BrightTalk for Webinars

I finished my first BrightTalk webcast today, and I thought I’d give you a little insight into how this works from the presenter’s side in case you’re looking for a reliable host for your own webcasts.

I’ve used quite a few of these services and tested several more and I have to say the BrightTalk user interface is one of the easiest to use I’ve seen so far.

Social Media -Listen Before You Leap! : Manage | www.brighttalk.com

I really love that the staff at BrightTalk connects with users on a one-on one basis when presenting as part of their series. I spoke to s a support person who was friendly and helpful and easily answered my questions without hesitation. This talk on Listening in Social Media was a test run for me for a longer talk I’ll be doing on Social Media ROE as part of their Social Media Marketing Summit on Sept 24, 2009, and all in all it was a good experience.

BrightTalk sends out reminders to presenters and attendees automatically, so once you set up your event you only need to worry about your presentation and marketing it. BrightTalk even helps you with the marketing part by sending out emails with links to info on how to market your presentation well before the event. They also support your presentation by re-tweeting events to their own network,posting it on their website and sending it out in email newsletters so you can reach even more people.

Help is easy to find for presenters and users both and is available throughout the presentation. Navigating the recorded presentation is a snap and you can preview the slides and get back to the spot in the presentation that caught your eye quickly and easily.

Users can vote in polls you post or enter questions for the presenter during the event. The only issue I have with this is that if you’re presenting on your own you’d have to take a break to read the questions, or leave time at the end to read them.

From the presenter standpoint you upload your slides up to 15 minutes before the presentation and then call in to a local number. Even though I was on a VOIP line the call sounded clear and audio and slides were synced and ready for viewing just minutes after the call ended, so users can come back as a refresher or view the presentation if they missed it.

Your talk can be rated and commented on by participants immediately after the broadcast, and the link to re-play is available within minutes. Presenters can see how many people are subscribed, view feedback and ratings, poll results and also edit the start and end point after the broadcast to trim out any chit chat or dead space. You can also tweak the slide timing to show your slides in the proper sequence in case you got a little off in your timing during the presentation.

Unfortunately at the starter level (free) you don’t get access to reporting or a list of subscribers to your webcast channel.

What I’d like to see down the road

  • I’d prefer to have a live Q&A session for people who attend at the time of the live presentation.
  • One user commented that some slides were hard to read, and I think this would have been solved with a user option to make the window larger or go full-screen.
  • I wish I’d gone to the premium version so I could have gone for an hour. 30 minutes is not enough time to go into detail.
  • I’d like to be able to import video streams. I’m not entirely sure that I can’t do this through Powerpoint, but it didn’t seem apparent.

All in all? I really liked my BrightTalk experience and I highly recommend it. The variety of webcasts they have already is fabulous and you can learn an incredible amount of information from some wonderful presenters for free! How can that not be amazing?

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