How to Host a Successful Webinar

By Stephanie WarnerMay 26, 2021Business, Content Marketing, Tips

How to Host a Successful Webinar 

The team here at Issuu is always focused on creating ways to connect with, educate and engage our clients. Plus we look for powerful tactics to bring new content creators into our platform. Over the past few years, we have found great success by building a strong webinar program. This allows us to increase user engagement of the Issuu platform while also generating interest with potential new customers too.

The Issuu webinar program has been active for a few years now, giving us many opportunities to hone our webinar skills and develop a popular webinar program. Keep reading for best practices, tips, and tricks that will help you develop an engaging webinar program.

Choosing the content for your webinar

Ready to start planning your first webinar? Many of us are looking for the opportunity to generate new demand for our business, so it might make sense to launch a webinar program off with a broad subject that your company offers expertise in. Or perhaps you or someone in your company is a thought leader in your industry? Whatever the subject of the first webinar, make sure to know the content well and choose content that is valuable to your audience. As part of the initial planning, make sure to gather all of your existing content available that fits into the webinar topic, including blog posts, white papers, eBooks, and presentations. Reference these items to finalize and fine tune the content. You should be able to talk for at least 10 minutes on the topic without a break. Once you take the 10 minutes of content and break it up into slides for a webinar including examples, visuals, and time for questions, then you should have enough content to plan a robust webinar.

Promoting your webinar

Market the webinar just like a campaign or event, in fact, a webinar is a campaign! Make sure to promote the webinar through all of your own channels including emails to your customer database, posts on social media, and if there is enough time or resources, considering running social media ads to encourage webinar registrations. Develop a simple landing page that includes a description of the webinar and makes it very simple to register. Every person who registers won’t necessarily join the live webinar, but you can still engage with them by sending the webinar recording and incorporate them into your customer database. 

Start planning your first webinar today and join to publish the webinar presentation, create content you want to share with your webinar audience, and distribute beautiful content marketing for all of your campaigns.

One person sitting at a desk with a laptop in front of them, speaks to four people during a video conference.

Best practices

Plan Ahead: Allow yourself a few weeks to prepare and promote the webinar to get the most attendees to join. Don’t rush the promotion and lead time prior to the webinar, remember if you rush the timeline, it will be the same amount of preparation but without the chance to generate as much interest!

Write a Brief: Outline the webinar and go into all of the specifics from webinar title, date, time, links to the registration pages, and topic including background on the topic, research, and all the talking points to include in the webinar.

Duration: The webinar should be about 30 - 40 minutes total, especially if there is an engaging question and answer session after the main presentation.

Scheduling: In our experience, the most effective schedule when hosting a webinar is mid-morning (around 10:30 am) and during the middle of the week – either Tuesday or Wednesday. Of course, consider the audience, time zones, and the content being delivered to determine the right schedule.

Staffing: Don’t try to do the webinar as a one-person show. Make sure to have a moderator who is not necessarily the content expert but can welcome attendees, run the video conferencing platform, troubleshoot challenges that might range from technology issues to attendee disruptions. The moderator should also be ready to take over the screen share if the presenter suddenly loses connection. For webinars that include product demos, customer service elements, or technical discussions, it may also make sense to involve a colleague with additional technical expertise as well.

Presentation: Create the presentation by referencing the brief you created and building out all of the content to cover during the webinar. Make sure not to pack the slides with a lot of text, just high-level talking points or key takeaways for the audience, and of course include interesting visuals. Use the “Notes” section of the presentation to add the additional talking points you plan to cover.

Script: Draft a simple script for the host or moderator along with the main speaker so that everyone has a clear understanding of who will speak and when.

Run of Show: Outline the webinar’s schedule from the introduction, presentation timing, question and answer section, and any other elements of the webinar.

Practice, Practice, Practice: If you are completely new to hosting a webinar, we highly recommend that you plan to practice a few times by running through the webinar from start to finish. Bring together everyone who is involved in the webinar and log onto the video conferencing platform to practice the webinar including reading the script, sharing the presentation slides, and practicing the presentation. Go through a practice question-and-answer session. For a more realistic practice experience, you might even ask for a few colleagues or friends to attend the webinar and provide feedback on ways to improve.

Test the Technology: In addition to practicing the webinar content and script, test the video conference platform you are using, test the speakers on your computer, test the internet bandwidth along with any other technology tools you plan to use.

Arrive Early: On the day of the webinar, the entire team should be online and ready to go at least 30 minutes early. Review your slides one last time, touch base with your moderator and additional support team (if you have one!). Don’t rush from a meeting straight into presenting. Give yourself the time to mentally prepare for the live webinar

Clipboard with a list of tips on a desk next to a laptop.

Tips and tricks 

The more often you host webinars, the easier they are to create. Plus you start to feel more comfortable public speaking, especially in the webinar medium. Our seasoned webinar host Meghan Cole, Issuu Marketing Manager shared a few of her best tips and tricks.

Use Polls or Surveys: Polls or surveys are a great way to kickstart participant engagement with the speaker and in the presentation. Use a poll or survey right at the beginning of the webinar as a warm-up or ice breaker. As you become more comfortable running the webinars, you might also use the poll at the beginning to guide the presentation you are about to begin. 

Keep It Conversational: Present the topic in a conversational and interesting manner, don’t make it feel like a lecture or report. This will invite more reader questions and engagement.

Allow for a Live Q&A: Wrap up the webinar with the chance for attendees to ask specific questions and engage with you directly. This is an opportunity to really connect with the audience and learn about what part of the webinar might have resonated with them the most. Pro Tip: Use the chat function for all of the questions from the audience during the Q&A section. This will minimize dealing with sound or technology issues from your attendees.

Seed Questions: To kick off the Q&A session, prepare a few seed questions ready to have available. This will also ensure you don’t have to wait for an audience member to type their question. And it should help the audience feel more comfortable about asking their own questions.

Offer a Takeaway: You are almost wrapped on your first webinar, do you have an item of collateral or key takeaway that you can share with your audience? Collateral pieces such as eBooks, templates, guides, white papers, or even the webinar presentation might be helpful pieces to offer the attendees and ensure you really leave a lasting impression. Pro Tip: Publish the collateral item on Issuu to make it easy to share with all of the attendees. Issuu transforms PDFs and collateral pieces into sleek flipbooks and generates a web-ready link. Share the link to the takeaway right from the webinar chat, distribute it in an email follow up or embed it on a webinar landing page. 

Now you have a long list of best practices, tips, and tricks. Many of us like to watch and learn too, so check out all of our past Issuu webinars as well.

Lady in the blue jacket smiling in front of a laptop

That’s a (webinar) wrap!

Launching a successful webinar does require a lot of planning, preparation, and practice. However, the work will be worth it! Webinars are a really effective tool to connect with your customers directly. Webinars will help develop a strong relationship with existing customers while offering an influential tool to generate interest from a new audience and generate leads for your brand. Webinars are also awesome content that you can share even after they are over. So start brainstorming now on what your first webinar topic should be and tweet @issuu to let us know if we missed any of your best webinar tips too!

Start planning your first webinar today and join to publish the webinar presentation, create content you want to share with your webinar audience, and distribute beautiful content marketing for all of your campaigns.