Webinar producers: the way to raise your virtual event game
How to choose the best webinar production partner
Webinar producers have been in increasingly high demand over the past couple of years, with companies across all sectors adopting livestream events as part of their internal and external communications strategies.
Initially this was less about choice and more about necessity, owing to COVID restrictions, but as the world opened up, the appeal of virtual events has remained strong thanks to their convenience and value – with both audience numbers and departmental budgets seeing the benefit. Organisations are turning to webinar producers to make sure their livestream broadcasts uphold their brand values, and offer a slick, professional experience to attendees, internal teams, and presenters alike.
What do webinar producers do?
The short answer is that they provide the specialist advice, technical hardware, and professional production expertise to bring the polish of a live TV broadcast to an organisation’s online event.
Looking at it in more detail, webinar producers are usually responsible for:
- Working with the client on rigorous pre-production planning. A run-of-show document should set out timings, durations, topics, and speakers, while pain points and risks are considered and mitigated.
- Advising on the best presentation of the webinar content. Experienced livestream producers know what works best to keep audience attention – for example, a Q&A is pretty much essential for engagement.
- Creating professional graphics and assets for use during the broadcast.
- Helping to prepare speakers with tips and advice – though just the presence of a webinar producer can improve performance, as participants can relax, knowing there is somebody experienced running the show.
- Providing a dedicated ethernet connection that is checked thoroughly before go-live. In addition, there should be a back-up connection in case of outages.
- The location set-up, including hardware such as lighting, cameras and microphones, and presenter positioning. Some webinar producers offer a dedicated studio space for livestream broadcasts.
- Pre-broadcast technical checks.
- The full livestream production – communicating with the film crew, starting the broadcast, controlling overlays, adding speakers at the right time, and rolling video/audio. In addition, webinar producers run the interactive elements, such as Q&A sessions or polling, and integrate remote contributions.
- Producing a polished after-event video for social, website or follow-up email use.
How do I choose a webinar producer?
There are certainly plenty of webinar producers out there, but how can you identify the best? Experience is a big factor, you want to know that your chosen livestream specialist has been there and done that so many times that nothing fazes them and they instantly know what to do in any given situation (as live broadcasts do involve a special kind of pressure!). Look at their case studies and testimonials. Who are their clients? If they have been working with big corporate brands, or media companies, that’s a sign that you are looking at a webinar producer with the right credentials.
It almost goes without saying, solid technical expertise is required – but what’s very important is an ability to explain technical considerations to non-technical people, to successfully work with the in-house team in charge of the event, whether that’s sales and marketing, HR or the Board. This ability smooths the way for both the in-house teams and the webinar presenters and speakers to focus on their objectives, without struggling to get their heads around any of the technicalities. Communication is also critical in terms of responsiveness in the planning period. Do they provide prompt responses to emails? Will they answer their phone to help when a pre-production query arises?
The best webinar producers have dependable and good-quality – not necessarily fancy – hardware, including computers, cameras, mics, switchers, mixers and lighting. It’s also important that they will supply duplicate kit, in case of any breakdowns or errors on the day; a last-minute cancellation through technical difficulties is simply not acceptable.
Finally it’s worth considering the way your potential webinar producer works – do they have attention to detail, do they have a ‘go the extra mile’ ethos, and do they operate as a true partner rather than just hired help? The best webinar producers not only love what they do, they will take your broadcasts to the next level, not simply delivering what you say you want, but advising you on your best options to meet budgetary needs, and supporting objectives around communications and culture. A true partnership approach is what you’re looking for, here.
How do I get best value out of a webinar production partner?
Once you’ve chosen your webinar producer, there are a few things to bear in mind to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Firstly, involve them right from the start of your project. Their livestream event expertise is there to be drawn upon, and you will save both time and money by seeking their advice during the earliest stages of the planning process. Being transparent about budget will also enable they to make suggestions on driving the best value from the available funds.
A good, clear brief which doesn’t just outline what you want your webinar to look like, but why you’re doing it, will get things off to a flying start – clear brand guidelines, too, will give them a feel for your organisation’s identity and ensure the graphics designer can hit the ground running. If you’re unsure of what exactly you need to include on your brief, good webinar producers will guide you in all the ingredients they need to deliver the optimal production.
Ultimately, if you choose the right webinar producer, then you will find they act as if they are an extension of the in-house team – your objectives become their objectives – and over time the working relationship becomes such that you don’t need to provide such a detailed brief, as they are already attuned to your requirements, and can deliver the best quality outcome with only minimal time and effort from the brand.
To find out more about how our expertise and experience can help you deliver on your livestream event objectives, call +44(0)203 151 5870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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