How To Create Better Webinars Step-by-Step

As part of our “Webinar basics” series, we take a look at a number of important webinar-related questions and provide the quick answers you need to start your journey into more detail on the subject. Whether you have never run webinars before or are just struggling to create better webinars, the Webinar Basics series is designed to act as a reference point.

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Quick Summary

We look at how a range of factors come together to make your webinars better. Better in general, better compared to the competition, better from year to year. Perhaps counter-intuitively, creating better webinars starts before you setup the webinar itself. It also involves aspects that surround the webinar, rather than just being related directly to the webinar setup and execution.

Planning and process form the foundations for better webinars and should never be underestimated or ignored. Considering your audience’s interests and motivations should always be placed higher than the reasons why you may wish to run a webinar on a particular topic. And operationally there is a range of aspects that will serve you and your audience if they are planned and implemented correctly.

1. Plan for a 6-week lead time

Webinar quality can suffer when the process is rushed (or there is no pre-defined process at all – see point 2). It is not uncommon for webinar requests to be ad hoc with only a few weeks to go before the desired live date. After all, many webinar platforms advertise the ease and speed with which webinars can be set up. And that is correct, except it ignores the need for sufficient time to promote the webinar, create the content, make speakers comfortable with the logistics and webinar tool etc.

Planning for a 6-week lead time from the webinar request to the webinar live-day allows webinar organisers to comfortably plan and create the content, execute several email and social media promotions, prepare the speakers (and don’t forget the moderator), run a dry-run, align on on-air logistics for a slick delivery etc.

Webinars can, of course, be setup and executed in less than 6 weeks, but often this comes at a cost of quality and effectiveness.

2. Define a process and stick to it

When webinars don’t meet your own expectations (or that of your audience) it often starts with a lack of process. It’s not the most exciting part of running webinars, but processes are at the core of good webinar performance. Combined with a sufficient lead time (see point 1), processes lay the foundation for a higher production value, increased engagement, timesaving, consistent delivery, and improved KPIs.

Take some time to define every step of the process from start to finish. This can easily cover 30, 40 or 50 tasks spread across multiple stakeholders. With a clear definition of roles and responsibilities, matched against your timeline, you will be able to anticipate workload, requirements, and deadlines. As a result, you will also be able to improve the overall production value of your webinars, which your audience will thank you for. Once you have scoped and defined your process steps, stick to it for consistency and predictability. Adjusting your process steps over time will enable you to evolve your webinar program.

3. Identify and confirm your webinar title, abstract and speakers (don’t forget a moderator)

Start the process by identifying the basics, i.e. a webinar title, abstract, and your speakers. Your webinar will also benefit from having a moderator. Resist the temptation to work on the content first, as content has a tendency to evolve and is rarely ever complete. By defining the key aspects of your webinars, you can set the parameters for your presentation and webinar content. This includes finding the right speaker to present the content and ensuring they are available (and willing) to participate in your webinar. With these core aspects confirmed, your process will flow much easier and more logically towards webinar setup and promotion.

4. Be clear on who the target audience is

If your webinars don’t perform as intended, it may be due to which content you’re providing and who this content is targeted at. If there is a disconnect between your webinar topic and the promotional segment, it is likely you won’t get the quantity or quality of attendees you had hoped for.

It can be tempting to select a very broad, or a very specific, topic for your webinar. However, the key lies in matching the type and detail of your topic with your ideal target audience. This might sound obvious, but in practice this is often overlooked. You don’t have to win over your audience with a single webinar, so don’t try to cover all bases at once. This approach doesn’t provide a quality experience and leaves your audience underwhelmed. The knock-on effect is fewer return attendees for your next webinar.

Instead, consider running a series of webinars to cover a broader topic area. Each of the webinars in this series can then be more specific in nature. Using a variety of webinar formats will enhance the appeal of your content. Check out point 15. Consider breaking your content down into mini-series below.

5. Don’t create the content last minute

It’s not uncommon for a final slide deck to be delivered with minutes to spare ahead of a presentation. Many of us are guilty of that. A final slide deck is not required to plan or even setup a webinar. However, when there is a disconnect between the presentation content and what you promised your audience in your webinar promo, it will undoubtedly impact the performance of your webinar, the perception by your audience, as well as the likelihood of gaining repeat attendees. Comments such as “I thought this webinar was about ABC, not XYZ” are hard to read and definitely something to avoid.

A well-defined process will avoid this disconnect and ensure your audience experience matches their expectation. Clear communication between webinar organiser and speaker, as well as a sufficient process lead time (see point 1) will reduce the likelihood of this disconnect occurring.

6. Have a content dry run

Following on from the previous point, a scheduled content dry run serves as a check-in point for organisers and speakers to review webinar content together. This doesn’t just ensure the content is ready in time, it also allows you to check it is aligned with your promotional content and your target audience.

The ideal time to schedule a content dry run is around 4-5 days before the webinar. This gives presenters enough time to create the content in the first place, while giving organisers enough time to review the content and request any amendments ahead of the live day.

7. Include interactivity in your webinars

Interactivity creates audience engagement, and audience engagement improves the audience’s positive perception of your webinars. Interactivity, such as polls, Q&A sessions, surveys etc, is an easy way to improve your webinars. Ensure interactivity is aligned with the webinar content for relevance and increased participation.

In addition to engagement, interactivity also provides audience insights that may otherwise be difficult to gain. Aggregated interactivity feedback allows webinar organisers to identify areas of interest, trends, and potential problem areas.

8. Ensure your speakers are comfortable with the webinar platform

The quality of a webinar is often judged (at least subconsciously) by how well the webinar is produced. If you use a dedicated webinar producer, they will usually take care of all technical aspects. However, some aspects are still controlled by the speakers. Ensuring that webinar presenters are comfortable with how the webinar tool works results in fewer on-air mistakes, such as being on mute, running polls incorrectly, advancing slides at the wrong time, or struggling with screenshares etc. A comfortable speaker is a confident speaker, and confidence is audible and makes for a better audience experience.

9. Get your audio and video quality right

The most obvious improvements to webinars can be made on audio and video quality. In fact, this is so common that we have created this video on how to improve your video presentations. In short, invest in a decent podcast microphone (or wired headset) and an HD webcam. Also consider your lighting and background. Taking shortcuts on these aspects will invariably result in unfavourable comparisons to webinars who have made the effort to improve these aspects (which is increasingly the case).

10. Pick a good webinar platform

With so many webinar platforms for organisers to choose from, selecting the most appropriate one for your purposes and requirements can be dauting and difficult. Do you go small and cheaper or big and more expensive (but probably future-proof)? It all depends on the current situation of your webinar program, as well as your ambitions. You shouldn’t fear changing webinar platforms after a year or two, but do take into account that the longer a platform has been used, the more likely it is that you have integrations in place to connect to other tools in your marketing tech stack. Integrations make a change of platform a more complex and comprehensive undertaking. In either case, take some time to properly evaluate webinar platforms. If you need help with this, WebinarExperts is just a call or email away. We are platform agnostic and are familiar with many (if not all) of the main webinar platforms (big and small).

11. Aim to run your webinars live

Live is always best. That’s it. There are very few reasons not to run your webinars live. We do understand that speakers become unavailable or may be reluctant to present “live on air”. In these cases there are alternative solutions. However, dropping Live in favour of pre-recorded content should always be the last option. Without live content there is no live interaction. Besides, you audience can tell when something is pre-recorded. Webinar performance always decreases for non-live webinars.

12. Find the right timing for promotion

Successful promotion comes down to a variety of aspects. Timing being one of them. Start early, but not too early. Very early registrants tend to have a low conversion into actual attendees. Two to three weeks before is good. The time of day, as well as the day of the week, for your promotion is especially important for email (but also your social media). Plan, and be intentional, when it comes to promotional timings. Run A/B tests if necessary to find out what achieves the best results from your audience.

13. Promote your webinars at least twice by email

Our previous point talks about promotional timing, but cadence is important too. Email is still the biggest driver of webinar registrations at scale. Leaving it late and only sending one email close to the webinar is not going to give you the best results. Plan for at least two promotional emails. Depending on your communications guidelines and marketing automation setup, you’ll want to either send these emails two weeks and one week before the webinar, or alternatively include an email deployment in the week of the webinar (or even the day of the webinar – provided you have at least three working hours between email deployment and the webinar start time). The latter can drive significant registration numbers.

14. Find the right level of detail for your webinar content

If your webinar content is not performing as well as you’d like, consider whether it’s too light or too detailed. You want to leave your audience craving for more, not be overwhelmed, or feel short-changed with the content you provide in your webinars. Wherever possible and appropriate, live demos are very popular with webinar audiences.

15. Pick the appropriate webinar format

If you’re unsure what webinar formats are or which format you are using, take a look at our blog post “The Power of Webinar Formats”. Your audience is made up of people who have different content requirements. These requirements can be tied to different webinar formats. Each format fulfils a particular purpose and matching that purpose to your target audience’s preferences is key.

16. Consider breaking your content down into mini-series

Running webinars in mini-series is a powerful way of increasing the performance of your webinars. This applies regardless of whether you are running a webinar program or ad hoc webinars. If you’re running webinars as part of a program, connecting a small number of topically related webinars to each other in a mini-series will increase attendance, content recall, and audience engagement. The same applies to a situation where you are running ad hoc webinars, except your mini-series will lead to a more formalised way of running webinars. It won’t quite be programmatic, but you’ll improve on the ad hoc nature of your webinars.

17. Remember you are speaking to people

If your webinars aren’t performing as well as you’d like them to, take an objective look back at your webinars. Would an audience member feel like they are being addressed by the moderator and presenters? After all, your audience is who the webinar is made for. It is easy to lose track of that when you’re just presenting to a webcam. Always remember that your audience is right there behind the lens of your webcam. You should always address (and involve) your audience. You are, after all, speaking to people with an interest in what you have to say.

18. Include a clear call to action at the end of your webinar

Don’t just let your audience leave at the end of your webinar. Instead, give them something else to engage with. That could be another webinar (from your upcoming or previous on-demand webinars) or indeed an upcoming physical event (read more about how you can drive a physical event audience through digital events). Alternatively, you may want to refer them to a whitepaper or eBook, or even a demo or conversation with a solution specialist. Whatever you do, don’t miss the opportunity to have your audience continue their content journey with you.


The points in this article are some of the must-have items, if you want to create better webinars. While there is no magic wand to solve all of your challenges in one go, these points provide a step-by-step overview of the most impactful aspects. Many of these are easy to implement and will set you on your way to better webinars. But The Webinar Excellence Manifesto goes a lot deeper and covers a lot more ground. Check out the 82 principles of Webinar Excellence today. If you prefer to speak to a Webinar Expert on how you can improve your webinars (or how we can help you), get in touch with us now.

For more info take a look at more Webinar Basics. our best practices, our Webinar Blog, and and videos.

Good luck with your webinars!