Just like a traditional face-to-face meeting, a webcast is a representation of your company and a poor execution with sound issues, network dropouts or inconsistent slides and branding, runs the risk of damaging the reputation of your company, leading to attendee drop outs and a loss of trust in your business.
In my experience, I know all too well that there is only one chance to get your webcast right and short-cuts shouldn’t be taken. Companies can still get it right and keep event expenditure down by following the following seven steps.
1. Champion your event
If you’re not going to talk about it, no one is! Remember, people have busy calendars so be sure to give them plenty of notice about the webcast (at least one month) and include a test link with audio and video content that the viewer can use to adjust their computer settings. Also consider including some helpful tips on problem solving for any technophobes.
Email reminders should be sent out at regular intervals leading up to the webcast and on the day, send out a reminder an hour before to give people that final nudge.
2. Location, location, location!
Be sure to have an experienced technical events manager undertake a full survey of the venue you have chosen to stream your webcast from. They will have the knowledge to make certain the correct technical elements are in place for your webcast to run seamlessly – including internet connection, space, lights, sound and practical advice on how to lay out your room for maximum effect.
3. It’s all in the detail
Consider how you want your webcast to look. If you’re recording in front of a live audience, have you considered the finer details such as theming, floor plans, lecterns and backdrops? What about anything that may be caught on camera and embarrass the company? If you’re outsourcing the event to an event production team, they will spend time identifying the requirements of the event and tailoring it to your target audience.
4. All the gear but no idea?
You may have all the technical kit but it’s essential that a technical team is on-site to monitor your event and check specifics such as the signal input and video streaming. An AV technician, sound technician, webcast expert and camera man should be on site throughout as well as a team to filter and manage the engagement and interactivity tools you will need, such as online questions and live polling.
5. The real value of your brand
Your company brand conveys a uniform quality, level of credibility and experience and when planning your webcast this shouldn’t be overlooked. Fully brand your webcast so that once attendees are logged on, they are greeted with your corporate identity and know that they have arrived in the right place. Most event companies will be able to help you achieve this.
6. Are you (really) a webcast whizz?
Professional support agents should be on call during your webcast to answer any technical issues. A dedicated support phone number should be available that is fully manned from start to finish, to answer any immediate issues.
7. Analyse it
The great thing about online is that you have the ability to run reports, which is crucial for future improvements. Data including attendees, how long they were online for and the location they were logged in from, allows you to measure the success of your event and provide insights into how you can improve it for future planning and targeting.
Webcasts are also really beneficial for training as they can be recorded and made accessible for attendees to view on demand. Recordings can be updated and a series can be made into a catalogue, which lets companies monitor the number of views and test comprehension.
Steve Bindley is the director and founder of Media 1 Productions.
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