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We're always thinking, discovering and sharing our knowledge of how to connect with customers in the digital age. Here we share some of those thoughts.

What's the Difference Between a Webcast and a Webinar?

What's the Difference Between a Webcast and a Webinar?

These days, some of the most effective marketing tactics require real-time interaction with your audience. Luckily, technology allows you to connect with your customers and prospects regardless of their location. Webinars and webcasts are modern marketing tactics that have become popular concepts in the digital marketing world because they help companies bring in more leads and communicate with their audience efficiently and effectively. Though the webcast and webinar both allow you to deliver information to your clients, knowing the difference between the two is important for understanding how these tools work and in what ways they can help your company meet its marketing goals.

What is a webcast?

A webcast allows your company to broadcast information over the internet to a large audience. This one-way flow of information does not typically ask audience members to contribute much to the conversation. Content can include video and audio streaming as well as presentation slides. If you decide to produce a webcast, you need to find a technology provider that is able to handle a large number of viewers.

When deciding on whether or not a webcast is right for your marketing strategy, keep in mind the following:

Webcasts are great for extending the reach of your live events. If you are holding a live event and want to offer those from home the opportunity to take part, a webcast is a great way to extend your reach to a large number of viewers.
You can record and replay webcasts. If you want to get more life out of the material that you have presented during your webcast, you can record and allow audience members to replay the information at a later time.
A webcast is best for reaching larger audiences. As there is limited interaction involved, this marketing tool is designed to help your company get information out to a large audience quickly and effectively.   

What is a webinar?

Unlike the webcast, webinars are more interactive and designed for smaller groups. The audience is typically in the hundreds or below. The content of these meetings involves education and training as well as collaboration. Companies that host webinars can use discussion tools like polling and Q&A sessions to get audience members to participate during the presentation. A lot of work goes into hosting a webinar, so it is important that you have a firm understanding of what your goals are before you begin.

When deciding on whether or not a webinar is the right medium to deliver your message, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your content interactive? The best thing about webinars is that they allow you to communicate with your audience and answer questions in real time. However, if your content doesn’t facilitate interaction and you don’t think that a meaningful Q&A session will take place, then the webcast may be a better option.
  • What is the size of your audience? If you want to deliver content to a smaller group of people and have a discussion, the webinar might be your best bet. If goal is to reach thousands at one time without hosting a discussion, however, then the webcast is the better option.
  • What is your ultimate goal? Both webcasts and webinars are great for providing information to potential leads and current customers. However, webinars can be a more effective option when you are trying to explain something about your product or service, facilitate a Q&A session for a pool of leads or even host a discussion with an industry-related guest speaker.

What Will Help You Accomplish Your Marketing Goals?

Understanding the difference between webcasts and webinars can help you better use these effective tools to meet your company's marketing goals. Like any other marketing tactics, producing webcasts and developing webinars requires time and resources. That is why it is vital to strategically use these tools when they are the best option based on your company goals and desired outcomes. As you get your marketing team ready for the new year, consider how each of these tools can help you engage your target market and accomplish your inbound marketing goals.

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