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What is a Webcast and How Does it Work?

April 2nd, 2024 Lauren Teneriello

A webcast, like a webinar, is the internet’s version of broadcasting. Think of it like this: a computer or other device such as a tablet or phone acts like a TV, and the webcast content is the equivalent of a television show — a show that you can interact with.

Webcasts are excellent choices for communications, such as seminars, major events, small-scale virtual trainings, product launches and more. Any presentation may benefit from being shared as a webcast.

Webcast vs. Webinar

Male smiling at laptop

There isn’t much difference between a webinar and a webcast. In fact, the term “webcast” (a combination of the words ‘web’ and ‘broadcast’) is interchangeable with the term “webinar” (a combination of the words ‘web’ and ‘seminar’). Webcasts are great options for companies that want to broadcast internal or external communications. 

Webcasts typically include interactive tools, high-definition video streaming, data-sharing integrations and more. Read on to learn more about how to produce high-quality webcasts. 

How Does a Webcast Work?

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Ready to set up your first webcast, but not quite sure how it all works? Good news: if you are familiar with webinars, you already have a leg up. Webinars and webcasts both require the same preparation. You’ll still need the usual suspects such as: a topic, an audience, an outline or script and a presentation deck. 

Key players involve at least one presenter and a producer who manages slides, ensures video clips are played at the right time and monitoring audience engagement and attendance. 

Once you have your preparation basics, you can move into the more technical aspects of setting up your webcast.

Key Features of a Successful Webcast

Man typing on laptop.

Just like webinars, webcasts require a high-quality webcast platform paired hardware you likely already have. Webcast hardware can include things like a microphone, a laptop or computer with access to high-speed internet and a camera (sometimes built into your device). 

The platform you choose to host your webcast on will synchronize all of the content you want to present, such as the slide deck, additional resources, CTAs and more, into viewable content for your audience. 

Remember to plot out your webcast presentation once you have sorted out your hardware and platform choice. It’s helpful to follow a regular outline that starts with a brief introduction, then answers a question or solves a problem the audience may have (or didn’t even know they had) and offers takeaways that the audience can apply on their own after the webcast concludes. 

Always remember to put your audience at the center of your content development strategy.

Engaging Your Audience Through Webcasts

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If the purpose of your webcast is mainly to deliver information, you can keep audience-presenter interactions to a minimum. For most webcasts, however, audience engagement is highly encouraged. Interactive elements can include Q&A sessions, polls and multimedia content like videos or content libraries. 

Whether the webcast is live or pre-recorded, always include tactics that help keep audience members attentive and involved. This way, they will be more likely to retain your content.

Selecting the Right Webcast Platform

webinar platform for you

There’s nothing worse than having connection issues when you’re in the middle of presenting. That’s why reliability is key when it comes to webcasts. When you’re attempting to reach thousands of people, you want to be sure that a reliable webcast platform is going to pull through no matter the day, time, data load or audience size. 

After all, scalability is why creators turn to webcasts. The right webcast platform will also allow for interactive tools to collect audience feedback. Analytics will include data as to how many users attended the webcast, and can collect first-party data insights, such as an attendee’s industry, contact information and additional engagement metrics, like if they watch the webcast live or on-demand or click on related resources and CTAs

Embracing the Power of Webcasts

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Webcasts are versatile and effective tools for reaching and engaging large audiences. With the proper tools and planning, your webcast can succeed and reach audiences worldwide.