It hadn’t been my intention to offer webinar support services, but given the number of requests I’ve had, I’m making it official.
Webinars and Online events are not going anywhere – the current situation we find ourselves in may have pushed some companies outside of their comfort zones through necessity, but when done well the benefits for providers and attendees are clear enough that online events are here to stay and will only become more important in the future.
I ran the first webinar training sessions for Oxford University Press over ten years ago. In the years since OUP have developed one of the most effective online teacher service around, running hundreds of events globally with tens of thousands of attendees.
I’ve used webinars and online meetings across many platforms ever since – for formal presentations, training, promotional activity and teaching – both during my time as Global Head of Digital Marketing at OUP, and in the two and a half years I’ve been running my own consultancy services.
Running webinars is one thing – using them effectively within a wider marketing mix is something quite different: it’s not just about technical know-how (although that’s important), it’s knowing how to use it in conjunction with everything else in your marketing tool-kit in a way that’s right for your audience.
I agreed to help out a local organisation when lockdown started (see case study below). The event has been phenomenally successful and as a result I’ve found a number of companies have reached out asking for help with their own events – some originally planned as physical events/festivals that have had to be rethought, others companies who have been wanting to embrace online sessions but nervous about it, and now forced into action, and then ones who have been running internal or external events for a while but looking to ‘get better’.
Services I’ve provided include:
- Platform selection and implementation
- List building and marketing communications to support events
- Train-the-trainer to allow companies to run their own events
- Promotional material creation for in-event use and pre/post marketing
- Security support
- Best practice training for webinar presenters
- Managing the hosting and moderation of live events – alone or alongside an internal team as preferred
Sectors I’ve supported:
- Charities and Nonprofits
- Educational teams
- Literature and Arts festival events
- Public sector
- FMCG internal presentations
If you have any questions about running your events, or are looking for help in any of the above areas – no matter how big or small, you can contact me, obligation free at:
Virtual Noir at the Bar – a Case Study
When covid-19 started I volunteered to help Victoria Logan temporarily move her Newcastle Noir at the Bar from its’ four-year old, much loved, bricks-and-mortar event to a weekly online one (You can sign up here – hundreds have and love it). Ten authors reading live from their work. Set up in one week and run every week since. Vic organises the speakers and presents impeccably every week, and I’ve handled the marketing and tech throughout. We’ve attracted some of the biggest name in crime fiction writing since including the likes of Ann Cleeves, Linwood Barclay and 130 more to date, including UK and US #1 best-selling authors (and with even bigger names coming soon!).
What did I do?
- Created a webinar environment, sign up form, landing page, and all branding in one week, with over 50 attendees registering and attending week 1
- Produced all branded supporting material including rolling presentation introductions outlining rules/ authors and details with full music soundtrack as attendees join
- Ran all in-session moderation including security-safe chat, Q&A and Feedback, interactive activity and dynamic participant management (Panel/ Spotlight/ Follow-the-Speaker cameras)
- Generated weekly email communications: event registration, reminder and post event follow up
- Edited event video recordings and uploaded for VOD versions of the sessions
- Managed all author technical support: introduction email/ webinar set up/ technical walk through guides/ presenting tips and rehearsal
- Designed and released PR activity across social – resulting in increase in subscribers at a rate of 20%, attendance rate of 15% and viewing figures of event recordings at 30% all week-on-week
- Oh, and due to the amazing reaction Virtual Noir at the Bar received – from both audiences and authors, I managed a spin off NHS charities fund-raising: producing a crime fiction anthology Noir from the Bar featuring original stories from 30 of the event speakers, which entered Amazon’s Top 20 in its’ first week of release.
All of the above was done on zero or minimal budget: o Outside of platform costs NO money has been spent on this event, or the publicity for it or the best-selling anthology.
Noir at the Bar originator and Virtual Noir at the Bar maestro, Victoria Logan comments: After volunteering to assist with my Virtual Noir at the Bar idea during the COVID-19 crisis, Simon quickly became absolutely indispensable to the operation. Handling the IT and marketing side of the venture, and coming up with fundraising ideas to help raise money for NHS charities, Simon proved his skills beyond measure. Working with an ever-changing line-up of authors, Simon is flexible, amiable and innovative. Virtual Noir at the Bar has become something of a phenomenon during lockdown and this is in no small part down to Simon’s expertise. I look forward to working with him in the future.
Authors attending have said:
“Simon provided insightful, knowledgeable and reassuring guidance, advice and client support during a fantastically received project. A pure joy to work with!” – Angela Clarke, best-selling author
“I am extremely technologically challenged. I had to give a presentation at a webinar, and while I was completely confident about what I wanted to say, I was very nervous about taking part in a virtual event. Simon organised a rehearsal to ensure I was comfortable with the format. He also created an informative countdown for the audience before the event, ensured everything ran smoothly, and recorded and edited it for future sharing.” – Olga Wojtas, best-selling author
“The most professional event I’ve spoken at. I wish I got this level of support from my publisher…” – (best-selling author from one of the Big Five publishers, name understandably withheld!).
Selected attendees’ comments:
“My favourite part of the week…and the only thing I have in my diary.”
“The best online event I’ve ever attended.”
“Brilliant session tonight! First one I’ve managed to get to and I’ll definitely be back”
“Love your fantastic events!”
So, if you’re looking to run a webinar, online meeting or virtual promotion feel free to get in touch – whether it’s your first time or you’re looking to take your events to the next level, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Initial discussions and advice free-of-charge.