At this point, we’ve all attended webinars and virtual meetings thanks to COVID. You’re probably feeling comfortable at connecting on Zoom and answering poll questions and muting your mic. Webinars have become an irreplaceable part of the communications mix for most organizations in today’s world. Their value is not only in reducing or replacing the need for travel, but also in reaching audiences with content , creating and maintaining close communication with employees, partners, and customers. For those of you who have become the webinar “organizers” in your company, you’ve probably found yourself in circumstances saddled with way more behind the scenes preparation than you initially considered.
As the webinar “event planner,” you’re the plate-twirler, cat herder, and glue that holds together the project. Whether you’re brand new to webinars or you’ve already rolled up your sleeves, we want to share some essential questions you’ve got to be the master “answer finder” for.
In this post we’re going beyond product features to get to the insights you need to be the trusted advisor and master virtual event planner.
Below you’ll find a resource list you’ll find it useful to keep handy.
Plan and Schedule
Who are the right members of the “webinar team?”
The three critical roles and three optional support roles:
What’s the best day of the week and time of day for this webinar?
What is the duration of the webinar?
Will this webinar (or one very similar) be offered in the future?
What Web Platform best fits this webinar? Zoom, ON24, WebEx, Etc. (Think about size of audience, interactions, and content)
Telephone, VoIP (voice over internet protocol), or both?
Open audio lines or “listen only?”
Which fields should be required on the registration page?
·When should we schedule the reminder emails to go out?
Where should we redirect registrants after they’ve registered?
What additional questions, if any, should be asked on the registration page?
Which features should be turned on/off?
Is the “What’s In It For Me” clear in the registration copy?
Is there a social media hashtag that should be included?
When do invitations need to be sent?
Will they be sent more than once?
Should we monitor response rates?
Do we need a separate “room” for a walk-through/rehearsal?
What is the essential information each role/participant needs to succeed?
Is each participant in the same environment as they’ll be in for the live event?
If not, what is the plan to help them test everything?
How will Q&A be handled?
Will the PowerPoint be available to participants afterward?
When the webinar is done, will there be a de-brief session?
Present and Wrap Up
How soon before the webinar start time will we log in? (We recommend at least 30 minutes prior)
What late-breaking changes should we accommodate, if any?
What does everyone need to know to respond appropriately?
Were there any unanswered questions or other promises that need follow-up action?
Will we be sending out a follow up email with the recording?
Where will the recording be hosted on the platform or somewhere else?
The bottom line
Any "master plan" risks one of two extremes. On one end it's too simplistic -- so high level that it doesn't adequately guide. On the other, it's a pursuit of the impossibility of documenting everything to the click. Remember, just the user guide for any given webinar or virtual event platform would be hundreds of pages -- how much more would it take to have a master guide that includes your own processes (let alone if you included how your virtual or hybrid event program intersects with other systems such as CRM). The above can't possibly cover everything, but it is the voice of experience on the important things. Take it and run with it!