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Webinars that work, a focus on audience retention. Our five top tips.  

As physical events are, for now, not an option, we’ve seen a rise in online events. There is no room for the traditional seminar or conference. Instead, we’re massing towards the webinar, which was already gaining popularity before the pandemic. Here at FDHQ, we’ve been supporting many clients with a wide range of online video solutions from relatively simple video presentations to full-on interactive webinars. In the process, we’ve learned a thing or two that we’d love to share with you so you can improve your online video and webinar content. In short, how to create webinars that work! 

Here are our five top tips.

Tip No 1: Not all video streaming platforms are equal

Our first tip for a good webinar that works is to shop around to find your perfect streaming platform. When it comes to streaming and online video meetings, there is a wide range of potential solutions. Microsoft Teams is quite popular, so is Zoom, especially if your co-worker are already onboard. Dedicated video hosting platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo offer live streaming options as well. These are good for reaching out to your external audience. Another option is to use a dedicated protected private video hosting server. When it comes to webinars that work, it pays to research the various options. 

Each of these platforms has their own pro’s and con’s. In our experience, it is best to determine the ideal solution by looking at two key aspects: first, which platform would your audience feel comfortable using and secondly, how secure do you want the connection to be. There are more factors to consider that might be specific to your situation, but do consider these two at least. 

Tip No 2: Focus on Audience Retention

Do you remember the golden days when you walked into a conference room with your cup of coffee or tea to listen to an engaging speaker passionately delivering his core message on a well lit stage. Brilliant, right? But there were also some less memorable talks on that stage. Talks that didn’t really engage well. Talks where you would sit there in your chair thinking that you could make better use of your time. In such a conference setting, it would be rather un-polite to stand up and walk away. Instead, you would endure to see if the next talk would be better.

When it comes to the webinars in an online environment, it’s a lot easier to stand up and in fact do make better use of your time. No-one will notice if you just get up and make yourself a cup of tea because the talk is less than interesting. That is actually the key point we’re trying to make here. In a webinar, it is much harder to retain your audience. When it comes to webinars that work, you must focus on content that keeps your audience interested. And please do not just assume that you’re content is great. Design and test your content on a few potential audience members and adjust the ‘flow’ where needed. Try and put yourself in your audience’s shoes, focus on their audience journey.

Tip No 3: Pre-Produced Content can save you

When it comes to Webinars that work, a key piece of insight is that not every single segment has to be live. Just as TV-Chefs often use the phrase: “Here’s one I prepared earlier”, you can make pre-recorded content part of your broadcast. These pre-recorded and pre-edited segments not only serve as a welcome change of scenery to freshen up and retain your audience, they also give you more control on the delivery of your core message. A pre-recorded segment allows multiple takes and in the editing process, the best one is selected. There is no pressure of being ‘live’ with the imminent fear that you might slip up. 

A great sub tip here is to take inspiration from news broadcasts for instance. Many news broadcasts have a central studio setting and reporters on site. Often, on-site reporters produce what they call a field-piece that is edited to be part of the original news broadcast. With this approach, you can pre-produce any type of content to support your narrative and message. 

Webinars that Work, enjoying a job well done
Film Division enjoying a job well done after a successful livestream

Tip No 4: Audio, Audio, Audio

Our fourth top tip for webinars that work has everything to do with audio. Many will initially focus on what will be seen on screen while planning a webinar. But all the effort you put in the visuals will go to waste if your audio is crappy. 

Whatever your plan is for your webinar, make sure your audio is crisp and clear. Please do not just rely on the onboard microphone of your laptop. At least invest in a decent pair of headphones with a microphone or buy a USB powered desk microphone. If you’re ready to outsource the technical aspects of a webinar, please do make sure your audio is covered well!

Our biggest tip here is to not leave anything to chance and do hire a professional to look at the audio/video set-up. It allows you to focus on the content and your connection with your audience. 

Tip No 5: Test, Test, Test

It might seem obvious, but always make sure you test your set-up and do a dry run of the whole event. Whether you’re managing the broadcast in-house or if you’re hiring a professional crew, such a full test cycle has multiple benefits. Let’s break the three most important ones down. 

First of all, you’ll be able to test the technical side of the broadcast including the all-important internet connection. If you find any issues, you’ll be in a great position to resolve them before you go live.

Secondly, a full run-through allows you to test and validate your own content. As a rule of thumb, we use 140 words per minute as a guideline and ideally work in segments of about three minutes. A good run-through forces you to critically assess whether your content fits the allocated time slots in the broadcast. A too long of a script is a pitfall for many.

And finally, doing a full run-through with a small audience of even two or three viewers helps you to get feedback to improve the content and flow of the broadcast. Especially if you’re not a professional broadcaster, it pays off to ask for constructive criticism to improve your content. In fact, whilst writing this blog I have asked for feedback on a certain paragraph or even sentence to make sure it is understood by the audience the way I want it to be understood.   

On to your webinar that works

These five tips might seem obvious, but in the last few months we’ve been asked these four tips quite often. It’s not easy to produce a good, vibrant and interesting webinar. We know and realise how intense it can be. Naturally, there is a fear of something going wrong while you’re ‘on-air’. But with a decent plan, a good crew, pre-produced content as a back-up and stable technology, we’re certain you’ll do well.

If you’re looking to create your own webinar or online video event and just want to have chat, feel free to get in touch. We’re here to help.      

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