September 29, 2016
Determining the topic of your webinar may be the most difficult part of planning (other than finding a speaker!). The topic may come from your goal naturally (like a product demo), but in the case of an educational webinar, you may be staring at a blank page.
Note: Hold your ground
Others in the company may push you toward doing a product webinar as your first (or only type of) presentation. Don’t be afraid to push back if that doesn’t fit with your goal.
Once you have a list of topic ideas, start a webinar editorial calendar (because your first webinar will be so successful that your team will be clamoring for the next one!). Starting with quarterly webinars may be a great target for your team, and aiming for monthly after the process is going smoothly may be the end goal. Remember that, like blogging, consistency is important in establishing your company as one that is putting out thoughtful content regularly. Don’t just have one webinar and then say we’ll do another one when someone has a good idea—it won’t happen.
If you are having an external presenter who is experienced at giving webinars, there is no reason to do a formal dry run. Just ask the speaker to send you the slide deck so you can look over the content and make sure it will resonate with your audience.
If you are having internal speakers talk about a topic that they haven’t presented on previously, you’ll need a more in-depth process. Start with a content walkthrough two weeks prior the event in which your internal speaker has a rough outline (or slides) and can talk through the presentation.
One week out, do a dry run: Have the presenter give the webinar as if it’s the real thing using your webinar software. I’ve had times where the first dry run was really shaky and rough. Don’t panic—this is why you have a week. Schedule a second or third dry run until the presentation is as smooth as butter.
At the end of the day, make sure the topic and the content will be attractive to your personas and align with the goal you set for the webinar. If you aren’t sure, ask a customer to sit in on a dry run or send them the slides and ask their opinion.
About the author
Jessica Vionas-Singer was formerly the Senior Director of Client Success at SmartBug Media where she lead a team of SmartBugs who focus on HubSpot onboarding for clients new to the system and other project-based work, oversaw new employee onboarding, and rolled out new process and procedures within the Client Services department. She fell in love with marketing at her first job at a technology company specializing in credit evaluation software. Her background includes more than 20 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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