Tuesday 02 September, 2014
There are several reasons why you should host a webinar. First of all, it’s a great way to spread your expertise and build authority. If you host a webinar that teaches your target market how to do something in your niche, this is a great way to win them over and show them what you have to offer.
Webinars are also good because they offer a way to get your audience engaged. Regular content such as articles or videos can be effective, but a webinar gets people involved directly. It’s like a class that they take rather than just an article that they read. Finally, you can record your webinars and use them for content. Recorded webinars make excellent information products or freebies.
The only downside of hosting a webinar is that a great deal of work goes into it. There’s a learning curve and you’ll have to do a few webinars before you’re a pro at it, but here are some simple tips to help make that learning curve faster.
1. Plan out your webinar just like it’s a long piece of content. Make an outline that includes everything you’ll cover in a logical order.
2. Start with a hook to draw your audience in. You should have a strong opening, just as you’d have an engaging title and first paragraph for an article.
3. Go easy on the text. The text on your slides shouldn’t be exactly the same as what you’re going to say. It should summarize or give the main points only.
4. Plan to spend only about 20 to 40 seconds on each slide. This is much shorter than you’d spend on each slide with a face-to-face presentation, but you need to keep the audience engaged.
5. Use visuals. Instead of presenting text that says what you’re already saying, show photos and other images that show it.
6. Learn the technology well. It’s not hard to use but you shouldn’t improvise on the day of the webinar and expect things to go smoothly. Play around and make sure you understand how it all works before the actual webinar.
7. Invest in a good microphone. Sound quality is important and you shouldn’t use the default mic on your computer.
8. Avoid the “ums” and “ers.” Try to cut down on superfluous sounds. A good way to practice this is to record yourself conducting the webinar and listen back to it.
9. Do a test run before the webinar to make sure everything works. If you’re inviting guest panelists, invite them to participate in the test run. Also do a test recording if you plan to record.
10. Ask for questions every five or ten minutes during your presentation. This is how you keep the audience engaged. Direct questions are more engaging than just asking, “Any questions?”
11. Conduct polls throughout your webinar. True/false polls are a good way to get immediate feedback and keep your audience engaged.
12. Get set up about ten minutes before the planned start time and greet early guests as they arrive. Set the tone.
13. Start and end on time to the minute. One of the biggest complaints people make about webinars is late starts or running too long.
Finally, pack as much emotion into your webinar as possible. Try to connect emotionally with your audience through stories that engage.
This is by far not an exhaustive list of webinar tips, but it’s enough to get you started and help you make that first webinar a good one.