Webinar Creation
11/13/23

9 Steps To Find the Perfect Webinar Speakers for a Successful Event

By:
Rachel Meyrowitz

Webinars are an incredibly popular content medium and an essential component of many marketing strategies. They leverage live and on-demand videos for every stage of your funnel and are excellent at boosting customer retention.

In addition to acquiring new leads, marketers use webinars to cater to their existing customers with product updates, team Q&As, and company announcements. These virtual events serve multiple purposes, including:

  • Reach new audiences
  • Entice your existing customers
  • Introduce your company to your desired market
  • Grow your brand on social media

To maximize a webinar’s impact on an audience, many brands bring on webinar speakers who provide additional expertise and value. You can find speakers within your company or externally depending on your webinar structure and message. 

They can be your primary hosts, interviewees, consultants, or participate in some other capacity. Your audience, their desired outcomes, your event goals, and your webinar format will determine the role they play. To find effective webinar speakers, consider:

  • Internal experts
  • Company partners
  • Current and potential customers
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Selecting Webinar Speakers: 9 Important Steps

1. Define Your Objectives and Audience

The foundation of any virtual event planning is determining what your objectives are for your webinars: Do you aim to capture leads, gain a higher ROI, grow brand awareness, etc.? 

Then, pinpoint your target audience’s interests and the subject matter they want to learn more about. An easy way to learn this is to ask your consumer base directly: You can send a survey to your email subscriber list and past webinar attendees or post a poll on social media, for instance. This information combined with your defined goals will help you select webinar speakers who resonate with your audience and align with your webinar needs. 

2. Match Your Topic 

Your webinar topic determines the format and tone of your event. Search for appropriate candidates who are knowledgeable on the subject matter and can match the right voice for a cohesive and engaging webinar. 

3. Create a Speaker Profile

What do you want from a speaker? What skills, experience, and personality should they possess? What type of presence do you desire for your social media needs? Creating a speaker profile helps narrow your expectations for the final selection process. 

4. Leverage Your Network

Use your connections to help you find speakers. Your network can uncover professional speakers who can help you build your brand and take your webinars to the next level. 

5. Capitalize on Social Media and Other Platforms

Take advantage of social media to help you pinpoint trends in topics and themes, as well as what audiences in your target demographic desire from speakers. Take cues from other successful webinars from brands you follow online. Then, apply what you learn to flesh out your speaker expectations (and possibly locate a viable candidate). 

6. Reach out to Thought Leaders

A powerful way to grow your brand is to cultivate ties with authorities and thought leaders in your industry. Leverage your network and social connections to contact thought leaders about their insights — and ask them to take part in your webinar. 

7. Interview Potential Speakers

Once you have some potential speakers in mind for your webinars, interview them on current events and trends, your brand, and your industry as a whole. These discussions will help you determine who has the proper knowledge and voice to match your brand’s image and add great value to your webinar. 

8. Send Formal Invitations and Confirm Participation

Confirm in writing that a speaker is going to participate in your webinars. Formal invitations show your respectful appreciation of their role in your online marketing campaigns. 

9. Prepare Together

To ensure a natural flow for your event, work with your webinar speakers to include plenty of space for them in your presentations. This is also their chance to become familiar with the event’s agenda and content, which lowers the chances of mistakes occurring during the live event (or recording session, if you’re planning an on-demand webinar).  

Characteristics to Consider When Choosing Webinar Speakers

Expertise

What does a potential speaker know about your brand or industry? More expertise will yield a stronger cohesion with your brand when representing you in a webinar. 

Relevance

How relatable is the speaker to your brand? Do they operate in your industry? Are they a customer or expert in a similar field? Relevancy creates a more authentic experience for your audience. 

Engaging Communication

How engaging is a speaker when you interview them? Do they draw you in and have an engaging presence? Since they’ll be interacting with your audience virtually, they have to be engaging on camera to hold everyone’s attention for the duration of the event. 

Diversity

Don’t be afraid to be diverse in choosing relevant speakers. This makes your brand come across as more genuine to your audience and helps build trust and loyalty with them. 

Previous Experience

Has the candidate participated in webinars previously in any capacity, such as speaking in, creating, or hosting them? Experience isn’t the defining factor in your decision, but it is important to run webinars without a hitch. 

Audience Appeal

When your audience likes your speaker’s personality, they’re more likely to stay engaged with your webinars. So, choose guests who you feel your audience would enjoy listening to and watching live.

Reputation

Your webinar speakers represent your brand, so verify they have a healthy reputation. Research their past works and other information online to ensure nothing clashes with your brand’s mission or goals. This helps build and maintain audience trust in your brand. 

The Advantages of Webinar Speakers

Most webinars involve one or two speakers presenting live with video and slides. You can also record these events and make them available on demand so people can watch immediately upon registration or at any time that’s convenient for them.

Guests can come from an internal team, or you can source them from outside your brand. For example, you could partner with an industry-adjacent company and have their team present a keynote-style webinar, or your marketing team can invite your CEO to answer questions.

No matter the format, when you invite a guest speaker to your webinar, you unlock several advantages for your presentation — and your broader business objectives.

Widen Your Reach

Sourcing guest speakers from your industry network helps you attain a larger audience. You can then use automated webinar tools to continue building on the connections developed during webinars working to further expand your audience reach. In that regard, it’s crucial your speakers don’t work with competitor organizations. However, partnering with related companies in your niche or sector can win prospective customers from their existing user base.

It’s important to establish ground rules up front:

  • Decide on mutual goals.
  • Agree that both parties must promote the webinar and ask for registrants.
  • Confirm privacy policies and ensure webinar attendees consent to communication from all event partners.
  • Create CTAs that benefit all partners where possible.

Leverage Expertise

Guest speakers bring their expertise and authority to the stage. Whether your guest is an internal developer, a customer who found success with your product or service, or another company in the same industry offering a new solution to a problem, speakers provide unique value that entices webinar registrants and keeps audience members intrigued.

Provide New Insights and POVs

To emphasize your speakers’ knowledge and expertise, dig into their ideas, POVs, and insights. It could also be beneficial to review a topic you’ve previously covered to show your audience an alternative perspective.

Build Brand Awareness

Speakers create the opportunity to promote your brand by spotlighting your own employees’ knowledge base, showing your team interacting with others, or placing real customers in front of the camera. Viewers enjoy seeing the faces behind your company and gaining an inside look at your product. Introducing the people who support and manage the company lays the foundation for lasting relationships with your audience.

Showcase Credibility

Whether it’s your marketing director, project manager lead, head of engineering, or co-founder, displaying your subject matter expertise on camera establishes credibility and fosters trust with your audience.

Subject matter experts achieve this by:

  • Sharing industry insights and thought leadership
  • Explaining more about your product and the engineering behind it
  • Learning about the audience and their desired outcomes

Despite the complexity they bring to your event logistics, a guest speaker adds new faces, ideas, and opinions. Speaker credibility contributes greatly to the audience draw of both live and automated webinars

Who to Invite as Webinar Speakers

For most webinars, guest speakers fall into three main categories: internal speakers, company partners, and clients or customers.

Internal Webinar Speakers

You can find people within your organization who bring something new to a webinar, whether that’s thought leadership, supplemental information on a topic, or deeper knowledge about your brand.

Examples of internal speakers are:

  • C-suite executives who lend authority and can deliver impactful brand and industry insights. This shows your company values its audience, and it also allows team members from all levels to connect with them.
  • Internal experts who can discuss a topic in depth, showcase your product in action, and offer a unique perspective. These can include developers, IT security, or customer service reps, among others.

If you include a teammate, they should clearly display their credibility and provide relevant brand knowledge while delivering interesting content that moves your target audience closer to their desired outcome. As a bonus, since they’re part of your organization, it’s more cost-effective than employing outside guest speakers.

Company Partners

You can also spotlight a company partner, whether you have a co-marketing agreement, integration, or official partnership. These can be:

  • Companies you integrate with or that are in an adjacent industry
  • Industry leaders in your niche who possess knowledge and authority and draw their own audience
  • Marketing partnerships with key non-competitors in your niche
  • Well-known industry brands whose reputations can boost your event reach

Look for organizations that strongly align with your brand, especially its vision, values, and audience. You may also want a partner who’s the same size; collaborating with a smaller company usually means you contribute more registrants, while a larger company can reduce your lead quality by virtue of volume. That’s not to say you shouldn’t work with brands of different sizes, especially if there’s a significant overlap in your audiences.

Current and Potential Customers

Existing customers and prospective clients can be highly influential webinar guests, both for top-of-funnel acquisition and consumer retention. Inviting potential buyers to collaborate with you on a webinar opens an introduction without you having to make a sales pitch.

Alternatively, a current (and happy) customer can promote your business through their authentic experience. Consider pulling from the following groups to invite as speakers for your webinar:

  • Existing customers who answered a net promoter score survey and gave a 9 or 10, indicating they’re satisfied with your product or service
  • New customers who are willing to explain their journey with your company over a series of webinars
  • Managers and other decision-makers from companies in your target markets

Existing and prospective customers can illustrate industry problems, solutions, and what your product achieved for them. This increases the value of both your webinar and brand, even if a lead doesn’t convert or bring others with them to fill your audience. 

The Best Formats to Use for Guest Webinar Speakers

Not all webinar formats accommodate guest speakers well. Your choice of webinar format should clearly express the presentation content so attendees easily grasp the information. Additionally, the format needs to support your webinar goals.

Demio features several engagement tools that let speakers communicate and interact with audiences. Choose from live chat, polls, surveys, featured handouts, and other interactive elements to make the viewer experience even more relevant and valuable. 

Selecting the right webinar format is important, because it structures how you share information. Different webinar formats apply to specific audience and speaker preferences. For example, some speakers aren’t interested in presenting a topic, but are willing to join a panel. Below are a few popular webinar formats convenient for guest speakers

Educational Webinars

An educational webinar typically follows a keynote format where one person gives a presentation or multiple speakers collaborate to deliver lessons on a topic or theme. For these types of online events, you should introduce the speaker(s) before the event and include a Q&A session at the end so the webinar presenters can answer audience questions and clarify any lingering confusion.

Product AMAs

This type of webinar, also known as a Q&A webinar, has your audience ask questions, which your guest speakers then answer live. You can (and should) prepare some beforehand to get the ball rolling, as well as cover the most frequently asked questions up front.

These webinars are usually reserved for internal speakers like a co-founder or product manager who can answer questions about the brand, product, or new features. Many webinar platforms, such as Livestorm and other alternatives, provide all the elements you need to host a Q&A webinar with ease. 

Panel Discussions

A panel has multiple speakers discuss various topics, answer predetermined questions, and cultivate familiarity with the audience. They usually employ a moderator, who poses questions or provides topic prompts throughout to guide the webinar.

Panels are excellent for partnering with industry experts — your guests can showcase their knowledge and POVs to deliver unique value to viewers. You have the option to arrange your panel so every speaker is an expert on either the same subject or related subjects under an umbrella topic. For even more engagement, end the panel webinar with questions from the audience.

Interviews With Customers and Industry Experts

A webinar interview is a great opportunity to highlight your customers’ unique journeys, why they love your brand, and how your product or service helped them reach their desired outcomes. You can structure it like a Q&A but, instead of having the audience ask all the questions, someone from your company would have a prepared list of thought-provoking questions.

This format is ideal for discovering what your customers struggle with, current industry problems, how your product or service solves relevant issues, and other insights. That information is especially helpful for creating automated webinars, as you’re able to craft content that viewers can resonate with over and over again. 

Give Your Webinars a Strong and Appealing Voice With Guest Speakers

Effective webinar speakers add value, interest, and unique ideas to your webinar. The longer you run webinars, the more important it is to bring in new people both to keep your content fresh and to ensure your audience continues to grow. Use the tips in this article to help you identify the best speakers to invite to your webinars for fruitful virtual events every time.

When you have a guest speaker who can engage and connect with your audience, your webinars are more likely to elicit a strong response from your attendees. Add a robust webinar platform for support, and you position your webinars for optimal success. Demio makes webinar creation easier, whether you’re new to webinar hosting or consider yourself a pro. Book a demo today to learn more or get started with a free trial now.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Webinar Lead Generation

What is a webinar speaker? 

A webinar speaker is an individual who presents or delivers content during a webinar. The speaker is responsible for engaging the audience, conveying information, and facilitating discussions. Webinar speakers can come from various backgrounds, including subject matter experts, industry professionals, thought leaders, or educators.

What skills make a great webinar speaker?

Here are key skills that make a great webinar speaker:

  • Effective communication, subject matter expertise, adaptability, engagement techniques, preparation, audience awareness, time management, technical proficiency, visual communication, and confidence

How do I keep my audience engaged during a webinar?

Use features like chat, Q&A, polls, handouts, and featured actions to keep your audience engaged during a webinar.

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