Delivering a Useful Webinar Without Giving Away the Farm

Another webinar, another few lessons. Probably most important is the hard lesson facing many content developers who want to present a webinar for lead generation, but don’t want to give away their critical content during the webinar. It’s a pretty tough balance sometimes, how to give away enough information to make the webinar worthwhile, but not enough so that prospects don’t need to purchase the actual product that you are trying to market. 

In my technology heavy webinars, for example, I typically include an incredible amount of detail in the presentation slides to simplify the learning experience. On the other hand, someone downloading the slide deck gets a ton of content for free, without even spending the 45 minutes to an hour on the webinar, and hearing about the product or service that I’m pitching. 

The webinar that I attended today struck a nice balance. The slides were very general, merely introducing the topic of discussion with a nice image (see below). The discussion was very detailed, and useful, so the webinar delivered value, but if you just downloaded the slide deck, you would get very little of the content actually shared during the webinar. In this way, the webinar promoters created a worthwhile experience without giving away the farm. 


On the other hand, this webinar had two active speakers. They presented a general slide, and one speaker spoke, and then the other. On some slides, the discussion got very repetitive, like a five-minute discussion on choosing a subject that’s in demand when developing an on-line course. 95% of that five minutes was spent on why it’s important, which is obvious, and 5% on how to determine if a subject is in demand. If you’re going to tag team, you need to be very clear about what each speaker will say, and how it adds to the discussion. 

The other observation relates to duration. The webinar with scheduled for 90 minutes, which I didn’t notice when I signed up. After about 60 minutes, I was chomping at the bit, and ultimately I clicked away because I was losing interest and had other priorities. I probably missed the sales pitch that came at the end, but I’m not sure, because I didn’t hang around. I’m not saying you can’t do a 90 minute webinar, but like all videos, the longer the webinar, the more significant the audience drop-off. Shorter is always better. 

About Jan Ozer

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I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks and evaluate new encoders and codecs. I am a contributing editor to Streaming Media Magazine, writing about codecs and encoding tools. I have written multiple authoritative books on video encoding, including Video Encoding by the Numbers: Eliminate the Guesswork from your Streaming Video ( and Learn to Produce Video with FFmpeg: In Thirty Minutes or Less ( I have multiple courses relating to streaming media production, all available at I currently work as as a Senior Director in Marketing.

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