Better Yet: Producing Great Webcasts

SC0609 DWheelerSelecting the right technology is but one small part of creating a successful web­cast. Kathryn Barrett, senior publicist and webcast producer for Sebastopol, Calif.-based O'Reilly Media, tells how to help ensure a positive experience for all.

Simplify. "Make it easy for attendees to register and join the meeting," Barrett advises. Require minimal contact information, and let them opt in to provide additional details.

Be useful.
Presentations shouldn't be sales pitches; they must contain worthy content, even if the ultimate goal is to sell products or services.

Be social. "The social aspect is what differentiates a live webinar or webcast from a recorded screencast or online article," Barrett notes. Allow all participants to view questions posed in a chat window; a simultaneous conversation then develops among attendees. Having a Twitter hashtag for the event keeps the conversation going. 

Allow Q&A time. Barrett encourages speakers to allot 40 to 50 percent of their time for questions.
Expect glitches. No platform is perfect; stay calm and good-natured, says Barrett, and attendees will understand.