Its my job, as marketing demand generation manager, to plan and execute many of our outbound marketing campaigns, one of them being our monthly webinar series. We've split the series up into two catagories - thought leadership and lead generation.
In our thought leadership events, we try to find speakers that are considered an expert in their particular field or well versed on the topic we know would resonate with our audiences - SEO, social media, leadership development, etc. Usually we reach out to the speaker, explain a bit about our series and they come up with the the topic and messaging for that presentation based on their knowledge. Basically, we'll hand over the reigns and let them run with it becuase they are the expert on the subject.
On the flip side, we have our lead generation events. Similar to many other companies out there, we use our webinar series as a vehicle to generate leads for our sales team. With these events, we'll decide upon a topic that we know by virtue of the messaging will give our sales team a good reason to reach out to regitrants following the event. For example, if you signed up for a webinar entitled, "Drive Strategic, Integrated Growth with Webinars" then I could likely assume that you are interested in doing just that - utilizing web conferencing technology to help drive leads along with other sales geared campaigns you might be running. So, by nature of the title I am driving registrants that have a valid interest in using a service that my company provides. Thus the starting point when choosing a topic for a lead generation webinar:
Step 1: Pick a topic that segments your propects for you -
Is your product used by marketers? Then supply information and messaging that will address a marketer's pain points - like how they can capture more qualified leads for less money or why lead nurturing is vital to getting the highest ROI out of their campaigns. Does your product lend itself to a sales user? Then tell them how your service will give them shorter lead-to-close time or a more accurate view of their prospects in the funnel. Are trainers or educators your main audience? Discuss how your service can help them collaborate efficiently and effectively, even from remote locations. See what I'm doing? I've described 3 areas that all have pain points that I know my service can solve. For a lead generation event, you can throw out topics that you know your solution doesn't address.
Step 2: Pick a topic that gives you a reason to follow-up -
Does your topic have a clear call to action at the end? Or can you at least formulate one after you've put all of the content together? This approach can be very helpful when trying to decide on a topic for a lead generation webinar. Again, you might just have an informational webinar or thought leadership but if you're trying to construct an event that will generate a list of prospects, you'll want to give your sales people a reason to follow-up. Whether it is a demo sign-up, a free trial of your service, a whitepaper or checklist that you promised to attendees that will address their problem - make sure you pick a topic that lends itself to further discussion.
Step 3: Pick a topic that you can repurpose for different crowds -
Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose - just because you have a great topic for a webinar doesn't mean you'll get boat loads of people to sign-up (that's another blog post in itself); however, you may have a great topic for a killer webinar that attracts a good crowd and then you also turn that content into a blog post, a discussion thread, a series of tweets, a facebook contest, a checklist, etc. Create an event that you can break apart later to reach more audiences (content marketing is the name of the game). Your twitter reach may be five times as large as your mailing list. Your blog might attract the attention of people that wouldn't normally attend a webinar. It can still be the killer topic you decided on orginally, it now just has a different twist or format to gain the eyes of new viewers.
So, there you have it. Three ways to help you pick a topic, ar at least a starting point. Think of each step and ask if it will help you accomplish your end goal of producing (more) qualified leads for your sales team. These are just a few that I could think of - do you have other suggestions on ways to generate a topic that will ultimately drive prospects to your product?