How to Create a Webinar: The Complete Guide
This post was last updated on May 27, 2021.
In today’s digitally connected world, there’s no shortage of ways to share your knowledge with your audience - even from within your home. Whether you create a website, host a podcast or write a blog about your industry, you have several platforms to choose from.
One such option is creating a webinar. Though easily overlooked, webinars are powerful tools that help participants learn important new skills or gain industry insights from expert speakers. Not only that, but they’re also a great way to build profound connections with your audience and engage users with your brand.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! We’re going to break down how to create a webinar below.
How to create a webinar
Pick a subject
Determine your format
Choose a platform
Gather your equipment
Schedule your presentation
Promote your webinar
Perform a dry run
Host your event
Are webinars right for you and your business?
Before we dive into these steps, let’s talk about why you might want to create a webinar in the first place. By sharing valuable knowledge, you establish your business as a credible leader in your field and generate new leads. When people register for your presentation, they’ll provide their contact information which you can use in the future to move them through your marketing funnel. Additionally, attendees are particularly interested in learning the subject at hand, so they’re more likely to be highly engaged. These reasons are why webinars are an essential part of a successful content marketing strategy.
While not every marketing effort will be worth creating a webinar for, keep in mind the types of ideas that will draw a crowd and help bolster your business. Webinars can be quite time consuming to sit through, so you want them to be engaging and interesting enough to entice people to register.
Here are a few examples of webinar-worthy content ideas to add to your content strategy:
A complete guide for marketing your product
A Q+A session with your CEO
A panel discussion on a pertinent industry issue
A presentation on your branding strategy
01. Pick your subject
The first step in creating a webinar is to select a compelling subject. No matter how much you already know about your chosen subject, research the latest information your industry has to offer so your webinar is relevant and fresh. A good place to start is by taking a look at your competition and other similar webinars available online. Take notes on how they’re structured, the slides they use to illustrate their points and how you would change things if it were your own.
Take equal note of whether similar webinars are charging for access. If your competitors are requesting payment, consider offering yours for free or charging substantially less, as this could give you the advantage in the long run. If you do decide to charge a fee, be sure to provide your audience with extra value that your competitors aren’t offering.
02. Determine your format
Once you’ve researched your subject and your competitors, the next stage in creating a webinar is to focus on the presentation itself. Start with the format: What kind of presentation will you be giving? The complexity of the topic and how many speakers you plan to have can help you narrow down your choices
The four main webinar format options are:
Panel discussion: This involves a moderator guiding the discussion and asking questions of the panel members. This is a great way to showcase multiple perspectives on a similar issue or topic and is also a more conversational style.
Single speaker: Single speaker presentations are ideal for smaller audiences and require one individual to lead the webinar and answer any questions asked by attendees.
Live Q+As: While Q+As are typically included at the end of webinars, you can also create a webinar that primarily focuses on answering audience member’s questions. If you choose to go this route, it’s highly recommended to alert attendees of the format ahead of time so they can prepare their questions. You can even ask audience members to submit questions ahead of time. As the host, you should also have questions ready that people may not think to ask. This way, you’ll be prepared to fill any lulls or awkward silences.
Interviews: Interview webinars are highly engaging because they encourage a more conversational flow. Interviews involve an interviewer asking pre-arranged questions to the person of interest. You can also choose to have your audience members add to the conversation by allowing them to ask questions if time allows.
03. Choose a platform
The next step is to choose the best platform for your webinar. The format you choose will help you determine the best one to use.
If you want an all-in-one solution, you can live stream with Wix Video, allowing you to engage with your audience in real-time directly from your website. You can also use paid platforms such as Demio, GoToWebinar, or Zoom.
When choosing your platform, consider your needs and the goals of your webinar. Take into consideration how big your audience will be, how much you’re willing to spend, and what kind of tools you’ll need for your presentation. Do you need a platform that allows for multiple speakers and a Q+A session? Make sure you choose a service that has all the functions you need to deliver your presentation.
04. Gather your equipment
Next, you’ll need to choose your physical equipment. Because webinars are not conducted in-person, you’ll need reliable tools that ensure high-quality audio and visuals.
Here’s a basic list of the things you’re going to need for this type of content creation:
A capable computer or laptop
Ensure that the computer you’re using can handle running multiple heavy applications at the same time. The last thing you need is for your computer to slow to a crawl because you’ve put it under too heavy of a load.
In addition, make sure you have a reliable internet connection so that your presentation is smooth and clear. You may even want to consider having a backup laptop with all the data from your webinar saved, just in case your primary computer decides to malfunction.
Webcam or camera
Depending on your webinar format, you have a few different options for the type of camera you use. A single speaker discussion will do fine with a standalone webcam — just make sure it can record or stream a minimum of 1080p HD at 30 frames per second. If you’re pre-recording your webinar, you should record it with the highest quality camera you can.
This may not be necessary for everyone, but it’s a good thing to consider if the lighting in the space where you’ll be delivering your webinar isn’t ideal. You can invest in a ring light, box light or even accent lights to brighten up your space and make sure your speaker is seen clearly.
Whether you're teaching an online course or presenting your latest findings, it’s essential that your words come across clearly. Invest in a USB microphone that’s compatible with your webinar software. The Blue Yeti microphone, for example, is popular with podcasters and will ensure that your voice sounds clear during your webinar.
05. Develop content
Now that you have all the tools you need, it’s time to start creating your webinar content. Here are some tips for building your presentation:
First, create a script for your entire webinar so you can keep yourself on track. It’s not imperative that you follow it word for word, in fact, you most likely won’t. But writing it out will help you structure your presentation. Make sure to leave some wiggle room for deviations and on-topic tangents, as your audience may appreciate these additional insights.
You have several options for creating slides, including Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote for Mac, and Google Slides. Whichever you choose, remember that the #1 rule with any slide presentation is not to include too much text on each slide. Your slides should be more of a guide and outline that help the presenter deliver the webinar. Visually appealing slides will help pique your audience’s attention, so be sure to include any charts or graphs that can help get information across.
06. Assign roles
Depending on which webinar format you choose, the roles you’ll need to assign may vary. But, essentially, there are three primary players when creating a webinar:
Organizer: The organizer is the main individual responsible for the webinar. Typically, this person creates the content, promotes the event, gathers resources, finds speakers and communicates with attendees both before and after the webinar.
Presenter(s): The presenters are experts in their field, and have deep knowledge of the subject at hand. These are the individuals responsible for giving the presentation and conveying all the necessary information to the audience.
Assistants: Assistants are vital for resolving any technical difficulties and ensuring everything runs smoothly. They’re also available to help organize audience member questions and moderate the comments section.
Interviewer or moderator: While not all webinars will have an interviewer or moderator, these roles can also be extremely important. An interviewer would be the person responsible for asking the expert at hand questions, and a moderator would help guide the presentation and oversee that it runs smoothly.
07. Schedule your presentation
Now that your content is complete and roles are established, you can finally solidify the date and time of your webinar. Take into consideration where the majority of your audience lives, and go from there.
According to a study conducted by GoToWebinar, the best times to hold webinars vary depending on the topic. Personal finance and development webinars get the most attendees when held at 5pm. This makes sense because the subject matter is of a more personal nature, as opposed to work-related, and the time falls right after the workday. However, globally, the times that get the most number of registrations and attendees are 10am and 11am.
But on which day should you schedule your webinar? Turns out, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday see the highest number of both registrations and attendees, so go for one of those.
08. Promote your webinar
Before you go live with your webinar, you’ll need to create marketing assets to promote it. This ensures that you’ll have an audience - the ultimate reward for all your hard-earned work. Here are some ideas to help get the word out:
Send a newsletter: Email marketing campaigns are effective for reaching audience members who will be interested in your webinar. If you have an existing newsletter, this is the perfect place to market your upcoming presentation. You could even go the extra mile and offer an incentive to your subscribers, such asan early access pass to chat with the presenter or a discounted price. Also, don’t forget to send reminder emails to registered attendees the day before your webinar.
Add banners to your website: One of the best places to promote your webinar is on your website. Create a banner or a popup lightbox that adorns the top of your website so your visitors will immediately be greeted with information about your upcoming event.
Create a landing page: To promote an event, many people like to create a landing page. This can serve as a one-stop shop for logistical information about your webinar, from the time you’re streaming to the link they need to connect. To get started, you can check out these free landing page templates by Wix, or use this landing page builder.
Write a blog post: As an expert in your field, if you don’t have a blog covering your industry, it’s time to get one. Creating a blog allows you to show off your knowledge and become an authority in your industry others can learn from. It’s also fantastic for your website’s SEO capabilities. Once you set up your blog, write an article outlining the details of your webinar.
Share on social media: What better way to spread the word than through social media marketing? Share posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn to promote your webinar and reach new audiences. To expand your reach, you might consider using hashtags or investing in paid posts.
09. Perform a dry run
As your webinar date approaches, prepare yourself by rehearsing the entire webinar experience.
Performing a dry run will help you catch issues that are easily fixable and that may otherwise be glaring when you’re presenting in front of an audience.
Practice your script several times. This will allow you to spot inconsistencies, determine how much time to spend on each topic and more smoothly present your information to your audience.
This is also the time to test your equipment. Put your computer, software and any other equipment through its extreme paces. To make sure that your computer can handle it all, try running all the software you’ll be using on your computer at the same time. Then, switch between programs quickly. Open additional software and see if you can see if there’s any lag. If there are any issues, you may need to borrow a faster computer with more memory.
Think about every aspect of your presentation setup and test them each rigorously. Not only will this give you a working knowledge of how all pieces fit together, but it can also give you a chance to mitigate potential issues before you even start your webinar.
As you practice, have a friend or assistant watch your entire presentation online. They may catch errors that you overlooked.
10. Host your event
The time has finally come for your webinar to go live. On the day of, make sure you give yourself ample time to set up. Before you push the record or stream button, double check your script and slides to ensure they appear the way you prefer.
Once you’ve delivered your presentation and wrapped up the Q+A session, emphasize how viewers can contact you. Provide your company website, the contact information of your speakers and social media channels so attendees can get in touch.
Now that you’ve completed your webinar, it’s time to decide what you’re going to do with the recording. You worked hard on your presentation, so you’ll want to make sure it will be available online for years to come.
If you’re offering it for free, you can upload it to YouTube and embed it on your website. If you want to continue charging people, consider creating a special members area on your site and making the webinar available to paying members only.
If you begin to see questions about some of the topics you discussed, you could even go as far as creating another webinar or video, such as a live Q&A or even an online course for those hungry to know more.
Additionally, make sure to follow up with attendees, especially if the intention of your webinar was to make sales. Send a thank you email and ask for feedback. Advice from your audience can be helpful and give you insight into how you can improve for the next time.
Expert tips to ensure a flawless webinar
Know your audience
Whether you are doing B2C or B2B content marketing, you need to understand who your audience is and what their main pain points are. Understanding your target demographic and why they have decided to tune into your webinar will help you reach them better.
Remember that people have taken a significant amount of time out of their day to hear what you have to say. How can the topic you are speaking about help them with their job, business or future? Make sure they have the answers to these questions before the webinar is over.
Make it engaging
This point cannot be understated. Webinars rely on conveying information through a presentation, which can get boring if not done interactively. Instead of giving a lecture, keep the style conversational. Tell stories and give real world examples to relate to your listeners and get them excited about the topic at hand. Be enthusiastic and avoid talking too much, using extremely text heavy slides or coming across as preachy - you may start to lose your audience.
If it’s in keeping with the tone of your webinar, ask your audience a question every 3-5 minutes, or think of a creative way for them to contribute. This is an effective way to hold their attention.
Only share what’s useful
We can’t hone in on this point enough: your webinar needs to captivate your audience and hold their attention. Avoid droning on with unhelpful content and be sure to provide actionable tips and advice. If you’re holding an interview, find ways to bridge the gap between your guest and your audience. A great way to do this is to make sure you incorporate questions on what your audience can take away from the interview and apply to their everyday work or life.
Use high-quality slides and imagery
When creating a webinar, the visual components of your presentation are going to help keep your audience engaged. You want to avoid too much text and incorporate more graphs, charts and infographics. Keep your images on-brand, high quality and relevant to the text on the slide you’re speaking about. You can also use branded slide templates specific to your business to convey professionalism and elevate your visuals.
By Talia Cohen
Small Business Expert and Marketing Blogger
By Rebecca Strehlow
Marketing Expert and Blogger