Webcasting For Improved Communication

There are many new ways to bring your product or service directly to a mass population. A webcast is the newest and brightest technology out there. A webcast is a video or audio media file that is distributed via the Internet either live or on demand. The technology uses streaming media, push technology, and a webcam.

Benefits of Webcasting:

  • Presentations can be broadcast live to others in the company or broadcast to a global audience.
  • Conference costs can be cut significantly because there are no costs for travel, accommodation or printing.
  • Broadcasts are viewable anywhere in the world– it doesn’t matter where your staff or clients are.
  • You build brand awareness and reach a wide consumer base for far less than traditional methods. You significantly widen access to events and information. You will have a very effective way to market and promote your products, services, organization, and events.
  • Webcasts can be viewed at any time, even after the conference.
  • Webcasts can be archived for future use.
  • You can create timely sales video.
  • Webinars are more easily created. A webinar is best described as an online, live or on-demand seminar. When combined with other e-learning events and cutting edge technologies you enhance your image.
  • Registration is an easily managed task. Participants can register anytime they like online.
  • Knowledge transfer– the very essence of your webcast– is more easily tracked. If you webcast has not transferred knowledge it is a failure. It’s not all about the glitz and the glamour. Knowledge transfer means organizing, creating, capturing and/or distributing knowledge and making sure it is there for future users. Knowledge transfer is the product of a knowledge driven economy. It is often about the transfer of skills, research results, and good ideas. These skills move between universities, research organization, business groups and the wide community.
  • Your company will be more environmentally responsible by reducing travel costs and paper use.
  • You will be demonstrating your company’s leading edge image.
  • You can provide on-demand multi-media content for your website.
  • You will have a method for detailed audience tracking.
  • The webcasting service you decide to use will work hard to make a product that is interesting and exciting. Participating in a webcast is a very in the moment” experience.
  • In most instances, you will be able to fill out a form or simply click on a choice to view a webcast playback.
  • You will need to include a webcast help section. When the client hits webcast help he or she should be able to view frequently asked questions and select a suitable choice.
  • Webcast archive services allow you to archive all your webcasts so that you can easily post the event on a website, making it available on-demand.
  • Numerous web sites offer many kinds of webcasting solutions to meet your needs. Customer engagement is a priority with these webcasting solutions. For example, some sites off a virtual conference. Others offer a variety of services such as document sharing, audience surveys, and live audience tracking.

Webcasting means you can use the Web as a way to deliver your message live or on-demand. This is an exciting technology that allows you to broadcast anything you like at the moment in time it is happening. Webcasting truly enhances the learning or training environment.

One of the best features of a webcast is the ability to involve a live interaction feature through the use of a “chat” function. Other great features include live break-out sessions, real time polls and surveys, and real time website displays. In-services, staff meetings or staff training can easily be conducted through a webcast.

Upon conclusion of your webcast, you can also create final reports that track the number of registrants versus number of participants and demographic and geographic statistics. You can easily evaluate the webcast content, the presenters, and the usefulness of the media presented.

You can use a variety of webcasting programs. You can use a streaming webcast in either an audio webcast format or a video webcast format. You can also take advantage of an on-demand webcast. This means your clients can scroll through any number of webcast options and choose the video or audio file that best suits their needs. The other option is a live webcast. Using this option, your client participates through viewing or listening. Online video is the capacity to provide video via the internet. Streaming video is a process whereby media files are distributed simultaneously to several viewers. The same process is used for streaming audio. The process can be live or on-demand. Many websites have numerous pre-recorded webcasts that you can view at your convenience. In this way, you can offer several webcasting programs at the same time. Webcasting delivery continually gets easier and more user-friendly.

When is video marketing particularly effective:

  • For products focused on motion or sound
  • For complicated products that may need to be demonstrated as part of the explanation
  • For big ticket items that are saying “you’re important”
  • For demonstrating to clients the quality and precision needed to manufacture something or perform a service.
  • If you have fabulous testimonials or expert endorsements.

You will require software to create your webcast. A good web cast creation tool lets you create and host your webcasts and it doesn’t matter if they are live or on-demand. You can use this software with any server you like. Some software lets you combine slides with your audio or video webcast. Good web creation tools lets you create, preview and send the webcast. Your software will have a multimedia function that includes data, video, audio, animation, text and graphics. Multimedia is integrated.

There are several webcast delivery tools available. Make sure you choose one that has the following features:

  • Creating and hosting on-demand or live webcasts.
  • Ability to combine live or on demand audio or visual with push slides.
  • Create, preview and send presentation to any server that supports Macromedia Flash.
  • Simple to use. An intuitive and user-friendly interface.
  • You do not need any special viewer software.
  • Fully supports animated powerpoint slides live and on demand.
  • Features work together.
  • Various viewer statistics can be tabulated. Management reports are easily created.
  • An archive feature is almost mandatory.
  • Security features help you define who your users are.
  • One feature that audience members especially like is the ability for them to submit questions to the live event and have them answered by voice or text. Q&A and polling becomes effective and manageable.
  • You can also include surveys and polls in your webcast for immediate results. Getting feedback from your audience is absolutely necessary. Your webcast can have a polling feature that enables you to put forth multiple-choice questions for your audience to answer. You will see the results immediately and be able to share these with the audience.
  • Not only can you present your webcasts live to your audience, but you can also have with an “live and on-demand” feature, making the presentation available to even more customers following the live event.
  • Do you need to control who will use your webcasts? This can be made possible using User Registration and Reporting Controls.
  • When deciding on streaming or progressive video know that streaming is the preferred method because the audience can view the video as it is still downloading.
  • Your webcast can be enhanced with an interactive user interface that coordinates with synchronized PowerPoint slides.

Webcast Production involves transferring, editing, and uploading the visual aspect of your web presentation to your webcast server. Webcast production also involves creating a digital registration page, including a webcast evaluation form, choosing your facilitator for use during the live webcast, tracking participants digitally and identifying the group’s demographic, and digitally tracking any online discussions.

When you webcast to a large audience you will need to use a webcast hosting service. Audio and video streams require a distribution server. The larger the audience the more bandwidth is required. If an audience is bigger than a few hundred a regular IT organization will not work. If you expect a large audience, your server will need more lead time. Always know what the service provider’s requirements are. This can help you create a timetable of what will happen when. Basically, set your webcast date and work backwards from there to create an accurate timetable.

Things to consider when getting the stream to the webcast hosting service provider:

  • When webcasting from your network, do you know the bit rate connection you can dedicate to the webcast master stream?
  • Are there firewall or security protocol issues?
  • Remote locations may not have bandwidth facilities ready.
  • Webcast devices must be properly set up on the network.
  • Do you know what data rate you will be providing?
  • You need to know your audience size.
  • Decide if you are using RealVideo player or Windows Media Player.
  • Are there extras that you want?

High impact webcasting tips:

  • Use basic PowerPoint
  • principles.
  • Limit the amount of information on each slide.
  • The Internet limits what you can do. For example, if you send files ahead of time and embedded graphics or multi-media can bog down some email systems. Also, bandwidth restrictions can cause multimedia clips and animations to stop and start. Try using small slide files.
  • Use lots of bullets.
  • Your audience is often distracted by checking email, having a snack– they multitask at will because you can’t see them. Keep them engaged by including discussion questions, brainstorming sessions and polls.
  • Try to stay under 8 words per bullet.
  • Make sure there are less than 8 bullets per slide.
  • Use an 18pt font.
  • Keep the graphics crisp and large.
  • Graphics are usually better than bullets but they still need lots of explanation.
  • Videos are better than photos.
  • Remember that each slide will take between 2 and 5 minutes.
  • Presentations under 45 minutes maintain viewing interest.
  • Mimic the voice of a radio personality by speaking louder and slower than usual.
  • Use Q and A and polling.

Webcast narration on your webcast should be professionally done so that it suits the tone you are looking for. Narration often best suits opinion pieces or book and product reviews. Webcast scripting: the script to choose for your webcast is a very important aspect of the production of it. Your script tells the participants the “story” your are telling. It needs to be professionally written and narrated.

Why would you need a webcast transcription if you already have the recording? One main reason is that webcast contents are not easily searchable. They don’t get indexed by the search engines. As a result, the webcast is almost invisible. A transcription can provided print excerpts that can be uploaded with the recording.

Transcription provides another important service. It allows people with disabilities full access to the content of webcasts. Sound files are of help to the visually impaired and subtitles or full transcripts help those with hearing impairments.

Webcast quality issues:

  • Excellent sound quality is a must. Make sure you get a good mix and sound level.
  • Compensate for the video quality, which will never be as good as broadcast quality video. Use three-point lighting. Implement good stage direction. Use a fixed camera on a tripod.

Webcasting saves money. There are many ways to achieve cost-effective webcasting. The most exciting feature a webcast has is the ability to save you money. The technology used is accessible and inexpensive. Look at the number of independent on-line shows that are successful. An independent media company and an average person can take advantage of this inexpensive technology. Low-cost webcasting is at your fingertips. You get a bigger bang for your buck as you promote your business or your products. A webcast reaches potentially more people than any per-to-person event. Among the most popular are those on news, technology, and computers. The biggest “webcasters” out there are on existing TV and radio stations.

Many sites over free webcast hosting and you’ll get plenty of disc space and bandwidth. If your site has lots of streaming video you may need additional bandwidth to support it. You can usually purchase additional bandwidth if needed.

Marketing communications focuses on the product or service rather than the company providing the product or service. In general, marketing communications is concerned with product/service positioning.

A market plan begins as a written document where you have expressed the actions needed to achieve your marketing objectives. Marketing planning can be done for a brand, a product line, a product or a service. Your plan should cover a 1-5 year period. Build your marketing plan on a solid strategic foundation.

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