Margaret McGann

Host a webinar: share what you know & build your brand

In communications and marketing, personal branding, proofreading, public relations, research, social media, webinar, writing on May 31, 2010 at 7:05 am

With the phenomenal growth of the internet and explosion of social media, communicators and marketers can easily share their knowledge and build a personal brand as an expert in their field. One of the ways you can do both is by hosting a webinar. It’s low-cost and easy to do.  

A webinar is a virtual seminar that is usually an hour in length. Attendees can be anywhere in the world and will be able to see the materials as if they are sitting in their office. If they have a telephone and can access a computer, they can access the meeting. 

Here’s how to host a webinar:

  • Start preparations eight weeks in advance by developing a webinar plan and reserving the time and date with a conferencing vendor that can meet your needs.
  • Schedule your webinar when the greatest number of people can attend. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are best. Running your session in early afternoon means people from all times zones can attend.
  • Choose your topic.  
  • Write a script and prepare a PowerPoint for your webinar. Don’t use bullets in your PowerPoint – tell a story.
  • Promote your webinar through a link on your website, blog, emails, newsletters, and search engine ads.
  • One month in advance send a “save the date” email giving complete information such as the call-in number, web address of your webinar and how to register to all the people who should attend. Follow up with a reminder one week ahead of time. Send a reminder the day before. And remember that word-of-mouth is key, so include an “invite-a-colleague” in all interactions with potential attendees.
  • Automate the registration process as much as possible and make sure every registration is sent a “thanks for registering” email.
  • Do a run through the day before to make sure everything runs smoothly. Do not skip this step. Have a couple of people who will be participating sign on and ask questions. Familiarize yourself with the controls, and troubleshoot any points with the conference company before the main event.
  • The day of the event the speaker and moderator should be ready to go 15 minutes ahead of time – using a landline with a headset and having a hard copy of their presentation in front of them.
  • Respect the time of attendees by starting and ending the conference on time.
  • Share the information with your participants, but stay focused.
  • Take charge of the question-and-answer period by answering questions quickly and concisely. Discourage questions that are off-topic telling participants that you can correspond with them after the webinar.
  • Conduct a poll at the end of your session to learn more about your audience and what they care about.
  • End your webinar by thanking all who came for their time.
  • Record the session and make it available on your website or blog.
  • Send each attendee a “thank you” and non-attendees a “sorry, we missed you” email with a link to the recorded webinar.

Like everything else the more webinars you host the easier it gets. By hosting regular webinars and posting them on your website or blog you create a portfolio that showcases your expertise and builds your personal brand.   

Do you have any helpful tips or pointers you think should be added?

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