Audience expectations for webinars have changed. From the initial email invite to producing the live presentation, to the post-show playbook, marketers must now seek to create moments that set their webinars apart and drive deeper audience engagement and participation.
10 Tips to Get Your Webinars Buzzing
- Put Your Audience First (focus on their needs, not yours)
To create a webinar worth watching, give away your best content. If you give away great content that makes your audience shine amongst their colleagues, the word will spread fast. Taking an approach of giving instead of pushing sales communicates more effectively and people will talk about your generosity and the knowledge you shared while building reciprocity and earning business.
It’s also important to think about where your audience is at on their journey with your brand. Knowing when to position the right event, to the right audience, at the RIGHT TIME is critical to getting them to attend.
- Try New Formats
Is the webinar format of interest to your audience? Knowing your audience and what they need from a webinar is what’s going to get them to show up, lean in, and tell others in their field that someone is creating engaging content worth watching. Consider the following format options to shake things up:
- How long should the webinar last? Is a 30-minute webinar the best option?
- Would a short webinar with 10 minutes of hyper-specific content with 10 minutes of Q&A be a good addition?
- What about having small/moderated discussion groups with capped attendance? The attendees could receive 5 questions via email a week in advance so they have the chance to respond.
- Does your audience prefer panels, hearing directly from your CEO, or something else? Don't be afraid of diversifying your entire webinar program and trying new things!
- What about a webinar series? Keep people looking forward to your next related session, and keep them on an ongoing engagement journey
- Start with a Plan
Benjamin Franklin said: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” - and it’s true. Your audience can feel your level of intentionality and thoughtfulness, and they will appreciate the fact that you're doing your best not to waste their time.
Building a run-of-show can allow you to map out your entire presentation in advance. Having a well-built plan can help speakers feel less stressed and more prepared - and that will come across on camera. Planning ahead and not just “winging it” allows you to deliver a cleaner presentation with fewer awkward moments.
But how does that make your webinar buzz-worthy? A well-executed presentation, with thoughtful moments and content, will leave a lasting impression and people will find themselves relaying what they heard to their peers.
Remember, people don’t typically talk about an average experience, instead, they talk about the ones that exceeded expectations, and the ones that didn’t.
- Use the Right Tools
Once you have the plan, you need to pick the right tool to produce your content! There are plenty of streaming/webinar platforms out there, but you need to find the one that's going to meet all of your demands without adding a ton of complexity to your plate.
Your list of requirements will likely include:
- Ability to showcase multiple speakers, and easily switch back and forth between who is on screen
- Multiple ways to interact with your audience (chat, Q+A, etc.)
- Broadcast quality production features to add visual interest (lower thirds, ability to show visuals, play videos, etc.)
- Brand Your Space
It may seem simple but a surprising number of people neglect this step—make sure people know where they are and who’s talking to them.
For example, within Cvent Attendee Hub presenters have the capability to set a theme and brand, create a lower thirds banner, as well as place logos within the presentation’s screen using the Cvent Studio.
If your current webinar platform does not have these special tools and features and you want to go the extra mile, set up an LED light of your color, put a branded mug in your background, wear a company shirt that displays the logo, or use a virtual background. Take a minute and think about your personal “set”, webinars have evolved to have more intimacy and authenticity. We’re all at home and are getting a behind-the-scenes look into each other's lives. Make sure that you are a positive representation of your brand and the people who work with you.
- Use Graphics and Video
Your visual representation says A LOT about your company—more than you might think. It sets the stage and delivers an incredibly important first impression. Like the packaging of a product aims to influence consumer behavior, the same goes for how your overall brand impression is made through that extra polish and professionalism of your graphical elements and how they all nicely tie together to give a 360-degree view of your company. Graphics and videos can reinforce your message, engage your audience, and also add a wonderful, and much-needed break from the talking heads in the middle of your screen to pull the viewers back in.
- Interact with Your Audience
Another seemingly simple tip, but always worth stating—interact with your audience. Don't be afraid to jump into the chat, ask questions, or conduct polls. If done well, all these elements can add extra layers of engagement to your presentation. An engaged audience is a receptive audience.
Live events have a clear separation between speakers and their audience that virtual events don’t. Chat, Q&A, and polls allow you to be in the moment with people who want to hear from you and create meaningful connections that they will remember for a long time.
Authenticity and approachability are everything in modern marketing. Brands are made up of people and these live moments are a chance to make connections on a deeper more personal level. It’s important to make yourself available as a reliable, relatable resource and break down the walls that keep people from making real, trusting connections with the people behind the brands.
- Give Away Great Content
By giving away great content you get to:
- position yourself as a resource, thought-leader, and/or industry expert
- build reciprocity with your audience
If you score your attendees and put them on a thoughtful and relevant journey after your webinar, you will earn their business. Follow up after your webinars thanking people for attending and offer them not only a recording of the session, but also, other helpful videos, eBooks, and resources to further their understanding of the topic.
- Think Beyond the Webinar
Get every mile you can out of your content. When you repurpose your content, you get an opportunity to expand your reach, increase your domain authority, attract new followers, and more. This very blog is a repurposed webinar! Other things you can do with your webinars include:
- Post it on your website as on-demand content.
- You can even throw it on Youtube and use it as an SEO opportunity.
- Take it a step further and chop up the footage into smaller segments that answer specific questions that are being searched online.
- Take the recording of your webinar and create a highlight reel that's only a few minutes long, and offer it alongside the full-length version
- Find your best moments and create mini clips that are 10-60 seconds long and post them to your social channels to promote the on-demand version
Determine the exact things you want to do after each webinar, and create a post-webinar playbook. Events produce so much video content and we can all capitalize on the convergence of video marketing and events.
- Create Can't-Miss, LIVE Moments
In one of our recent webinars, one lucky attendee won a free HD webcam, ring light, and condenser microphone. This leads us to the importance of the last tip—create can’t-miss, live moments.
Though there are plenty of advantages with pre-recording, if your audience is willing to take time out of their day to come and listen, then they are worth showing up for. A consequence of people realizing that more and more webinars are pre-recorded is that they lose the motivation to log in on time or at all. At one point or another, or even at multiple points, we’ve all seen a webinar invite and thought "I would love to learn more about that, but I'm not going to sit through that... I'll sign up and let them send me the recording." Then never watch the recording.
There are ways to combat this. Create and promote Can't-miss moments, like a live Q&A with your CEO, a live critique of something submitted by an audience member, a giveaway, access to free content for showing up, whatever it is, you might start to see an increase in your webinar attendance.
When optimizing your webinar, remember to give yourself time for trial, error, testing, and to see what's working. Nothing is a quick fix and you aren’t necessarily going to be buzzworthy overnight, but if you can commit to a new way of thinking, and implement these best practices, the tide will start to turn.
Ready to take your webinars to the next level? Learn more about Cvent’s Webinar Plus.