There are lots of reasons to fit webinars into your marketing strategy (here are five), but to make them truly effective, you need to get the right people on board and set them up for success.
Industry experts, influencers, and successful customers can be wonderful additions to any webinar. They help secure attendees. They bring a fresh perspective to your content. They raise the bar of your presentation.
But just because they know all about your field or a topic doesn’t mean they know all about your webinar process. Like any guest, it’s important to treat them well, make them comfortable, and make sure they have a good time. And in the webinar world, that means prepping them thoroughly.
So to ensure a happy webinar guest and a killer online event, follow these six steps for webinar prep.
1. Talk Early and Often
Communication is key to being a good webinar host. Reach out to your guest early to set expectations for the preparat process. Walk them through how your platform works. If they plan on joining the webinar remotely, make sure they have all the equipment they need. Answer any questions they might have.
Get a download from them on past webinars or presentations they’ve contributed to. What did they like about them? What did they dislike? Touch base with them regularly to address any additional questions or concerns that may arise.
2. Discuss How Your Webinar Will Flow
Before you and your guest develop the presentation, it’s important that you both agree on the general outline of the webinar. Let them know what information you expect to cover, and what information you expect them to cover.
Discuss how you want to present on your topic. Do you want to switch off, back and forth? Do you want them to present the first half of the webinar, and you the second half? How much time will you each take? Are they willing to answer questions from attendees?
Building the bones of the presentation first will make your webinar more fluid and professional.
3. Share Your Slide Template
It’s not easy to keep an audience you can’t see (and who can’t see you) engaged for more than a few minutes. You’re up against chat, Facebook, and email—all tough competitors. And if you and your guest slap together wildly different slide formats into one deck, your attendees will tune out.
You must give your audience something engaging to look at. That means crafting image-heavy slides that follow the same format and color scheme. Share your slide template and best practices with your guest well before the webinar. If they’re struggling to pack all their information into your format, offer to help out.
4. Do Your Homework
A great way to make your guest feel special is to flatter them—and there are lots of opportunities to do it. The webinar invitation, reminder emails, landing page, and live introduction are all great places to explain who your guest is and why they’re awesome.
To do this well, you need to do your homework. Don’t just ask your guest for a standard bio. Do some of your own research into big projects they’ve worked on. Include links to their social media profiles along with fun details about them. Of course, make sure you have approval to feature these details publicly, but don’t be afraid to have a little fun.
5. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
A lot of us fear public speaking more than death. While you may not count yourself among that portion of the population, you have to admit that presenting to a large group of people is always a little scary, even if you’ve done it before.
The best way to combat this sometimes crippling fear? Practice. Finalize your presentation at least a week or two before the webinar, then run through the presentation a few times with your guest. The more you practice, the better your presentation will be.
6. Follow Up
So, you hosted an awesome webinar. A lot of people attended. You’re getting rave reviews. Your guest is happy. Think your work is done? Think again. If you want to secure an ongoing relationship with your expert guest, make sure to follow up. Send them some key performance statistics along with the recording of the webinar. Ask them to distribute the webinar to their own followers, friends, and colleagues. Get feedback from them on how they feel the webinar went and what they’d suggest for next time. If you keep the lines of communication open, this person could turn into a valuable advocate for your company and your content.
No one is born a webinar master. Being great takes practice, and preparing your guest the right way ensures a great webinar experience for you, your guest, and the attendees. And succeeding will make your guest feel really good—not only with themselves but also with you. Generally, it’s pretty handy to count industry experts among your friends. So put the time in now. Who knows what this new relationship could bring.