It always surprises us when we encounter marketers who haven’t yet implemented the webinar into their content strategy. While they’ve been popular tools for a number of years, it’s clear to us that their popularity, and versatility as a form of content, is only increasing.
Perhaps you’re one of the above - you’ve heard about webinars, but you haven’t tried them out yet, though you want to. Maybe you’re not yet convinced. Either way, keep reading - regardless of where you stand right now, we’re going to break down all the reasons why the webinar is your new best friend.
Right, we know that webinars can be a lot of work. It’s long-form content; no easy feat, particularly when you consider that you’ve got to hold an audience’s attention for an hour or even longer. They require a lot of effort and research, so we can totally see why some people decide not to bother.
Here’s the thing though: content marketing is becoming more challenging by the day. With an influx of online material to compete with, consumers are no longer accepting generic, rehashed content - and that goes for both B2B and B2C. With industry leaders demonstrating huge amounts of innovation and creativity, lazy efforts just won’t cut it anymore. It’s time to Bob Ross your content marketing.
Earlier this year, we listed some of our 2019 marketing trends. We still stand by these, and here’s why. Video-based, live, personalised and interactive content are all exciting and up and coming because of their potential to demonstrate industry innovation. And the webinar is the perfect example of how; by offering more opportunities for engagement with a naturally interactive format, showcasing visuals alongside written or verbal communications as an industry standard, and inviting attendees to watch live coinciding with the general rise in subscription to livestreams and casts.
So yeah, webinars are a lot of work - but they’re worth it, particularly in the current content marketing environment.
They’re ideal for repurposing
While we admit that they are a lot to put together, they provide you with a huge amount of content that you can repurpose.
Not only do you have the research leftover from writing the script, which can be repurposed easily into blogs, mailers, podcasts or even just cropped into small segments for posts via your social media channels. With the correct strategy, you could frame a campaign entirely around an upcoming webinar, offering samples and teasers to entice more attendees. Alternatively, you could reverse this process following the recording of your webinar, rehashing your research out into well-timed posts and using snippets of the actual webinar to fuel months worth of video content.
And let's not forget about the visuals. Part of the reason why webinars are so brilliant is because they work with a combination of audio and visual content, using slides and imagery where necessary. Your slides could easily, with minimal tweaking, be repurposed for a slideshare, whilst your research could be condensed into infographics.
It’s like that old proverb. ‘Teach a man to webinar, and he’ll have good content for a lifetime’. Or at least a few months, which feels like a lifetime when you’re trying to create engaging content without an adequate strategy anyway.
They’re SEO friendly
You know that thing we said about repurposing your webinars into other forms of content? Yeah, that’s going to be great for your SEO.
As well as social and email content, creating blogs and whitepapers to put on your website will do wonders if your webinar is particularly relevant to your industry. It’s an opportunity to create engaging website copy and say something interesting and relevant, which are both qualities Google reward in search engine rankings. You’ll be able to use some of that video and visual content we talked about too, which will go down a treat.
You can’t get much more engaging than a webinar. Remember, it’s a presentation - you’re communicating, whether live or on a recording, directly to your audience, who have registered their interest enough to show up. It’s a much more personal way of engaging with your customers or industry.
This is a perfect opportunity to seek input and garner audience feedback. Whether that’s in regards to actual products, your content or the future of your industry, it’s a chance to answer questions and introduce ideas.
Plus, there are different types of webinar - they’re a really versatile form of content. Don’t get fooled into thinking that there’s only one type, and it involves you reeling off a list of facts to a disinterested audience, because it won’t do you any favours. You can host an educational or training session, launch or demonstrate a new product, open up the floor and host an entire Q&A session, or co-host with a guest speaker.
At the end of every webinar, you can generate conversation. Use social networks, like Twitter hashtags or listening tools, to connect with your attendees. Perhaps end with a question and invite answers to create a surrounding conversation - this can also assist you in beginning the research process for your next webinar. What seems like a hot topic? What questions are people looking for answers to? Write a follow-up email and invite guests to share their thoughts.
They’re perfect for brand awareness
Reputation is everything, right? Give your brand a good one by becoming established as a thought leader or innovative thinker in your industry.
By hosting a webinar, you can send invitations to hundreds of people who may be interested, getting the name of your company out there and hopefully garnering some interest from relevant figures - or even the leading members of - your industry. What better way to get the name of your business out there, or people chatting about your new idea or product?
Plus, if you use your webinar to start those discussions on social, you’ll automatically be promoting yourself to others in the industry.
They’re also helpful for lead generation
And what comes with invitations to your webinars? Sign ups. People who are genuinely interested in the topic of your webinar or the services that your company provide.
As a general rule, no matter how many attendees your webinar has, you’ll have a whole host of no-shows - it’s just the way the world works. All is not lost though, because each of these has the potential to become a new lead - after all, you know that they held enough interest in your subject to sign up in the first place.
When you send that follow-up email, include a link to your no-shows too. You can still invite them to join in any resulting discussions, watch the webinar later when the recording has been uploaded, or send them a cheeky link to any blog posts you’ve written surrounding the same topic. The potential for further lead generation is massive. We even made a webinar on it.
So with so many benefits, what’s not to like? If we’ve convinced you to give them a try, perhaps check out our FastCast system - it offers all sorts of packages, none of which tie you into a long-term, dodgy contract. We even offer one-off webcasts without an obligation to subscribe, so it’s ideal if you’re looking to host your first webinar and test it all out.
If you’re quite sure yet, that’s okay - it’s a lot to take in. Check out the rest of our Knowledge Bank for more tips, tricks and generic webinar love. And remember, we’re happy to help if you have any questions!