Digital Third Coast hit a major milestone last week when we hosted our first-ever webinar (miss it? Catch a replay here, check out our Slideshare, and here's the article Andy shared at the end). Of course, as with everything, we learned a few things from our first foray into the world of webinars. Here are a few things we picked up so that you can learn from our experience.
Barry Dyke, SEO Account Manager and Co-Presenter
Obviously we had quite a few audio-visual issues with our webinar service....but this is supposed to be about what you learned, right? I could complain about this particular web conference service all day but I'm going to look at the positives from this situation. I had been involved in webinars at my last company, but I never had to actually run the ship and be the talking head until this webinar.
The biggest thing I learned personally was building a better slide deck. I don't have to put on presentations very often; most of the time I'm in the weeds with data and tools, brainstorming, running reports and analytics. My job is more consulting and going over a lot of data, rather then broadcasting an idea to a wide audience. In my initial run of building the presentation, I wanted to talk about everything and had these really text-heavy slides. I was treating it more like how I would talk to a client about migrating their website, rather then treating it as a presentation designed for a wide audience to get familiar with the basics of rebuilding your website.
Fortunately for me, Andy over at Orbit Media is a tried and true professional with infinitely more public speaking and presentation experience then myself. With his help, I took these super-text-heavy slides and boiled it down to something concise that wouldn't put people to sleep. The next webinar I'm running, I'll now have a much better grasp on how to present the right information in the right format and save myself a ton of time in revisions.
Also big shoutout to the rest of the DTC team, especially Tom and Lauren, for helping with this project. I got to be the headlining act, but the show wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Tom's audio expertise and Lauren's coordination skills. I think the next webinar will be the three of us presenting on how to run a webinar.
Andy Crestodina, Strategic Director of Orbit Media and Co-Presenter
Yes, there were minor technical issues, but we scored points with the attendees for having a sense of humor about it. When background noise caused problems, we didn't ignore it. We addressed it the best we could ...and laughed at ourselves a bit.
- "As soon as that helicopter finishes landing, we'll continue with the webinar..."
- "If Darth Vader wouldn't mind muting his microphone..."
- "Well, we can hear in the background that the dishes are getting done..."
The attendees left comments that added to the jokes. In the end, the feedback was very positive. Despite the background noise, we got directly to the high-value points of the article, we shared the relevant resources and didn't take ourselves too seriously. It's just a webinar, after all!
Tom Shearman, Senior Content Manager and Audio Coordinator
As Barry and Andy mentioned, one big takeaway was that if you want to do a webinar, you really need to use a dedicated platform in order to get the best audio content possible. But in related learnings, I was hugely relieved that we recorded a test run first, because I was able to edit the test run together with the Q&A sections from the live webinar to turn out a surprisingly good recording of the webinar. Test everything- and then test it one more time, just in case.