Webinars are an essential tool in every marketer’s toolkit. In 2017, a study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) showed that nearly 60% of B2B marketers were using webinars as part of their content marketing strategy.
Since recruiting borrows from marketing, it’s no surprise that recruiters have also been turning to webinars to build their personal brands, to promote their businesses, to train their clients and teams, and of course, to creatively source and recruit talent.
The pandemic has made webinars and video conferences even more important. According to the webinar platform ClickMeeting, the number of online events on the platform has quadrupled since the coronavirus outbreak.
If you haven’t hosted a webinar yet, now’s your chance. In this post, we break down the essential steps you need to take to run a successful webinar to promote your recruitment efforts.
1. Set up a team
Webinars usually have one organizer, one or more presenters, and one or more assistants. Here are the roles each team member plays:
- The organizer or producer is responsible for coming up with the webinar topic, finding the presenter(s), promoting the webinar, and communicating with participants before and after the event. An “organizer” can be one person or an entire team. Teams are usually made up of a social media specialist, a copywriter, a graphic designer, and an operations or technology specialist.
- The presenter can be the subject matter expert who delivers the webinar or the moderator who interviews them. In addition to being engaging speakers, presenters also need to have a basic understanding of how the webinar platform works so that they can interact with the audience and troubleshoot as needed.
- The assistant makes sure that the webinar is running smoothly. They might greet the audience before the webinar begins as well as ask ice-breaking questions. They moderate the webinar chat, sharing timely links and answering questions. They help webinar registrants with technical difficulties and pass along their questions and comments to the presenter.
2. Choose a topic
“Webinars are not about selling,” Mike Agron, webinar demand generation expert and WebAttract co-founder told GoToWebinar. “They are about stimulating someone’s intellectual curiosity, teaching them something, and inspiring them to want to have a conversation.”
When trying to decide on a webinar topic, consider what your audience is interested in. Think about articles or LinkedIn posts you have written—did any of them receive lots of engagement? Are there questions people ask you again and again?
You can also seek inspiration from current affairs and discussions in the industry. What topics are trending on social media? What are newsletters like Recruiting Brainfood, TLNT, and ERE talking about? How can you contribute to the discussion?
3. Decide on a format
The topic you are covering will likely determine the best format for your online event. Here is a brief overview of different webinar formats.
- In single speaker webinars, one person speaks and then takes questions. This is the format marketing firm Convince and Convert recommends for small audiences.
- In interview-style webinars, the presenter asks a set of predefined questions to a subject matter expert. Research by the CMI in 2015 found the most successful B2B webinars are those with subject matter experts.
- In panel discussion webinars, a moderator guides a discussion among several speakers.
- In Q&A-style webinars, a subject matter expert takes questions from the audience. Organizers usually pick the questions to ensure the webinar stays on schedule and that questions are appropriate.
Most webinars include a Q&A segment at the end.
4. Create visually compelling content
Webinars work best when they rely on a combination of audio and visual elements, so make sure you have slides with compelling images. Keep written text to a minimum—no more than Steve Jobs’ rule of 40 words per slide.
You can also consider creating handouts to share with attendees prior to, during, or after the event.
If presenters are to appear on camera, make sure they have access to a good one, preferably one that isn’t built into their computer. Good lighting and sound are also essential.
5. Choose a webinar platform
The best webinar platform will depend on your specific needs. Features vary per platform, and the ones that are useful to you will depend on the type of webinar you’re putting together, the goals of the webinar, and the size of the audience.
Useful features include:
- Live chat
- File sharing
- Private chat
- Branded registration page
- Support for Zapier integrations
- Mute/unmute speakers
- Video participation for attendees
For an overview of the different webinar platforms and their different features, check out this article.
6. Pick a date and a time
When choosing a date and a time, consider where your target audience is based. If you’re speaking to a global audience, you may have to schedule more than one webinar to cover different time zones or make a recording available to those who can’t attend.
Also, consider what has worked for other people and companies. Experienced event planners know that Fridays and weekends are generally not suited for professional development and work-related events.
Statistics from online conference platform GoToWebinar show that webinars scheduled on Thursdays at 11 am PST/2:00 pm EST attract the largest number of registrants.
7. Promote your webinar
Spreading the word about your webinar is crucial. If possible, get help from your company’s marketing team to create professional-quality marketing materials and a landing page for your online event.
Make sure you include a photo and a short bio of the speaker and concise, powerful copy that communicates what attendees will gain from the webinar.
Share these materials with your email contacts and social media followers and post them on your website and blog. If your goal is to source talent, you can also pay to promote the webinar on LinkedIn as Oracle did.
Recruiters and recruiting agencies run webinars to strengthen their brands, to market their services, to train their teams, and to source passive candidates.
Putting together successful webinars takes research and planning, but it all begins with these simple steps:
- Get a team together.
- Choose a topic your audience cares about.
- Decide on the best format.
- Choose a platform.
- Pick a date and a time.
- Promote your webinar.
We’d love to hear from you: What are your tips for running successful webinars?