A Guide to Selecting a Webcasting Provider.This in depth article will discuss the in's and out's of choosing not only a webcasting vendor for your next meeting or event, but also the best practices for making your broadcast stand out from the crowd. Our Services
Pre Plan for success
Below we will discuss the steps that you should take before consulting a Webcast Professional.
If you are not familiar with the logistics involved for webcasting it can be a challenging hurdle for your organization to overcome. Partnering with a seasoned broadcast expert is paramount to a positive experience.
Will you be utilizing content for display prior to the webcast or pre-produced segment pieces?
One of the key ingredients to a successful project is the use of video production equipment.
Depending upon budgetary constraints you will want to consider using a high quality video camera. Doing the research on different makes and models of cameras can be exhausting so we will sum up the different styles here.
Prosumer – This would be your everyday camera sold at the big box stores. It can produce a clean image, but lacks the flexibility and image quality needed for an appropriate production. Often times these cameras will not be able to use external audio sources like a lavalier microphone.
Compact Professional – These cameras are very small in size, but have the features needed to capture audio from an external source. These may not have the necessary video or audio outputs needed to interface with production equipment which will result in the use of conversion boxes. Usually it is more cost effective to purchase a higher quality camera to avoid using these conversion boxes.
Broadcast – These cameras are the standard for professional video production. They will offer a crisp image, and industry compliant input / output options. The other key element to these cameras is the ability to change lenses for use in certain circumstances. For instance, pre-producing video content in different settings with a variety of lenses can add a whole new element to your broadcasting needs.
If you are interested in testing out some video cameras before you decide on purchasing one, Lensprotogo.com and Borrowlenses.com are two of our favorite resources for camera rentals. They both offer the latest equipment, free shipping to and from, and competitive pricing.
Lighting is another factor in the video production aspect of webcasting. A good lighting rig will make your presenter/talent stand out dramatically for the viewers.
Lets talk about the second key ingredient to a great webcast, content.
The best way to capture the audiences attention is with compelling content from your presenters. Utilizing PowerPoint, Keynote, or other presentation software is imperative to a good broadcast. See our blog, Keynote Vs. PowerPoint to review some of the deciding factors with regards to presentation software. Engaging the audience is a challenging hurdle when meetings are held onsite. It is even more of a daunting task when they are viewing online. Working with a presentation specialist is often advantageous to helping create a finely tuned “deck.” Nothing keeps the viewers attention like participant interaction. Some presentation software offers the option of embedding surveys into your content as well as chat style Q&A both during a session or at a break.
The third key ingredient is a solid pre-production process including on-boarding of attendees.
A few things to consider with regards to this are:
- When will registration open for the event?
- Will this be an open and public event, or would you like to have individualized logins and passwords for the webcast?
- Would you like to send registrants to a landing page after they fill out the necessary information? (This is a great way to increase your web traffic. We also recommend a landing page forward to occur after your webcast is complete.)
A request that we often get from clients as well as attendees is the availability of “On-Demand” playback of the broadcast. This can be a helpful aspect both for individuals that are not able to view the broadcast at the time of airing, or to add an additional revenue stream to your campaign.
The fourth key ingredient prior to your webcast is choosing a content distribution platform.
There are a number of great solutions depending upon your needs. One that we would highly recommend if your organization has 501c3 status is YouTube. Attached is the application guide for nonprofit organizations. Another fantastic webcasting platform that we like is GoToMeeting. They offer top tier reporting and a pay as you go format. This is great if you only host a few webcasts annually. We have been working hand-in-hand with this organization for a number of years and feel that their technical support and continued uptime is the best in the business. For more commercial and marketing centered webcasting applications we like Facebook Live. Offering some of the best content integration capabilities it allows your viewers to interact with the webcast on a number of levels.
At NHAV we utilize a number of different platforms for our clients. Some of our platforms can be seamlessly transitioned from mobile, to tablet, and desktop machines and offer the viewer a similar experience. A few of our platforms also offer report-out information after the webcast is complete. This is helpful for marketing purposes, but also if you are offering credits for attendance. These reports can offer you a number of different pieces of information including:
- Were they paying attention the entire time? (Some platforms can tell if you switch applications while viewing the broadcast which would constitute NOT paying attention.)
- Did they stay logged in for the entire broadcast?
- Did they ask any questions, and if so what was the answer?
- Did they require technical assistance?
- Did anyone not attend the broadcast that was registered?
Most webcast providers offer a dedicated technician during the event to handle customer service via email, chat within the webcast, or by phone. Some will offer services to assist with on-boarding as well as afterwards to assist customers with on-demand content requests. They can also monitor attendance during the event to confirm that all of your attendees are online and there are no “piggybacking” of accounts if it is a paid event. Some companies also offer uploading of powerpoint content in .PDF form for attendees to download and view at a later date. Delayed broadcasts that are pre-recorded are also becoming a trend as well as rebroadcasts for different time zone playback.