How to Create a Webinar: The Complete Guide
This post was last updated on March 23, 2020.
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 pathways 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 your subject and research it
Determine your webinar format and tools
Gather your equipment
Develop content for your webinar
Promote your webinar
Perform a dry run
Host your webinar
01. Pick your subject and research it
No matter how much you already know about your chosen subject, it’s smart to research the latest information your industry has to offer so your webinar is relevant and fresh. A good place to start is by researching 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.
This is also the point to set a tentative date and time for your webinar. Try to stick to it, but don’t share it with your audience just yet. The process of creating your content may end up taking longer than you anticipate, and it’s better to delay your webinar than go ahead with it unprepared.
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. If you’re creating a website on Wix, you can limit site pages to paying members using the Paid Plans app.
02. Determine your webinar format and tools
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? Will it be a live stream, or will it be pre-recorded? Will it be a short, single session webinar, or a multi-session course with a few separate speakers? Will it be a general overview or an in-depth how-to? These are the questions you should ask yourself to find what will be most interesting and valuable for your online audience.
While a few types of webinar formats were mentioned above, here’s a list of options that could be right for you:
Live audience Q&A
Workshop or tutorial
Industry news discussion
Don’t worry if your plans deviate from a traditional webinar. As long as you’re providing valuable information to your audience in a way they can understand, you’re doing it right.
It’s also very important to invest an ample amount of time researching the platform that you will use to host your webinar. Your needs will most likely determine the best platform to use.
If you want an all-in-one solution, you can live stream in Wix Video, allowing you to engage with your audience real-time directly from your professional website. You can also use paid platforms like Demio, GoToWebinar, or Zoom, as well as YouTube for a simple but free live streaming option.
03. Gather your equipment
At this point in creating your webinar, you’ll need to get the physical equipment that will be used. And please, for the love of webinars, don’t use the webcam or microphone that’s built into your laptop.
Here’s a very basic list of the things you’re going to need to host a successful webinar:
A capable computer: While it shouldn’t be too intensive to host your own webinar, make sure that the computer you’re using can handle running multiple heavy applications at the same time (no, having 40 browser tabs open at one time doesn’t count as a test). The last thing you need is to have your computer 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.
Webcam or camera: Depending on your webinar format, you have a few different options for the type of cameras 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 best quality camera you can.
Microphone: Whether you're teaching online or presenting your latest findings, it’s essential that your words come across clearly. Much of this will depend on how you articulate your words, but a bad microphone can make even a clear voice a muffled mess. Invest in a USB microphone that’s compatible with your webinar software. The Blue Yeti microphone is popular with podcasters and should be more than enough to make sure your voice is clear during your webinar. Lastly, in order to make the content of your webinar fully accessible, consider adding video captions to a pre-recorded session.
Screen recording or sharing software (optional) - Make sure you have all the required software to share your screen during the session. With Wix, you can easily set up the Live Stream Encoder in order to connect your computer’s camera to the stream.
04. Develop content for your webinar
It’s time to start building the substance of your presentation. Here are some essential pieces of content that will be your go-tos in how you create your webinar:
Script: 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, but writing it out will help you structure how you present to your audience. Make sure to leave some wiggle room for deviations and on-topic tangents, as your audience may appreciate these additional insights.
Slides: You have several options for creating slides, including Microsoft PowerPoint, Keynote for Mac, and Google Slides. Be sure to include fun facts about the industry, interesting stats, and charts. Visually appealing slides will help pique your audience’s attention, so also explore high-quality media features, vector art and other design assets to get your message across. After you’ve created your slides, you can essentially create a storyboard, pairing them with the script so you can see how your webinar is going to be.
Marketing assets: Before you go live with your webinar, you’re going to want to promote it. This is the time to write and design your newsletter, create banners to put on your website, announce your webinar with unique social posts, and maybe even make a dedicated landing page. At this point, you have most of the hard work behind you!
05. Promote your webinar
The journey of creating a webinar is a long one, but you’re so close to the finish line. After your content has been created, it’s time to start telling people about it to make them as excited for it as you are. Check out some of the ways you can spread the word about your webinar below:
Send a newsletter: Email marketing is an effective tool for bringing the right audience to your webinar. If you have an existing newsletter and people have subscribed through your website, it’s now time to send them a note! You could even go the extra mile and offer up some sort of incentive to your new or existing subscribers, like an early access pass to chat with the presenter or even a discounted price if you’re charging for it.
Update your website with banners: One of the best places to promote your webinar is your personal website, and the best part is that you can do so as much as you want. 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.
Write a blog post promoting your webinar: As an expert in your field, if you don’t have a blog covering your industry, it’s time to get one. Not only does a blog let you show off your knowledge and become an authority in your industry others can learn from, but it’s also fantastic for SEO (search engine optimization). Once you set up your blog, write a blog post detailing what readers can expect for your upcoming webinar.
Share on social media: What better way to spread the word than through social media marketing? Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or something else, there are people with similar interests who will surely be excited to get details about your webinar. You could even expand your reach by throwing in a few hashtags so that people can easily find you.
06. Perform a dry run
As your webinar date approaches, get prepared by rehearsing the entire webinar experience.
One of the best parts of performing a dry run is that you can catch issues that are easily fixable that may otherwise be glaring when you’re finally doing the real webinar in front of an audience.
Practice your script by saying it out loud - 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 system. By that, we mean putting your computer, software, and any other equipment through its extreme paces. For example, you could run all the software you’ll be using on your computer at the same time, and then switch between programs quickly. Open additional software and start using it to see if you can begin to see lag from your computer.
Think about all of the things you may need to do with your setup and test it rigorously. Not only will this give you a working knowledge of how all of these pieces fit together, but it can also give you a chance to mitigate potential issues before you even start your webinar.
If you can, do a trial run by getting a friend or assistant to watch your entire presentation online. You could even go as far as creating a private webinar through the Member’s Area, with only your assistant viewing so they can take notes for you. Ultimately, there will be things they catch that either you overlook or that only an audience member would notice.
07. Host your webinar
The time has finally come for your webinar to go live. Before you push the record or stream button, double check all your notes, your script, and anything else that may help you get prepared. When the time comes, hit the button and break a leg.
At the end of your webinar, make sure that you plug the ways that viewers can find you. This includes your web address and social media channels. When you’re finished, take a bow (maybe not a real one), and end the webinar.
Congratulations, you did it!
Wait, there’s more? You bet there is!
Now that you’ve completed your webinar, it’s time to decide what you’re going to do with it. Your webinar could be the right online business idea for you. If you decide to charge for the webinar, you have little else to do but continue to promote it. However, if you’re offering it for free, be sure to post a recording of the webinar on your YouTube channel, as well as embed the video on your website.
Later on, if you begin to see questions about some of the topics you discussed during your webinar, you could even go as far as creating another video, such as a live Q&A or a full-on online course, for those hungry to know more.
By Blake Stimac
Wix Blog Writer