The focus on content is growing. Content marketing is the darling of most B2B industries and forms the basis of high-performance and cost-effective inbound marketing. But not all content is equally useful, so how do we know which types of content are most suitable to our organisation or prospects? This question is particularly pertinent for content formats that your organisation has not yet tried. Many marketers still ask the question: Are webinars better than other types of content?
Let’s start with an analogy. If I asked you “Which mode of transport is the best?” you might tell me that your new Aston Martin is the best you’ve ever had. But when I dig deeper, you may admit that, on Sundays, your new road bike is your preferred option. Digging even deeper, and you tell me that neither your car or your bike will be any good in getting you from London to your business meeting in New York.
The point is this: You are asking an incomplete question. To answer the question “Are webinars better than other types of content?” you need to add a qualification criteria or goal. What is it you want to achieve with your content?
Most commonly used types of content
There are many different types of content, but the most commonly used content types – in addition to webinars – are these: Whitepapers/eBooks, infographics, videos, blog posts, slideshares, case studies, and newsletters.
Each of these fulfils a different task excellently, while failing miserably at fulfilling another task. Just as you wouldn’t use your road bike to get to your meeting in New York, you also wouldn’t use a whitepaper to make a quick, visual and concise point.
The role of content
As marketers we are tasked to identify the best type of content for:
- the message we need to covey
- the sales funnel stage it targets
- the target audience’s content preferences
- the outcome we want to achieve
For example, if you wanted to provide a visual overview interesting statistics, targeting prospects at the top/awareness stage of the sales funnel, with the goal of getting them to engage with the deeper background of the statistics – which type of content would you use? Correct, the infographic.
Now, let’s assume you wanted to deliver that deeper insight to those prospects who engaged with your infographic, while identifying who they are. The content requires expert explanation and is likely to attract a lot of questions. The goal is to allow your target audience to evaluate your organisation’s expertise and enquire about your services. Which type of content would you use? A webinar. Why? Because none of the other content types are able to deliver on all of your requirements.
Your content plan
As you plan your marketing and content strategy, consider the outcome you want to achieve for each activity. Simply defining “lead generation” as the goal is not enough, because each lead requires an element of nurturing. What do I mean? Just because webinars are great at identifying prospects, doesn’t mean that all potential prospects will sign up for your webinar. You will need to entice those who are still at the start of their journey to engage with lighter touch content – such as the visually appealing and instantly accessible infographic.
Tease prospects into engaging with your content and then build up (nurture) your interaction with them. Blog posts, infographics and videos are great tools to engage your audience without them having to register their details. By the time they have had several touchpoints with interesting content, you have built an element of trust in your ability to provide insightful and helpful content. The step to attracting a registration from your prospects is now much easier.
At this point, it is time to use value-add long-form content such as whitepapers and webinars, because your audience is ready for it. Read more about how to make webinars part of your content marketing strategy in our free whitepaper. See what we did there? Or you may prefer to first read our blog post about where webinars fit into a content strategy.
So to answer the original question: “Are webinars better than other types of content?”
Yes. If your audience is ready to engage in long-form content and willing to fill in a registration form in return, webinars are the most comprehensive and engaging tool you can find to drive user insight. It is then up to you to create webinars that target prospects across the different sales funnel stages. In return you will get qualified leads that have been whittled down from the large pool of potential prospects.
However, if your expectation is to reach a large volume of people with an awareness-raising high-level piece of content, which has no ambition to collect personal information, then perhaps blog posts, infographics or videos are a more suitable type of content.
All content types are relevant and good, but marketers must ensure they match them with the right audience and goal. It is rare that success comes from only using a few types of content, it is more likely to come from using many types of content in the right way and at the right time, for the relevant audience. Marketers who consistently make the right assessment and choice will be those who succeed.
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