The Basics of Webinars: Length, Format, Date, and Recording Options

The Basics of Webinars: Length, Format, Date, and Recording Options

If you’ve been following our webinar blog series, you’ll know we’ve tackled some crucial aspects of webinar marketing—like whether this tactic is right for your business, how you can benefit from it, how to set realistic goals and objectives, and how to select an audience-pulling topic. We’ve even covered 10 awesome tools for creating and hosting killer webinars.

Today we’re focusing on some of the finer details of webinar development. So, if you’re getting ready to leverage this powerful business tool for the first time, or you simply need a refresher course on webinar basics, follow along as we look at length, format, date, and recording options.

Webinar Length

Webinar Length One of the first things you need to consider when planning your webinar is presentation length. While most webinars tend to run between 45 and 60 minutes, there are those that push the 90 minute mark—and beyond in rare cases. The length of your presentation ultimately depends on the scope of your topic and whether you can convey all you need to in a reasonable timeframe. If your topic is too broad, you might want to consider a series of webinars that allow you to provide in-depth information rather than high-level points.

To figure out how much time you’ll need, break down your webinar components into opening remarks, talking points, and a wrap-up, and then assign a time limit to each. A typical webinar usually includes 4-5 minutes for a welcoming message, housekeeping, and presenter introductions; 40-45 minutes for the delivery of the content; and 10-15 minutes for Q&As, action items, and a closing. What you want to be mindful of here is audience engagement and participation. Ensuring your viewers are able to maintain concentration without becoming bored or uncomfortable is key to your success.

Format Options

Webinars can be structured in a number of ways, each with its own set of pros and cons. Popular formats include:

  • Single speaker webinars where one person gives the presentation and answers questions
  • Moderated panel webinars where a moderator facilitates the discussion between guests
  • Interview-style webinars where an interviewer asks expert guests a series of questions
  • Interactive webinars where viewers participate in a variety of activities

Ultimately, you’ll need to determine which format is going to suit your purposes. You’ll also need to take technological requirements and scheduling limitations into account when making your decision.

Date and Time Considerations

Timing is everything, especially if you want great registration and attendance rates. With that said, here are some quick fire tips to help you set the right date and time for your presentation:

  • Consider time zone differences, as well as where the majority of your target audience is based.
  • Since weekends are out, Mondays are for catch-up sessions, and Fridays are for wrapping up last minute business projects, you’re more likely to find success when hosting on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

  • Select a convenient time of day to run your webinar. You want attendance levels and concentration levels at their highest, so you need to determine the time of day that’s best for attendees.

  • Keep special holidays and events in mind. You’ll want to schedule your webinar well in advance, so make sure you choose a date that isn’t going to cause conflict with the schedules of your target audience.

Recording Your Webinar

Webinar Recording Options If you plan to offer On Demand webinars (which you should), you’ll need to ensure you record your presentation and that the recording is of a high quality. The good thing is that most webinar presentation and hosting services offer recording options, as well as the ability to run practice sessions beforehand. Whatever you do, make sure you actually hit the record button when you’re ready to start. Also, consider backup recording software in case things don’t go according to plan.

It’s often the little details first time webinar marketers forget. Have you remembered to take length, dates, times, formats, and recording options into account? Perhaps you’ve forgotten one of these details in the past and now have a story to share. You know where to leave your comments…

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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