Do webinars have a place in your content strategy?

Michael Marchese
November 11, 2015
webinars

Do webinars have a place in your content strategy?

Michael Marchese
November 11, 2015

If webinars are not a part of your content marketing plan, it may be time to give them a try.
Research by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found, “Webinars are one of the most popular ways for BtoB marketers to reach new customers and build enduring relationships with existing ones.”
Citrix, makers of GoToWebinar, refers to them as the “gold standard in BtoB marketing.” In a 2013 Citrix white paper, the author stated that the webinar’s “flexibility, functionality and consistently strong track record of ROI have made it a preferred media for most marketers.”
Webinars are powerful tools. In fact, in the CMI study, marketers give webinars the second highest effectiveness rating as a content marketing tactic. Used properly, webinars can be a great component to an overall content marketing strategy. This is especially true for companies that have copy-heavy content. Webinars allow customers to have an experience and connect in a more personal way.
Why webinars?
Businesses that conduct seminars and conferences find that these events are especially engaging to an audience because it’s possible to convey focused messages and showcase your company’s knowledge and expertise.
However, while in-person events are highly effective, the size of the audience is limited. Webinars can open the doors up to attendees across the globe. A webinar can reach an audience you may never have achieved for a live event. It gets you in front of a larger, broader audience.
Additionally, seminars and conferences can often be costly and require a great deal of planning. Webinars also take planning, but the budget is significantly smaller and so is the staff and resources needed to pull off a great presentation. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits is that webinars can be recorded and reused. If planned properly, evergreen content can stay online for months and still be effective.
Setting up a registration process wherein viewers provide information in exchange for watching the webinar allows you to gather important statistics on your target audience. As the audience grows, this can help in generating new leads. Additionally, webinars can help nurture relationships with current customers. Understanding your audience and developing webinars specifically for them contribute to overall marketing success.
Making webinars a part of your content plan
Before deciding to host a webinar, determine the type of audience you are trying to attract, the types of leads you hope to get and how you will measure your success. While a webinar is a great tool, without a strategy the time and energy you put into it may not pay off.
As with all other content marketing, the purpose of a webinar should align seamlessly with the marketing goals. A webinar should not be a giant commercial. Don’t create webinars for the purpose of plugging a product or service; they should not be a sales pitch. Experts at NewsCred stress that while a webinar might seem like a perfect opportunity to go this route, “this strategy will fail in the long term and may ultimately hurt your reputation. This is not to say there isn’t an opportunity during a webinar when you can highlight what you do, but ultimately a webinar must provide true and independent value to an attendee.”
Webinars should contain relevant content that delivers value and educates the viewer. Have four to six key points to address during the webinar, and be sure these points are a benefit to the customer. In fact, if you already have written content such as white papers, this information can be great material for a webinar.
Do the prep work
Take time to make sure your webinar goes off without a hitch. If the audience cannot hear or see a portion or portions of the content, you will lose viewers. Work out all the technical issues beforehand. If the presenter or other participants will be joining from different locations, allow for ample time to connect and ensure that their audio and video is working.
Promoting your webinar to your target audience in advance is essential. When you find your influencers and get them to attend, you multiply your content marketing efforts. However, Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, a Minneapolis-based digital marketing agency specializing in strategic Internet marketing consulting services, says ROI is hard to measure right away. Instead, he suggests using webinars as a building block to conversion.
Over time, develop a webinar library and monitor the metrics on viewership. You can leverage popular webinars by bringing them to the forefront of your website or blog. And you can use video clips from a webinar and promote them in social media.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.
Tempesta Media is a managed services provider of custom original content for digital agencies, website developers and PR firms that can help you incorporate webinars into your content marketing strategy. To learn more about our content marketing services, visit TempestaMedia.com.

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