6 Tips for Hosting Your First Webinar

By Kate McFarlin
I have more than 15 years experience as a freelance writer. My articles have been published on USAToday, the Houston Chronicle and several other sites. Kate blogs via Contently.com.

Are you ready to get into the exciting world of webinars? Before you get started, there are a few things that you need to know to help ensure that your first webinar goes off without a hitch.

Preparation is the key when it comes to conducting your first webinar. By taking the time to take care of a few essentials ahead of time, you can reduce beginner’s stress and make sure that your final product is polished and professional.

1. Give Yourself Enough Promotional Lead Time.
You’ll need some time to attract an audience to your webinar. The industry-recommended standard is about two to three weeks. Any longer than that, and you’ll run the risk of having participants forget about the event. Any shorter and you may not be able to attract a large enough audience.

2. Do a Few Run Throughs of Your Webinar Content on Your Own.
This step is important for two reasons. First, you’ll be building confidence in your skills as a presenter. Second, you’ll be able to spot any weak points or potential problems in your webinar before you go live in front of an audience.

3. Test Your Equipment The Day of Your Webinar.
You’ll need a microphone for your webinar and if you’ll be doing live video, a webcam. Do a quick equipment test a few hours in advance to make sure everything is operational. This will give you enough time if you should have to replace anything.

4. Send out Reminders to Registered Participants.
Email your participant list a few days before and the day of your webinar to remind them. Make sure to include the time zone you’re in to avoid any confusion. You can also utilize services like Twitter and Facebook to help remind your audience.

5. Always Remember to Smile.
It’s all too common to feel stressed out before and during your webinar. By preparing you’ll be able to lessen that stress, and always remember to smile. Your audience will feel more relaxed and more engaged, and they will feel more engaged with the content you are presenting.

6. Utilize Interactive Elements.
An involved audience is an engaged audience. Remember to include polls and other interactive elements in your webinar. This helps you as a presenter by taking some of the burden off of you, and it helps your audience to feel as though you care about their opinions.

We all have to start somewhere, and while your first webinar may take some time and effort, the process will get easier and before you know it, you’ll be a pro!

First Time Producing a Webinar?

Producing a webinar for the very first time can be a bit scary. You are excited to have discovered a way to broadcast for free (using AnyMeeting) but you want to make sure you are executing this task correctly. A lot of pressure goes into creating a live webinar. Will anyone actually show up? Will you effectively get your message across? All I can say is: plan, plan, plan!

Free Web Conferencing and Free Webinar ServiceCreate a solid theme and topic that will be interesting to attendees, and drive the message home. Promote the event correctly, and invite others to attend in an appealing manner. Another AnyMeeting blog post provided great tips on how to promote your webinar on a tight budget—I suggest you read that article if you have not already.

Search Influence.com, a website promotion company, created a blog along these lines. The author generated a short list for marketers new to webinar conducting called “My First Marketing Webinar.” After receiving the task of having to broadcast a marketing webinar for their online marketing service, the author’s mind began to race. According to the blog, success was found in not only starting with a solid topic, but developing a “Webinar Wish List.” This list assists in brainstorming to make sure that important Powerpoint slides, polls, and such are included in the presentation.

I think that this is a great place to start! Organization is KEY. Even if you believe that your message is simple and clear. Clearing your mind with a good brainstorming session will ensure that all aspects are covered the best way possible. The next tip is to research marketing and webinar platforms. I suggest researching before you start any project, and this is a great way to learn about new and innovative sites like AnyMeeting!

Some other helpful tips include creating webinar outlines promoting, and testing. Testing and practicing are extremely important – I think a lot of people forget or do not leave time to do so.

So don’t panic – webinars are fun when you think outside of the box and involve your audience. The attendees will most likely want to participate, and this is a great way to network, rather than just talking at the crowd.


My First Marketing Webinar, SearchInfluence.com.