We’re not shy to admit that webinars are a fantastic way to reach an audience and really build a connection with your brand. Okay, we LOVE to shout that from the rooftops. But (and this is a big Kardashian-sized but) webinars are only truly effective when you have quality content that keeps your attendees engaged.
At first, this isn’t difficult. You have so much knowledge to share with the world that it’s hard to keep your webinar within your set time limit. However, week after week, it becomes a challenge to repurpose your content into something new and exciting. And even more difficult is filling those virtual seats once you’ve already cycled through your list a few times too many.
That’s where guest speakers are a game changer for webinars.
Guest Speakers Expand Your Reach
Have you ever signed up for a conference because a single guest speaker caught your eye? No…? Just me…? Well it happens. Guest speakers are a phenomenal way to draw new viewers to your webinars (and grow your pool of leads).
Guest speakers expand your audience because not only are you drawing in fans of their work, they’ll likely help you promote your webinar. So now, you’re not just reaching your entire list, you’re reaching theirs too.
Guest Speakers Add Credibility
I know we haven’t reached the tips section of this article yet, but this needs to be said. Your guest should be an EXPERT on the specific topic they’re going to speak about. So no, Uncle Joe who likes to watch sci-fi documentaries on his weekends does not qualify for your webinar on outer space.
A good speaker is someone who is an established authority. For example, if you sell a fitness plan to lose weight, bring on a well-known dietician to help round out your presentation. Because they are an expert, they will bolster your credibility.
Also, because they are not directly attached to your company, viewers tend to trust what they have to say a little bit more and are less likely to view them ast biased. However, for transparency sake, please let your viewers know if your speaker is making any money on your sales.
Guest Speakers Add Another Perspective
Over time, if you run a regular webinar series, your viewpoint (no matter how accurate or interesting) can become a bit stale. Guest speakers can provide an alternate viewpoint that you may not have thought of. And if you’re brave enough to make your webinar a panel discussion where you go back and forth, together you may reach points or conclusions that neither of you would have arrived at on your own.
So… How Do I Find A Guest Speaker?
I know, I know. You’re so excited about the prospect of a guest speaker that you want to jump right in. Except, we need to cover a few basic rules first before you reach out to anyone.
- Technically we already covered rule number one earlier, but just to reiterate, your guest must be an expert in their field!
- They should have a sizeable following. Sure, you can have a guest speaker that is completely unknown on your webinar, and it will likely liven things up. However, without a significant following, you won’t really boost your attendance rates and expand your reach, which is perhaps one of the biggest draws for having an expert come on board for the day.
- They should have some experience with public speaking (and no, long talks with their dog don’t count). This may not seem like a huge deal, but when your speaker drones on for 45 minutes without a single interaction with the audience or a change in tone, you’ll realize just how big a deal it really is.
At the end of the day, your webinar is still a presentation, and you need to entertain. Having a speaker who is slightly less qualified but keeps everyone on the edge of the seat is better than one who is overqualified but boring.
Now that you know the three rules for finding a guest, it’s time to figure out how to actually get them onto your webinar stage. First, think of any colleagues you have that could work with your brand. For example, if you’re an expert on everything equestrian, it may behoove you (ha!) to bring in a friend who’s well-versed veterinarian. Or, if you’re a digital marketing expert selling funnels, bring in a past client who saw phenomenal results.
If you’re struggling to find someone in your immediate network, it’s okay to reach out and ask for help. Tell your followers on your social media that you’re looking for a guest speaker they’d be interested in, and see who they throw your way.
Then, once you’re narrowed down the pool of speakers you don’t know personally, send out a professional email, offering each speaker a benefit if they join your webinar. Benefits can include exposure, sponsorship or even an affiliate or JV partnership where they will make a percentage on each sale. Sure, you can also choose to pay them a flat fee, but it’s less than ideal. It’s much better to find someone to partner with so they have a rooted interest in the success of your webinar.
Your checklist before going live
Once you’ve got a fantastic speaker lined up, the next logical thing to do is go live, right? Wrong. Make sure you check off each of these boxes before you enter a Live room with no return.
- Schedule a practice session with your guest
Unless you’re the king of improv, winging it is always wrong. Especially when there’s a guest involved. Go through at least one dry run (2-4 is even better) to make sure your presentation styles flow together. This will also give you the opportunity to cut out any webinar-killing, text-heavy slides or uncomfortable jokes.
- Familiarize your guest with your webinar platform
You may know WebinarJam like the back of your hand, but there’s a good chance your guest doesn’t. And unless you plan on clicking next for every single one of their slides, it’s always a good idea to ensure they know where everything goes and what buttons never to press.
- Verify that your guest has a good webcam/mic and a tidy room
Your guest doesn’t need to shell out big bucks for a good mic and webcam, but check that they have one that gives clean audio and clear video. Otherwise, they’re wasting time on your webinar because no one will be able to see or hear them. To see our favorite webcams and mics for a webinar, click here.
Also, on your practice run, keep an eye out for any laundry floating on the floor in the background. It may not seem important, but lack of tidiness can be very distracting to viewers (that goes for you too).
And while we’re on the note of distractions in the room, have your guest join your webinar from a locked room. The last thing you want is to look like this presenter.
Once you’ve run through a few times and ensured your guest knows your platform and is ready to broadcast, all that’s left is going live! Show up 30 minutes before your webinar to make sure everything is ready to go and then have a blast speaking to viewers and listening to the amazing things your guest has to say.