How To Successfully Produce A Professional Grade Webinar, Webcast, or Teleconference
How To Successfully Produce A Professional Grade Webinar, WeFollow the "Ten Ps" checklist for your online event success, by Jeremiah Owyang Category Item Description 1) Philosophy Mindset For success, webinars require a special approach. An interactive and Even if you dont allow members to chat with social experience each other or pose live questions during the webinar, they can still talk to each other, before, during and after. Carrot over stick Hosts of webinars must treat the attendees as the customers and the panelists and speakers as part of the product. Something always Without a doubt, something always goes wrong goes wrong. as these events are more complicated than they appear to the attendee. The trick? Be prepared for things to change, and "fail fast" by quickly learning and being responsive. 2) Purpose Define your objective Webinars can have multiple objectives, prioritize which ones are most key to you. Some objectives can include: Thought leadership, association, customer references, lead generation, sales material, accelerating the customer life cycle, or education. Audience Define in detail who you are trying to reach. Focus on demographics, title, company type, industry, and availability. The more detailed you are here, the better your promotion and content will be later. 3) Planning
Decision: recorded or There are benefits and upsides to bothlive recording and doing it live. While recording in advance may reduce risk, you may not be able to engage with the audience, or react in real time.Scheduling Picking the right webinar time is essential to its success. Factor in time of day, day of week, and time of year.Select the right Choose the right technology platform for you.webinar platforms Vendors includes Microsoft, GoToMeeting, WebEx, and Adobe Connect.Hardware Dont get stuck without having the right hardware to complete the task. Have a checklist of phones, wifi, laptops, browsers headsets, software installs.Software Choose which software applications youll run your presentation from, for example, PowerPoint or Keynote.
Marketing systems Registration form, direct email, marketing systems, CRM. Documentation Have the right forms, speaker release forms, content publication rights, and contracts with platform providers, agencies, and other teams.4) Professionals Talent considerations Its key to know the benefits and drawbacks of having professional speakers, customers, or internal marketing folks as emcees. Premise Document Develop a premise document which can be sent to speakers summarizing the purpose of the event, topics, fees, and benefits. Develop your team Dont underestimate the time required to produce such an event. In the following roles, Ive listed out all the duties that are needed by role. Important: A single individual often fulfills multiple roles. Role: Internal This is your internal customer, and the person Stakeholder youre doing this for. Role: Webinar This individual is responsible for the overall Producer success of the event.
Role: Coordinator Responsible for the scheduling, ensuring fees are paid, and content is coordinated among the team. Role: Marketer Responsible for ensuring the event is properly positioned, and registrations rates are healthy. Finally, it doesnt stop after the event, they need to help with reporting and sending leads to marketing and sales teams. Role: Community In todays online events, the crowd talks back -- Manager even if you dont have social features turned on in your webinar. The community manager is responsible for seeding the discussion before the event, as well as participating in during the event. Role: Technical Hardware may fail, and software may crash. Support Dont panic, instead have someone on staff that can assist with these needs. Role: Speakers Your primary speaker and keynote Role: Panelists Some webinars choose to have a panel of speakers that can be experts in their field, thought leaders, or customer speakers. Role: Emcee This optional role can introduce speakers, advance the discussion if things get stale and pose questions to the speaker or panel. Role: Backup Speaker This optional role is a pro tip. Having a backup speaker is key as unforeseen events are well, unforeseen.5) Programming ofContent Content What type of content will you offer? Industry trends, customer case studies, debate, research findings, or a product demonstration? Will you include a combination? If so, in what order? How many slides are appropriate per speaker per minute?
One off or series Is this is a single event, or are you planning to have a series. If you plan to have a series, this will impact your up front planning. Presentation style Will you have a single speaker, panelists, and/or emcee? What will be the overall format of the webinar? Work with speakers The producer should work closely with the speakers during the kickoff call to get their feedback on what they want to speak about, as well as provide whats expected. Be sure to budget time to review the content at least twice.6) Promotion Marketing Content Develop a template of content that can be used across multiple channels that describes the event, the date, speakers, and a compelling reason why they should attend. Registration Form Although mentioned above, youll need a registration system to collect registrants and also send them reminders. While most webinar platforms offer a version of these systems, ensure they are compatible with your existing systems. Use an integrated Just because the world of social marketing has marketing approach appeared doesnt mean that traditional marketing efforts go away. Consider using your existing direct email systems, purchase opt-in email lists to reach consumers, or advertise on media content networks. Foster word of mouth Word of mouth marketing is the most effective and often the most trusted amongst prospects. Use existing social networking features to drive up attendance as well as encourage others to notify their peers they are attending.
Source questions This optional tip for the pros will involve sourcing questions from the crowd around the topic to increase engagement and word of mouth.7) Preparation andPractice Remind attendees Using existing registration systems, or email about the event notification systems, remind registered attendees the event will be happening. Dry run Conduct a rehearsal before the actual event. While you dont need to speak to all the slides walk the speakers through the process and demonstrate how the tools will work. Green Room Like any performance, the performers should convene 30-60 minutes in advance to do sound tests, finalize the order, and take a moment to reflect about the upcoming event. Tools and Venue Like any performance, the right venue, lighting Needed and systems must be in place. Have a checklist of items for speakers and the producing team to have. Housekeeping The little things can make the difference between amateur hour and a professional performance. Establish speaker Develop a way for the speaker to receive backchannel signals from the producers while they are speaking.
Gotchas Ive found theres always last minute things that plague webinars.8) Performance"Showtime" Mindset: Engage with Remember, memorable webinars arent just crowd canned speeches, but an event where the audience is participating with each other, as well as feeding the speakers energy. Source audience This optional tip engages the real time audience questions by taking their questions. Use questions that were previously fielded in the "Promotion" phase to stimulate conversation. Guide the speakers Speakers may have a bad speaking day, maybe have a sneezing or coughing fit, or just get nervous and fumble. Have a moderator on hand who can redirect panel hogs, or avoid from panelists to become overly pitchy. Q&A and discussion The webinar should be a mixture of both prepared content and the ability for the crowd to ask questions and speakers to answer. Feedback Survey Although optional, some producers pose a feedback survey to attendees right as the event ends to gauge quality of speakers, content, and interaction.9) Pursuit Send thank you to the Send a follow-up to all attendees, thanking attendees them for attending, and provide links where they can find the materials.
Mindset: The most Most webinar producers pat themselves on the overlooked back after finishing the actual event, but this is opportunity actually the biggest opportunity. Propagate action Now that youve educated and engaged the attendees of the webinar, its time to make them act. The hard work really starts here. Follow up with Those that were the most engaged should be engaged followed up directly, provided theyve opted in. These candidates are moving down the marketing funnel and are ideal prospects to move forward to sales. Publish and share Often, producers will choose to share the materials recorded webinar in public, or behind a registration page, or even in a community. Funnel to sales and Youve now collected a valuable list of opt-in marketing highly engaged prospects and customers. Be sure to do something with the interested group while the event is fresh in their mind. 10) Post Mortem Post Meeting Immediately after the event, choose to have a quick follow-up with speakers and panelists to go over what worked and thank them for their time. Develop a report Measure ROI. First start with the costs, both fixed, time, and speaker costs. Secondly, measure success based on your business objectives (Thought leadership, generated leads, etc) and apply the right KPIs for each. Send thank you to the Send a follow-up to all attendees, thanking attendees them for attending, and provide links where they can find the materials. Send thank you to the The producer and or coordinator should send a speakers genuine thank you to the speakers, and panelists and thank them for their time. Applaud yourself! Give yourself applause and a pat on the back, youve just successfully completed a professional grade webinar!Altimeter Group, June 28, 2010, All Rights Reserved | www.altimetergroup.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
Grade Webinar, Webcast, or TeleconferenceJeremiah Owyang Altimeter Group, June 28, 2010, All Rights Reserved | www.altimetergroup.com | info@altime What No One Tells You Your Notes Tasked To Dont relegate webinars as the kid brother of events. They are a unique asset in your marketing efforts and require your full attention. Think of webinars as an interactive jazz performance where the performers are interacting with each other and the audience, based on a common agreed chord structure. Remember, the content must be attractive to help attendees, not be a blatant sales pitch. Instead, use content that you would find in a white paper, research, or opinion that supports the overall assertion of your companys value statement. Secondly, highlight the successes of your customers, rather than beat your customers with a sales pitch. Budget for 5-10% deviation in time, resources, and dollar value to accommodate last minute changes in the event. Pick one primary objective and a secondary objective. Its important you define the objective in your webinar program as thats how youll measure your success. Everyone likes to focus on the C-suite, and as a result, its often oversaturated. Instead, find out who influences their decisions or is a trusted confidant to them.
Some sophisticated webinars pre-record the mainsession first, and do the Q&A live. However dont dothis on your first session, as you increase thecomplexities of the event.First, define where your audience is located, as thatwill impact time of day. For a North American andEuropean audience, early AM Pacific time (8-9 am)may yield success. Mondays are often hectic andFridays are a tossup between those already mentallychecked out, or a great time to focus. Often, aTuesday-Thursday may be the best bet, yet ifeveryone else knows that, you may want to place betselsewhere. Take into account holiday schedules, andend of month or quarter, that may cause folks to bebusy. Finally, look at macro schedules and take intoaccount heavy travel and holidays. For example, inthe tech industry, end of year and the first quarter arebad due to holidays and heavy travel duringconference season.First, find out which system works well with yourexisting marketing database systems. You want toeasily funnel leads into marketing systems as well asclient teams and sales.Make sure you properly test these systems weeksbefore the event. Often software installs are requiredon each speakers computer, and in some cases notall browsers are sufficient. Not all systems work oneach OS, for examples, Go To Webinar does nothave a recording feature on a Mac. Use a LAN line forbest results, and wired phone systems --not speakerphones or cell phones. Have a backup for internetand a mobile cell phone on hand in the off positionjust in case.Speakers may have their own preferences as to whichsoftware applications to create their presentations in.Budget time in to aggregate all speaker content, andreformat. Or, if each speaker takes turn being thepresenter - make sure that their application works withthe platform.
Often the webinar system youre using will have aregistration feature, but ensure it ties in with existingsystems you have. For example, youll want to directemail your prospect and customer database alertingthem to upcoming webinars if theyve opted in.Furthermore, all leads should easily publish to theCRM system, abiding by opt in laws to preserve thelegal and customer contract.Be clear with speakers on how youll like to use thecontent in advance, and get their written agreement.Avoid using FAX systems as most popular speakersare often traveling without ability to access FAXsystems.While professional speakers may both attract a largeregistration and provide an informed and engagingpresentation, they have associated costs. The betterthe speaker, the higher the cost. With that comeslimited schedule, so the more popular the speaker,the more difficult it is to get their time. Customers areoften the most credible when relating to prospects, astheyll likely be more trusted. However, they may lackprofessional speaking polish. As a result, buffer themwith professional speakers or internally trainedmoderators. Ive often found executives or marketingleads from the host company to be excellent emcees,as long as they keep the attendees needs first.This premise document should be embedded in theemail inviting the attendees. Do note that there aresome speaker agencies that represent a variety oftalent where you could submit to obtain multiplespeaker bids.In most cases, its most efficient if multiple duties arehandled by a single individual, or even shared amonga group. If you have access to a PR firm, rely onthem for key coordination and marketing services.Make sure to understand their goals for the webinar, Often, they are your budgetand have regular check-ins at key milestones. holder, and youll want to impress them for continued budget as you properly measure success.Use this checklist and add names of responsibilities inthe columns of whos responsible for what.
This person is incredibly organized and reliable. Youllbe able to identify them as highly organized andefficient individuals.Seek marketers that know both traditional marketingas well as social marketing.This person could field topics, questions and monitorthe back and front channel before and during theevent. In most cases, speakers cannot fulfill this rolewhile speaking at the same time, so dedicate anindividual to help with this.Have backup laptops with software installed, andbackups if the power and internet connectivity goesdown.While it makes sense to find someone that will attracta crowd, also take into consideration their ability toengage with the crowd, provide credible content, beresponsive, and have the ability to help withpromotion.The more panelists you add, the more attractive theevent is --but the more complicated scheduling,software, and planning becomes. 2-3 panelists areideal, with a backup.If your webinar is being hosted by a company, itsappropriate for the sponsor to make introductions andset the overall tone of the event. Its key to maintaincredibility by not doing heavy pitches.Find someone from your internal team that coulddouble as a speaker in a pinch. Ensure they arecredible and have a deck on hand related to the topicjust in case.While the first reaction for marketers is to pitchproducts, consider this as a way to engage andinteract with attendees. They can be contacted later,so instead, "put the carrot up front" with the mostuseful information. If you decide to pitch your wares,do so at the end.
A series is great for complicated issues that require indepth topics, especially if your goal is to create alibrary of content others can refer to reducing inperson education time. Typically, Ive noticed in myexperience that attendance is strongest in the firstpart of the series then may taper off.The more stakeholders and participants you involve,the more attractive the event may become. Howeveras you add each individual, scheduling and contentcomplexity rapidly increases. Ideally, focus on asingle knowledgably speaker, or 2-3 panelists max.Set clear dates with speakers on when content is toarrive, yet always expect last minute changes withspeakers content. During the first kickoff call with aspeaker, highlight why you asked them to speak, andsuggest content theyve done in a previous speech,blog post, or discussion youd like them to explore.Develop a pain point and value proposition and clearlyindicate what the attendees will walk away with. Usepictures of speakers, and make it easy to forattendees to add to their calendaring system.Make sure to ask attendees if you can contact themlater to learn more about your company, but make itopt-in, not opt-out. Savvy producers will poll theaudience with 1-2 high level questions, or buyingstatus both for webinar content, and to qualify leads.Some webinar producers co-produce the event with amedia partner in order to reach a larger community.Be sure to integrate with your corporate website, blog,and encourage account teams to notify clients andprospects.Develop a hashtag thats both representative of theevent, scalable for future events, and is not used byothers. For example, an event on social business canbe truncated to "#SocBiz10". For best results, keeptag short and memorable, or youll lose usageopportunities. Use LinkedIn, Meetup, FacebookEvents, and Plancast to trigger viral sharing ofattendees. In some systems, they can show a list ofthe attendees, so use with caution.
Centralize the discussion on your own corporatesocial sites such as communities, blogs, or Twittertags. Tip: This same discussion medium should beused post-event to further the discussion after it ends.In addition to reminding registrants about the eventdetails, also let them know their peers are comingfrom a variety of industries.Expect many of the speakers or panelists to forget thenuances of the program so be sure to provide anagenda. Also, expect speakers to provide yet anotherset of content right after the dry run as theyll seethings theyll want to improve.Expect lots of last minute scrambling here as folks getcoordinated, ask speaking order, Q&A format andsubmit final slides. Expect that the software will havesome glitches and some people will not be using thephone system correctly.Speakers should be in a quiet room, with a computerplugged into a LAN line, with software pre-installed.They should also be using a wired phone (not a cell,or speaker phone) and should do audio tests of handphones vs. headsets. Ive switched between physicalhandsets and VOIP headsets from Logitech if I have astrong connection.Ask all speakers to turn off their cell phones, as ringsand cell phone interference can cause odd noisesduring the presentation. Speakers should have aglass of water near them. The best speaking voicescome when speakers are standing, or sitting in aproper position --not slouched over.Most tools offer an ability for the producers andspeakers to communicate to each other. Caution:Some features may not be very clear in their usageand as a result could be accidently viewed by allattendees.
Some software, requires you to hit record before theevent starts, be sure you do this during theperformance. Also, ensure house and office phoneswont ring during the performance. Turn off all IMsystems that could expose embarrassing pop-ups,and notifications from tools like Tweetdeck orcalendaring systems. If youre going to showcasesomething live on a browser, be sure to clear outhistory, search terms, and close all irrelevantwindows. Avoid those embarrassing swimsuit photoson the desktop, and keep it professional.Like a jazz performance theres a mixture of preselected melodies and improvisation. Ensure yourspeakers understand how to engage the audience intheir vocal style, pausing for breaks, and fieldingaudience questions and content.Use polls during the start of the event to engage theaudience about their role, industry, pain point, orintent to buy and use a product. Also, make it clearhow questions will be received and used: the existingQ&A tools, the chat room, the online community, orreal time tools like Twitter? Provide the audience withthe event hashtag, if necessary.The emcee or producer must be ready at a momentsnotice to step in and guide things should things goawry. Have that backup speaker and content at theready, just in case.Encourage speakers to take a variety of questions,but have 4 pre-decided questions on hand, if there arefew questions. If you have panelists, only allowpanelists to chime in if they have additional value toadd not the old "I agree with Tom" and re-iterate thesame point. The emcee should focus questions toeach of the panelists, spreading the Q&A time equallyas possible.Savvy producers will ask attendees if they want to becontacted by the host in order to learn more about theevent. Take feedback in for future events, dont justprovide lip service.This should only be done if the members have opt-into be contacted previously.
The event doesnt end, it continues to cascade online through discussion, recorded replays. Instead of a fixed time event, think of the webinar as a call to action and the post webinar as the follow-up to action. Youve generated awareness and engagement, now you must drive action. Pro-tip: Offer to answer unanswered questions in an online community or blog, in order to further engage the attendees to participate. Those with specific questions can contact sales (pose this question in feedback survey). Look for those the most active in Twitter, the online forum, as well as those who attended for the maximum amount of time. Those who watch the recorded event may also be highly engaged, find out a way to easily connect with them. Use these tools to drive more conversations even post event in an online community. Savvy producers will publish the slides on document sharing sites like Slideshare, as well as put recordings on Blip or segments on YouTube. Following your existing marketing process, funnel the leads to your sales teams who can follow-up with prospects. Use existing CRM systems and marketing databases to make this efficient. After the speaker meeting, have an internal post mortem meeting a week or so after the event to discuss what went well and what can be improved next time. Measure not just on total attendees, but total duration they participated and the amount of participation and engagement in the discussion. Measuring thought leadership and association is easiest done through online surveys. Something to consider is a final survey as attendees leave the event, or in a follow-up email. This should only be done if the members have opt-in to be contacted previously. Give them feedback from the audience polls to find out what worked best, and pull out specific things you really liked about their performance. Thank your team, and appreciate all the hard work you and they did to engage the market, congrats!metergroup.com
w.altimetergroup.com | email@example.com Status Due Date
Item Date Responsible NotesInternal planning meetingInvites sent to speakersScoping call with speakersPromotion DateDry RehersalPerformancePost Mortem