Omar Zenhom founded WebinarNinja, an all-inclusive, easy-to-use webinar platform to teach, improve marketing, and grow sales. With over a decade of experience in entrepreneurship, Omar brings a wealth of practical insights into generating passive leads and sales with webinars. Omar and WebinarNinja have been featured in Inc, Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Product Hunt. He is also the host of the Best of iTunes podcast - The $100 MBA Show.
What’s better than a great webinar from an informed, fun, engaging host? A great webinar from 2 informed, fun, engaging co-hosts!
As more people are forced to connect with their audiences and collaborate online, teaming up with 1, 2, or more fellow experts to co-host a webinar makes all the sense.
But for many of us, it’s something new – like so much about how we work now.
That’s what your friendly neighborhood webinar platform co-founder is for. Like so much about the remote life, this is kind of our thing. My partner in business and life (Nicole) and I were taking part in co-hosted webinars long before the world turned upside down — so let our experience be your guide.
Why Co-Host Webinars?
The benefits of partnering up for a webinar are undeniable. By tagging in a friend, you essentially double the value of the webinar, double your exposure, and cut the workload in half.
First, the webinar has double the promotion. Double the emails, double the social posts, double the podcast mentions (if they do that kinda thing).
Because of that, you’re gaining access to your partner’s audience. Everyone on your co-host’s email contact list, all their social followers, all their usual webinar attendees (if they do that kinda thing...) will at minimum hear about you, if not actually attend your webinar and become a fan or customer.
Second, the Sundance Kid to your Butch Cassidy doubles the value of the webinar for attendees. That’s a huge registration driver. Mono-hosted webinars are pretty common, but a good crossover is something special. Just look at when Urkel showed up on Family Matters or when bananas somehow got on Snapchat.
Not only is the webinar more valuable with two hosts, it’s likely to be more fun. You’ve got the potential for banter, a more relaxed vibe. The chemistry between you and a co-host can extend to your audience.
Co-hosting can also improve a webinar’s conversion rates. As I mentioned, you’ll get more registrants. You’ll get more attendees. But you’ll also get more sales, if that’s what you’re after. The reason is because you and your co-host’s trust in each other is a form of immediate social proof.
It sounds a little feedback-loopy, but if a credible co-host sees you as an authority, so will an audience. The same goes for your impact on the co-host’s authority.
Finally, a webinar is a less work for you when there's a Watson to your Holmes. We pour time and resources into stripping down and simplifying our platform to negate the PITA factor for our users. Now, add a second person who can help you manage the moving parts, and you’ve got a ridiculously smooth presentation.
Choosing A Co-Host
So who should you invite to co-host a webinar with you? Finding the Louise to your Thelma may take some thought. Maybe you already have an idea or two. But you have to choose your co-host for more than just chemistry. There has to be some strategy.
The key is to choose someone who offers complementary value.
Not “complimentary’ value; your co-host isn’t there to tell you how cute you are (not that it’s discouraged). Choose someone who offers experience, expertise, or a product that you can’t — but that both your audiences can benefit from.
For example, a fitness trainer can co-host with a nutrition expert. A financial consultant can co-host with someone who sells accounting software. A yodeling instructor can team up with a lederhosen bedazzler. The possibilities are endless.
Come up with a few offers for potential co-hosts, if necessary.
In exchange for co-hosting, you can simply return the favor on a webinar of theirs, put a guest blog post of theirs with a backlink on your site, bring them on your podcast as a guest, be a guest on their podcast, promote their business on social media; the list goes on.
Planning the Presentation
Well before the webinar, lay out a road map of who’s doing what, when.
Who starts? Who introduces the other? Is one of you the “primary” host and the other a sidekick, a la Conan and Andy Richter, or are you equally co-hosting with a Tina Fey/Amy Poehler dynamic? Figuring this out will also help determine how you split up the various tasks necessary to run the presentation (more on that below).
Design your webinar registration page accordingly, balancing the promotional copy and images to reflect what registrants can expect from each of you .
Likewise, create a webinar promotion schedule. Coordinate how and when you’re posting on social media, sending out email campaigns (especially if you may have some of the same contacts), guesting on podcasts, publishing blog posts, etc. Make sure both of you are using every channel at your respective disposals to help fill the seats.
Do a dry run of the presentation so you can keep your transitions smooth and not step on each other’s toes. Plus, it’s an opportunity to work out the tech. You will both feel more relaxed and confident with a practice sesh behind you. You’ll have more fun, and probably get better results, with all the potential kinks worked out.
Splitting Up Tasks
How you divide the various webinar responsibilities is up to you and the Ian McKellan to your Patrick Stewart. But what matters most is that you plan for this, together. Decide beforehand who’s going to tackle each job and when.
I say “when” because neither of you have to handle these these tasks for the whole webinar; you can tag each other in and out, with one host speaking while the other mans the chat area, for example. That’s your call.
I suggest dividing the following list of webinar duties into two buckets: a “Host A” bucket and a “Host B” bucket. Decide if one of you takes a given bucket for the whole presentation, or if you’ll switch buckets once or twice throughout. Both ways work.
Speaking: It sounds obvious, but you don’t want to compete for oxygen during the presentation. Not that you can’t banter; utilize whatever rhythm works for you and the Pikachu to your Ash. But decide whose “turn” it is generally during each part of the presentation.
Using the slideshow as a guide is a good way to manage this. You can even include a color code or other visual cue on the slides to identify who should take the lead at a given moment.
Managing the slideshow: Creating the slideshow, changing slides during the webinar, displaying content within each slide, etc.
Chat: Almost all of my webinars are “co-piloted,” if not actually co-hosted, by Nicole, as she stays active and engaged in the Chat Area. It’s incredibly convenient for me, because we essentially double the engagement this way, and I can stay focused on what I’m doing without anyone in the chat box feeling ignored.
A good rule of thumb is that when one host is talking, the other is primarily responsible for chatting, responding to anything the other host doesn’t respond to verbally.
Q&A: The host who’s speaking, ideally, answers the questions. But the other host can make sure that official Question-Area-worthy questions that come up in the Chat Area get moved over (question-tagging will be a specific feature in WebinarNinja 6).
It’s more about making sure you have the questions all together -- whether the speaking host answers them as they come, or you save them for Q&A at the end and divide them according to expertise (or just both offer your own answers).
Polls: This is another duty that can fall under the “Chat” job: revealing polls when the time is right, and prompting/helping people to respond to polls, even as the host prompts them verbally.
Offer: Timing is everything when it comes to revealing the offer. Decide who pulls the trigger, and when.
WebinarNinja users can check out our Support Article for guidance on using our specific co-hosting tools (those invited to co-host, look here). But there are a few general tips that apply no matter which software you use.
- Use a mic and headphones! We never recommend just using your computer’s own speaker, even for a solo webinar. But it’s particularly important to mic & headphone up for a co-hosted webinar. If you and your co-host don’t use headphones, your voices will come through each other’s computer speakers, go right into your mics, and cause an irritating echo-loop that will guarantee people leave the webinar early.
- Mute your mic when you’re not speaking! It’s just easier, and prevents random noise from your other tasks (like the clacking of your typewriter while you’re on the chat) from being heard by attendees.
- Un-mute your mic when you speak! Classic rookie error. You’ve seen this happen on a thousand Zoom meetings. Also, maybe stop going to Zoom meetings.
The beauty of webinars — especially now — is that they can replace so many kinds of live events. Because you and a co-host can share a “stage” remotely, there’s way more flexibility and opportunity for people to work together. You don’t have to wait for the next conference to share some limelight and forge valuable partnerships.
Just webinar up together, and see how powerful the results can be.
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