Let’s face it – we are all overloaded with video content and virtual platforms. From virtual events to virtual learning, we have seen it all in the past 18 months. So how do we make sure our audience doesn’t zone out when we try to deliver virtual content? What are the tips and tricks to making video feel engaging and impactful instead of dull and repetitive?
To find the answers, we sat down with Bill Cherne, VP of Customer Success at Sonic Foundry. Cherne has helped produce and deliver webinars to thousands of Mediasite customers in his 15+ years at Sonic Foundry. His hands-on approach to creating dynamic, interesting content is useful for anyone looking to produce an informative and engaging webinar.
In this Q&A, we chat with Cherne about best practices in the virtual webinar space and how his strategies can help your business thrive in a video-saturated world.
Q: What are some ways to incorporate webinars into a larger strategy?
A: Market, Market, Market! A webinar is only one of the small pieces of a larger campaign. Everyone’s focus is always on the webinar and not around what needs to be promoted to drive registration for your webinar. Determine exactly how you will promote and drive traffic to your registration page.
One of the easiest ways to do that is by sharing new material without being too overbearing. It can be easy to push out a lot of content promoting the webinar, but then you risk having it get lost in a sea of posts and articles. Be strategic and creative with your promotional channels and marketing efforts.
Q: What are some quality issues that you can encounter during a webinar, and how can they be prevented?
A: One thing that can easily ruin a webinar is poor audio or video quality. People will log off or their attention will drop immediately if they experience poor technical quality. If the audio cuts out, if the lighting is bad or if they experience difficulty with the platform, your webinar will be derailed immediately.
Eliminate this risk by doing a test run. Make sure the lighting (and your background) is flattering, test the audio and video quality. If you want to be seen as a professional business, your webinar technology should be up to that same professional standard.
You may also want to consider a simulive event which is an online event that is recorded ahead of time and then broadcast live and can also incorporate a live Q&A. This will prevent you from running into audio, video, or other technical issues when the big moment arises!
Q: What is the easiest way to maintain engagement during a webinar?
A: Your participants are setting aside time and energy in their day to spend time listening to what you have to say. It’s important to keep participants engaged for the entirety of the webinar. The last thing you want is for your participants to feel like their time is being wasted.
Find a way to get your content across in a concise, engaging matter that will allow your viewers to retain the material in a productive way, avoid repetition. Get creative with the way you outline your webinar to ensure as much learning retention from your attendees as possible.
Let’s not forget the obvious – the engagement features built into the webinar platform! Features such as the Q&A and chat functions are there to build two-way communication between the presenter and the viewers. Webinars can often come across as one sided with 1 presenter doing all of the talking. Encourage real time collaboration when you can through chat and polling functions
It is interesting to watch your attendees engage with one another in the chat section, and you might even be able to pull some questions or commentary to address during your presentation. By doing this, you are ensuring that your audience feels heard.
Q: What are some best practices for marketing your business during a webinar, without being too overbearing?
A: Don’t Oversell Yourself During a Webinar
We all have that one commercial that the second it comes on the TV, you groan because you feel like you’ve heard it a million times. You don’t want your webinar to feel that way.
Of course, you want to sell the leadership content, product, or service that the webinar is centered around, but not too much. Make sure that you are giving your audience value. Doing this will set the tone that you are an expert in your field and will make any Call to Action (CTA), sale at the end of the webinar be more successful. It’s a tricky balance but depending on what you’re selling, it’s easier than you think.
Continue to Push your Message Loud and Clear
The webinar may be over, but your message will still resonate with people after it ends. Continue those marketing tactics you used to promote the webinar to highlight the important content that was shared during the presentation. Or better yet, promote an on-demand registration for it!
You don’t want your viewers to leave their screens and forget everything that they just learned. Utilize your promotional platforms to continue to stress the importance of your content, without being too overbearing of course.
Make it Worth Their Time
Every attendee at your webinar has given their time and attention to attend your webinar. Why did they choose to spend that time with you? You have the power to let your attendees know why they need to be right here, right now in this moment in time.
Don’t repurpose the same content repeatedly, it won’t be worth it to your audience. Present them with new and exciting ideas about why they should be working with you and make it clear what benefits they will receive by watching the webinar. If you make it clear to your customers that this is a ‘can’t-miss event’ that helps them succeed, your engagement will be off the charts.
Check out this webinar to help ensure best practices for YOUR next webinar or event: