Webcasting can either be interactive or just a TV-like broadcast if two-way communication isn't important.
"Webcasting will almost assuredly save you money on your communications budget," says Ray Harris, president and CEO of The Webcast Group, a Cleveland-based Webcasting firm. "It allows you to deliver a message to a geographically diverse audience."
Typical uses include new product launch, press conferences for a select group of editors, product announcements to distributors, sales staff presentations and internal announcements to employees.
"Another good use is for a presentation at a seminar, conference or roadshow," says Harris. "If you augment these events with a single live Webcast, you have something that hit a live audience, but also can be archived on your Web site and can work for you 24 hours a day."
One of the most common areas where you'll find Webcasting is at stockholder meetings for public corporations. These allow investors from across the globe to hear and see firsthand company officials present their results.
"Webcasting does not replace getting out and meeting people face-to-face and shaking their hands," says Harris. "It augments it. All communication efforts can be enhanced with an interactive Webcast."
The cost of a single Webcast is cheaper than a cross-country business trip. A typical one-hour live event costs between $2,000 and $5,000, depending on the size of the audience, but for an archived 15-minute on-demand message, the cost drops to as low as $500.
"You can make the Webcast a private viewing for your salespeople by issuing a password," says Harris.
When users click on the Webcast link, a customized pop-up player launches to play the messages. The player is designed to look like the rest of the site, but The Webcast Group hosts the actual message.
Polling questions can be inserted into the video to get instant feedback from customers, employees or suppliers so you can refine your message or services.
Says Harris: "Webcasting allows you to not only inform your audience, but also engage them and gather data simultaneously." How to reach: The Webcast Group, www.webcastgroup.com