A well-executed scientific webinar can accomplish numerous goals. It puts highly relevant scientific topics center stage, sparks learning and conversation among influential science communities, and can connect to a global audience unrestrained by travel or logistical barriers.
Webinars also provide organizations with a unique forum for their brands, and an opportunity to drive important discussions ―while generating impactful leads. They simultaneously contribute to the building of a content library: you can repurpose a successful webinar into adjacent content pieces such as blogs and videos.
However, an event doesn’t magically come together on its own. It takes strategic planning along each step of the process, from choosing a presentation title to connecting with leads in the post-event phase.
Incorporating best practices from a proven platform like Springer Nature ― experienced in designing and delivering successful webinars ― will make the event more impactful in the areas that matter. Here are our top tips for designing and delivering a webinar that will reach, engage, and resonate with an audience of science influencers.
- Be strategic about a title. Getting the title right is important, and a misleading or awkwardly named presentation can instantly push potential participants away. Keep it short and snappy: ideally seven to 10 words that focus on the specific topic without making it too salesy. Consider salient search terms your target audience might use, and incorporate those terms. Communicate what the learning outcomes will be: A clearly articulated skill-building focus will spotlight the value of the webinar.
- Carefully vet the speakers. Choosing the right presenters should take into account not just expertise on a topic, but tech savviness and communication skills. Researchers steeped in both science and how to engage people will make excellent speakers who other researchers will want to hear from. Make sure they have experience with the format and feel comfortable with the technology being used.
- Focus on current content. The more timely and relevant the topic of focus the stronger the connection to the target audience. Focusing on current research― preferably work that has recently been published― enhances the appeal of the presentation.
- Use a proven format. Webinar time is precious, so it’s important to account for every minute. At Springer Nature, a typical session will feature one or two presenters, each allotted 15 minutes of time, and a Q & A period at the end that lasts a minimum of 10 minutes. Avoid programming too many speakers, leaving insufficient time for questions and transitions.
- Don’t forget the test run. It’s a simple step but can be overlooked: Always do a test run before the real thing to troubleshoot any technical issues and ensure there are no glitches or surprises you haven’t accounted for.
- With leads, it’s quality over quantity. Understand who your target audience is, and focus on engaging them vigorously. One quality lead is worth 10 weak ones and should be treated accordingly. Go hard after the specific science segments you know will find your presentation professionally relevant. This may include clients you have an existing connection with or potential clients who make sense for the event.
- Promote what the audience will learn. Make sure your marketing conveys what the learning outcomes will be. Your target audience needs to see immediately how they stand to benefit — especially the specific skills and insights they will gain.
- Use email, internal channels and social media for outreach. Consider the communication methods that are likeliest to catch the attention of your target audience, and hone the timing and format of your communications to maximize their effectiveness. Stagger your outreach campaign to maintain audience connection and interest. Meanwhile, encourage the presenters to promote the event using their own social media platforms.
- Clearly communicate time zones. Make sure you express the time of the event in multiple time zones, so far-flung participants don’t miss it.
- Create an online destination participants want to spend time in. Make sure the platform hosting the event is user-friendly for the audience and the presenters, and won’t be complicated to use.
- The camera doesn’t lie, so be prepared. Just like any other live broadcast, preparation is key to a smooth event. Pay attention to the many details a successful webinar requires. The live-event space should be in a quiet environment and have a strong internet connection. Make sure your webcams, microphones and headphones are good quality and can capture a clear visual and strong sound. Even the most charismatic presenters will fail if the audience can’t see or hear them clearly.
- Stick to the schedule. A common mistake: falling behind the planned schedule and leaving no time for questions at the end. The Q&A is a key component of a successful webinar, and you should allot at least ten minutes for the audience to ask questions.
- Build inclusion through interactive features. Engage with your group in multiple ways to maximize participation of diverse audiences through polls and Q&A’s that can be followed up with post-event .
- Consider a moderator. Having a skilled facilitator can keep the event on schedule while ensuring a smooth transition from one speaker to the next. A moderator can also help lead the Q&A session, and prepare questions in advance to help warm up the audience. Springer Nature provides a moderator as part of its custom webcast services.
- Continue the conversation. Within a week you should get in touch with webinar participants and maintain a dialogue that benefits both parties. Share a recording of the event so that people can rewatch if they want, and so anyone who registered but couldn’t attend can experience it. Ask for feedback in the form of a survey that allows participants to share helpful insights that can be used to improve future events. You targeted the right audience and hosted a strong event, so build off the strength of your previous work once the event ends.
- Provide more answers. If the Q&A ran out of time, provide answers to questions the audience didn’t have a chance to ask. The time will pass quickly, and expanding on the information provided during the event will strengthen engagement.
- Evaluate the webinar. Take time to look at the feedback you’ve received, evaluate what worked and what needs improvement, and think creatively about how the webcast can be expanded into other relevant pieces of content. One successful event can evolve into a package of dynamic content.
- Show your commitment to science and leadership by building an event you can be proud of. Far from just a one-off, a well-executed webinar can be the first step in building a durable relationship and engagement with your audience. Whether it’s a series of custom webcasts or other high-quality customized content, hosting a webinar can propel the delivery of impactful science to influential audiences.
Maximize the potential of your webinar with the expertise gained from experience: Springer Nature’s custom webinars (known as webcasts) make the hard work easy with support for each stage of the webinar process, from preparation and hosting all the way through the post-event phase. You can feel confident in your event knowing that each detail has been considered and carefully addressed.
Distinguish your brand by offering webinars that are professionally run, scientifically exciting, and aimed at serious audiences looking for tangible skills.