If you want to learn how to plan a webinar, you've come to the right place!
Webinars are very effective marketing tools that enjoy high conversion rates (55% average), but they do have a lot of moving parts that need to be carefully orchestrated in the right sequence.
In this article, you’ll find an efficient methodology for planning your webinar so that it goes without a hitch, even if this is your first time.
Disclosure: Although I receive affiliate compensation at no additional cost to you to support this site that compensation in no way influences my recommendations, which are strictly informed by my 10+ years of online business experience consulting for clients large and small. My aim is to always recommend tools that offer the best return for your investment (for more details, read my Affiliate Disclosure).
What Are the Steps to Plan a Webinar?
1. Define your webinar format
In order to plan your webinar, the first thing you need to do is to define the format.
You could opt for:
- A narrated slideshow presentation
- A “talking head” presentation
- A hybrid of both
- A panel discussion
A narrated presentation is the most popular format for people who are creating their first webinar, and it’s also the most cost-effective. The talking head format is more apt for those with prior on-camera experience, especially those with a recognizable brand.
The hybrid model works well for product demonstrations, where you display a computer monitor with your talking head over imposed in one of the corners, away from the focus area.
Finally, a panel presentation allows multiple hosts to engage in discussion but it requires multiple webcams and fairly complex production work to pull it off.
2. Outline your webinar structure
Once you’ve decided on your format, your next step in your plan is to create the webinar structure.
Your webinar structure must have, at a minimum, the following components:
- Webinar introduction, including house rules
- Host introduction
- Slideshow presentation
- Presentation intro
- Slideshow body
- Offer (e.g. booking a demo, consultation, or the sale of a product at a great discount, only available to webinar attendees)
- End of offer, followed by thanking your audience and closing the webcast
3. Create your webinar slide presentation
Next, it’s time to create your webinar slide presentation. You can use a number of tools for this step, the most popular being Google Slides, LibreOffice and PowerPoint.
Your slides need to contain text with a large font, few words, and preferably organized as bulleted or numbered lists.
Try to stay away from paragraphs or sentences that go over two lines. A single line per bullet is ideal.
You need to use your slides strategically as guideposts for your narration. Never read off the slides word-by-word as if they were a teleprompter.
4. Plan your webinar script
Your script needs to contain the words in your narration. Now, if you’re fairly new at public speaking (and assuming you’re not on camera during the slide show), you’ll probably find it easier to write your entire script and read it off camera.
This path will be the easiest to follow because you won’t need to do any heavy memorization, but make sure you write your text in a way that sounds like you’re speaking.
Think about your favorite late-night talk-show monologue — even though it sounds like the host is speaking naturally, every single word is pre-written on cue cards.
If you’re more experienced and extremely knowledgeable about your subject, then you can create a simpler script with just bullet points about the different areas you’ll be talking about and then improvise based on your knowledge.
This is the more likely approach you’ll use if you choose the “talking head” format.
If you’re giving a product demo using the hybrid format, then you won’t need a script. However, you’ll need to create a document mapping the flow of different menus you’ll be demonstrating, and you have to have deep knowledge about your product use cases and navigation.
5. Decide if your webinar will be live or pre-recorded
Now, you need to decide if you’ll be offering your webinar to a live audience or pre-record it to offer it through an evergreen platform, where viewers can schedule a time that suits them in their own time zone.
6. Choose your webinar software
Now, it’s time to choose your webinar software. There are a number of popular, safe and reliable systems out there to choose from based on your budget, features you need, the number of attendees and the length of your webinar.
Here you’ll find the most popular webinar software on the market, ranked and reviewed.
7. Plan your webinar equipment
Although you could technically use your laptop, tablet or phone to deliver your webinar, your final product will never look as professional without an external microphone, an HD webcam and a good pair of headphones.
Read this article to find our recommendations for the best equipment for webinar presenters.
8. Set up your webinar tool
Next, you have to set up your webinar software. This process involves:
- Creating a registration form
- Writing reminder and follow-up emails
- Creating a landing page that leads to the registration page
- Uploading your slideshow presentation
- Creating polls and surveys and any close-ended questions to keep your audience engaged throughout the presentation
- Uploading any digital documents to offer your viewers for their participation
If you choose the evergreen format, then you’ll also have to upload your pre-recorded webinar.
9. Rehearse your webinar several times
Now, it’s time to practice, practice, practice. The more times you rehearse, especially if this is your first webinar, the more polished your presentation will look.
At first, just practice on your own and record your screen so you can watch yourself for self-feedback. Don’t worry about the low quality of the screen recording.
Don’t worry if you don’t do a good job the first time around. It may take you several tries before you get confident with the webinar format.
Once you get your delivery where you want it, then present to one or several colleagues via Zoom, Google Meet or equivalent to get their feedback.
10. Promote your webinar
Last but not least, make sure you allow sufficient time to promote your webinar well in advance of the official launch.
Enlist the help of your extended network to spread the word, leverage your social media channels, email your list and ask your network to email theirs, blog about it, and if you have the budget, do some low-cost online advertising.