Expert Q&A: 5 Keys to Building a Robust Webinar Program
Creating scalable, repeatable processes is essential to seeing success from your webinar programs. Especially with the bandwidth constraints faced by marketers today, having a webinar playbook you can easily reproduce will help you remain focused on your content — and not the technical details.
So how do you build that infrastructure? For this post, we spoke with Scott Abel of The Content Wrangler, who successfully developed a robust webinar program on BrightTALK — with just a two-person team. Over the past four years, they’ve successfully grown their BrightTALK Channel to 33,000 subscribers, hosting nearly 200 webinars in that time.
For this post, Scott shared his insights on how any size company can create a scalable and powerful webinar program.
1. What is the most effective way to promote your webinar?
At The Content Wrangler, we’ve found there’s only one way to effectively market webinars. This method involves developing the capability to efficiently create, manage, and deliver content about webinars to all the places our prospects and clients hang out online, and in person.
As content strategists, we think strategically about webinar promotional content. That means we borrow methods—and lessons learned— from the content management industry.
One of the most valuable lessons savvy content professionals understand is the need for a unified content strategy: a systematic, repeatable plan for the efficient creation, management, and delivery of your content to multiple channels simultaneously.
A well-formed content strategy focuses on what you’re going to do—the plan you are going to follow to manage content throughout its lifecycle—from goal setting to editorial planning (date and time selection matters) to controlling the look-and-feel of the graphics.
It also involves streamlining the production process—from the collection of content from presenters, sponsors, and partners—and eliminating bottlenecks caused by manual processes. Automating and scheduling publishing tasks are critical to reaching audiences across varying time zones.
2. What is one thing you can do to take your webinar program to the next level?
Humans, as neuroscientist Dr. Carmen Simon discusses in her book, Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions, will forget most of the content you provide to them.
Audiences aren’t capable of remembering all of the content presenters pack into a slide deck. So, much of the content presented during nearly every webinar fails to deliver the value the presenters expected.
That’s why it’s imperative to understand neuroscience. There’s a science behind getting people’s attention that involves understanding the triggers. And, there’s science behind getting folks to remember what you want them to remember. If you leave it to chance, you will likely miss opportunities to take your webinar program to the next level.
3. What’s the value of webinar engagement?
Spotting right-fit prospects. Webinars are amazing tools for building awareness and developing interest, but they are also a great vehicle for identifying hot prospects. Far too many webinars fail to take advantage of the polling feature, a tool we find indispensable for uncovering hidden prospects.
Polling, by its nature, is engagement. It can grab attention. It creates interaction. It can stop multi-taskers in their tracks. And, it’s useful for folks downstream in sales, especially when the purpose of many webinars is to market a product or service.
Polling allows us to engage the viewer; to ask their opinion; to seek their permission. To ask blatantly, “Would you like a private demonstration?” Those who answer “Yes” are holding up their hands. They’re saying, “Pick me. Pick me. I want what you’re offering!”
There’s a huge difference between a spreadsheet of webinar registration information handed off as “leads” and a short list of prospective customers who said yes to your specific offer.
Just ask a salesperson. Better yet, ask a webinar attendee.
4. What makes a compelling presentation?
Compelling presenters make their case quickly, then provide several use cases—or examples—to back up their claims. Compelling presenters understand that it’s critical to hook the audience up front. Compelling presentations start with a story, and reference concepts, ideas, or situations the audience already understands. Connecting presentations to something familiar allows the brain to relax and take in the message without doing much work.
Human brains are wired to take the easy way out. We’re lazy by design. It’s a protective mechanism designed to save energy. Webinars that make the attendees work to understand the message are never compelling.
5. Why are webinars part of your marketing mix?
Webinars are one of the best values in marketing land. They are great for raising brand awareness and developing interest in a topic, product, or service. They’re also valuable sources of additional content. We think of webinars as raw source material from which we take bits and pieces. We repurpose tidbits from recorded webinars to create other content marketing materials.
For example, a webinar can be automatically transcribed online very inexpensively. The chances are good that a webinar transcription is loaded with quotes, statistics, and other information that we can turn into articles, infographics, and used as fodder for in-person presentations, local meetups, conference presentations, blog and social media posts, and more.
Depending on the type of webinar, an audio recording can be produced from the live presentation. With a little production effort, these files can be uploaded to a podcast network.
Webinar recordings are also valuable. The trick is to get others to do the sharing for you. Embedding a recorded webinar into a blog post is a good way to repurpose those assets and make full use of webinars as a marketing tool.
About Scott Abel
Known affectionately as “The Content Wrangler,” Scott Abel is an internationally recognized global content strategist who specializes in helping organizations deliver the right content to the right audience, anywhere, anytime, and on any device. His firm, The Content Wrangler, exists to help content-heavy organizations adopt the tools, technologies, and techniques they need to connect content to customers. Watch The Content Wrangler’s webinars on BrightTALK.
For more data-driven insights you can use to improve your webinar programs, download the 2017 BrightTALK Webinar Benchmarks Report.