18 minute read 18 Jan, 2021

[JOIN eWebinar] Best practices for creating an automated webinar with high engagement (Transcript)

[JOIN eWebinar] Best practices for creating an automated webinar with high engagement (Transcript)

Below is a transcript of the webinar, Creating an Automated Webinar with High Engagement, hosted by Melissa Kwan, Cofounder and CEO of eWebinar. If you missed it, you can still register for Melissa’s webinar with this button:

Best Practices for Creating an Automated Webinar with High Engagement
Hosted by  Melissa Kwan
Learn how to plan your content from start to finish, plus scripts to get you started. How to craft an engaging, participatory experience. What tools to use when recording the video.

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to join me today. My name is Melissa Kwan and I am the cofounder and CEO of eWebinar. Today I’m going to talk about the best practices for creating an automated webinar with high engagement.

During this presentation, you’re going to see questions, polls, tips, and other cool things that pop up which will allow me to interact with you throughout. So please look out for those. Why don’t we try one right now, how are you using eWebinar today? I’ll give you a couple seconds to answer the question that’s coming up now.

I’ll only be answering questions through chat, so if you have any questions about anything at all during this webinar, make sure you type them in the chat box and I’ll be able to get back to you as soon as possible. If you don’t hear from me right away, you will hear from me through email.

If you like what I share today, you can always give me some encouragement by hitting the thumbs up at the bottom of the screen.

If you stay till the end I’ll share an article that highlights all the best practices I’m going to go over today. That way you have it to reference later.

There are a number of best practices you can follow and most of them have to do with making sure your presentation is crafted around the things your eWebinar can do. By following these, it can highlight how an eWebinar is different from a traditional live webinar, so you can really take advantage of the platform.

Next slide (1m 20s)

Let’s get started by defining what an automated webinar is.

Here at eWebinar, we define it as a webinar set on a recurring schedule, that combines pre-recorded video with real-time interactions and live chat to deliver an engaging experience for attendees without you being there.

The key difference between an automated webinar and a traditional live webinar is you’re not there hosting it live. You might also know an automated webinar as an evergreen webinar or a recurring webinar.

So how do you go about planning and recording a video to be used over and over again, but not just any video like one that’s hosted in YouTube, a video that’s meant to be delivered like a webinar event?

Next slide (2m 3s)

In this webinar, I’ll go over some of the things I’ve learned from joining different eWebinars from our customers and hosting them myself.

Today, my goal is to answer 3 questions I get the most on this topic. How do I plan my content from beginning to end for an eWebinar? I’ll go over some best practices for housekeeping items you can go over when you begin, what to say during your webinar to encourage the most interactions, and ending your webinar with a call to action.

How do I craft an engaging experience? So in other words, how do I get my attendees to stay until the end? And what should I use to record my video?

Next slide (2m 42s)

First things first, it might help for you to know that creating a video for an automated webinar is really not much different than what you do when you host a live webinar. The information you want to deliver to your customers is the same. Just the way you deliver it is different because you are making a video to be used over and over again. So, there are only minor differences to what you might already be doing.

Here are 3 rules to follow when it comes to planning your content: it doesn’t have to be perfect so don’t let it stop you from getting started. When was the last time you attended a webinar and everything was perfect? Almost never. A webinar is different than a TV show, it’s a much more natural conversation rather than a production.

Keep things timeless and evergreen, don’t reference dates or the time of the day. For example don’t say good morning or good afternoon, or any events that can be referenced to a specific date. A simple hello will do just fine.

This last one is very important. Don’t lie to your attendees! I get asked a lot, should I tell my audience this is a recorded session or not? The answer to that is totally up to you. For my own demos, I don’t say that it’s recorded or not recorded, I simply welcome my attendees to my demo and tell them I’ll be answering questions through chat.

There’s no need for me to say it’s a recorded demo versus live. The thing is, when you think about a traditional live webinar, everything is live, the video and the chat.

For an eWebinar, even though the video is pre-recorded, the chat is still live. So a different part of it is live, doesn’t mean it’s not live at all.

Some people like to tell their audience that the video is recorded and someone on their team is managing the chat live. And they set that expectation from the beginning. This all depends on your business, the content you’re delivering, and how you want to engage with your customers.

For me, I tell attendees that I’ll be answering questions through chat, and I’ll get back to them as soon as I can. Because I know I won’t be there all the time, but I also know I’ll try. Actually, most of the time I do end up being there because I’m glued to my phone. A bad habit that I should probably change. I don’t recommend it. For some reason, people around you get really annoyed.

The key to whether you should tell attendees that it’s a pre-recorded video or not is to always set the expectation with your attendees honestly. Whatever you choose. Don’t pretend you’re live when you’re not and never lie to your attendees. I’ve seen people do that and I’ve fallen for that myself. It’s a quick way to lose trust and credibility.

Consumers nowadays just want to know that they’re heard, they want to know that their questions are answered in a timely manner. It’s okay if they don’t get their answer immediately.

Remember back in the day when it was really important to catch a new TV show on Thursday night at 7:30pm? But now, we just want to go to Netflix and hit play whenever we want and whenever we have time? There’s a fundamental shift in how people want to consume video, and when people want to give you their time. It’s okay if you’re not there immediately, just make sure you get back to them when you can. Just make sure you enable the chat autoresponder for your eWebinar. That’s why we have the feature.

Next slide (5m 54s)

On the topic of setting expectations, let’s talk about how you can frame your webinar in the beginning like what I did at the beginning of this webinar. Going through a few housekeeping items can help you drive engagement and increase the amount of time attendees stay to watch your webinar until the end.

When I say set expectations, I’m referring to the interactive experience they’re about to get. Let them know about the interactions that are going to show up throughout the presentation, how chat works, and to give you encouragement if they like what you’re sharing.

This is no different than the housekeeping items you go over for traditional live webinars you’ve hosted through zoom.

Setting expectations for interactions means encouraging them to participate in the beginning. A helpful trick here is to draw attention to an interaction and get them to respond, just like I did for this webinar in the beginning. If you do that, they’ll know to look out for interactions that pop out throughout the entire presentation.

You can say something like, “Throughout this presentation, you’ll see things like questions, polls, and tips pop up that allow me to engage with you in a different way. Let’s give this a try, how did you hear about this webinar? I’ll give you a few seconds to answer the question that’s coming up right now.” And then pause, because pausing makes people feel like they need to respond and therefore become part of that experience. Of course, this is where you’ll add a question interaction card when you’re designing your eWebinar. If you can get people to engage on the first couple interactions, they’re more likely to keep doing it till the end.

Then, let them know how chat works. You can say something like, I’ll only answer questions through chat so please type them in the chat box.

If you don’t plan to have a moderator on at all times, you can just say so and set that expectation. Just like what I do. You can say something like, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can, and if you don’t hear from me immediately, you’ll hear back from me through email. Setting that expectation means attendees won’t get frustrated if they don’t hear back from you right away.

If you do plan to have a moderator during your webinar sessions, you might want to say something like, our team is monitoring the chat live so please make sure you say hi and let us know if you have any questions.

Lastly, invite people to give you a thumbs up if they like what you’re sharing, it gives them another reason to interact with the webinar and keeps them on the screen. This is no different than what they’re already doing on social platforms like Facebook live and Instagram live.

Once you’ve introduced the experience with interactions, chat, and thumbs up, you’re good to go. You don’t need to mention every interaction as they come up, but it does help to draw attention to them once in a while.

Next slide (8m 33s)

Think about the housekeeping items and FAQs you’ve addressed in webinars you’ve done previously, and make sure you say those here too. You know your customer best, and you know what they want to know.

You might want to include things like, yes, you will get a replay link once the session is over. Of course, that’s only if you are including a link to the replay in the follow up email.

Or maybe, you want to offer a giveaway at the end. You might want to say, “if you stay till the end, you’ll get a link to download this slide deck.” This is one I’ve seen that I really like, because it gives people something to look forward to and a bonus for you to give away. At the beginning of this webinar, I also said that if you stay till the end you will get an article that highlights what I go over today. I also added that as a tip card for people who might miss my introduction, maybe they joined the webinar late. You can do that too with your give away.

Perhaps you have a webinar only offer, then you might want to say something like, if you stay till the end you’ll get a chance to sign up for our service at 50% off.

Next slide (9m 34s)

During your webinar, and throughout your presentation, you should use interactions to drive engagement and create an interactive, participatory experience. This is a great opportunity to learn about your customers, tell them more about you, and ask them for feedback. Make this a two-way experience so attendees don’t have to just sit there and listen like the traditional webinars they’re used to. Traditional webinars are boring, we’re here to change that. This is really the power of the eWebinar platform.

Mapping out your content and script, and noting where you want the interaction points to be will help you remember to mention them in your video. Then you can add the interactions in when you craft the eWebinar. For those of you who are familiar with hosting live webinars on Zoom or GoToWebinar, you’re already doing this by creating a poll, or asking your attendees to type any questions they have in the Q&A.

eWebinar has so much more than just a poll. Our interactions include a question, tip, offer, request to contact, link share. And we’re continuing to add new ones. Make use of these as you plan your automated webinar and script them your video. This is how you can encourage your attendees to participate in the webinar experience with you.

A really important tip if you want to make sure attendees stay until the end, is to program an interaction that shows up every 3 to 4 minutes. This helps keep things interesting and gives your attendees something to do. If you do this, you should see watch time go past 90% of the video. Remember the goal here is not just for you to simply deliver information, it’s to make the experience interactive and fun throughout so your attendees will stay until the end. So make them feel like part of the experience.

Figure out what your goals are for this webinar so you can use your script and interactions to accomplish those. Do you want to learn more about your customer? Then you might want to have polls or questions like, which company are you from? Or, what industry are you in? How did you hear about this webinar?

Do you want them to learn more about you? Then you might want to have a link card to share an article you think they might be interested in.

What is the call to action? Do you want them to request for you to contact them? Claim an offer? Do you want their feedback?

If you’re spending time to create your webinar, make sure you know the call to action you want them to take. Otherwise all your efforts will be wasted.

Let me do a pulse check here, is this helpful so far?

Next slide (12m 10s)

As you wrap up your webinar, don’t forget to make your ask. You know what your call to action is, make sure you deliver that and program the appropriate interaction card to come up. And make sure it’s not too close to the end, leave at least a minute or two for that information to sink in before you end the webinar.

Follow through on any promises you made in the beginning. Did you say you’ll have a slide deck for download, or perhaps a webinar only promotion? Now is the time to surface it.

Before you go, thank your audience, and then pause. Pause for at least three seconds before you end the recording. This seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget because you’re not recording in front of an audience.

You’re recording this by yourself or maybe with one or two other people. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to say thank you, bye, and hit stop. I see this over and over again and that makes the ending very abrupt for attendees. The video stops very suddenly and the screen just blacks out.

I’ll demonstrate what I mean by this at the end of this webinar and show you why you should give it a few seconds after you say bye and perhaps add a fade out in the end if you want an even softer ending.

Next slide (13m 27s)

So how do you craft a high-quality and engaging experience? You must plan your content. I don’t mean just think about it in your head, you should write it down and sit on it, give yourself a few days to make any edits. This is the only way you can make sure that you deliver everything you want, and get what you need from your audience. Use the best practices I’ve shared and write a structure or a script.

Plan to add interactions throughout, every 3 to 4 minutes. If you miss something, it’s OK to add them even after you’ve launched your webinar, that’s the power of eWebinar, you can always improve on it later.

You can use interactions to lower your own support and deliver more content later on as you learn about how people are reacting to your content. If you know there’s always a question that comes up at the 10th minute, you might want to add a help article that pops up at that time.

When you are adding interactions, change up the titles and add images to spice things up, this breaks up the interaction cards visually, like what I’ve done here.

Check back often, we’re always adding new interactions and integrations which sometimes their own interaction cards. Is there an interaction you’d like us to build in? Let me know by submitting your suggestion here.

Take advantage of the waiting and exit rooms, you can add interactions there too. For those of you who joined before the session began, you would have seen a question pop up in the waiting room before the video started. You can also add feedback or sales related questions in the waiting room when the session is over. Just a note, interactions added in the waiting room and exit room do not appear in the replay. The waiting room is set at 15 minutes before the session starts, and exit room is set at 30 minutes after it ends.

Next slide (15m 18s)

Recording your video. When it comes to recording your video, use a script, I cannot stress this enough. It saves so much editing and post production time, that even if it’s a little unnatural for some of you, it’s still worth it.

You can have your script on a second screen or a tablet. It just makes the whole experience so easy. I’m trying out a Teleprompter iPad app right now. When I didn’t use a script in the past because I wanted it to be more natural, it would take me a full day to make a 15 minute demo, and another few hours to edit it. It was definitely more natural, but I was also prone to blanking out. I’m not very good at video editing so maybe that’s why it takes me a lot longer than it should. But like I mentioned in the beginning, that’s okay, it doesn’t have to be perfectly produced. Don’t let it stop you, I don’t let it stop me!

When it comes to choosing a recording solution, you should use one that you’re comfortable with. I know that video related applications are fairly complicated, I’m terrible at them myself.

If you’re looking for a simpler solution, you can consider Loom, Soapbox, Quicktime, or Vimeo Record. But note that these solutions do not come with a lot of editing features. Having said that, it’s a great place to start.

If you need more advanced video editing features, you might want to consider Camtasia or Screenflow. These solutions have a lot more features, and a steeper learning curve. You can also consider hiring someone to do the editing for you through Upwork or Fiver.

If you want to record with a virtual background, check out mmhmm or manycam. You can also use either of these solutions as your camera while you record on another solution like Loom.

A new player on the market that’s worth trying is Descript. It lets you edit the video by deleting words from the transcript it transcribes. It’s kind of magical. Very cool solution to check out if you’re curious.

Next slide (17m 19s)

So, what’s my setup? I always start with planning my content and script first. It takes me about an hour to think about the structure of my content, and 3-4 hours to get a full script into Word which I then paste into Google Doc. Then I paste the script into the PromptSmart app to be used on an iPad Pro. Spending 5 hours planning my content also means that I can record my videos in one go and have a much higher quality video without my brain blanking out. Sometimes I don’t even need to edit my videos afterwards.

After I have my full script, I like to sit on it for about a week and make a number of edits before I go ahead with recording.

I’ve tried many different recording setups. This is what I found is best for when I have a long script to follow with many different points I want to hit.

I record my video and audio on the iPad Pro through the PromptSmart app. The reason for this is so I can read the script by looking at the iPad where the camera is positioned. When I record with my computer and place the iPad beside or behind it, my eyes are always too far away from the camera and it doesn’t work. I’m either looking too far to the side or too far above. Because I’m recording on the iPad, I need to be able to adjust the position of the camera so I put my iPad on a swivel stand.

For sound, I know there are a lot of advanced options, but I just use this $20 mic I got from Amazon that I can clip on my shirt. I used to use AirPods which were good, but I actually prefer this because I can’t hear myself very well when I have AirPods on.

As I’m recording video and audio on the iPad, I’m also recording my computer screen for the slides using Camtasia. My laptop is next to me so I can click the trackpad to get to the next slide easily. When I’m done, I use Camtasia to put the two files together. Camtasia also allows me to crop my video so it appears in a circle, and replace my background.

Since I’m in a small space without any blank walls, I use a portable green screen that you can fold and store very easily.

For lighting, I’m using a Lume Cube that sticks to the back of my laptop. It’s very small and travel friendly, and allows you to adjust brightness and softness of the light.

This sounds like a lot, it kind of is because I’ve spent many hours experimenting with different things so I can share it with you here. Here’s an article of the setup I just went over. It doesn’t have to be this complicated and this is primarily because I wanted to follow a detailed script and position the camera properly.

For simple product demos and feature updates where I just want a screen recording with my video on the corner, Loom is the best and easiest solution. I’m referring to demos I’ve done a hundred times, ones I don’t even need to script it. For those of you who have joined the eWebinar demo in the past, you’ll know what I’m referring to. If these the kinds of videos you want to record, start with Loom, and consider getting a light. That should be pretty good already.

I would suggest trying different things and going with what you’re most comfortable with. Just don’t let not being able to produce a perfect video stop you from creating your first eWebinar. You can always redo it later. It’s better to be 90% on time than 100% late.

I started with Loom to recording my 10-15min demos and expanded my setup as needed.

Next slide (20m 26s)

Yes, you can use Zoom. The easiest way to get started on recording an eWebinar is actually to do an interview style video like a Zoom webinar.

You can run a webinar without an audience, and use Zoom to record. A lot of people do this. By the way, we are integrated with Zoom cloud. Which means you can connect your Zoom account to eWebinar and directly add your cloud recording to create a new eWebinar.

This is a nice way to get started because monologuing is really hard. I know, I’ve done this and I’ve spent way too many hours recording a 15 minute video.

Recording with someone takes away all the awkwardness because you’re actually having a conversation. This type of webinar is great for delivering customer features, if you’re interviewing a customer. Or client education, if you’re interviewing an industry expert. Here’s an example of this type of eWebinar you can join for reference.

If you already have a video from a past webinar and you want to use eWebinar to host the replay, you can do that too. It’s a popular use case because of the eWebinar chat system that allows attendees to continue asking questions way beyond the first event. Instead of uploading a video on YouTube that’s static with no lead capture, no interactions and no chat, consider creating an eWebinar out of it.

If you do this, let attendees know they’re watching a replay and you’ll be monitoring the chat, you can set up your private welcome message to say just that. You can also record a quick 1 to 2 minute intro and add it onto your replay recording using video editing software.

Next slide (22m 22s)

Lastly, be creative and practice makes perfect. But it doesn’t have to be. There’s no right or wrong way, and these are just best practices and suggestions.

You know your customers best. As you get used to creating videos for eWebinar, you’ll get better at them. And like I said, if doing it alone is hard, invite someone to record an interview style webinar with you.

Next slide (22m 44s)

Thanks for taking the time to join me today.

Do you have other ideas you want to share? Type them in the chat box, I’d love to hear from you.

If you find this webinar useful and want to share it with your team, here is the registration link. All of the best practices I went over today are reflected in this webinar you’re watching now.

Here’s the article on these best practices as promised in the beginning.

If you don’t have an eWebinar account yet and are curious to give us a try, sign up for our 30 day free trial now.

I hope you enjoyed this presentation, and I look forward to seeing your eWebinars!

At eWebinar, our mission is to give people back their time.

And I hope we’ll help you get back some of yours very soon.

And don’t forget, before you stop recording, pause at the end for 3 seconds…

If you don’t, this is how your webinar will end abruptly.

End (22m 43s)

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