Do you replay your webinars?

Jeff asks a simple but excellent question via LinkedIn:  Do you replay your webinars?


The good news is that webinars are easy to record, and those recordings are really useful in many situations.  But consider a couple trade-offs.

The BEST live webinars involve a lot of interactivity, a lot of interplay between presenters and audience. The value to the audience member is that sometimes one personal question answered is as good or better than all the rest of the content combined.  In short, your opportunity to engage and influence is highest when dialogue is rich.

The BEST on demand webinars tend to be tightly focused, typically answering a specific question. The viewer is usually multi-tasking, and they’re usually watching to get a specific promise fulfilled (e.g., “in this webinar you will learn…”).  Think about copy writing for the web… do you want something that is a transcript of a live conversation or a crisp, concise getting-to-the-point?

A couple analogies:

Think about going to a live, in-person seminar vs. watching a DVD of it.  You’re not there, you don’t get the energy, don’t get to ask questions, don’t get to participate in the exercises.  If the seminar creator wants to educate and influence you, the DVD is okay, but well-designed instruction that accounts for a different medium/environment would be much better for your on-demand experience.

Using a musical analogy, a great live performance rarely makes for an optimal recording, and an awesome recording is done in a studio.  Ironically, if that perfect performance is duplicated on stage, it sounds a little too contrived!

It’s not a question of which is better, it’s a question of optimization.

The very best live webinars aren’t great recordings, and the very best on demand webinars are better created thinking “instructional design” than “live dialogue.”

When a client asks, “Do you replay your webinars?” I always ask what they really, really want.

Does marketing score points when someone registers for the replay (by getting a ‘lead’)?  Maybe that works.  Or is it really important that someone consume and take action on the content?  It probably is a lot less effective.  Do you just need an inexpensive way to record a monthly sales meeting for those who missed?  Score.  Need to really command attention, build interest and desire, and influence action?  Not so well…

My opinion (backed by some perspective of being at EnvoyGlobal, PlaceWare, Microsoft, and Corvent):

Create awesome live, interactive events or tight, on-demand content, but rarely blur the lines.

1 Comment

  1. The Virtual Presenter » Blog Archive » The fastest way to get Q&A flooded with responses

    […] a broken-record evangelist for making live web seminars interactive (see this), but audiences often just ’sit there’ […]

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