Webcasts And Webinars – What’s All The Fuss About?

We all love a good webinar but do we feel the same about webcasts? Let’s find out.

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in 2020, more and more businesses had no choice but to abandon their in-person events for digital alternatives. Team meetings and catching up with clients went online with collaboration tools and video chat software.

However, some audiences are just too big for Zoom, so webinars and webcasts grew in popularity. Therefore it shouldn’t surprise you that attendance on webcasts or webinars was up 39% in 2020.

Do you know the difference between webinars and webcasts? While renowned marketing expert Neil Patel says webcasts and webinars are often used interchangeably for the same online event – they are not the same. This article looks at the similarities and differences between webcasts and webinars and when your business would use them.

Webcasts Versus Webinars

Webinars are the online version of an in-person seminar. If you’ve attended or hosted a seminar you’ll know there is a lot of interaction with the audience. Often the seminar’s course is driven by audience participation and what they’re seeking from the seminar. On a webinar, it is the same collaboration between the host and the webinar attendees.

Similarly, a webcast is an online broadcast but usually of a live event.

Good examples of webcasts include TED talks which are live-streamed and also recorded. Online media also love webcasts to record in their studio and post it on their site for continuous viewing.

A webcast is, you could say, is more future-proof than a webinar insofar as the former can be shown live or in pre-recorded form and can be repurposed later as re-watchable video content, such as on YouTube.

A webinar, however, tends to focus on time-sensitive issues that are important to tackle in the here and now.

For example, an event like COVID and its impact on local business may inspire a business association to host a webinar on how to continue trading during the lockdown.

The audience participants will be local business owners and business owners in the wider community should they believe the content will be relevant.

On the webinar, attendees will interact with the webinar hosts through the online chat, Q&A sessions and polls.

Use Both Webinars & Webcasts

Any type of online video is good for marketing. Remember, webcasts and webinars are recorded.

If your business is trying to decide whether to hold a webcast or webinar, a good starting point could be defining the type of audience you would like your event to attract.

Generally, webcasts are geared towards larger audiences, while webinars are often aimed at a smaller, more specialist crowd.

How small? TechFunnel says only a few hundred people at the most. For example, you’re an accounting firm, and there’s been a recent change to the business tax rate. Your small group of clients will want to know how the change will impact their business.

Webinars will allow your clients to participate, and those who could not attend the live webinar can view its recording later on. Businesses can remove their webinar recordings as and when they are no longer relevant to their intended audience.

Meanwhile, a webcast can draw a significantly higher number of attendees – usually up to thousands of people per event like the TEDTalks. Plus, they tend to remain online for a lot longer than recorded webinars.

Webcast and Webinar Platforms

With the similarities of webcasts and webinars, the technology to record them is the most the same. This has enabled providers to provide businesses with webinars and webcasts production, recording and hosting. For example, ON24 offers a webcast platform you could use for webinars, too. This is a good option, especially when your business is a novice with webcasts and webinars.

However, like with so many software platforms, always do your research, including reviewing customer reviews.

Summing Up

Webinars and webcasts take the traditional offline marketing strategy of in-person seminars online. They also enable small businesses to invite experts living offshore to participate online for a fraction of the business’s cost for their attendance at an in-person seminar or event.

Finally, as a general rule, choose a webinar the topic is specific to a niche demographic like your existing customers and a webcast for sharing more generalistic information that’s appropriate for a broader audience.

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