Rethinking “Why do you do webinars?”

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In our recent blog post “7 ways to take your webinars to the next level”, we discussed some specific techniques that can help you get more out of your webinars. The blog post was well received with engagement through our inbox, blog comments, LinkedIn, Twitter and was requested as a guest blog post by Shari Weiss (@sharisax).

As we engaged in this dialog, it occurred to us that if you are running a webinar program or thinking about doing so, there is a fundamental “step forward” that you can take to best leverage the medium for your organization.

Several years ago, if you asked a marketer why they run webinars, 10 times out of 10 the answer would be for two reasons – “one, to get our message out” and “two, to generate leads”.

Today, while these are still important outcomes from a webinar program, we believe that they are trumped by this – using webinars as a vehicle for content acquisition.

Running a webinar offers the opportunity to capture insights (audio and visuals) from a subject matter expert. The value of this content extends well beyond the webinar – webinar content can be and should be edited to give your organization content to fuel lead nurturing and sales enablement programs.

One of my colleagues recently attended Silverpop’s B2B University in Boston, and five speakers (including Thor Johnson, Adam Needles and Malcolm Friedberg) all reiterated the same message – the single biggest challenge in implementing lead nurturing and marketing automation programs is a lack of relevant content.

If properly executed, webinars give B2B sales & marketing organizations a low-cost, and convenient mechanism to address this.

The key to making this a success is to pre-produce the webinar and capture modular content. Use the opportunity of engaging the subject matter expert with “purposeful interviewing” and collect and organize the right content. An example of the type of content that you should come away with when producing a webinar is:

  • A 25-minute webinar (people no longer want to sit through 45-60 minutes of webinar content!)
  • Preliminary “starter content” that can be shared with the registrants before the webinar to prepare for the topic
  • Modular excerpts from the webinar, extracted and organized by key subjects
  • Purposeful, moderated Q&A
  • Live audience Q&A
  • Additional outtakes and “deep dives”
  • Audio that can be re-purposed as podcasts
  • A transcript, that can be sourced for articles, blogs and used as a keyword attractor for inbound marketing efforts

Webinar content is a natural fit for lead nurturing programs, as it combines audio with visuals in way that is more compelling than just text.  And it should fit naturally into nurturing programs as the content can be mapped to beginning, medium and advanced stage audiences (think pre-webinar, webinar and post-webinar audience).

This is a graphic that we use to demonstrate the end-to-end process (Acquire, Create, Manage & Deliver content) and what you can accomplish by using webinars as a key content acquisition resource.

Webinar as a Content Marketing Vehicle