Today's post is provided by Jerry Rackley, Chief Analyst, Demand Metric. Jerry will be presenting on the ReadyTalk Webinar Series on 2/27 on "Beyond the Slide Deck: Creating and delivering great presentations. Register today.
Content Marketing is a marketing strategy with a lot of cachet these days, and for good reason: it is effective in helping attract and retain customers. Webinars are certainly a strong plank in the Content Marketing platform, but how strong are they? The 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends research report answers this question for us: webinars rank third in the effectiveness ratings for tactics, just after in-person events and case studies:
The report also reveals that while marketers are using more Content Marketing tactics – 26 different ones are shown in order of frequency of use – there is less certainty about which ones are effective.
It’s no surprise that in-person events and case studies occupy the top two spots. Face-to-face encounters facilitate communications that can employ all the senses. Case studies are great for building credibility, because they describe how a real problem was solved with your solution. But why do webinars rate third in this comparison, above 23 other forms of content? I think the answer is obvious: webinars fully exploit the convenience and value of online connectivity, but can provide the engagement level of an in-person encounter.
Webinars are unique as a form of content. They are perhaps the most non-threatening form of live interaction and one of the most accessible. With a gifted presenter at the helm of a webinar, attendees truly engage with the presenter and the message. Great webinars feature discussion, debate, criticism and commentary to the level that makes attendees feel like participants in the dialogue, not spectators. After the live session, recorded webinars continue to work as a compelling form of content.
The critical success factors to great webinars are having great content and a capable presenter who knows how to exploit the features of the webinar platform – chat, polls, Q&A and others – to engage the audience. This gets easier to do as webinar solution providers improve the sophistication of and ease of use of their offerings.
While this research indicates there is uncertainty about many forms of content for marketing, the verdict is in on a few of them, including webinars. The organization that is not including webinars in their mix of marketing content is forfeiting one of the most effective forms of marketing communications – and one of the easiest to execute.