them to sign up to learn more.

Curate Your List

By identifying targeted attendees, you can maximize the impact of your webinar. Will it be open to the general public? Is there a specific sector that would find it especially relevant? Is it for internal audiences only? Put strategic thought into your audience to make sure you are reaching the correct group.

Set Up an RSVP System

How will you know who and how many people are attending? Using RSVP software such as Eventbrite will automatically capture the information of those who have signed up, and send out automatic reminders (which can also be customized). Include a link to the webinar in these communications so attendees have it at their fingertips.

Consider How You Will Promote

It’s time to tell people about your webinar! Where to start?

First, consider your audience and the best methods of reaching them.

  • Post on your organization’s social media channels, and encourage your audiences, staff and speakers to share the information on their personal pages as well to reach a wider audience. Use hashtags to expose the event to those who are searching for your topic, and make sure your post highlights why this is unique from other webinars in this category.

  • Consider spreading the word in relevant LinkedIn and other groups. The members are constantly looking for content that gives them new information on their topic of interest.

  • Use email software to send out a special message to your email list, or include in an upcoming newsletter or other communication. Alternatively, for a more personal touch, send direct emails to those you believe would be interested in attending with a personalized and sincere message.

  • If appropriate, and the event is public, post on your organization’s homepage and other relevant web pages as well.

Be Prepared

Being as prepared as possible can significantly ease your worries and help you run the webinar with confidence. A few tips on how to best prepare for your webinar:

  • Make sure you have the necessary bandwidth to ensure no lag in the video.

  • Test out the conference software to verify that you know how it works out and fix any bugs you may encounter, such as lighting, sound and screen sharing for any materials you may want to show your audience.

  • Do a run-through, and make sure that everyone understands their role in the presentation, including whether you are using a moderator and practicing speaker hand-offs.

  • Have IT on hand in case of any technology problems that may occur unexpectedly.

  • Establish if and how you will conduct Q&A sessions.

  • If planning to record the webinar, ensure that you’re familiar with the software and know how to create and save the recording.

If you’re running the show from home, click here for some tips on home videoconferencing.

Follow Up

Contact with your webinar attendees shouldn’t end with the press of the “End Meeting” button.  If the webinar was recorded, share the recording and slides out with the participants post-meeting.

Think about your next steps – do you want to share more information about the organization? Get feedback through a survey? Supply contact information for the speakers or moderator in case people want to continue conversations following the event? Create a blog post or recap document? Add attendees to a mailing list?

Once you answer these questions, you can develop a post-webinar strategy to stay in touch with attendees and offer them more useful content.

Interested in learning more or planning a webinar yourself? Email lets_talk@pcipr.com!