By Jessica Vionas-Singer

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When planning a webinar, the topic and content are the most important factors in attracting leads and establishing your company as a thought leader in the industry. Yet beyond that, two key factors play directly into the professionalism of your event as well as the attendees’ impression of the company. 

The first is the presentation ability of the speaker. (Side note: For an external speaker, make sure to ask for a video of a webinar or lecture they’ve already given. For an internal speaker, schedule several dry runs and consider sending your speaker to Toastmasters. Have them practice until it feels natural and under no circumstances allow the speaker to read a script.)

The second factor is the slides. Forgetting about the webinar slides until the last minute, leaving the webinar slides up to the presenter, and jamming as much text as possible onto each screen are all rookie mistakes that marketers will want to take care to avoid.

Here are 8 tips in developing slides for your next webinar.

 

1) Make sure you have the following slides:

  1. Title slide – Should include the webinar name, date, and the presenter’s name and title.
  2. Agenda slide – Include 4-6 main points.
  3. Content slides – For a moderate speaker during a 60-minute presentation, you’ll want 30-40 slides unless the speaker talks very fast or the slides are very brief, in which case you can have 60-90 slides.
  4. Conclusion slide – Pull it all together.
  5. Call-to-action slide – What do you want the audience to do next?
  6. Questions slide – How the audience can ask questions.

 

2) Put it in a template

For internal speakers, you can use your corporate template even if the content is educational (in this case, the template reinforces the authority of your internal speaker). If you don’t have a corporate template, consider purchasing a stylish one off of a site such as GraphicRiver. Don’t use a generic PowerPoint template, which simply says you don’t have enough time to care.

For external speakers, resist the temptation to put the presentation in your corporate template. If the template that the speaker uses has their corporate logo, leave it if it reinforces the authority of the speaker. (This is especially the case for partners, customers, and consultants or educational speakers who are well known in the industry.) If it does not help their credibility, consider using a neutral, non-branded template if the speaker is open to it. Allowing the presentation to be non-branded and purely educational (even though your company is hosting it) is more important for establishing your company as providers of helpful, useful content.

 

3) Remember less is more

I can’t tell you how many PowerPoint presentations I have seen that were 8pt text jammed onto each slide, packed into itty-bitty bullets mirroring exactly what the speaker said. Or worse still, charts that are shrunk down to fit until the text can’t be read.

A great comparison from JenThorson.com:

A good slide compared with a bad slide

Slides are simply there to reinforce the speaker’s main points. Think simple, easily understood.

Check out HubSpot’s blog post on “25 of the Best PowerPoint Presentation Examples Every Marketer Needs to See” to get inspiration for your next deck. Also read Seth Godin’s “Really Bad Powerpoint” post on how to make your presentations better.

But on that note…

 

4) Consider creating two presentations (Pro Tip)

The slides for a webinar should not be able to stand alone, that is, a person should not be able to pick them up and get the full value of the webinar from the slides alone. This is because the slides should not reflect the full content, but merely reinforce the speaker’s main points (see #3).

However, SlideShare may be a great sharing platform for your content and could expose your company to a new audience. Since SlideShare automatically imports the text from the slides into the presentation’s page on their site, the more keywords in the slides, the easier your presentation will be for people to find. Having a more “complete” stand-alone version of the slides will increase ability to be found in this channel.

As always, test and re-evaluate if the time and effort it takes to create two versions is worth it.

 

5) Ask if there are places in the presentation where a visual aid would help

Studies have shown that our brains process images much faster than text. When creating or reviewing slides, ask if there are places where a diagram, chart, or picture would help describe the process, steps, or point the speaker is making (just no cheesy clipart!).

Solar Installation Diagram
A great example of a process diagram from DASolar.com.

Some examples: If the speaker gives a real-life example, do you have a picture of the person who the story is about to include? If the speaker is explaining a particularly complex idea (or set of ideas), ask if you can break it down, visually, into several steps.

How would you diagram this for someone who didn’t understand the topic on the back of a napkin? What would the progression of that diagram look like as you explained it?

 


 

6) Don’t forget polls and videos

Today there are many options for interactive elements to webinars. Slides are a static piece of a puzzle that includes polls, videos, and live demonstrations. Some of these tactics can be embedded directly into the PowerPoint; others will need to be ready in their own window. For items such as polls or software demonstrations, it is often best to include a simple slide that says [Poll] or [Demonstration] to indicate to the audience (and speaker) that what is occurring next.

 

7) Schedule enough time for your graphic designer to “clean up” the slides

Having professional, polished slides is imperative to the credibility of your webinar. To that end, if you have a graphic designer on staff or retainer, make sure to schedule enough time for them to go through the presentation and polish it up (regardless if it’s an external or internal presentation). They don’t need to re-do the slides, but they should take a look for common issues such as corporate fonts, colors, alignment, etc.

If it’s absolutely not possible for your graphic designer to have a look (or you don’t have one), go through the slides with a fine-tooth comb for consistency. Check that the fonts, margins, heading sizes, colors, image location and size, etc. all match. Do your best to put your most professional foot forward.

 

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8) Upload the slides before the webinar begins (Pro Tip)

Many attendees appreciate having the slides to take notes on during the webinar. Prior to the webinar beginning, upload the slides to your website or HubSpot, and email or chat the link to attendees who want to print them out and take notes during the presentation. Beware: For ongoing webinar series, attendees will begin to expect this after you’ve done it once or twice.

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In terms of marketing tactics, webinars are unique in that they have both audio and visual components whereas most other inbound methods have just one or the other. A webinar without slides (or other visual) is really a podcast, and a presentation without audio is a just a slideshow. Make sure to give care to both components in your next webinar!

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Jessica Vionas-Singer

About the author

Jessica Vionas-Singer is a Marketing Strategist at SmartBug Media where she leads the strategy behind inbound and content marketing activities to help a portfolio of clients exceed their sales and marketing goals. She fell in love with marketing at her first job at a technology company specializing in credit evaluation software. Prior to joining SmartBug, Jessica was the Director of Marketing at a B2B company that built software for analyzing genetics. Her background includes more than 17 years of marketing experience in content creation and lead-driving tactics, online presence and blog creation, social media engagement, budgeting and project plans, webinar and trade show event management, public relations, comprehensive promotional campaigns, and analytics. Jessica has a BS in Sociology from Montana State University – Bozeman. Read more articles by Jessica Vionas-Singer.

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