How To Plan Your First Webinar: A Timeline
Are you ready to plan a webinar?
Whether you are running a webinar as a presentation, discussion, instructional session or a demonstration, you have the flexibility to deliver your content and interact with your audience in a variety of ways including: video conference, a PowerPoint presentation, a record and call-in event, desktop sharing, white boarding, instant polls, chats, and/or instant messaging. Proper planning can ensure your webinar is a success so follow this timeline to go through the process from start to finish, and ensure everything gets done in a timely manner. “A failure to plan is a plan to fail.” Poor planning leads to poor performance so make sure you give yourself adequate time to prep for the event.
8 weeks out: PLAN
First things first, what are you going to be talking about? You want to catch the attention of your target audience, leading them to register for your event. Pick a topic that can easily be delivered in a virtual setting, and if you are going with a topic that has been done before, how will your presentation be different? Picking a topic and headline that has awesome search potential is also key.
Once you have that figured out, set the date and time of your event. The best days are Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday (people tend to take extended weekends on Monday or Fridays). The best times are 10-11am PST (1-2pm EST) as it will neither be too early nor too late in the day for North American attendees.
Generally, there are 3 main roles in a webinar: the organizer, the presenter and the assistant(s). You will either want to assemble a team to help you run the webinar, or maybe you plan to fulfill all three roles yourself. It is not uncommon to go solo, however, we recommend hosting on your own only if you have experience hosting webinars and are presenting to a small audience.
Next, choose a tool for running the webinar. There are lots of web conferencing tools available. Take your time with this decision and give yourself enough time to review and research several different web conferencing platforms. (We like GoToWebinar!) Choosing one that has an option to record the event is good to keep in mind. About 50% of your registrants will not attend the webinar but would love to receive a copy of the recording.
6 weeks out: DESIGN
By now, you should have finalized the event topic, title, date, time and speaker(s), as well as the tool you will be using to run your webinar. It’s now time to create your content. Determine the content and outline of your presentation, then create your presentation in a slide-show presentation program. When designing your presentation, keep in mind how things will run on the day of the webinar. Using a program such as powerpoint will allow your participants to easily follow you by watching your slides flip by on their computers while you are speaking. Webinars use audio and visuals to get your message across to attendees so ensure both are engaging. Your slides should contain interesting visuals that illustrate the topic you are discussing.
During your presentation, if you need to reference a website, you can simply bring your browser into view, that way everyone can watch as you navigate your way to your point. You can also share documents or even share your entire desktop with the audience. The possibilities are endless!
4 weeks out: MARKET
Create the event and start thinking about the ways you are going to advertise your event. Different content will need to be created for different platforms so finalize how you are going to market and prepare everything to go out. Ideas to consider are: writing a blog for your website, scheduling social media posts, setting up a search engine ad campaign, including an “invite a friend” feature in your email invites, and using online event calendars.
Start your marketing by creating a compelling invitation that will catch the attention of your target audience. Your invitation should include an interesti