Webinars, online training and virtual conferencing

The Digital Culture Network has created nine guides to help you succeed and thrive in the Digital World. Here is the ninth guide: Webinars, online training and virtual conferencing.

This resource gives guidance on digital platforms for delivering seminars, training and conferencing. Whilst people are unable to physically attend venues at this time, there are various solutions that enable activity to be delivered online. In order to for you or your organisation to programme live events, you will need to use a platform with live streaming capabilities. Here we look at some of the most popular platforms and consider their pros and cons. It is not an extensive list, but gives you a start:

Zoom

Zoom is probably familiar to many of us. It’s very reliable but some feel it suffers from a very corporate look that is less customisable than some other options out there. https://zoom.us/

PROS:

  • Low cost. Basic free account, with additional features from £15.99 per month.
  • Simple but effective platform to produce solid and stable webinars.
  • High reliability.
  • Ability to record webinars gives you the added benefit of uploading it to YouTube.

CONS:

  • Lack of additional sales, marketing of engagement features.
  • Not as user friendly as some of the others

WebinarJam

Webinar Jam offers the best marketing features (ability to email or send text messages to your delegates, sell products, conduct polls and surveys etc) but is aimed more at Sales and Marketing type webinars, which might not be suitable for your audience. They are one of the lowest priced but don’t offer a monthly subscription service only upfront. https://home.webinarjam.com

PROS:

  • Good at tracking user engagement with segmentation and follow-up marketing, allowing you to see who left early and who stayed to the end.
  • Enabled for easy Up-sell, with sales features built-in.
  • Strong ‘call to actions’ that don’t distract from the overall webinar.
  • Good stream quality.
  • Affordable pricing, but you have to pay for full year in advance.

CONS:

  • Not as intuitive to set up as some of the others.
  • Notification emails occasionally go to the spam folders of some recipients, which may cause for some to miss the live webinar.

BigMarker

A jack of all trades. This one-stop platform has everything from Live Webinars, Webinar Series, Automated Evergreen Webinars and usual video meeting options as found on Zoom or Teams. Competitively priced with monthly subscription options. https://www.bigmarker.com/

PROS:

  • Range of features, even automated webinars that appear to be live.
  • User interface well designed and intuitive.
  • Well designed and customisable landing pages that can be branded to suit.
  • Integration and engagement features.

CONS

  • Lack of one click sign up for users.
  • Pricing higher end of market.
  • Pop up offers on screen can be distracting.

CrowdCast

This has more of social network feel than any other and this shows in its ability to have great engagement. It’s quick and easy to schedule a live event and the user experience is fantastic. If you are not looking for anything to customisable or flash then this is worth a consideration. Starting from free membership with up to 100 delegates in a webinar. https://www.crowdcast.io/

PROS:

  • Quick and easy to schedule and start a live event.
  • Tools are simple and effective and probably the easiest user experience of all the other platforms.
  • High user engagement with Chat and Q&A during events is easy.
  • Easy to sell webinars, including exclusive ones to Patreon supporters.
  • Allows “pay-what-you-want” donations during an event.

CONS:

  • Less customisation.
  • Limited extra marketing tools, apart from a small call to action.

Focused on community than sales (pro/con depending on what you are using it for).

Further Support:

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. If you need help or would like to chat with them about any of the advice they have covered above, please get in touch. Email digitalnetwork@artscouncil.org.uk with some background information about you, your location and your current dilemma, and they will connect you with one of our 9 Tech Champions for some in-depth 1-2-1 support.

Sign up to the DCN newsletter and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for latest updates.

Arts Council England allows Theatreis.Digital to republish this resource, under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

Find the resource in his original page here.

How to work remotely

The Digital Culture Network has created nine guides to help you succeed and thrive in the Digital World.  Here is the seventh guide: Remote Working Tools.

This resource gives you information and suggestions around some of the tools available to work remotely and collaborate with your colleagues.

How to and what is possible

Many of the tools have functionality for online chats, collaborative working and project management. We’ve highlighted some of the popular ones, but there are many more out there.

 

Tools available

Skillcrush have written a great blog where they talk about the tools mentioned here but also a lot of smaller ones that might be just what you’re looking for your organisation. These are 27 tools every new remote worker needs

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is part of the Office 365 suite, which you may already have. There is also a free version available. It is integrated seamlessly with O365 and is available as a phone and tablet app, desktop app, or can be access in your web browser. All three methods of accessing Teams are useful depending on where you are and what tech you have access to. There’s three main ways to use Teams:

  1. Video meetings – With geographically spread teams, it is important to be able to still have face-to-face meetings. If you can create a meeting in Outlook, you can create a meeting in Teams, as it is a very similar process. Up to 250 people can join a meeting from any location, offering a similar experience to Skype. You can blur your background for privacy, share your screen for presentations and record your meeting for future viewing.
  2. File sharing – Often documents are collaborative efforts, worked on by more than one person. With Teams you can access them anywhere and have confidence that the one you are working on is the latest and most up-to-date version. Any document saved to a team is accessible anywhere by members of the team. It also integrates with One Drive so all of your cloud-based files are accessible through the Teams interface. You can also set up individual channels and decide who can access key files, so you can maintain some level of security for more sensitive documents and any planning tools.
  3. Chat – many of us used to tools such as What’s App, Facebook Messenger as ways of keeping in touch with our friends and family. Teams has similar functionality which allows you to chat to the whole team, some team members, or a single person. It’s great feature for just staying in touch, and chat is also a great way at reducing email trails and keeping track of conversations. Teams uses a function called channels that allows you to separate out important team conversations from interpersonal chat.

Slack

Slack is a platform that is often highly rated by its users and offers similar functionality – meetings, chat and file sharing. There is a free version available, which limits usage to 1-2-1 meetings. For three or
more people in attendance you need the first paid tier which is around £5.00 per user per month.

Like most of the main players, you can integrate Slack with a lot of other apps including Outlook, Google Drive, Trello and many others. One of the benefits often cited for Slack is the ease of set up compared to
MS Teams. So, if you’re a technophobe, this might be the platform of choice.

Workplace by Facebook

Easy to use, as Facebook Workplace looks almost identical and uses a lot of same user interface elements
as it’s more public facing platform. Like Slack and Teams, Workplace allows you to have hassle free video meetings, group chat and share files. You can also broadcast via Facebook Live and work with other companies that also use the same platform. You’ve likely used Facebook Groups before and these are available in Workplace as well, so you have all conversations all in one place.

There is a powerful free version available and if you are a charity, their Advanced tier is also free. The main (and maybe only) con is that you must have a Facebook account to use the platform, though all personal activity is kept separate from business activity.

Best of the rest

Whatsapp and Skype are powerful tools for group chats. Google Hangouts and Google Drive offer similar functionality and have free options. And there are many more out there.

 

Further Support:

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. If you need help or would like to chat with them about any of the advice they have covered above, please get in touch. Email digitalnetwork@artscouncil.org.uk with some background information about you, your location and your current dilemma, and they will connect you with one of our 9 Tech Champions for some in-depth 1-2-1 support.

Sign up to the DCN newsletter and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for latest updates

Arts Council England allows Theatreis.Digital to republish this resource, under the terms of the Open Government Licence.

Find the resource in his original page here.