As a content writer and strategist, I work with a number of leading tech brands. Usually, that experience only gets as far as internal meetings or the thrill of a byline. Recently, though, I was asked to work on a campaign for a large social media platform, during which I learned firsthand how to host a webinar.
This months-long project offered me the chance to play a role in shaping the message of our brand, and through the webinar, I was able to engage in real time with the hundreds of consumers who logged in. The reaction it generated was huge. So it’s easy to see why the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) calls webinars one of the top five types of content that can draw people to your brand.
But as I found out, approaching a webinar is completely different than other kinds of content. The best webinars can seem like organic experiences, but only if you have an end-to-end strategy in place for how you’ll handle engagement, the visuals, and mapping it all to the voice tracks.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few tips for creating a webinar that today’s leading brands are already using.
Recently, a client approached me about developing a webinar for their public-sector group. The idea started out very broad: technology and the public sector. The problem here is this sounds like a premise for a best-selling book, rather than a concept that’s easy to navigate in 45 minutes—plus Q&A.
I helped them narrow down this focus from broad to webinar-ready by:
Once you’ve developed a plan, it’s time to find your audience. The best webinar promotions plans are “surround sound.” What does that mean? Let’s take the case of a technology consulting firm where I worked on the marketing team. We were putting on a webinar to help clients learn more about an emerging technology trend that was poised to have a major impact on their business.
Our strategy included several promotional steps:
However, the plan didn’t stop at robust marketing. In addition, it was important to consider what value we could offer beyond the information in the webinar to encourage more viewers.
A few options were offered. First, the marketing team gave people the chance to ask questions ahead of time and get the most relevant or urgent ones addressed by the experts. Second, everyone who signed up received an exclusive, short white paper that offered additional context, stats, and information from the talk.
From this experience, it became clear to me that how to host a webinar that people won’t want to miss requires a strategic investment in many different types of marketing. HubSpot offers a great tip: Set clear KPIs. Measuring your progress helps you identify success, HubSpot notes, adding, “Having a goal will inspire you to hit it and help you measure success. In order for us to break the Guinness World Record for webinar attendees, for example, we hit about 31,100 registrants.
“You should track performance on at least a weekly basis to see whether your marketing efforts are moving the needle. That way, if you need to dial up your promotion due to low initial registration numbers, you’ll know what to do to fix it.”
Once you’ve got the webinar underway, it’s important to have a plan in place to keep people engaged.
Not too long ago, I logged in to a healthcare analytics webinar to learn more about the latest technologies. Eighteen minutes into the one-hour event, the hosts were still introducing themselves, talking about their companies, and engaging in stilted banter. At that point, I logged out and made a note to review the slides if they circulated them.
To keep people tuned in, brands need to go deeper with engagement—and resist the urge to drone on. How do you plan to keep your audience logged in until the end? And what does deeper engagement look like to your brand?
Keeping your audience on target starts with the quality of what you’re producing. Make sure you keep the introductions brief and get right into the material. Think about pacing, and make sure that within the first five minutes you’ve hooked the audience. Share valuable information, surprise them, make them laugh, or challenge how they think about their business. Then, keep delivering the same at regular intervals.
Here are some tips for creating a webinar that keeps audiences engaged and fosters stronger connections:
Learning how to host a webinar that’s both engaging and informative can help you connect with your audience over a compelling topic. By promoting these sessions across social platforms, it can help you capture significant ROI from these efforts. Begin early with strategic planning, and take a closer look at how webinars can play a powerful role in creating video content your audiences can’t resist.
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Featured image attribution: Austin Distel