Planning your webinar calendar for the new year? So are we. These 'Best Practice' tips might help us both.


It can’t have escaped the attention of anyone on our mailing list that Orchid Systems have had a big focus on webinars over the past couple of years. Our Webinar Wednesday series has now covered close to 50 different topics in 30 months.

As the new year of kicks off we’ve started thinking about our webinar calendar for 2020, in terms of both new topics and fresh approaches.

It’s likely that many of our partners who use webinars to engage with their own customers, or are contemplating doing so, will be going through a similar process. With that in mind, we decided it could be worth sharing some of the thoughts below.

While webinars give us the chance to interact with our audience in real time, they also drive us to regularly produce fresh video content, which we make available for on-demand viewing. Virtually all of the tips below apply as much to the production of on-demand videos as they do to live webinars.

Five 'Best Practices' from BrightTALK

What better way to kick-start our thinking about webinars than by watching a webinar on the topic?

And who better to turn to than BrightTALK, whose editorial team plans and hosts thousands of webinars each year?

Last week Nick Markwith, BrightTALK’s Director of Communities, presented his 5 Best Practices to Transform your Webinar Editorial Calendar. We’ve listed the 5 best practice headings below, together with some of the observations we found most relevant to us. This is just our subjective summary. If you watch the entire recording you may well find other tips that resonate with you.

1. Understand your audience as humans

BrightTALK surveyed their own audience to come up with the findings below. Your own audience is probably quite different, but some of their observations could still be of interest:

  • A high percentage of professionals spend several hours a week doing research. This includes reading as well as watching videos and attending webinars.
  • The more senior they are, the more time they spend on that research.
  • Unsurprisingly perhaps, BrightTALK subscribers like videos and webinars! 48% watch them weekly. 
  • Top reasons for watching webinars were ‘keeping up to date with what's happening in their industry’, and ‘acquiring new knowledge or skills’.

2. Provide actionable insights & inspiration

BrightTALK asked their audience what they most valued when it comes to webinar content. The top answers included:

  • Tips, Tricks and Best Practice
  • "How To” and “101” type explanations
  • Solution case studies.

3. Diversify your webinar formats

While many webinars are essentially a PowerPoint presentation with a voice-over, they can be much more than that:

  • They might include panel discussions, roundtables, or interviews with subject matter experts and thought leaders.
  • You should consider a range of content types to accommodate different audiences, from intro-level product overviews to technical deep-dives.

4. Create content at a consistent cadence

  • Publish regularly, consistently and predictably
  • Consider episodic content that encourages people to come back for more
  • Provide "actionable insights" about solving pain points, rather than just a hard sell.

5. Be authentic and human

That word "human" again, in case you’ve already forgotten Point 1!

  • Don't over-manufacture your presentations or be obsessed with achieving perfection.
  • Make them feel like natural conversations.
  • Don't overload them with too much copy.
  • People want to see "How did you help someone else solve the same problems I've had?”
  • Make sure webinar titles & abstracts accurately represent the content. If you entice them with promises of educating them only to ambush them with a blatant sales pitch, they won’t thank you, and won’t come back for seconds.

Final observations from Nick’s Q&A session

  • People want the webinar content to be available on demand, so they can watch at their own pace, when it suits them.
  • That said, they still value the opportunity to attend webinars live, and will do so if they can.
  • That's especially true if it gives them a change to engage directly with people halfway around the world (as is often the case with Orchid's webinars).
  • 45-60 minutes tends to be the usual webinar length, depending on content of course. If people are finding the content valuable they will stay around that long.
  • Expect them to interact differently if they are viewing the content later on demand. They are likely to skip though the video, looking for the bits they are particularly interested in.
  • With that in mind, structure your content such that on-demand viewers will be able to easily find what they are looking for.
  • Consider publishing blogs and webinars/videos that cross-reference each other. This can both drive more views and give the content a longer shelf life.


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