The pandemic has disrupted how organisations interact with stakeholders. Interactions have shifted from face-to-face seminars, conferences, roadshows, and talk shows to digital platforms that focus on delivering educational talks, marketing messages, and announcements to the masses. Webinars are fast-becoming an integral communication channel in the new normal.
Here at PRecious Communications, we are thrilled to have completed two unique webinar series: Southeast Asia Connect (also available as a podcast), which connects the Southeast Asia startup ecosystem to investors and founders around the world; and the DX Leaders Series – a partnership between PRecious Communications, SwissCham and Deloitte focusing on digital transformation.
So, with over 50 hours of webinar content as well as hundreds of hours of promotion and preparation, what are some of the key takeaways we’ve learned from building webinar platforms?
Here are six quick tips:
A well-thought-out plan is a determining factor between success and failure. That doesn’t mean that a plan that isn’t well-thought-out won’t succeed. It just means that you will not be able to reap its full rewards and are more likely to meet obstacles along the way. Spend more time discussing the preparation, content strategy, promotion and tactics and how to attract and retain the audience for upcoming episodes.
A webinar series can easily take around a month to go from ideation to a semi-professionally produced episode, from selecting a host, speakers, and topic to promoting each episode and storyboarding. Moreover, your brand would like to own and drive industry leadership around a topic, which requires a more regular cadence level – a series of episodes. It is a marathon, after all, and not merely a sprint.
It is important to provide informative and entertaining content to your audience. You must know what your audience is looking for and the key takeaways that the audience can learn from attending the webinar episode. Failing to do so would translate to a major disconnect between you and your audience. The probability is also high that your audience won’t be attending upcoming episodes. If you do not know what your audience is looking for, start with a survey form by asking them a set of questions about the kind of content they are interested in. In other words, study your target audience closely; it’s not about getting a thousand people to watch an episode. After all, it’s about the ten or so who engage with you after the session that results in future collaborations.
Many content providers have made the mistake of hosting frequent webinar episodes, falling into the classic quality-quantity trade-off. Some also bite off more than they can chew. It is thus essential to know the resources that you have on hand and the limitations. Content providers need to be aware that it is better to over-deliver than to under-deliver. Moreover, having guests starring in your episodes translates to a loyal follower fan base. Having only 2-3 people as guests mean more air time and balance while having more than 4 guests means less air time. Dividing minimal attention by having more than 4 guests in the episode could be detrimental to the webinar’s quality and jeopardise the chemistry among guests.
Close dates in between each episode leave little wiggle room to promote your webinar episode. There’s nothing worse than having just 50 people in attendance, despite using up much time to produce excellent content for the episode. Pace your episodes evenly, enough to promote and welcome a healthy number of attendees to your webinar episodes. Leverage on your guest’s fan base or followers to better help spread the message. One tactic to consider is to leverage a social media influencer’s fan base or LinkedIn following. Social media influencers have a way of spreading the word across effectively and efficiently.
5) Practice, practice and practice makes it perfect
Rehearsals or dry runs help hosts and guests pre-source for topics, the webinar flow, and sound bites. Rehearsing also helps prevent poor audience delivery. Last-minute slides with typos and unaligned messages could drop the number of attendees as the webinar progresses.
Allocate a time to do a dry run to ensure that everything goes as planned based on expectations. Experiment and test with webinar tool functions if you are unsure and wary of making mistakes. Your audience would appreciate it if you are confident about the tools you are using. This only means that you have done your research and have spent time ensuring a smooth transition towards running the webinar.
One of the main determining factors of a successful webinar is engagement. Allocate a segment with sufficient time where you and the audience can engage in a conversation, hence develop a relationship. One popular component found in many interactive sessions is ‘Q&A’. Using the Zoom webinar platform, one of many ways to measure engagement is to encourage your audience to ‘upvote’ the questions that they have submitted. If the majority participate, it means that you have engaged with them. Don’t be disheartened if the minority doesn’t respond, they would probably respond differently. Perhaps, closing the webinar with a feedback form would allow them to come out of their shell and interact. Develop more interactive activities and study which of these activities generate high engagement levels.
On top of the six tips we have shared, it is critical to balance informative content and interactive content. It would undoubtedly entice your audience to come back for more episodes. Remember that content can be searched for on the internet, but delivering it in an interactive form is the real key to hosting a successful webinar.