5 Webinar Formats to Keep Your Audience Engaged (and Coming Back For More)



I recently wrote about easy ways to breathe life into your webinars as an antidote to predictability. Another effective way to keep engaging your audience members? 

Change up the format of your presentations. 

Most law firm webinars, indeed most webinars, follow an “educational presentation” format, featuring one or two subject matter experts running through a slide presentation to explain a topic. 

The format is common, of course, because it works for talking through a subject, step by step, in a logical manner. But it doesn’t always make your firm and your content stand out with clients and prospects. 

Help your thought leaders engage their audience(s) with one these formats instead: 

1. Panel Discussion

Panel discussions via webinar, like those done in front of an audience, are generally organized around a single topic, such as developing an airtight I-9 compliance program or responding to workplace harassment complaints.

Ideally, you’ll feature two or three guests – clients, potential clients, industry contacts, for example – talking about their own experiences, guided by a moderator from your firm. 

These type of webinars generally take more planning and better coordination to execute smoothly, but they’re worth the extra effort: not only will they give you interesting – and differentiated – programs, the work that you’ll need to do on the front end gives you a great opportunity to spend [quality] time with your guests, whether clients, prospects, or other influencers. 

One piece of advice: pick your guests wisely to make sure you feature people who not only have good stories, but tell good stories as well. 

2. Expert Interview

Like the panel discussion, a webinar that features a single individual with special expertise, like a governmental regulator or the general counsel of an industry-leading organization.

The format works well for high-profile guests with unique perspectives who can shed light on issues affecting the types of clients you typically work for. 

3. Case Study

Giving webinar attendees an in-depth look at a specific problem that you fixed can be a great way to show not only your expertise, but also how you work, think, and get results. You don’t have to name names for it to be effective, but the more detail you can provide, the more valuable it will be to webinar attendees. 

Case studies work well when you can present universal challenges that most companies – most companies in your sweet spot – face. 

4. Training

Although it might not work for every practice, giving webinars that provide both insight and CLE certification can be a great way to help clients meet internal training needs. 

5. Audience Q&A

Organizing a presentation around questions you’ve received from clients, past webinar attendees, and others is a good way to show your targets that you’re listening to their concerns and that, more importantly, you can provide solutions to the challenges they face. 

Such a webinar can be short (fifteen minutes, say) and set up as a regularly scheduled occurrence. Get your clients used to receiving helpful, on-point insights from you in these brown bag sessions.

[Bonus] A Reminder About Breaking News Analysis

Producing a webinar on short notice can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be mission impossible.

When critical developments break – like new legislation or industry regulations – a short, to-the-point update delivered via webinar can be the most effective way to cut through inbox clutter and reach and engage your audience. 

Revisit my five tips for delivering a webinar within 24 hours - and keep in mind that many of the formats I mention above can be folded into your real-time response, with great impact.


Join ON24 and LMA on November 28, 2018 at 11:00am PT (2:00pm ET) for How to Build and Scale a Webinar Program - learn how to grow your webinar programs to generate more leads and increase pipeline. The easiest way to add more leads is to do more webinars and this is your chance to learn how. I will be presenting with Mark Bornstein, VP of Content Marketing at ON24.


[Katie O'Rourke is Director of Strategic Accounts at ON24. Connect with her on LinkedIn; follow for her latest writing on JD Supra.]  

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