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Pre-Recording: The Secret to Webinar Success

Barney Brown
13-Oct-2015 11:12:00

As chief commercial director at the webinar platform leader – WorkCast, I am regularly asked to present on webinars, pre recorded webinars and on webinar success.

Those of you reading, who are either responsible for the coordination of the delivery of a webinar or have been presenters on webinars, will know the hassle and stress that presenting can bring.

In my recent brand oriented webinarYour Brand, Your Way, I decided to see how easy and stress free I could make the process without losing quality or engagement.

There are many tools out there for delivering webinars but most of them are compromised at some part of the process. In the following sections, I'll describe just how easy it was to deliver mine.

Content & Brand

Webinar technology cannot help you with what your subject will be, create the presentation you want to deliver or help you practice your delivery.

However, PowerPoint is a powerful tool that, if used correctly, can deliver a tremendously engaging experience. Indeed, there are many specialist agencies that will help you create a fantastic looking presentation.

One thing that has always been a challenge, though, is what content you can use in your slides. Many readers will know that just about all the webinar tools out there will make you compromise somewhere. You can’t use embedded video, transitions are a no go, and animations are messed up or just stripped out…it’s a familiar pattern.

I am lucky, I knew before starting that my platform would not let me down on this. The WorkCast platform supports all the content types mentioned above, every time. This meant I was free to use all of these things in my slides, so I did.

The whole webinar experience should be on brand too. Again this was easy for me. A perk of using WorkCast is that my entire webinar workflow is custom built to be on brand and look great and then saved on my account as an event template. All I need to do is change the copy.

Every page, email and click my intended audience interacts with is tracked and I know that every page and email they see looks like how I want it to, not like a web conferencing tools standard emails.

Delivery Style – It should be Live

Most fear of webinars comes from the idea of live streaming. Presenting live is hard and doing it online somehow seems even harder because you can’t see or gauge the audience’s reaction. You don’t want to script your presentation but you can’t practice a live webinar, it’s catch 22.

PowerPoint has a feature that allows you to record your slide show including all your animations, transitions, builds, embedded videos and your voice over.

In many years of being involved with marketing and sales I have very rarely seen any example of this functionality being used.

Pre recorded webinars can be a huge advantage:

  • I pre-recorded my entire presentation in the comfort of my own office, home, sofa.
  • I didn’t need any specialist equipment, just my PC and a set of headphones with a mic (most smartphones ship with these nowadays).
  • I could redo the audio for slides I wasn’t happy with, play around with slide timings and transitions and end up with the full presentation recorded.
  • The only restriction was that I wanted it to be live and I wanted to be able to do live Q&A.


Again, my webinar platform came to the rescue. The WorkCast Platform allowed me to set up the entire webinar workflow from registration to reminder emails based on the template in the account in advance to broadcasting with a few clicks.

All I needed to do was load the slides into the webinar account I had set up in WorkCast and at the time the webinar was due to start I just clicked the first slide and PowerPoint and the WorkCast platform took over!

The entire pre recorded webinar just played and the WorkCast platform broadcast this to my audience in multiple formats for different devices so my audience didn’t need special plugins, downloads, specific browsers etc.

But what about the live Q&A?

Surely I had to compromise that? Well, that was easy too. I dialled into the phone number provided by the platform and put the handset on mute. When the slideshow finished playing, I simply unmuted my phone and started answering the questions.

The Benefits

‘Simulive’ or pre-recorded webinar content is not new in the world of webinars. However, it is often flawed by the need to create all the content in advance. Nearly all platforms that offer simulive need to broadcast a video file so this needs to be created.

This is often done in conjunction with the webinar platform provider as part of a managed service at a premium fee. The prerecord needs to be scheduled and then editing mistakes out is a chore for someone.

There was none of this with WorkCast, the recording was done in a tool that all presenters are familiar with, PowerPoint (even if they may not like it!) and created it in my own time. I could use anything PowerPoint could handle and this meant I could make my content engaging.

The event was run as live, with no support from my event team, I could handle all the questions easily as I had time to read them, think about the answer and then deliver a response live!

The Result

In my opinion, this was the best and easiest webinar I have ever delivered.

The hardest part was creating a great looking deck, but there are so many people out there who can help with that.

The stress of technology and live delivery was removed and for the first time ever, I was doing something else in the 2 hours leading up to the webinar and not worrying about any technical problems.

I was able to look at who was online, how long they were on for, what actions people were taking (downloads, questions and polls) without an army of marketing or IT people supporting me.

The whole event was set up days before, was on brand and on message. The recording was available immediately and the emails went out automatically to those who did and didn’t attend.

It was so easy to set up that I actually ran it twice in one day, once for our European audiences and once for our US audiences and all the technical input I had was 2 clicks!

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