Hosting A Webinar Interview – The Ultimate Guide

When it comes to putting on a great webinar, there are many creative ways to build excitement and retain your audience. In fact, I’ve touched on a few different options in my previous article, 5 Creative Ways to Elevate Your Webinar Formatwhich includes the “Webinar interview” format.

So, I’ve decided to continue these ideas by expanding on each creative way listed in the article above. This is the first installment our Ultimate Guide series to further help you create engaging and exceptional webinars that actually get you leads.  So, let’s dive right into why you should even consider this format.

This guide is specific to the interview webinar format. If you’re looking for an overall guide to planning a webinar, check out the 8 Week Guide To Planning A Webinar.

What’s The Point Of A Webinar Interview?

The interview format provides an easy and effective way to reach your audience. Not only that but it’s also beneficial to your appearance and your brand. You’re providing your audience something unique.

Your webinar is going to be the only webinar with you interviewing your respective guest. Sure, they might be on an abundance of other podcasts or webinars, but none of them have the unique appeal of your questions and personality.

Plus, you’re going to raise your authority is the public eye based on who you are interviewing and the knowledge your listeners retain. That public association can leverage your appearance just as much as your brand’s.

Another great point—you can build a relationship with your interviewee. Who knows? Maybe it will lead to bigger opportunities either with you or your business.

It’s like the old adage goes:

“It’s not what you know, but who you know”

Building a relationship with your interviewee could have a great ripple effect down the road. I could write an entire piece of those benefits alone, as I’m sure you can think of some great points too! So let’s move on and jump right into the guide.

Before Your Webinar Interview

Think about when you go for a job interview. Do you just show up and hope for the best, or do you do a bit of homework prior to setting up an interview? Hopefully, it’s the latter.

There are 3 tips to consider when planning an interview webinar.

1. Understand Your Audience

Yes, the interview will likely help you, your brand, and even the interviewee, but don’t forget who this webinar is supposed to benefit—your audience.

That means, you really need to consider who exactly is your audience, or who you’re trying to attract. When we do our Lessons From The Frontline podcasts (which is an interview format), we are looking to serve our content to businesses who have considered, or who have produced their own webinars.

When you look at a company like Hootsuite, their webinars are targetted for social media or digital marketers. So, rediscover your audience and understand what exactly they value in content and knowledge.

Step 2: Find Your Interviewee

You likely already know who you want to interview, or someone who has offered to participate in an interview webinar. If it’s about your niche, you may want to start internally, asking your teammates or even your boss could help you tick this box off quickly.

If you don’t, you’ll have to prospect and build relationships, either in person or online.  Maybe it’s an influencer in your industry or a success story that you know your audience will want to learn from.

Either way, the key takeaway is ensuring that your interviewee that aligns with your business and who you can build a compelling case as to why they should even participate.

Once you have the confirmation, make sure you set the date, time and location, of course, share that with your guest. Make sure you confirm a couple of days before too if you’ve planned it well in advance.

Step 3: Do Your Homework & Ask The Right Questions

Again, you don’t just jump into a job interview without any prior knowledge about the company or position, right? So make sure you know who you’re talking to. Of course, an interview is meant to learn about the other person, however, you still want to know more about your guest than your audience does.

Look for previous webinars they might have hosted or been a guest on, and do just enough background research so you know a few accomplishments. Once you get more information on them, their background, and their business, you’ll be able to define some well thought out questions or comments that can keep the conversation going.

Bonus: Have a few questions ready as a template that you can fall back on should the conversation digress. Don’t follow it like a grocery list, just have it as a backup.

During Your Production

Okay, it’s the day of and you’re ready to conduct your webinar interview! You have your questions ready, your audio’s sounding crisp and video looks sharp.

Now what?

Step 1: Make Your Interviewee Feel At Home

You want to make sure your guest feels comfortable in order to get a natural conversation going. The more comfortable your guest is, the better information you’re going to get from them. Which means your audience is going to listen and want to listen in order to digest all the information.

Here are a few tips to help you be the host with the most: 

  • Ensure your guest knows all the details about the webinar interview beforehand.
    • What topics do you want to cover?
  • Sometimes your guest might want to see your pre-made questions, be sure to ask them.
  • Let them hear your introduction prior to starting the interview.
  • Reassure them that it’s just a conversation between the two of you, especially if they are visibly nervous.
  • Thank and welcome to your audience as soon as you begin.
  • Most importantly: Be enthusiastic and actually want to hear what they have to say to you.

Step 2: It’s Not Your Interview—LISTEN UP

You’re interviewing your guest, meaning they should be the ones taking hold of the conversation. You’re there to help stay the course and to steer them in the right direction. Yes, you should definitely be engaged and add to the conversation, but be cautious about giving your guest a chance to communicate with you and your audience.

If you take over the conversation, you risk coming across as rude and your audience will end up losing the value in your webinar. You’ve asked your guest to come on your podcast and share their experiences, knowledge, and strategies. Not to tell them about yours.

The real takeaway from this tip is simple: Listen to your guest.  

You must want to understand what they have to offer. Rather than just understanding the situation, or the what, you want to understand the hows and the whys.

It sounds simple, however, sometimes this step gets lost in the commotion of actually setting up and preparing for your webinar interview.

Step 3: Have Fun With it!

I say this a lot when it comes to webinars, of any format, but it’s true. Have fun! Your audience will connect with you and your guest if you’re having fun. It draws out that natural chemistry and gives your audience some emotion to told on to. The natural flow of your interview will come together when you’re both having fun.

You worked hard, now it’s time to have fun and enjoy the show!

Webinar Interview Don’ts

After years of experience in the webinar industry, I’ve learned some key don’ts that I’m going to share with you.

Don’t:

  • Talk (or breath) too close to the mic.
  • Be disrespectful to your guest or audience (don’t interrupt)
  • Rely too heavily on your research.
  • Announce your questions “My next question…”
  • Forget about your audience.
  • Allow for awkward silence between you and your guest.
  • Forget to listen and be present with your guest.

Let’s Recap:

Hosting a webinar interview should be fun and filled with great value for your audience, ensure you’re hosting an exceptional interview by bookmarking this guide and follow some great tips.

  • Do Your Homework: Find the interviewee who will provide value to you and your audience and ensure you’ve done your research about your guest.
  • Be A Great Host: Invite your guest into an open environment and make them feel comfortable and welcome. Reassure them when needed.
  • Remember Your Audience: This interview is for your audience, ensure they’re getting the most out of it and stay engaged throughout the interview.
  • Be Mindful of The Don’ts: Have fun, but be cautious of the don’ts we reviewed.

Be the best interviewer for your business. Follow these dos (and understand the don’ts) and you’re sure to really be the host with the most. If you want to learn more about promoting your upcoming webinar interview, check out our 5 simple steps to creating a promotional strategy.

As always, if you want to talk more about hosting a webinar, feel free to reach out to me personally.

Matthew Ley

Matthew Ley

Matt Ley is the current President and co-founder of The Streaming Network. Starting his career in virtual events in 2007, Matt is an industry veteran that is passionate about helping customers stand out in their industry with compelling virtual events that people want to attend. The driving ambition for Matt is that virtual events are not a utility for information distribution but an opportunity for firms to create a competitive advantage. Matt is an accomplished speaker, moderator and a sought-after thought leader.

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