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How Long Should I Spend Planning My Webinar?

August 29th, 2017 Carole Snitzer

Is it possible to deliver a webinar overnight? Of course! Sometimes you have to respond to events in real time, and webinars can be a great way to get that message out to a large, distributed audience. But unless you’re reacting to an emergency, we wouldn’t recommend rushing your webinars.

It takes time to plan and execute a successful marketing campaign, and webinars are no exception. At ON24, we like to give ourselves around eight weeks to bring a webinar from concept to event. That gives us plenty of time to brainstorm creative ideas for webinar content, connect with internal and external subject matter experts, and execute on our webinar promotional plan.

So, you might be wondering how to plan a webinar. If so, then you’ve come to the right place. At ON24, we’ve compiled a webinar planning checklist through our suggested eight weeks of webinar planning.

Let’s walk through those eight weeks:

Week 1: Planning

What are the goals for your webinar? What will the topic be? Who is on your webinar action team, and what are their responsibilities? By outlining all of these details early in the process, you will save yourself a lot of frustration and confusion closer to the live webinar, when the stakes are so much higher.

If you have a long-running webinar series or an established webinar program with a specialist team, you may have most of these details locked down already. Even so, it’s worth taking a few minutes to check in with your webinar team to make sure everyone’s still on the same page.

Week 2: Messaging

You’ve already nailed down the topic of your webinar. Now it’s time to hammer out the fine details – a webinar planning checklist that lists all the important parts is a good idea, so you can stay on top of what you need to do. Come up with a compelling title for the webinar. Sketch out the key benefits that will attract attendees to your event. Draft the webinar abstract. Pick the creative direction for the imagery you’ll be using in your landing page, promotional assets, and webinar console.

Again, if you have an established webinar series, you may already have this content. In that case, use this time to evaluate the things you’ve used in the past and see if there’s an opportunity to improve.

Week 3: Marketing deliverables

Before you do anything else, you need to have the key marketing assets in place. For most webinars, that includes the registration page, promotional emails, confirmation emails, display and banner ads, and a design for the webinar console.

Ideally, all these pieces should share a similar look and feel, including the messaging you developed the week before, so that people get a consistent, engaging experience from your webinar promotions.

Week 4: Infrastructure setup

Start building out your webinar console. If you’re planning to have a video presenter (and you should!), test your studio equipment or webcam setup. Make sure you’re using the correct tracking codes in all your marketing materials. Double-check your landing page and email flow. Test, test, and test again so there are no surprises on the big day.

Week 5: Launching external promotions

It’s time to launch that carefully orchestrated promotional plan. Your landing page should be live. Your display ads should be serving. Your first email should go out, to give people plenty of time to put your event on their calendars.

This is the week your webinar promotions start, but it’s not the only week to think about webinar promotions. Until the webinar goes live, you’ll want to monitor and tweak your promotional plan to make sure you get the highest registration and conversion possible.

Week 6: First dry run

Even if your presentation slides aren’t final, you should still have enough pieces in place to do a “dress rehearsal” for your webinar. Run through the whole webinar, beginning to end. If possible, execute your dry run in the same location and with the same equipment you’ll be using for the live webinar. This will give you a chance to catch any technical problems or correct any issues with the flow of your content while the stakes are low.

Week 7: Internal promotion

Turn your coworkers into an army of advocates for your event. Make sure they all have the link to the landing page and emails to share with their contacts. Arm them with tweets so they can promote the webinar on their own social channels. Encourage them to sign up and attend the webinar themselves.

Week 8: The big day

Get plenty of sleep and show up relaxed and ready to go. Get everyone in place at least 30 minutes prior to the event so you can do a final run-through and equipment test. If you’re presenting, keep a glass of water on hand and take a sip whenever you need it. If you’re helping out behind the scenes, make sure your team has an agreement in place for how to route attendee questions, push polls, monitor chats, and so on.

Most importantly, be yourself and have fun! Every webinar is an amazing opportunity to connect with people who really care about what you have to say. Just keep that in mind, and your event is sure to be a success.