Online Talk Shows – are they a thing?

By Sara Drury

Online Talk Shows – are they a thing?

At least twice a day someone tells me how busy they are, and at least once a week I read an article which advises me on ‘how I can get more time in my day.’

It’s a reality – we’re all time poor. So, as organisers of online events that either educate, promote or engage – how can we give people more time?

Online TV Shows aren’t a new concept, in fact, they’ve been around for a few years. However, they’re sure to become more popular due to, you guessed it, time – or lack thereof.

So how can you get ahead of the trend and plan for your own hit show? Here are some tips to make it work:

Timing is key

Research states that most people prefer to watch an educational webinar for no longer than 30-45 minutes. And when it comes to learning, once a month is usually more than enough to get our fix.

The trick for Online Talk Shows is to make them shorter, but more frequent – almost the opposite to how you would run a normal webinar program.

You want short/snappy content that will entertain, and you want to remain front of mind. Our Six Degrees of Association Talk Show ran for 22 minutes and was held every Tuesday at 12:22 – it was memorable.

Make sure you know who you’re talking to and understand their preferences – time of day is an important factor in creating raving fans!

Keep it casual and relaxed

It’s human nature to prepare and rehearse over and over until you go live. However, when presenting an Online Talk Show, it’s important to relax and keep it casual.


In a physical environment, you have an audience providing you with feedback every step of the way. This gives you a sixth sense as to what people are feeling and as a result, you might slow down, move onto the next section or ask people a question to get them thinking (or off their phones).

Switch to the online world and this doesn’t exist.

Your job is to break through the technology barrier and engage people in conversation. Too much rehearsing can result in a scripted presentation and will only disengage your online audience.

Talk shows should also discuss content and hot topics – think ‘The Project’ or popular sports shows that delve into controversial topics that encourage lively debates.

My advice? Know your topics, have some guidelines, and think of it as more of a discussion as opposed to a presentation. It will calm the nerves and resonate more with your attendees.

Find a format that works

If there’s one thing you want to formalise, it’s your format. This will give your talk show a nice flow and will provide your audience with an idea of what to expect.

Here’s an example:

Opening Theme song

Intro What is happening in your industry? Are there movements in HR?

Segment 1 – What’s Hot and What’s Not

Segment 2 – Customer feedback/Social mentions

Segment 3 – Guest Interview

Segment 4 – This time last year

Segment 5 – Close – Theme Song

Once you have a format in mind, you can work backwards and complete each episode with ease. Also think about a theme song and graphics that will help you segue into each segment.

Shhh, it doesn’t have to be live!

Remember that word – time?

Each episode we filmed over the two seasons was pre-recorded and then streamed live. The reason? We had presenters in various locations and the concept of the show would not have worked unless we were all on the same panel at the same time.

So, here we are, pre-recorded episodes and the ability to edit anything we want. But guess what? We only took one take of each episode every single time. Sure, I stumbled across a few words here and there and yes, we went off script every now and then, but that’s what made the show work.

It made us human, and our online audience could relate to that!

As a presenter, it’s like a switch is flicked when you know something is going to be live. If you’re ever recording an online presentation, try and pretend it’s streaming live. Just give it your best shot, and if you stumble, make a simple joke out of it and move on.

This also means there will be less editing in the post-production phase…


Passion is key

There’s no doubt that passionate presenters can make all the difference. Consider interviewing subject matter experts or high-profile CEOs in your industry who are passionate about what they do. You can then mix these up for each episode based on your topic.

You can use all the interactive tools the platform has to offer and rehearse until the very last second, but if you are not passionate about what you are saying then there’s no point in going to all the effort to create online content.

Hosting options

The Big Decision – how will people watch your show?

You have two main options when it comes to hosting your on-demand content – free or paid. Here’s some further information as well as the pros and cons of both options.

Video Hosting Platforms: software-as-a-service (SaaS Vendors)

SaaS vendors provide the perfect way to showcase your content. They are affordable, provide essential tracking capabilities and excellent brand exposure for you and your sponsors – think corporate YouTube.

The Pros:

  • Branding: You and your sponsors will get maximum exposure – everything from customisable logos, colours and links.
  • Analytics: Track who watches your video, their duration and even behaviour. Frontend registration capabilities also mean you can capture additional data or pre-upload registrations so making it accessible only to your database
  • Dynamic Viewing: These player pages give you the ability to organise each video and present the most related videos based on what your attendees watch. This works perfectly for multiple events.
  • Marketing Opportunities: You can include calls to action, downloadable information and links back to your website – making it easy to capture leads or promote future events.

The Cons:

  • The Cost: As mentioned, these platforms do cost money. In saying this, their popularity and recent improvements in technology mean that they are relatively affordable and will suit most budgets.
  • Limited Exposure: If you’re hosting a paid or members only event then this becomes irrelevant. However, if you’re looking to generate leads and exposure, these sites aren’t always considered the best option as they are not viewable by the general public.

Click here to see an example Hosting Page

Video Hosting Platforms: User Generated Content (UGC sites)

UGC sites such as Vimeo or YouTube are still very popular options when it comes to hosting on-demand content. They allow you to embed videos into your own website, expand potential viewers and increase your online presence.

The Pros:

  • The Cost: It’s free – and even if you decide to upgrade the fee is minimal plus, in most cases, a monthly/annual subscription applies.
  • Channels: As an organisation you can create your own channels on these sites complete with customisable URLs and branding.
  • Exposure: Is your event relevant to anyone? Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube alone – that’s almost an hour for every person on earth! Uploading your content onto a UCG site means more eyes and potentially more leads.
  • Easy Integration: These sites automatically generate an embed code which makes it simple to add your video to your website, blog or social media pages.

The Cons:

  • Limited Analytics: While you can restrict views to these pages, capturing data is something that cannot be achieved.
  • Limited Bandwidth/Uploads: Depending on the UGC site, some restrict the duration, number of videos and upload size of each video.
  • Limited Bandwidth: While you can brand these pages to a certain extent, consider your target audience. To some, sending them to a YouTube or Vimeo page may not portray the corporate image you are looking for.
  • Lack of control: You can’t control what videos come next once yours has stopped. This is important if you are concerned about what brand you’re associated with.

Click here to view an example You Tube Channel

Final thoughts…

Along with all of this, always trust the experts around you. Like I said, technology can be very intimidating and as a presenter, my first thought was always to query what was happening and make sure that everything was running perfectly – this is despite the fact that I work with these guys daily!

Simply focus on what you do best, and everything else will fall into place!

Enjoy the journey,


TAG: digital marketing, webinar, webinar attendance, webinar engagement, webinar marketing, webinar tips,