Webinars made Easy

In my last post I sang the praises of creating webinars from classes and seminars you may already be presenting to in person audiences. It only seemed right that I follow up with some information on how to go about creating one. I think you’ll find that if you’re already teaching classes or seminars, with just a few additional and simple steps you’ll be producing webinars that can extend your reach and possibly your income.

You’ll need to begin by choosing a service to host your webinar. If you do a simple search on Google or the like you’ll find plenty to choose from. A few popular ones include GoToWebinar ;GoToMeeting (for fewer than 15 attendees); Vyew and DimDim . When making a decision on a service, my suggestion is to make sure it includes the following:

  • Scheduling and Registration options
  • Dial In Land Line #
  • Desktop Sharing
  • Recording Option

The scheduling and registration options allow you to schedule a webinar for a future date and participants will be directed to a webpage where they can register for the event.

I suggest a dial in land line number because in my experience the ‘over the web’ or VOIP can be impaired depending upon Internet connections of both the presenter and the participants. Dialing in will insure a clear, crisp and uninterrupted sound. There is nothing worse than losing the sound part way through a webinar.

Desktop sharing allows you to use your computer desktop as your visual, giving you the option of playing a Power Point presentation, or showing them anything you can display on your computer screen.

The recording option is crucial. This is important for two reasons. You can offer your webinar participants a recording, as an added value and it will allow you to offer it to others whom didn’t attend the webinar live.

Once you’ve chosen your webinar hosting, you’ll need to schedule the webinar. Will there be a cost for the webinar? If so, I’d suggest setting up an on line form for sign up that allows for collection of fees. After the fee has been paid your “thank you” message can include the link to your webinar. Many of the hosts provide an automated e-mail reminder for participants, if the host you’ve chosen doesn’t offer this, then I’d suggest you set a reminder e-mail up in an auto-responder or have your virtual assistant do so.

Prepare your presentation with the webinar format in mind. Power Point presentations work especially well, but with desktop sharing you can take your participants anywhere on your computer, so if part of your webinar concerns using Outlook for e-mail, you can go directly to your Outlook program and click through to demonstrate. If you can, it is always a good idea to do a test run of the webinar a day or so in advance. Again, if you have a virtual assistant they can call in as a participant would and point out things that are and aren’t working for you.

There are many options for the day of your webinar, depending upon the host you’ve chosen. Most have a ‘chat’ capability that allows participants to communicate with you and with each other via typing. You also have the option of allowing the participants to communicate verbally or not by turning a microphone feature on or off. For example, you may choose to turn off this ability during your presentation, but turn it on for a question and answer portion afterward. Many hosts also allow for more than one presenter, so if you work in collaboration with someone else, you can both take turns presenting your material.

And don’t forget to choose the option to record your session. If it’s not built into your host program to send a link to the recording to all of your participants, then you will want to follow up with an e-mail and instructions on downloading the recording after the webinar is complete.

And that’s it. It couldn’t be much easier to turn something you are already offering into something with the potential to reach a larger audience and possibly add a new stream of income. So what are you waiting for?


Tina Marie Hilton provides online technology services to forward thinking businesses. She writes on her Tips from T.Marie business blog to share insight and information with other small businesses and entrepreneurs. It also makes her feel like that certificate in creative writing isn't going to waste completely.