Many companies today utilise webinars as a major marketing tool, and they have no shortage of good reasons to do so. For one thing, webinars are considered superb sources of information that allow presenters to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in service of their organisation’s interest. Moreover, webinars can be recorded, replayed at multiple events, and even shared on different social media channels. Thus, they’re a powerful tool for building brand awareness, promoting products, and bringing an online community together.
In theory, anyone who owns a computer or tablet with internet access can make a webinar. If you’re new to making video content, however, the idea of organising and hosting a webinar can be nerve-wracking. While you may know that polished, crisp video is a must, the sheer range of available hardware and software can make it difficult to figure out what tools you need to achieve the quality you want. Luckily, this handy guide outlines the tools and equipment you’ll want to invest in for professional quality webinars.
A Reliable Webinar Software
Once you have a quality computer locked down, the next thing you should look at is a quality program or platform that you can use to host your webinar. Depending on your needs and allotted budget, you can use a browser-based platform or download dedicated webinar software. Some other important considerations for choosing the right software include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
The anticipated size of your audience
The number of presenters you plan to have
Your need for additional visual enhancements like customised backgrounds or HD video settings
A quality webinar service will make it easy for you to record, stream, and share your webinar. Live chatting features are also essential for engaging directly with your audience. Some webinar programs may require audiences to create logins or download additional plugins to view your videos, so do think about whether the quality of the experience the platform offers is worth these extra steps.
A Fast and Stable Internet Connection
A fast and stable internet connection is critical to the success of your webinar, as livestreaming uses up a lot of bandwidth. Lag, blurry video, freezing, and glitching due to poor internet connectivity will irritate your audience and can severely compromise the overall quality of your webinar. Hence, you’ll want to make sure your internet is up to snuff long before you go live.
One of the most important things to do in the early stages of planning your webinar is to run a speed test on your internet connection and determine if it’s fast enough to support a smooth, uninterrupted stream. If not, you may want to give your internet service provider (ISP) a call and explore possible upgrades to provide you with more bandwidth.
The stability of your internet connection is just as important as speed when it comes to streaming live video. Because wired internet connections are much more stable than wireless ones, you may want to skip out on connecting to Wi-Fi in favour of running an ethernet cable from your computer directly to your router. If your computer doesn’t have an ethernet port, investing in an ethernet-to-USB adapter should solve the problem.
High-Quality Audio Equipment
The best presentation in the world will fall flat if your audience can’t hear what you’re saying. Studies consistently show that webinars and online meetings with superior sound quality improve listeners’ impressions of presenters and their material. Hence, you’ll want to invest in an audio setup that can minimise background noise and produce a crystal-clear voiceover.
When it comes to recording tools, you can choose between a separate, dedicated microphone and a headset with a built-in mic. If you want truly professional-quality audio, a separate mic is the way to go. These devices typically produce a greater depth of sound than headset mics can achieve. If you’re working on a budget or simply prefer a more straightforward setup, however, plenty of headsets available on the market today work great for webinars.
A Good Webcam or DSLR Camera
While some presenters simply talk over their prepared slides and call it a day, many professional speakers and marketing strategists argue that the best presenters should appear on camera for at least part of the webinar. Your attendees will find it easier to stay engaged if they feel a real person—not a disembodied voice— is talking to them.
Most entry-level laptops and desktop monitors come with low-quality built-in cameras, so you’ll definitely want to get a high-quality external webcam for your webinar. Alternatively, if you own a DSLR camera, tools exist that allow you to route images and video from your camera directly to your computer, effectively converting your DSLR into a webcam.
A Ring Light
No matter how long you intend to be on camera, good lighting will help you look your best for your audience. Fortunately, it’s not too difficult or expensive to put together a solid lighting setup. Ring lights make excellent lighting options because they light the space all around your camera, rather than simply beaming light from a single direction. You may want to invest in a ring light with handy features like dimmable bulbs and multiple colour filters for different light temperatures.
At the end of the day, you don’t need an ultra-high-end professional studio to shoot great webinars. All it takes is a few smart investments in key tools to create an experience that your attendees will remember and surely come back for.