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What Is a Webinar and How Do You Create One?

A webinar is an engaging online event where a speaker, or small group of speakers, deliver a presentation to a large audience who participate by submitting questions, responding to polls and using other available interactive tools.

What Do Webinars Do?

We all know webinars are one of the most indispensable tools available to a marketer. But what is a webinar and how does a webinar work? There’s a lot going on behind the scenes of even the most basic webinar software. And, when it comes to a world-class solution like the ON24 platform, we rely on some of the best talent in the biz to make the experience of setting up and delivering a webinar seamless for you.

Webinars are different from meeting tools, which are designed to let small groups meet and collaborate in real-time. They’re also different from traditional streaming media like videos, which don’t give the audience any way to engage with the content.

Even the most bare-bones webinar has separate streams for slides and audio. But most modern webinars go far beyond that, with slides, presenter video, integrated social media and live attendee feedback in the form of questions, polls, idea storming and more. So what are the most important factors of webinar technology? Let’s take a look:

Getting The Most From Your Webinar Software

Webinars are a digital channel that connects brands and attendees in a fun, interactive and convenient manner. Because of its digital nature, webinars also provide brands with opportunities to get a better understanding of its audience through data collected by engagement tools, the webinar platform itself and feedback from attendees. The best webinar platforms makes accessing and understanding this data simple — whether through platform integrations or built-in analytics.

A Tool For Marketers

Webinars put both the brand and the attendee in control. Attendees can adjust and minimize windows on mobile and desktop websites, attend live or on-demand event, interact with polls, surveys and chats and generally interact with webinar software without downloading applications or having to meet software requirements. Likewise, brands and presenters can customize consoles for a unified customer experience, respond to questions, adjust content on the fly and see how audiences engage content in real-time.

Webinar Basics

How to Create a Webinar

To produce the best webinar experience possible, follow these five basic steps:

1. Define your audience.
2. Brainstorm relevant topics.
3. Create content — from slides to scripts — for your presentation.
4. Practice your material and present.
5. Analyze webinar success and failures.

Go in-depth and join us for “Anatomy of an Awesome Webinar.”

How to Prepare Webinar Content

The first step to preparing any webinar content is to understand the audience you’re trying to reach. Are they early in the buying cycle? About to close? Are they already customers? If so, are they looking for educational content? Thought leadership? Once you have a good idea of who you’re trying to reach you can start to prepare your content.

Webinar content should be designed to keep a conversation going. Presentation slides should be light and easy to read. Presenters, too, should be the centerpiece and set the pace of the event. Finally, create opportunities for audience members to ask questions and participate in the webcast. Webinar content works best when it invites conversation.

Is a Webinar Always Live?

No! Webinars can be live, simulive or on-demand. Each version has its own benefits to consider.

Live webinars allow you to engage your audience in real-time and get instant analytics on that behavior. Simulive webinars let you record a webinar in advance and engage your audience in real-time — often through Q&A chat features — during the pre-recorded presentation. You can even roll-over to a live presentation from simulive for further interaction and engagement.

On-demand webinars can be live-turned-on-demand events and pre-recorded on-demand webinars. Using on-demand gives your audience flexibility in terms of when they consume your content. It also provides you, the presenter, with more flexibility on providing a more polished experience.

ON24 Webinar Benchmarks 2022

When Is the Best Time To Begin Promoting Your Webinars?

Most audience registration occured close to the webinar launch. In fact, 66% of audiences registered either 1-7 days before the event (46%) or the day of the event itself (20%).

What is the Average Registration to Attendee Conversion Rate?

Overall 55% of webinar registrants converted into an attendee. Of registrants, 35% converted through live webinar attendees and 24% converted through on-demand attendees

What’s the Best Day to Send Promotional Emails?

Tuesday is the best day to send promotional emails for webinars by a slim one-point margin, followed closely by Wednesday and Thursday.

What’s the Best Day for Webinar Attendance?

Thursday is the most popular day to attend a webinar by a one-point margin. Wednesday and Tuesday are also popular days to attend webinars.

What’s the Best Time to Hold a Webinar?

Traditionally, we have recommended you host an event mid-morning and early afternoon (11 a.m. or 2 p.m., for example).

Learn More Essential Webinar Statistics

Download the ON24 2022 Webinar Benchmarks Report Special Edition and get a high-level look at the best practices that make webinars great.

Download Now!

How Webinars Work - For Presenters

Before the Webinar

Webinars have a lot of moving parts, so preparation is essential. Once you have a topic and an audience in mind, outline a presentation and draft slides. As you build your deck, look for opportunities to drive audience engagement, whether through polls, surveys or Q&A.

With your finished deck, schedule a practice session including anyone involved in the webinar — from presenters to producers and guests. Practicing identifies weak points and lets you adjust for better flow.

During the Webinar

Start your webinars by guiding attendees through both the webinar console and the engagement tools included in the event. This way, attendees know how to interact with your event should they want to when prompted.

During your event, run through your presentation as you normally would, highlighting engagement opportunities (e.g., polls, surveys) as they arrive. If you’re running a Q&A session, your producer should select and prepare questions for the presenter to respond to.

After the Webinar

Turn your live event into an on-demand webinar and email a link to your registrants and attendees within 48-hours of the event ending. Then, get creative.

With on-demand webinars, your engagement potential is always on. Reuse your webinar content for various campaigns and initiatives. Re-record your opening for a specific account or place your webinar in an Engagement Hub as a binge-able resource. You can also use simu-live to deliver prerecorded live experiences.

How Webinars Work - For Attendees

Before the Webinar

As a webinar attendee, all you need to do is fill out a form to register for an event. Once registered, you should get an email with the details of an event, including a calendar invite.
Place the event on your work calendar and, on the day of the event, click the link to log in. Then, it’s just a matter of adjusting console windows as you see fit.

During the Webinar

During the webinar, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with the host through engagement tools like Q&A, polls, surveys, certificates and downloadable resources. To access, or hide, these tools, simply click on the corresponding icon on the bottom row of the webinar console.
Other than that, sit back, relax and enjoy!

After the Webinar

After the webinar ends, you should receive an email within a day or so linking you to the on-demand version. Simply click the link to enter the webinar.

This edition of the webinar will have all of the same features as the live version of the event, plus a scrubbing tool under the media player tool. This allows you to fast-forward or revisit areas of the event you’d like to hear again.