Despite having been around for over a decade, many organisations struggle to know where webinars fit into their content strategy. What about you? Are they a starting point or an afterthought? Or do they not even feature at the moment? In this blog post we’ll look at the benefits webinars bring and how they influence a content strategy.
Let’s face it, webinar technology has been no different with many organisations trying their hand at running webinars, but either not finding the technology that suits them or not finding the time and expertise to make them a successful part of their marketing and content strategy.
It should be undisputed that webinars are a core marketing tool. Webinar providers such as market leader ON24 are growing and we’re seeing adoption rates rise amongst SMEs and Enterprises alike. So what do webinar adopters know that you can’t figure out? Let’s have a look:
Engaging format. Webinars offer a level of engagement that few other content types can compete with. They can include live audio or video, live Q&A, downloadable assets such as whitepapers, polls and surveys, and slide decks. They can be consumed on any device and because they are live they can provide extremely fresh content.
Analytics heavy out of the box. Because webinars are engaging and have a number of touchpoints within the webinar (as mentioned above), they come with a tremendous amount of insight and analytics out of the box. In effect, they are self-contained ecosystems of prospect engagement and analysis – all in real-time. By comparison, other content types rely on external forms, hosting, tracking and systems to provide you with insight about consumption and engagement. That said, you’ll want to integrate your webinars with CRM and Marketing Automation tools – read more in the next point ‘Integration’.
Integration. Through APIs and XML feeds you can easily integrate your webinars with other tools you already use, such as Marketing Automation and CRM. This integration closes the loop and infinitely extends the flexibility to you have to include webinars in your content and marketing strategy.
Source of (much more) content. A webinar is an excellent source for more marketing content, which is discussed in much more detail in our blog post “Whitepapers: Are they worth the paper they’re written on?” Any source that cost-efficiently creates a significant amount of content cannot be ignored.
Events to be attended live. Often overlooked, the fact that webinars are live puts them on par with events in terms of the priority people put on attending them. Other forms of content are static and on-demand, which creates a “I’ll read it when I’ve got the time” attitude, which often results in content not being consumed at all. Of course webinars can also be consumed on-demand, but the benefits of attending live (live Q&A, first-hand info etc) often drive live attendance and consumption.
So, as a source of content, engagement, insight and leads webinars can, and should, play a major role in your content strategy. Knowing ‘how’ to fit them into your strategy effectively is the next and vital step. Here are some tips:
- Plan and prep early. This is the most common mistake and reason why webinars often become an ineffective afterthought. Webinar promotion takes time (we recommend at least three weeks of weekly promotion). Add to that the preparation of the content itself (although that can often be rolled into the promotional phase) and you’re looking at 4-6 weeks to secure speakers and content. With that in mind, webinars should sit nearer the late stage of content roll-out, but require early preparation.
- Make them a core content piece. When done right, webinars are a powerful and respected way for your audience to engage with you and your content. Place webinars at the heart of your content strategy and treat them as you would a star performer. Your strategy and lead flow will thank you for it.
- Create additional content output with webinars. Turbocharge your content output by create a crumb trail of content so your target audience can find you more easily. Webinars are perfect for this – read more about this in our blog post “Whitepapers: are they worth the paper they’re written on”.
- Content is about lead generation. Let’s not forget about why we produce content – it’s to generate more leads for the sales organisation. The level of engagement for webinars is much higher than other forms of content, which – much like a solid investment – makes them a core item to have in your content portfolio. Choose current/hot topics for your industry to drive volume of leads into your webinars, and evergreen topics to create a long-term on-demand content that can be used throughout the year and for cross-promotion.
- Use webinars throughout the funnel. Webinars are versatile, so use them for all stages of the buying cycle / sales funnel. Create thought leadership content to attract a wide audience and fill the funnel, while also serving the later funnel stages with more practical, technical and demo insight. Think horizontal and vertical.
If you don’t currently use webinars, you should see it as an opportunity to significantly improve your content strategy and output. Your content will become more dynamic, engaging and interesting as a result. As with any new tool, there will be a journey both for you and your team, as well as your audience to go while each of you get used to using this new communication channel. The resulting improved lead flow and insight will, however, be worth every step of the way.
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