There are several ways to build a successful presentation and create great webinar slides. One popular technique is to record screencasts so that while hosting a webinar your attendees can watch you perform specific actions using professional screen recording tools. While that is a great option for those doing tutorials or doing demos of software, it may not be a webinar best practice for those who do not have anything to screencast.
If screencasting isn’t the right option for your business, you can try your hand at creating slideshows for your webinar instead. In this post, we’re going to look at how you can develop great webinar slides for your presentations – even if you have zero experience with design or presentation creation.
How to Choose Your Presentation Software for Your Webinar Slides
The first thing you will need to do when planning to create a slideshow presentation for your webinars is to choose your presentation software. Below are some of the most popular options to consider, along with the pros and cons of each.
Microsoft PowerPoint is the standard when it comes to presentation software. Anyone who asks for a presentation will likely be able to open and use one created with PowerPoint. Microsoft offers versions that you can install on most devices (desktops, smartphones, and tablets running Windows, Mac OS, or iOS) or use online from any desktop or mobile browser.
Pricing for PowerPoint starts at $6.99 per month or a one-time purchase price of $139. You can compare the different versions and price points of PowerPoint as well as look at the devices and operating systems you will need for each.
One of the biggest perks for Microsoft PowerPoint is that you can find many presentation templates beyond what is offered within the software itself. These templates will help you create professional quality slideshows with little to no design work needed.
If you don’t see a template that you like in Microsoft PowerPoint for your webinar slides, you can search Google for Microsoft PowerPoint templates to find pre-made ones for sale from third-party sources. You can also have custom ones created for your business by designers from sites like 99designs, DesignCrowd, or even Fiverr.
Note that most templates are only available for the installed version of Microsoft PowerPoint as opposed to the online version, which has limited templates and designs to choose from. PowerPoint also allows you to save your finished presentation as a presentation, a movie, or a series of images. This means that you can user your presentation for your webinar, repurpose it, and share it as a YouTube video, images on sites like Pinterest, and other networks.
Keynote for Mac
Mac users who prefer Apple-based products will find Keynote for Mac as a great alternative to Microsoft PowerPoint. According to the Apple Store, it’s now a free app for both Android and iOS systems making it much more affordable for entrepreneurs on a budget.
Best of all, it’s compatible with PowerPoint, so you can save your presentation in PowerPoint format if you need to transfer it to another computer, allowing you to work from home on your Mac and later migrate it to your business PC. If you are interested in templates beyond what Keynote has to offer, you can find more designed by third-party sources. Graphic River, for example, has over 600 designs to choose from.
Like PowerPoint, Keynote allows you to save your finished presentation in a variety of formats as a presentation, a movie, a series of images, and a PDF. This will allow you to use your presentation for your webinar and share it on a variety of networks.
Want a cloud-based presentation software that is free and easily accessible by all of your team members for collaboration purposes? Google Slides is the solution. As a part of the Google Drive suite of products, this software allows you to create a presentation from most Internet browsers.
Google Slides comes with a limited selection of templates to choose from. However, many people have created free templates that have shared online that you can search for on Google. Simply type “free google slides templates” into your Googe Search bar, and you’ll see a bunch of different templates for your consideration. Of course, you may want to use caution as you search for these free options. It may also be a good idea to refine your search based on your industry. For example, “free google slides templates medical” or “free google slides templates travel.”
For those entrepreneurs that are looking for additional options for your webinar slides, you will want to look for third-party sources like SlideCarnival, where you will find an additional 36 professional templates to use. Google Slides allows you to export your presentations in PowerPoint, PDF, or image format. You can also run your presentations from within Google Slides online.
If you just want to create slides in image format for your webinar marketing strategy, Canva can be a great alternative to presentation software. It allows you to customize images with bold backgrounds and imagery, then download them as slides in PDF format that you can use for a presentation. In fact, Canva currently has a BETA program to download your slides in MP4 format as well as animated GIF formatting.
Canva also has hundreds of free stock images you can add to your presentation now. Their acquisition of Pexels and Pixabay resulted in users having access to images perfect for any field. Images are a webinar best practice that will help keep your audience engaged with your presentation.
To create more webinar slides with similar backgrounds, you can just click the Add a new page button or the duplicate icon to the right of the image. Once you are finished, you can download each slide as an image file or the collection as a PDF. To run a slideshow with a collection of images from Canva or any other presentation software, use the photo viewing tool or app on your computer. On a Mac, for example, you could open the images in the Preview app.
Then enter Full Screen mode or use the built in Slideshow mode.
If you are looking to create visually appealing, interactive presentations, then Prezi is a good option to consider. This presentation software has a cloud-based platform, which allows you to create webinar slides with motion (see examples in their Staff Picks) from most Internet browsers.
PC and Mac users can also download a local version of the software to their desktop or laptop for offline usage. Pricing for Prezi starts at $7 per month for the Standard Plan for use of the cloud-based presentation software. The Standard Plan is significantly limited compared with the upgraded plans offered by the platform. The Plus and Premium plans begin at $19 and $59 per month respectively. You’ll need to Plus or Premium plans to have offline access to Prezi. All Prezi plans are billed annually.
Finished presentations can be run from the online or offline Prezi software or can be downloaded as a PDF (which will cause you to lose any interactive and motion elements) or as a portable Prezi file which runs inside a Prezi player. However, there is no direct option to export your Prezi as a movie or standard presentation file that can be uploaded and shared on other networks. An alternative for Prezi is Powtoon. Their service allows you to create animated presentations and videos online starting at $16 per month for one premium exported presentation.
How to Create Great Presentations for Hosting a Webinar
Now that you know what tools to use, let’s look at how you can create great presentations and slideshows for your webinar marketing strategy.
First, you will want to start with some inspiration. Look to sites like SlideShare to find presentations geared towards your target audience and customers. You can do a simple keyword search to find some good starting points.
You can also use tools like Impactana, which will allow you to search for SlideShare presentations that are proven successful based on number of views, comments, and downloads.
This research will ensure that you are not starting from scratch. Instead, you will get a feel for what your audience likes best.
Determine Your Style
Next, you will need to decide on the style of slideshow you want to create for your webinar slides. You can create presentations that are visually appealing with large images and one main point per slide. This type of presentation is great to share because it will make the viewer want to watch the full webinar to get the content that goes with the slides.
You can also create presentations that are full of information, with multiple points and bullets on each slide. This type of presentation can stand on its own and is great for attendees of your webinar to download to review the information you have shared. If shared on other networks, however, it might eliminate the need for a person to actually watch your webinar. Regardless of how you create it, make sure when hosting a webinar that slides are delivered in a way that is going to communicate your point with clarity. Less is definitely more in this regard.
Create an Outline
Once you decide on the style of slideshow you want to create for your webinar, it’s time to outline your slides. For those who go with the large image and one main point slides, your outline would be a simple listing of the points you want to cover per slide.
For those who go with the detailed slides, your outline may look more like a paper with main bullet points and subpoints. The old rule for slideshows is that one slide is equal to one minute. If you use that to plan your webinar, you could assume a 50 slide deck would be a 50 minute webinar.
Be sure to rehearse first though. The timing could be different if you are exceedingly nervous or, alternatively, exceedingly relaxed. Note that this timing may not apply to those using large image and one main point slides. You could easily have a slideshow where it takes 10 minutes to elaborate on each main point. Thus, five slides could be 50 minutes.
Add the Right Elements
Depending on the presentation software you choose, you should have the option to choose from multiple templates provided by the software, third-party designers, and custom design services. If you are just using your slides on your webinar, you will create slides to go with your presentation without having to worry about much else. If you are planning to share your slides outside of your webinar, you will want to add a few important things to each slide template.
First, you will want to include your name or business name on each slide. Once publicly released, you never know when someone might screenshot one slide to include in their own content. Next, you will want to include a URL on each slide. This URL would be to your website, the landing page to get people to sign up for the webinar, or the landing page for the product or service you are promoting in the webinar.
At the beginning and/or end of your presentation, you will also want to include slides with information about you and the URL for your website or landing page for your webinar, product, or service. These inclusions will ensure that people don’t just devour your content, but will get engaged with your business as well.
Include Great Images
Depending on the slideshow presentation you choose, you will need a lot of images. For the large image and one main point slideshow, you will need large images that will look good on both small and large screens. For how-tos, you can use screen capture tools like Jing (free) or SnagIt ($49.95). For representative imagery, you can use stock photography sites like BigStock or ShutterStock. If you choose stock photography sites, try to choose images that have not been used repeatedly in your industry and are obviously generic photos.
Instead, go a few pages into your search and choose something that less people access. Or think of more creative keywords to use in your search. For example, instead of searching for doctors for a health-related webinar, search for caring doctor, natural doctor, or other related descriptive phrases instead.
If however, you’re on a budget, you can also use websites like Pexels and Pixabay for a wide variety of free images that are royalty-free and permitted for commercial use. In terms of webinar promotion best practices, you will again want to try and use more unique images, and ones that are best suited for your industry.
BONUS: Share Your Slides
If you want to use your slides to promote your webinar, you have a couple of options. The first is to upload them to SlideShare, the premiere network for presentation seekers. The site averages 60 million unique visitors per month, so it’s safe to say your presentation could get some attention from the right audience there.
Unless your slideshow can sell your product or service on its own, you should modify it to include a URL to your webinar registration land page as mentioned earlier and include a slide that specifically invites people to sign up for your next webinar at the beginning and end of your slideshow. You can also export PowerPoints to video and upload them to YouTube, but this is not one of the webinar promotion best practices for those interested in boosting webinar registrations.
After all, why would someone register for your webinar if they can get the info for free without giving you their contact information? The best way to use YouTube would be to create a slideshow that is a preview of your webinar rather than displaying the presentation in its entirety. Share a snippet that would invite people who want to learn more to register for your next webinar to get all of the information.
Using slides for your webinars can help you add great visual appeal to the message and pitch you are offering to your attendees. Be sure to create a professional slide deck that will help drive your message home and increase the sales from your automated webinars.
And again, less is typically more with slides. Don’t put too much information on the slides. This is not a video sales letter. The slides should reinforce your message visually, not be the message. Once you have great slideshows for your webinars, be sure to keep them going by converting them from live webinars into automated webinars with StealthSeminar. What do you like for your slide creation? I personally use Keynote. I look forward to hearing what you like to use.
**This article was originally published July 2015 and was updated October 2019.