aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Weave Your Own Webinar

Posted by Ellen on December 14, 2008

Do you produce your own Webinars, or hire a company to do them? Why did you make that choice?

You do realize you have this choice, right?

Most associations I know hire a company to produce their Webinars. Depending on the company and the arrangement, they might be responsible for any of these tasks:

  • Rehearse the presenters
  • Promote the Webinar
  • Moderate the session
  • Record the session
  • Process registrations

Small-staff organizations say it’s worth it to hand over a bundle of cash to have someone else take care of these responsibilities while they focus on more important events.

That might be so. But make sure this is the case — don’t just assume it is.

When we first ventured into Webinars, I weighed an important choice. For the same cost, we could license a Web conferencing system for a year or pay a Webinar production company the same amount to develop and hold just one Webinar.

I decided to license the system for a year, and it was the best decision I could have made. Here’s why:

  • I learned the ins and outs of using the Web conferencing system. This was a professional development opportunity for ME and I immersed myself in it (and still do).


  • Our staff is learning the system as well so they will be able to set-up virtual meetings and moderate Webinars as well — a professional development opportunity for them as well.


  • We have been able to use the system for committee Web meetings — instead of spending critical time making sure everyone has the same version of the document and is looking at the same page, we can share documents of all sorts, add our notes to them (or, via desktop share, make real-time edits in the actual document). One committee has eliminated an in-person meeting and cut the meeting time from 8 hours to 2.


  • Because we conduct our own Webinars, we keep every dime we bring in. This means we have been able to earn back the license fee and generate a healthy revenue — all with one successful Webinar. Offering CDs of the recordings after the live event could generate even more non-dues revenue (we’re about to find out). 

Has it taken some time to learn the system? I actually learned enough to conduct our first Webinar within three weeks of having the system available. This included learning the system myself plus train the three presenters. The answer to this question clearly depends on the system you’ve selected.

How much use do we get with the system, outside of the Webinars? This also depends on the system and your agreement. We have unlimited use of five concurrent host “rooms” for up to 15 attendees. Because our Webinars attract more than 15, we pay a small fee for each.

How much flexibility do we have? Again, depends on the system. We have options for audio conferencing, audio with operator conferencing, and Voice Over IP (VOIP). We can include polls and video, and attendees can take and keep notes, interact via chat, and we can send out the presentation if desired from the live session.

How do you decide whether to produce your own or hire out the task?

That’s the subject of the next aLearning Blog entry… stay tuned!

4 Responses to “Weave Your Own Webinar”

  1. mullygrub said

    Wow! It never even occurred ot me that I’d want someone to produce our webinars! We were hosting so many that it was always going to be cheaper to do it ourselves I guess. Like you I viewed it as a PD opportunity and we quickly set about uppskilling our team so we could all participate in the webinar action. I got so much enjoyment out of watching our other moderators and presenters learn and improve their techniques, although it was a reasonable amount of work I’d do it again any way.

  2. Ellen said

    Thanks for your comment! How many Webinars do you offer each year? Are you finding they are breaking even or exceeding your revenue expectations? What advice would you give others heading into the territory we’ve gone through that I might not have hit on?

  3. […] of your staff) are fitted to conducting your own Webinars is one thing (see the previous entry on Weave Your Own Webinars)  but the time and financing of producing your own Webinars is another key […]

  4. […] Weave Your Own Webinar […]

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