Host a webinar

1. Brainstorm a compelling topic based on problems your audience is trying to solve or skills they need to learn, but that also furthers your marketing goals.

While your topic doesn’t need to directly pitch your product, a topic in an adjacent area will allow you to naturally introduce your products or services. Once you’ve selected a topic, brainstorm compelling titles. Remember, even if your webinar is free, you need to sell it; your title can help with this. If your webinar will include a guest with name recognition in your industry, prominently feature this.

2. Choose speakers with name recognition or expertise in the industry and a webinar format that supports your objectives.

Choose your guest speakers based on the specific roles you need to fill in your webinar. For example, a speaker may have name recognition in your industry and drive up registrations. Or, your speaker may be an expert on the given topic of your webinar. Look to partner organizations, your leadership team, and other industry thought leaders for potential speakers. If you’re offering to bring an audience, you may find recruiting a thought leader to be surprisingly easy. Webinar formats include: Single-presenter. Roundtable. Case study. Q&A.

3. Choose the tools you’ll need to promote, register attendees, host your webinar, and follow up with attendees afterward.

There are many webinar hosting tools available, and some of these can also register attendees, add the webinar to attendees’ calendars, and send reminders. Consider tools like: Zoom. Go-to-Webinar. Vimeo Livestream. Big Marker. Demio. Livestorm. Test your chosen platform to understand how hosting will work, as well the other functions the platform can perform for you. Choose tools for any functions your webinar platform does not provide, such as email followup.

4. Pick a date and time for your webinar, and decide if you will make the recording available afterwards.

Select a date that gives you enough lead time to plan a quality webinar and drive turnout, you’ll likely want to pick a date that allows you to begin promoting your webinar 4 – 6 weeks in advance. You should record your webinar for internal purposes, but decide whether you want to promote the fact that a recording will be available; doing so may increase the number of people who register even if they have a conflict, but will very likely decrease your live attendance because participants will decide to watch it later.

5. Design a registration form and promote your webinar with email marketing, social media posts, or other marketing collateral.

Prominently incorporate the registration link, date and time of the webinar, payment information, if any, and the registration deadline in all promotional materials. Ask presenters to promote the webinar, as they’ll be able to bring their audience as well as the one you develop. Promote often, and don’t expect to send a single email and drive all the participants you want. If you are charging attendees to join your webinar, link a payment account to your registration form.

6. Create a run-of-show document with your internal team and presenters that details the presentation order of your webinar.

Develop your deck, video, script, or other presentation materials you intend to present, and ask your presenters to develop theirs by a specific deadline.

7. Practice your own presentation more than once and in front of others. Ask for and incorporate feedback.

Schedule a dry run or two so that you and all your co-presenters can practice the entire webinar together.

8. Log in 15-20 minutes early to test your equipment and troubleshoot. Ask your presenters to do the same.

9. Engage with your audience during the webinar by allowing questions via chat and remaining flexible.

Keep audience members on mute, but encourage engagement via chat. You can handle questions as they come in if you’re comfortable, or tell your audience you’ll be collecting questions throughout and answering at the end. Be attentive to your audience. For example, if they engage enthusiastically about a particular topic, join in with a comment or two rather than sticking to your script word for word. However, keep track of time, and redirect the conversation back to the presentation if you start running behind schedule. Consider other tactics to keep your audience engaged until the end of the webinar, offer a raffle or special offer, but tell audience members they’ll need to stay until the end to hear it.

10. Follow up with webinar attendees using a survey, sharing slides, or sharing a recording after your webinar is concluded.