Hands up! As a marketer, how often have you struggled to come up with new ideas to engage your prospects? If your hand is not up then you’re either a marketing guru, or you might want to look down to make sure your pants aren’t on fire.

I like the pants I’m wearing today, so I’ll be honest with you. At Vidyard we put a great deal of effort into keeping things fresh and trying new ideas. It’s definitely not always easy! Sometimes we struggle to find new topics for webinars or figure out what format our viewers prefer. I’m sure that this isn’t just be a problem for us — after all, we’re all in the same boat here!

So if you can relate to the feeling of searching high and low for new ideas for webinars then we have just the thing for you! We’ve put together a list of five tried-and-true webinar types to keep your webinar strategy feeling fresh and your viewers on their toes.

1. Panel Webinars / Fireside Chats

Panel webinars are one of our new favorite formats here at Vidyard. Panel webinars (or the more casual fireside chat) consist of one host who interviews a panel of 2-3 experts or thought leaders about a certain topic. The webinars are informal and unscripted, and most even allow attendees to ask questions throughout the session. It’s a highly engaging form of webinar and adds credibility to your brand by inviting partners and customers create a thought leadership piece.

TIP: Logistically, panel webinars are best done with software that allows you to broadcast everyone’s webcam at once, like Google’s Hangouts On Air (soon to be YouTube Live) or GoToMeeting.

2. Educational Webinars

They say the brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text, so it only follows that webinars would be used for educational purposes, right? This is the most run-of-the-mill webinar format that everyone and their Mom is using — but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve a purpose! Educational webinars that primarily rely on slides to convey information are a great way to educate people, and much like panel webinars, it’s also a great opportunity to include external speakers like customers and partners.

TIP: The only drawback of education webinars is that they can be un-engaging for prospects if they’re asked to stare at a slideshow for ~60min, give or take. To keep engagement up consider adding in polls and videos, or even breaking up your webinar into shorter 15-25min sections. Just whatever you do, make sure to keep your product out of it!

3. (Keynote) Presentations

Presentation and keynotes are often recorded at events and are prefect fodder for webinars as well! You can live stream them the day of, collect registrations on your homepage, and also keep the recorded version on your website after the event is done. Events are time consuming and expensive, so this is a great way to make the most of them without much added effort on your part.

TIP: One of the best parts of re-watching keynote presentations is that you can cut out all of the … “fluff”. If you’re able to, remove the parts that detract from the presentation, like the presenter shuffling up to the podium, barely audible questions from the audience, and even possibly the frame itself if there are visual distractions.

4. Product Webinars

Product webinars, as I’m sure you can discern from the name, are product-centric and go over general or specific points of your products. This is your time to get as braggy as you want and show off all the neat features of your product without holding anything back! General product webinars are fantastic for later stage prospects who are looking for more in-depth information about your product, and also have the added bonus of taking the pressure off of your sales team to perform demos. Specific webinars can even help keep your existing customers happy and engaged by helping them get acquainted with new products or features.

TIP: If you’re just going to present slides about your product then you are in for a snooze-fest, so make sure you have screen sharing capabilities (especially if you’re in the software or high tech market), or break things up with some videos.

5. On-Demand Webinars

We couldn’t write about webinars without mentioning their recordings now could we? On-demand webinars are any of the above webinars in their recorded format. It’s estimated that 42% of registrants never end up watching the actual live presentation, so it’s important to not only have the recording available for them afterwards, but for anyone else who finds their way to your site and is interested in consuming content.

TIP: People are inherently busy, so it’s important to keep on-demands succinct or else you’re in danger of turning off your viewers. Consider getting someone savvy with video editing to chop down your webinar to a shorter version if it’s over 30 minutes, or even split up your webinar into chapters so viewers can quickly scan to find exactly what they’re looking for.

And that brings us to the end of our list! Do you have any other webinar tips? Or maybe you’re running a whole other type of webinar? Leave us a comment – we’d love to hear from you!

Kim Koserski