In today’s work-from-home, socially distanced world, it’s more important than ever to have a mastery of basic webinar skills and a general working knowledge of popular video conferencing software, including Skype and Zoom. This blog will focus on Zoom webinars, but feel free to peruse the rest of our site for info on Skype and other essential video conferencing tools. 

When you’re ready to host your first Zoom webinar, select a short, concise and descriptive meeting topic, do a little preparation, and follow a few short-and-simple steps (outlined below) to make sure your expert webinar goes smoothly for all your virtual meeting attendees. 

What Is A Zoom Webinar? 

A Zoom webinar creates a digital webinar hosting-and-viewing space for up to 100 panelists and up to 10,000 attendees, depending on the Zoom webinar pricing you’ve chosen for the meeting. There are cheaper versions, of course, that host fewer attendees and come with less bells & whistles. Choose whatever Zoom webinar plan suits your needs. Other Zoom tools allow the meeting host to manage attendees and audience experience with tools like early registration, audience polls, Q&A, in-meeting chat, webinar reporting and screen recording. 

How Do You Zoom? 

The very first thing you want to do is schedule your Zoom webinar. Take a look at your schedule and consider your audience, as well as the particular goals you want to accomplish with the webinar. Then choose the date, time, and topic of the webinar. Carefully consider your meeting panelists, or experts, and invite them once the topic and scheduling details are established. You can choose to ask for advance registration from all your meeting attendees, and you can approve them manually or have approval be automatic. It’s up to you. If you’d rather not require any registration for your webinar, the registration feature can be turned off and removed entirely. Webinars can be held once or multiple times, or they can be repeated in a series at regular intervals of your choosing. You can also record webinars and keep them in a forum (like our Hope School Electronics Video Forum) so that people can watch the webinars later at their own personal pace and on their own schedule.

To schedule your webinar, just follow the quick and easy steps outlined below. 

1. Create and Log In to Your Zoom Account. If you need to set one up, just click here. It’s free, and totally painless.) 

2. Select “Schedule My Webinar” (it’s the top right-hand tab on the menu screen). Then enter your webinar name (your webinar topic) and webinar description.

  • Include any names and pertinent info about your webinar presenters, panel experts, your company details, etc. 
  • Enter the date and time of your webinar, and how long you want it to last (duration). 
  • Decide if your webinar is going to be a recurring series, and if so, on what schedule. (For example, you might want your webinar to be held every Wednesday at noon so people can watch it while they eat lunch, etc) 

3. Choose Your Registration Options

Under “Invite Attendees,” choose the option to edit. As mentioned above, your webinar attendees can be required to register in advance, and you can then either manually approve or automatically approve your attendees. If you prefer, you can skip the form altogether. You may choose to have your attendees register by simply filling out their name and email information, rather than completing a formal registration form. 

A word to the wise: if you know you plan on following up with attendees after the Zoom webinar, registration might be the smartest choice. Registration gives you more information about your attendees, so you can ask them customized, personalized and friendly questions about the webinar and their experience after the show is over. 

4. Choose Your Q&A Settings

One nifty feature of the Zoom webinar is its optional Q&A feature (Question & Answer feature), which lets your attendees ask questions live, throughout the webinar. As the host, you are free to enable and disable this feature as needed, according to your personal preferences. When the Q&A feature is on during a meeting, you can also customize it to make the questions anonymous, the answers anonymous, or both. 

5. Select Your Webinar Access, Recording and Viewing Options

With Zoom webinars, you have a handful of webinar viewing, accessibility and scheduling options to work with. You have the option to: 

  • Record the webinar automatically 
  • Make the webinar available on-demand (available instantly, upon request)  
  • Disable host’s and/or panelists’ video, as needed
  • Make your webinar password protected (so that attendees must enter a password to view it or attend the live session) 
  • Practice your webinar beforehand, thanks to Zoom’s practice session feature

6. Turn Your Webinar Registration Into A Template…For Future Webinars!

Once your Webinar Registration has been completed, you can save it as a template. This is ideal for weekly demos, live brainstorming sessions that recur on a regular basis, or ongoing webinar series that happen on a consistent schedule. 

7. Promote & Publicize Your Webinar 

You know the deal – getting your webinar setup and registered is only half the battle. The other half is promotion. So get out there and promote, promote, promote! Once your Webinar is ready to go, simply copy the webinar invite URL to send to attendees’ email addresses. Be sure, of course, to also get the word out through social media. Always share your webinars as much as possible on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Twitch, Pinterest, you name it. If it’s a social platform, your webinar should be posted on it. 

8. Analyze Your Webinar After The Fact 

As always, there’s one more step after it’s all finished. Immediately after the webinar (or as close to immediately as you can manage), get feedback from your attendees. Find out what the audience thought, what your panelists experienced, how you can improve, and if you accomplished your initial goals. Zoom conveniently offers five different but equally helpful reports to help you dissect and dig into the data of your webinar’s attendance, performance and overall experience. Use the data as much as you can to mine for webinar gold and help you plan your next webinar event. 

So whether you’re ready to dip your toes in the Zoom Webinar pool for the very first time, or you’re an old pro hosting your one thousandth meeting since the pandemic hit, the key takeaway is this: do your homework. With a little planning and some careful attention to details including follow-up and post-mortems, you’ll make your Zoom webinar a smash success and keep your attendees coming back for more digital goodness.