Leader’s guide to developing an episodic webinar series

“Some of our most successful customers that have run series have seen up to 100%, almost twice as much, total engagement versus non-series content,” explains David EdwardsSenior Director of Product Management and Marketing at BrightTALKin “Build a Better Webinar: Developing a Series.” 

You may have some questions, such as How does a webinar series drive such results?, or How can I develop a series? or even What exactly is a webinar series? We have answers.  

In this article, we will:  

* Define the parameters and possibilities of an episodic webinar series  
* Break down obstacles you may face on your series development journey 
* Map out how to plan and create a series 

The parameters and possibilities of a webinar series 

A webinar series is comprised of two or more webinars that are grouped together by a common theme and published over periods of time. Developing a series can drive major benefits, including growing your subscribers, maintaining your audience’s attention over longer periods of time, and facilitating flexible engagement for your viewers (because they can watch on their own schedule).  

The type of webinar series that we’ll narrow our focus on in this article is an episodic series. (Other series types include crash course and playlist, both of which are unpacked by Edwards in “Developing a Series.”) So, what should you know about episodic series?  

Making up an episodic series are live or on-demand webinars that delve into a similar topic or contain a common narrative throughline. You can think of an episodic series like your favorite podcast series: From episode to episode, topics may differ; yet, across the entire series, common threads – the hosts, structure and/or purpose – exist.  

A distinct goal of an episodic series is to attract viewers to watch the most recent webinar. Then, after they engage with that content, viewers have the opportunity to explore archive content as well. An episodic series can be either a fixed length (say, ten or thirteen episodes) or an ongoing project – whichever best fits your business’s content goals and webinar creation resources 

Obstacles you may face on your series development journey  

Two roadblocks that organizations may come across while developing an episodic series are a lack of subject-matter experts willing to appear in the series and a lack of access to content creation skills. Luckily, our following insights can help you sidestep those obstacles.  

Planning essentials to overcome common obstacles and ensure success 

Planning is the critical first step of managing your episodic series. And we advise that you plan out as far in advance as you possibly can. This means beginning to decide:  

* Whether your series will be a fixed length or ongoing – and even if it’s fixed length, you should determine how many episodes you will commit to producing in the next six months or so  
* Who will serve as the host(s) and/or guest(s) 
* What topic(s) you will explore in each episode 
* What your cadence will be for releasing episodes (every other week? monthly? every six weeks?) 

In the planning stage, you will: 

* Brainstorm ideas and start to delegate tasks, even though you may not yet have a firm answer to each of the above questions 
* Identify and recruit speakers, a process you can learn all about in the “Speaker Recruitment” episode of the “Build a Better Webinar” series.  
* Determine the audience you are striving to engage. Who is the series for, and how will your series serve those viewers? Having a clear-eyed understanding of your series’ intended audience and purpose is key; that understanding will be your compass as you navigate development.  

To ensure that your episodic series is successful, you must identify your limits: Pinpoint the amount of funds, resources, and time that you can reasonably dedicate to creating your series. Beware of overly ambitious plans that your organization does not have the bandwidth to fulfill, such as releasing a new episode with a new speaker every two weeks for eight months.  

“The enemy of art is the absence of limitations,” director Orson Welles has been attributed with saying. Limitations are your friend – know them, respect them, and embrace them. By doing so, you will be able to produce higher-quality content and avoid burnout. Figure out how many in-house content-creation experts and speakers you have at your business, then work with them to develop a course of action that maximizes their capabilities and time.  

Additional resources 

Additionally, consider leveraging outside help, such as from BrightTALK Studios. BrightTALK Studios is designed to assist webinar content creation efforts from soup-to-nuts. Whether it’s industry conferences or customer case studies, thought leadership or brand awareness, BrightTALK’s Studios team is here to create the content you need at the caliber want. 

To explore more guidance for creating a series, such as how to script your episodes, take a look through BrightTALK’s “Build a Better Webinar” library 

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