PR Tips | How To Do a Webinar


What is a webinar?

The term "webinar" is somewhat self-explanatory: a web-based seminar. (Like "blog", which was derived from "web log".) Despite their somewhat easy to decode name, webinars are a little more difficult to understand and master.

Don't get me wrong though; webinars are great tools for many reasons. Similar to podcasts, a webinar feels a little more personal and can really get viewers involved in a dialogue with the webinar providers or with others who watched the webinar. The ability to interact back and forth is the real value of a webinar, whereas videos, webcasts, and podcasts are one way transfers of information. Even though webinars have this ability to be interactive, most times they are still one-way conversations.

Usually a webinar is comprised of some sort of workshop or lecture that is (at times) useful to the viewers. (Sometimes, as with a lot of content found on the Internet, webinars are completely useless.) To provide a useful webinar, think about your target audience and what it is they are interested in. Are they interested in learning how to write a press release, or how to avoid a public relations crisis? Share that information with them, if you know it. This is a great way to get others to ask questions, keeping the conversation alive and interesting.

Webinars involve some sort of audio, video, or presentation from powerpoint or other program, and is often used by companies to showcase the benefits of products and the problems that product can solve. I think the most value from a webinar can be the complete lack of advertising done therein. Rather than advertise a product, why not offer some useful content, tips, and advice to participants/viewers? You are sure to garner more followers, participants, and customers that way. Advertising will only work so well, and since we (consumers) are inundated with advertising day in and day out, we may not be prone to participate in a webinar about a product. Instead, offer a webinar on how to capture audiences and you may reach a wider array of customers (so long as your product is somewhat related).

Try to offer something valuable for free. This is a great way to instill trust, and shows customers that you are not simply there for their business. A webinar can be a great place to share information, tutorials, and create an interactive place for people interested in the topics related to you and your company.

If you'd rather not do a live webinar (which may detract from the value of the webinar, and in fact change the meaning of the word), you can prerecord the video and post it on your site for visitors to access. If you'd like to keep it open and more of a two-way conversation, try adding a forum to your site, and open a thread about the webinar.

Expand your blog or website and make it interactive, whatever process you feel is best for you and your company. People are happy to talk and give their opinions, and may be even more prone to doing so if they're asked for. The best way to get people to share their opinions is to ask for it; end a webinar with a question, open that forum, and make comments open on your blogs. You can choose to moderate all of the content that is added there, but it makes your blog inviting and open to others to participate, and that may make others happy to share your blog and get involved.

Tags: What is a Webinar?, How to do a Webinar, Utilizing Webinars

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