Live vs Evergreen Webinars: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to planning and creating a webinar, there are two main routes you can go down. The first is the traditional live event you most associate with a webinar. The second, is a pre-recorded event known as an evergreen webinar.

But, which one is right for you?

In this post, I will explain what the traditional live webinar and the increasingly popular evergreen webinar is, and the pros and cons of each.

Live webinars

Live webinars are exactly what they sound like - live. They are online conferences or presentations that are conducted and delivered in real time to a selection of attendees.

Benefits of live webinars

There are so many advantages of running a live webinar.

A personal touch

As people join and interact with your live webinar, you have the opportunity to add a personal touch to the delivery by directly communicating with your audience.

Let’s say Sarah from New York just joined your webinar. You can give a shoutout and thank Sarah for joining the webinar. You could also share that anecdote of when you visited New York and how much you liked it. This short but personal acknowledgement can help you establish a foundation for a better business-customer relationship.

Power of live questions and answers

Live questions and answers gives you, the webinar host, an opportunity to answer participants' questions as they come in real time.

On the back of this, you can use the questions to expand on your webinar content. For example, say you are running an e-learning webinar and you get a question. You can use this question to tailor your content on the spot; maybe you need to explain a certain topic a bit better, or maybe you can visualize the concept better.

Being dynamic with your presentation will certainly capture the interest of your audience.

They’re exclusive events

Most of the time, live webinars are one-off events that have a limited number of spaces available.

What this creates is a sense of exclusivity and applies added fear of missing out (FOMO) to potential attendees. You can take advantage of this natural marketing appeal to ultimately increase the value of your webinar.

Live vs Evergreen Webinars: What’s the Difference?

Downsides of live webinars

While there are many advantages of running live events, there can be some minor hiccups along the way.

Delivery can be error prone

Like anything that is shown live, there is always the risk that something could go wrong.

Maybe you’re recording from your home office. What if somebody unexpectedly walks in the room? What if you forgot to turn your phone on silent and it begins to ring? What if your internet connection suddenly dies?

These interruptions can really disrupt your flow and lose the professional delivery you were aiming for. If these imperfections build up, this can lead to a bad user experience that can be difficult to redeem.

Time constraints

When you’re planning a live webinar, you need to think carefully about the timing of it.

Not only do you need to think about the length of your webinar and the best time of day to host the webinar, you also need to consider the timezones of your audience.

It’s no good hosting a webinar at 11am in London if your main target audience is in California because they will most likely be tucked up in bed since it will be 3am where they are.

Host burnout

Depending on the size of the webinar, running a live event can be seriously demanding for the host.

Not only do you have to deliver a high-quality presentation, you also have to engage with your audience by monitoring the live chat feed, deal with any technical issues along the way and remember to stick to the timings to ensure you’re not running off track.

All of this hard work can burn some hosts out. If you’re going to be running a live webinar, make sure you take the time to carefully plan it beforehand.

Evergreen webinars

Evergreen, or pre-recorded, webinars are events that are prepared in advance and can be delivered time and time again.

Benefits of evergreen webinars

These time-resistant webinars unlock a lot of marketing potential that live webinars cannot accommodate.

Opportunity to polish your presentation

I don’t know about you, but whenever I’m on camera, I make a lot of unnecessary noises and mistakes. Maybe it’s nerves, but the constant ‘erm’ while I’m thinking about what to say surely can’t be nice to hear over and over again.

Since evergreen webinars are pre-recorded, you have the opportunity to truly polish your video. By giving the videos an edit, you can remove those pesky noises. You can even re-record entire sections of video if you so wish. Or, you could add a few snazzy transitions and video effects.

There are so many possibilities for improving your video presentation before it goes live. So, take the time to make the best presentation possible, as you will only have to do it once!

International friendly

There have been a few times when people from different parts of the world have asked me if I am going to replay a webinar because it wasn’t shown at the best time for them.

Well, with evergreen webinars, you have the power to replay your favorite webinars at different times of the week and times of the day. Simply record your live webinar and adjust your evergreen schedule. That’s it.

Perfect selling opportunities

A major bonus of evergreen webinars is that you have the power to place the perfect call to action (CTA). That CTA could be a prompt to purchase a piece of software you created or an online course that relates to your webinar content.

Whatever the CTA, you will never miss out this opportunity with evergreen webinars.

Live vs Evergreen Webinars: What’s the Difference?

Downsides of evergreen webinars

Despite the many attractions of evergreen webinars to online marketers, they do have some downsides that you should be aware of.

Lack of audience engagement

Unlike live webinars, which have the advantage of instant audience engagement, there are less opportunities to interact with your audience in a pre-recorded setting.

For example, you will not be able to adjust your delivery based on audience feedback. This can leave some members of the audience with unanswered questions.

No urgency

As mentioned above, live webinars are unique events that have a natural FOMO attached to them. But, in a pre-recorded setting where the same webinar is shown every week, this sense of urgency is lost.

This means you will have to put more effort into your marketing to generate the same pulling power as a live event.

Can fool attendees

A surprisingly common issue evergreen webinars have is that they are often mistaken for live webinars.

Why this is generally not a bad thing, some attendees can feel tricked if they presume the webinar is live but later find out the event was recorded.

A simple way to avoid this is to make it very clear upfront that the event is pre-recorded. It is always better to be honest with your audience, rather than potentially misleading them.

Live and evergreen webinars: the best of both worlds

Now you understand what live and evergreen webinars are and the difference between them, which one will you go for?

Selecting the best webinar format will ultimately depend on your aims. If audience engagement is key, then go with a live event. If you want to deliver a polished presentation, think about using evergreen events.

But, why pick between them when you can have the best of both worlds?

Plan and deliver an awesome live event whilst recording it. You can then use this recording for your timeless evergreen content.

Ready to get begin?

LiveWebinar is an advanced webinar platform that can be used to deliver HD live and evergreen webinars within your web browser - no additional software is required!

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Steven Bradburn
Steven Bradburn

Steven Bradburn is a former scientist turned online educator. When he isn’t making educational content, he shares his thoughts on teaching online with blogs, webinars and online courses over at his blog Side Hustle Teach.

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