In response to a few emails I had about my Webinar Fails post, I thought I’d help you out a little more with your webinars. As a subject matter expert you will likely be the one creating the content – not necessarily designing the slides, but crafting what will be said on each slide. This is content. It’s important content as the slide images will be based on it and it should be properly planned out.

So, you have a topic and it’s based on some buzz going around in your target audience. Good decision to grab onto a hot topic that is relevant to your business. Next, you should think about the purpose of the webinar. Do you want to book meetings? Make online sales? Generate leads? Build up the top of your funnel for future marketing? The purpose should be realistic to your business and sales process. You will need to connect your purpose to the webinar content at some point in the content creation process.

With your topic you now focus on three key points you want to cover in this webinar. These points should be connected to how your organization helps clients (directly or indirectly) and the purpose of your webinar (free consultation, giveaway, event invitation, etc.) This is the important part so don’t rush it. Reach out if you need a bit of brainstorming help!

Your three main points can now be expanded upon in greater detail. Put a series of bullet points (things you think you will cover) under each main point. You can edit these later so don’t be afraid to list any. When you’re creating this list you should keep in mind the level of existing knowledge of your prospect. Do you need to explain any concepts first? Do you need to provide research to support? Are you using any jargon that won’t be understood? Non-prospects may also attend, but you’re designing this for your target audience (prospect) first and foremost.

Next, create a basic storyboarding sheet (you can even do this by hand in pencil or you can craft one on the computer) and begin to plan out your content flow. The sheet should just be a series of sequential rectangular boxes to represent each slide. Just fill in the gist of what you’ll say in each slide – don’t attempt to draw anything yet. This helps show your ideas and how you plan to transition between them. It will allow you to see how much talking all your points add up to and if you’re talking too much on any given slide. Here is where you may begin to edit. Don’t worry about the slide images at this point, it is the information that is the focus – the image helps communicate the information. Keep in mind that when you present you shouldn’t be sitting on a slide for much longer than 30 seconds. If it takes longer than 30 seconds to make your point, divide it into another slide or two. Break your information down into bite-sized pieces – easy for your audience to digest.

Practice saying it to gauge time. Don’t be afraid to practice. Practice without the tech first and then add the slides, add the webinar tech, etc. But you should be practicing your content without the slides to ensure you’re focusing on the content.

Don’t be afraid to hand it over to a design team or marketer to match up or create images. Nothing loses an audience’s attention more than busy or boring slides. Slide design is an “art” and shouldn’t be slapped together. It’s a lot easier to create impactful slides if the content is solid and easily communicated to a designer – those storyboard sheets are very helpful here!

And lastly, don’t be afraid to go outside the box, but stay within brand. Branding your presentation isn’t just about using corporate colours or official fonts. It’s the tone, the image style, your language. If you’re too strict on branding you can suffer in creativity.

Carolyn Bergshoeff is the founder of WindWater Marketing, a small business marketing firm based in Toronto, Canada. Webinars are a particular enjoyment of Carolyn. She takes her clients step by step through the task of crafting a webinar that generates leads and builds their business.