How to Host a Webinar

If you want the answer up front, the best way to host a webinar is with LiveStorm.

Hosting a webinar is a little different from hosting a normal video conference. If you’ve never done it before, don’t worry, I’ll walk you through how to host a webinar.

There are a number of excellent webinar software options out there that give you everything you need–registration pages, dependable video quality, tools to engage the audience, and more. 

Top-Rated Software for Hosting Webinars

The best webinar software makes it easy to register attendees, invite guest speakers, and coordinate with your team. When you go live, you’ll have tools to poll the audience and run Q&As.

These are the best tools for helping you host an engaging webinar:

With these options, everything you need to promote and host a webinar is included, so you can start filling seats today.

Quick Start Guide for Hosting A Webinar

If you already have your webinar mapped out and you want to get started today, this section will get you to the finish line as quickly as possible:

Sign up for Livestorm. Any of my recommendations will work, but Livestorm offers a complete platform with everything you need to get started for free.

Schedule a webinar. Once it’s on the calendar, you can send invitations, invite panelists, open registration, and start building interest on social media.

Host your amazing webinar. You can use interactive tools to engage the audience both during and after the webinar to find out what’s working well.  

Okay, that’s the 90-miles-an-hour version. Here’s everything you need to know to host your webinar from start to finish.

How to Host a Webinar in 6 Steps

Follow these six easy steps to host a webinar:

  1. Sign up for webinar software
  2. Organize a new webinar
  3. Publish your webinar
  4. Invite people to your webinar
  5. Run a full rehearsal
  6. Host your webinar

To walk you through how to host a webinar, I’ll be using Livestorm. It’s my top recommendation for webinar software because it’s a robust, easy-to-use platform that you can start using right now for free.

1. Sign Up for Webinar Software

First, sign up for your free Livestorm account. There’s nothing to download and zero hidden fees. You don’t even have to provide a credit card. 

Simply follow the link and click Try for free now

Once you fill out the basic information, you will be able to start hosting webinars within a few minutes.

Livestorm works best in Chrome. You can use another browser, such as Safari, Edge, or Opera–but Livestorm highly recommends using Chrome for the best experience.

2. Organize a New Webinar

Everything you need to plan, schedule, and coordinate webinars is in the Livestorm dashboard.  On the left side, you will see tabs for Events, Instant Room, People, App Marketplace, and Updates

The Events tab is featured below. This is where you will start when you log in.

We’ll go over each of those tabs during this post, but for now, select the blue button in the upper right-hand corner to create a new event.

This opens up a screen that lets you set all of the essential parameters for your webinar.

First, enter the name of your new event. 

You’ll see the URL generated below the name. This is the link you will share with prospective attendees. If you want to edit the URL for length or clarity, you can do that here. 

Next, you want to designate speaking permissions based on the format of your webinar. Most of the time, you only want a few speakers, but you can always switch this up. You might start out with a two-person interview and then invite users to speak during a Q&A.

Click the date below Sessions to pick a date and time for your webinar. 

This will bring up a window that lets you choose the date and time, as well as the time zone. Double check to make sure the time zone is correct.

Click Save.

Skip the part where it asks you to add team members for now. It’s easier to do this once you have invited other team members and guest speakers, which we will do in the next step.

Click the button that says Create event.

Once you have created your event, you’ll be able to see it on the events dashboard and modify the settings at any time.

Before you publish your event there are a few optional settings I recommend checking out.

Create a description of your webinar

First, create a short description in the settings tab of your new event. 

You don’t need anything fancy in your description, just a short teaser about what people should expect. 

Stick to your brand story and keep it brief. This description will appear on your Registration page, which is where people will sign up.

Adjust registration settings

Next, you should take a look at the registration settings, under optional settings. 

The default settings are fine, but you can add required registration fields to pick up more information about attendees. Simply click the add a field button, and select options like job title, company, or location.

You can also add consent forms if you need people to sign anything in advance by clicking add a consent.

Under advanced settings, it’s fine to keep the defaults unless you are hosting a paid event.

If you find that you are dealing with a lot of fake Gmail or Yahoo accounts, you can always check the box to only allow registration from people with work email addresses.

What about hosting a paid webinar?

If you want to charge admission for your webinar, Livestorm has you covered. 

First you’ll have to disable the registration page under the advanced registration page settings, and then enable Zapier to connect a payment processing application. Livestorm recommends Stripe, Typeform, and Eventbrite. 

You can log into Livestorm’s knowledge base for step-by-step instructions for how to connect each payment processor.

3. Publish Your Webinar

In the events tab, hover over the event you just created, and then click on the three horizontal dots:

This will bring up a dropdown menu. Select Publish

Once you select publish, Livestorm will ask you to Confirm publication

Once you confirm, you will see that your event is now live. 

A new window will appear that will let you invite other users and view the registration page: 

We’ll take care of invites and registrations in the next step.

4. Invite People to Your Webinar

At this point, your webinar registration is live, which means you can send invitations. We’ll cover how to invite:

  • Attendees that join your webinar
  • Team members that help you host a webinar
  • Guest speakers who are featured by your webinar

Invite Attendees to Your Webinar

At any point, you can share your event by clicking the light blue Share button at the top of your Livestorm dashboard.

This will bring up a new window that lets you share the registration page link, or post it directly to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also embed the link, or display it on the company page that Livestorm automatically creates for you.

On paid plans, you’ll be able to invite contacts via email directly on the platform. With the free plan, you can still share the link with emails you write yourself, but it’s a few extra steps. At scale, built-in email invites will save a lot of time.

For now, you can select the second tab in order to register someone manually. Simply choose a webinar session from the dropdown menu and enter the email of the person you want to invite.

You will get a confirmation as soon as the registrant has received their notification. That person will be able to add the event to their calendar with a single click. They’ll also receive an automatic reminder email shortly before the event. 

Invite Team Members

To add someone from your team who is going to contribute to your webinar (versus just attending), there are slightly different steps.

Team members will have access to the Livestorm dashboard. They can help answer questions from registrants, plan new events, and moderate during a live webinar.

To invite a team member, click on the account settings tab in your dashboard. You’ll find that tab by clicking on your avatar in the lower-left corner. 

In the account settings page, open the team members tab.

In the team members tab, invite a new team member by clicking the button in the top right corner.

This brings up a new window, where you can decide whether you want the team member to be a Host or a Moderator. 

The difference between these two types of permissions is very important:

  • Hosts have full control to create, edit, start, and end webinars. They have full moderation rights during any event.
  • Moderators have access to the Livestorm dashboard, and moderation rights during events, but they can’t create, edit, or cancel webinars.

With Livestorm, you will pay per Host, but you can have unlimited moderators and guest speakers for free.

Invite Guest Speakers

You can also invite people to be guest speakers at individual events. This way you can feature someone as part of your webinar without giving them control of the dashboard.

To invite a guest speaker, select the option to edit your event: 

This will open a new box that will let you make changes to the event, including a button that lets you add a guest speaker.

Fill out all of their information and send your guest speaker a confirmation email. Once they are registered, they will have speaking permission and be able to join your event before the start time.

5. Run a Full Rehearsal

I’d highly recommend a full practice run of your webinar before the real thing. If this is the first time you have ever hosted a webinar, definitely do this, though it’s good practice even for veterans.

Here’s a quick checklist of everything you want to have dialed in before you get started:

  • Equipment: Do all contributors have quality video, microphone, and lighting? It’s definitely worth investing in good equipment.
  • Internet: Do you have a fast enough internet connection? You can run a connectivity test on Livestorm at any time.
  • Space: Are presenters and speakers going to look good on camera? Is there a chance for background noise or distractions?
  • Content: Is any text in visuals readable for someone joining on a mobile device? Make sure that all of your content looks good and is easy for viewers to follow along with. 
  • Composure: Are all presenters prepared to be on camera? Do they know what they are going to say and where they are going to look?

Once you have a few webinars under your belt, you’ll probably put together a rehearsal plan so you can ensure that everything goes off without a hitch.

6. Host Your Webinar

It’s game day–you’ve run through everything, got a great crowd, and it’s time to go.

Click on the details for your upcoming session to open up the dropdown and select event room:

Once you are in the event room, you’ll see all of the event details as well as a video preview of your camera, so you can test audio/visual one last time.

If it all looks good, click Join event and participate.

You’ll see your video feed as well as those of other team members and guest speakers. To officially start the event, click the button in the upper right-hand corner.

This will begin a 10 second run down before officially kicking off your webinar. After this point, everything will automatically be recorded as part of a replay you can share later.

On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see a chat along with a few tools in other tabs at the bottom: 

The chat will be familiar to most users, and contains several helpful tools for audience engagement during the webinar. These include: 

  • Questions: This allows anyone to pose a question that’s captured on the chat. Speakers can answer the question, which causes a dialog box to open on the screen directing people to the specific question.
  • Polls: You can create polls with multiple answers to share with the audience. Votes are tracked and the host can share results in the chat.
  • Apps: Livestorm has integrations with other apps that extend the functionality of your webinar event room

You’ll also be able to share your screen, as well as files from Figma, Google Drive, or YouTube.

When it’s time to close out your webinar, thank everyone who came and spoke, and click the end event button in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Congratulations, you just hosted a webinar!

Final Thoughts About Hosting a Webinar

One more great thing about webinars is that you can record and reuse them. If you are using webinar software like Livestorm, everything gets recorded automatically, and you can easily download and share your recording. 

It’s very possible that people might sign up for your email list, or even pay a fee, to watch your webinar in the future. So I’d recommend keeping the registration page up even after the webinar ends, especially if the content in the webinar is evergreen. 

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