June 26, 2020 11:24 am Published by

Nickolai Tonna
Head of Project Management

Once COVID-19 pandemic had caused a globe wide lockdown there was a drastic increase in the numbers of firms and companies launching internal and external online events. I know that because our company was one of them. I also know that many of my enquiries to these virtual event and webinar platforms were either responded to weeks later or ignored entirely. This was a result of the large number of large corporates that were enquiring and being prioritised by these platforms for sales over us. As a smaller organisation this meant that my team and I were on our own and had to work out which webinar platform was best for us. Then after making our choice we also had to work out how best to make use of the platform through testing.

While this process wasn’t an easy one in the end it proved beneficial, as it tested our creativity, business acumen and organisational skills like we couldn’t have imagined. In the end our team successfully created a productised webinar package within a couple of weeks and began producing webinars for our clients. While we were choosing our webinar platform we looked around at what other organisations were doing with their webinars. To put it politely we weren’t overly impressed and in our minds we knew we could do better. Now that we’ve run a number of our own webinars I’m confident in saying we blew some of our competition out of the water with our offering.

So I’ve decided to put together the overarching ideas that led to our success and also highlight the pitfalls that an organisation new to the webinars can face.

A driving philosophy that we have in Cosmonauts for our events is that ‘Content is King’. We discovered that this is even more true for webinars. Poor content choice will kill your webinar before you get a chance to show off all of your platforms’ interactive features and all the meticulous planning that went into your agenda. If no one is there to see it it is a wasted exercise. Thought leadership in your content will ensure that those your webinar targets will remain engaged throughout and will want to come back for more. Avoid picking topics that are overdone or don’t match your target audience. Approach each discussion point with an exciting angle, for example we like to focus on what’s new in a given industry so many of our events have a theme of technology, best practice and innovation.

Now with a carefully selected topic that is sure to engage your attendees you now have to make sure that the webinar itself is engaging. Numerous platforms offer standard features such as polling or Q&As and it is extremely important that you make use of these so that you can hold the attention of your attendees. Interaction between your expert speakers and those coming to learn from them or debate issues will make or break the experience. If you’re running your webinars for business development purposes then offer popus & videos are also invaluable tools that most platforms provide. Throughout our testing we have found numerous interesting unique features across different platforms. Some will allow you to run lucky draws for prizes or allow participants to work together on a joint whiteboard etc… Making sure you pick the right tool for the job and then using those engagement features intelligently will result in a standout experience. It seems obvious to say but the amount of webinars I’ve watched recently where a single presenter is just going through slides, not engaging with viewers and boring the pants off the attendees is too numerous to count.

But even with those two things taken care of there is one step that you need to follow even if you are planning on running the most boring and drab webinar possible. Test everything. Test the reminder emails, test the webinar room, test the videos you want to play, test your speakers’ cameras and microphones. The last thing you want to be dealing with during a live session is technical issues. There is an inevitability when working with anything going out live that something will go wrong, so making sure as many elements as possible have been taken care of ahead of time will save you a lot of headache in the long run.

In my next blog post I’ll be giving my thoughts on which webinar platforms you should consider using so make sure to follow us to see that when it comes out!

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