Advantages of Pre-Recording Content


Why pre-record content?

In a nutshell, for your sanity! Pre-recording content ensures that everything will be ready to go on the day, limiting the amount of technical issues that could occur. There’s no chance of speakers failing to turn up, having connection issues, forgetting what time zone they are in or any of the other myriad things that can go wrong with a live event.

Another important and often overlooked benefit is that it gives your speakers a chance to enjoy the live event, monitor the chat for comments and questions at their own pace. Speakers will be a lot more relaxed knowing that the hard bit is out of the way.

So now we’ve decided to pre-record, what factors have to be taken into consideration?

  • Check the tech.

Pre-checks are important. Many organizations utilize firewalls that may block certain audio and visual functions. They may not allow programs like Zoom to be used at all. Get speakers to test their webcam, speakers and microphone beforehand in the program you are using to capture their content.

We all know the issues caused by laggy internet connections. The preferred option is to have a wired internet connection. Bear in mind though that many modern laptops no longer have an Ethernet port and wireless may be the only option for some. Tips for a good connection include limiting distance between the computer and the router and ensuring that no one else is using the internet at the same time. In rural areas it may well be the case that the local coffee shop has better internet than their home. I have had speakers present from the parking lot of a Starbucks.

  • Empower your speakers for success.

Those of us familiar with platforms such as Zoom and Teams forget that many of our presenters are not. Simple things such as changing the view type and sharing their screen, may not be functions they are used to. Consider scheduling practice sessions (to save time you can invite multiple speakers at once) to run through these basics with them. Get them to share their screen and alter the view so that they have a set up that works for them. Be aware that many speakers may have multiple monitors or wish to use speaker notes. As a backup I always encourage my speakers to print their speaking notes.

If you don’t have time to organize practice sessions then send out clear instructions with screenshots covering the points above.

  • Post production can elevate your content to a higher level.

Simple things like adding an intro, outro and a transition slide between sections really elevates your content to more than just a webinar. Lower thirds and transition slides also give you a chance to add brand recognition or sponsorship deliverables.

  • Have a good Run of Show

Everyone should know what is happening and when it is supposed to happen. A Run of Show doesn’t have to be complicated. A timestamp, what/ who is on screen and what audio is being captured is enough information for most presentations. If you are working with an outside AV company or are adding items such as sponsorship assets then a good Run of Show is essential.

  • Augment pre-recorded content with live elements.

If you are concerned about pre-recorded content feeling stale or impersonal, then consider augmenting it with a live element such as a Q&A section at the end. This gives you the best of both worlds, with the main content being in the bag but supplemented by some genuine interaction. If you limit the time to 10 minutes or so you can easily skip it on the day if the technology goes awry.

  • To edit or not to edit?

Editing content before you upload it to the platform of your choice allows you the opportunity to cut out awkward pauses, slide transition mishaps and the like. However I am a big fan of editing with a light touch, word stumbles add a more authentic feel, speakers appear more human and authentic, as opposed to feeling like they are reading a script. The downside of all this though comes at a cost. Either in time if you have someone in house capable of this, or in monetary terms if you have to outsource.

  • To review or not

Because you have pre-recorded the content, you may be tempted to send the content to speakers, sponsors etc. for them to review. I would caution against this in the majority of cases, unless you are genuinely able to spend the time and money in endless records because someone did like how their hair looked.

In summary, pre-recording content is a valuable advantage, especially for complex events. It provides a less stressful environment for both planners and presenters alike and truly allows you to elevate your content to the next level.


Zoe Bell is event manager at Managing Matters in Toronto. Zoe has a decade of experience planning a wide range of events and conferences, including multi day virtual events.


Venue & Supplier Profiles