Webinar About Webinars: 6P’s of Successful Hosting

On Wednesday, I hosted a webinar with Mike Lewis from Awareness called “Webinar About Webinars: 6P’s of Successful Hosting.” We covered the following areas:

  1. Presenter
  2. Platform
  3. People
  4. Participation
  5. Promotion
  6. Post-webinar follow-up

The webinar was quite a success, so we wanted to provide the slides and recording to those who missed it, as well as the full Q&A from the session, including questions we didn’t have time to answer during the webinar.

The full recording of the webinar can be found in our (new!) Recorded Webinar Library.

Or, here are the slides if you prefer that:



And, the Q&A from the webinar:

Q: ­What kind of file do you get from recording the audio from Skype?­ (Jessica R.)

A: The program we use to record Skype calls is called PowerGrammo (http://www.powergramo.com/).  It’s a seamless plug-in to Skype.  It produces and MP4 file that we go on to edit in Audacity as a podcast.

Q: ­Are you using PowerPoint to build the visuals?  Do you use the .ppt format in the webinar or do you need to convert it to another format? (Tami W.)

A: ­Actually… I use Keynote (Apple)… but do use PPT as well.  It’s always easier (if you don’t have builds) to convert to a PDF because the file size is smaller.

Q: ­True that YouTube has time limit?  10 or 15 minutes in length?­ (Kim H.)

A: ­Yes, YouTube currently has a 15 minute limit, unless you have a producer account.  But, Viddler (unlimited), and Blip.tv have longer limits.

Q: ­Do you have any best practices for how to “train” a remote speaker? E.G. we can’t see the speaker’s equipment, what buttons they’re pressing, etc. Some are very inexperienced with webinar technology.­ (Veronica S.)

A. Typically we hold 2 sessions with speakers.  The first is a week before the event where we walkthrough the logistics and provide relevant training on the platform we are using.  The next session happens 30 minutes before the start of the call.  We review logistics and training and make sure everyone understands the process.

Q: ­What niche markets do you service?­ (Susan B.)

A:  WebinarListings serves all webinar types, but the most common categories we have on our site are Business, Leadership, Marketing, Social Media and Technology.

A. At Awareness we work with small-to-large sized organizations who use our software help manage their social media activities through one location.  We don’t have a niche as our clients span multiple industries.

Q: ­What is the philosophy on slides?  Personally I like to take notes on a print out of slides.­ (Roger W.)

A: I have seen some webinar hosts do that.  The upside is that people can take notes, but the downside for the webinar host is that people will skip around and not pay attention to where you are in the presentation.

Q: ­Will you show the social media promotion strategy you use?­ (Jessica R.)

A: In terms of pre-event promotions we actively discuss upcoming sessions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our blogs.  During the event we encourage questions and conversations from the audience through Twitter.  Post-event the recording and slides are available on our blogs and all social properties.  Social media is a core component to our overall webinar strategy.

Q: ­Mike, you mentioned you use WebEx; have you had the best success with them? Any others you’d recommend – Glance, GoToWebinar, etc…..­ (Nicki H.)

A. We have had the best experience with WebEx because they seem to be the best at dealing with large audiences.  Each platform has its pros & cons.  I’d recommend making a list of the features and functions that are most important and trialing the 2-3 vendors that seem to fit your needs before making a final decision.

Q: ­Why are most Webinars held at 2PM ET?­ (Dave B.)

­A: 2pm is a great time for a webinar, as it accommodates most time zones at a reasonable hour.

Q: ­Do you always mute attendees during the presentation and then unmute them during Q&A?­ (Terri P.)

A: I suggest keeping them muted during the entire webinar (including the Q&A) as it is difficult to control a large group from interrupting each other.  If you have a very small group, you can use the “raise hand” feature most software has, and unmute people when they have a question.

Q: Interested in how you incorporate the social media aspects with the webinar (Kim  H.)

A: In terms of pre-event promotions we actively discuss upcoming sessions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our blogs.  During the event we encourage questions and conversations from the audience through Twitter.  Post-event the recording and slides are available on our blogs and all social properties.  Social media is a core component to our overall webinar strategy.

Q: What’s your position on pricing in today’s competitive webinar landscape? Charge or not charge? (Bob W.)

A: It depends if your goals are more geared towards lead generation or revenue generation.  A fee based structure does tend to indicate higher quality, but your attendance will drastically reduce. My personal thought (Rachel) is, make more entry level topics free, and consider charging for higher level topics.  Then people have been introduced to your company in the entry level webinars, and are more trusting of paying.

Q: Why use Twitter vs. Webex chat/Q&A?  As a participant what is benefit? (Kim H.)

A: It’s best to offer both as options, as people prefer to use what is more comfortable to them.   People active on Twitter, oftentimes prefer to tweet questions, if they are tweeting highlights from the webinar there anyway. And, as Mike mentioned, the more people are tweeting, the more awareness you bring to the webinar, which will increase current or future registrations.

Q: What is the best way to handle dead noise? For example when we pause for Q&A and no one asks anything – how do you suggest on starting questions flowing? (Gwynne J.)

A: Come up with a list of potential questions before the webinar starts, so you can answer them if no one is asking questions.  You can also go back and spend more time on some of the slides you ran out of time to discuss or didn’t spend sufficient time  on.

Q: What’s the best way to show videos during webinar?  I’ve tried to show videos but very slow is that wifi issue? (Chris Y. and Deb K.)

A: Most of the platforms support video but what we have found is it can be an issue depending on the connection of the participant.  We encourage video on our sessions but have found some end users, with slower connections may have issues.

Q: How many of you have dedicated staff to create program vs. use a intermediary to deal with platform provider/setup? (Kim H.)

A: We have this as a component of one person’s function.  You would likely not need to budget a full time employee to accommodate.

Q: Has anyone used InnerPass? (Tami W.)

A: No experience with them but I will check them out!

Q: Has anyone done the Ragan Communications webinars? They are all “pay” webinars. Not cheap. Wonder if they’re worth the price?  (Tami W.)

A: No experience with them

Q: Length?  Can you hold interest longer than 60 minutes? (Kim H.)

A: It’s hard to hold people’s attention on a webinar for much longer than an hour, especially if you are still presenting (versus handing Q&A).

Q: Do you have to estimate the number of participants when planning webinar? If so, how do you estimate? (Tami W.)

A: You should estimate the number of attendees, to be sure your software platform and phone lines can handle the quantity you’re expecting.  The best way to estimate is to base it on prior webinars you’ve given.  If you’ve never done a webinar before, you could ask another host who had held a similar webinar.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about the webinar!

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