Are Webinars Still Relevant in 2020?
Are webinars an effective use of time? What are the arguments for and against webinars as a business growth tool? Learn more and make the right choice.
Webinars have become something of a taboo topic in business. Marketers and subject matter experts who have tried and failed to create successful presentations have moved on to other strategies.
Does this mean that professionals should avoid the concept, or are there still gains to be made?
The Arguments Against Webinars
Anyone who has followed the digital marketing space in 2020 would have read at least one article claiming that webinars are dead or close to it. There are many reasons why marketers and businesses have fallen out of love with the format. Most of the reasons are valid, and they can be used as insights to determine whether a live presentation will help meet business goals.
One of the biggest complaints is that webinars are boring. Anyone who has held a successful event at any point would argue against this. However, people who have had poor experiences remember webinars as extended slideshows with almost word for word narration.
Audiences can have trouble finding key information at the conclusion of a webinar. Even if the presentation is made available as a video on demand, it can mean sifting through an hour or more of content to find the key takeaways.
Many webinars fail simply because the hosts don’t have the confidence or public speaking skills to make the content engaging. If an audience isn’t captivated in the first minute, the impression left will be negative.
These problems can come together to completely derail any effort that has been put into a live presentation. Attendees lose productivity and this makes them bitter about the experience.
With the Right Presentation, Webinars Do Work
Of course, just because there are ways that webinars can fail, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have value.
There are some simple ways to increase the chances of success.
Audience input helps. A survey or request for topic submissions can help to guide the content of a webinar while it’s in development. Unscripted webinars can be highly effective. Bringing two hosts together can allow for natural conversation flow. For audiences, a relaxed conversational style is more interesting than yet another slide show.
The technology used to deliver a presentation is just as important as the webinar itself. One barrier to success is that interested parties may not have access to the hosting platform. Corporate firewalls or device limitations can become problematic. Youtube Live has become a viable platform for webinars with the ability to deliver video anywhere in the world with a moderation-friendly chat feed.
Transparency matters. There should be a content brief with a breakdown for registered attendees. People put time and business appointments aside to attend webinars. That time should be respected by delivering something that has value. Hosts that are upfront with content will attract engaged audiences that leave with positive brand impressions.
Making the Most of a Webinar
Ultimately, deciding whether productivity is best spent developing a webinar presentation will come down to a few factors.
- Does the host have the time management skills to make it work?
- Can they speak convincingly and in a way that engages audiences?
- Do they have the resources to develop and moderate a live webinar?
- Will the audience be responsive to the format?
Webinars work for many businesses and independent professionals. For others, they’re a poor fit and not the best use of resources. Understanding a niche and the audience can help any professional to determine if webinars will be useful in 2020 and beyond.