Webcasting Sidebar 1
Answers to Common Questions About Webcasts
How Long Should a Webcast Be?
Linsenbach: “This is tricky. An hour is usually a good length of time; although, depending on the topic, I’ve seen some webinars stretch to an hour and a half, or even two hours. Most times, the audience will stick around as long as they are engaged and actively participating, which is why we do our best to include a lively Q&A session with panelists and interactive audience polling.”
Sharan: “The average ideal webcast is 30 to 40 minutes of programming with speakers, followed by 15 minutes for audience Q&A. Assuming the content is compelling and the audience is hearing what they registered for, they will stay. A webcast is a program, and we should think of it as a form of TV—the best TV shows are interesting, well-written, and keep us coming back. Webcasts are no different.”
Paid vs. Unpaid Attendance?
Kamikow: “We never charge. Charging cuts down audience attendance drastically. We happen to think that anyone spending 60 to 90 minutes for a webinar is a highly qualified buyer.”
Pulizzi: “We do both, although most of our models are unpaid.”
Linsenbach: “I’d say that either could work depending on the audience and the goal the publishing company is trying to achieve. People who might otherwise balk at attending a webinar might do so simply because it’s free; but attendees of a free webinar might not be as willing to pay for more information or purchase a vendor’s products or services. … People … would most likely [pay to attend] if the content was more focused and targeted specifically at their industry or at a particular issue they’re facing.”
Rist: “Publishers just shouldn’t mix a sponsored event with a paid event since the expectation from attendees is that their name won’t be given to anyone if they are paying to attend. Where I see publishers fail is when they decide to charge for webinars to offset costs. It doesn’t work.”