Are webinars a tired marketing tactic? 9 questions answered to help combat the fatigue
Seventy-three percent of marketers produce more content than they did just one year ago. In fact, the average American spends almost 10 hours a day consuming content – but there is a threshold to what we can actually retain. With content creation skyrocketing, marketers must now break through the density of information to make their message stick. Sadly, most content is invisible because it’s not worth seeing.
Webinar production is a great way to create content, but audience fatigue has slowly crept in and getting your webinar noticed has become a challenge. So how do we combat it? We must make it worth their while. Think about the value you place on your own time – not many appointments merit canceling your lunch hour, but that's exactly what most marketers (myself included) are asking audiences to give up. Time to rethink our format AND the value of webinar content we are producing.
In one of our recent events with Scripted, we tried to do just that.We still ran the typical 45 minute webinar for this, however, we changed the style and are hoping to launch a new format from it. We're really focusing on breaking the webinar into chapters. You can see the difference if you view the full recording OR you can listen to each section below by clicking on the bold text below. Each segment is about 6 – 8 minutes long. But, in order to save you some time and stay true to what I'm preaching, I'm giving you the condensed version with top takeaways and some relevant Q&A that came out of each chapter:
- CHAPTER 1: Content for Leads, Not Just Views – What does your content tell you about where the audience is in the funnel, and how to use webinars at any of the buying cycle.
- Do you have any recommendations for creating a compelling topic title or subject line for promotion?
Eric MacColl, from Scripted, had some great suggestions: Copyblogger recommends coming up with twenty-five different titles before you finalize it. It forces you to expand your mindset on that topic and not become pigeon-holed on your initial idea. Think of hook type words “secrets to…”, “how to…” etc.
I found some additional tips from Ken Molay at The Webinar Blog:
- Tell your audience exactly what you’re going to present – succinctly and clearly
- Create or name a challenge and provide value on how you’ll address it
- Don’t get too cute – alliteration killed the title star
- Is there a typical percentage of people that go from invite to register to attend? What kind of initial list size should I aim for?
I’ve had a lot of people ask this one and I always refer them to the same article – there was a great write up a couple of years ago on the Topliners Community (Eloqua’s community portal) where a gentleman broke this down. He’s got some solid logic and probably says it better than me, so hopefully this helps:
- CHAPTER 2: Digestible Webinar Formats – Rethinking the typical 60 minute presentation and start creating something that's digestible or 'bite size.'
- Does ReadyTalk facilitate Google hangouts?
We don't currently have an integration with Google Hangouts within the ReadyTalk platform, however, this idea has come up in numerous conversations as we are seeing more customers break out of the typical webinar format and try add-on options like this.
We do currently integrate with Microsoft Lync, which could facilitate a similar “hangout” atmosphere – you can start a web meeting or conference call directly from a contact in Lync and also end invites to contacts as well. They are able to join directly from the invite by entering their name and a phone number and our platform calls out to them. You can learn more about our Lync integration here.
- If webinars aren't a full hour, does that mean the content isn't as engaging?
No. In fact, I think they have the opportunity to be more so because you have shortened amount of time to truly convince the audience that your webinar is worth sitting on. That content should be interactive, regardless of the length of time, but with a shorter event your topic has to be more concise – people know exactly what they will get in the session and in turn, I think will help keep them engaged. You are responsible for delivering on your promise as a speaker and keeping yourself on track. I believe there are still plenty of opportunities to bring your audience into the conversation (polls, chat, etc) to deliver an engaging webinar in a shorter time span.
- CHAPTER 3: Crowdsourcing Your Webinar Content – Utilizing your social channels to create topics; crafting a message around what they want to hear, not what you want to talk about.
- Have you found post-webinar Twitter Chats and/or Google Hangouts to work for all target audiences (like CFOs or CIOs) or mainly for a CMO/marketing type role? And what happens if someone in your webinar audience doesn’t have a Google Account?
To be completely honest, this is something we’re just diving into ourselves with our webinars, so I don’t have a ton of stats to share. I do think there is value with both a technical community (CIO / CTO) and also with the marketing based roles.
Same goes for the technical role – I think they prefer forums actually to get their voice heard, interact with peers, discuss their challenges & dive a little deeper into discussions – I’d say Google hangouts more so than Twitter for them.
Here are a couple of blog posts I found that might help (both you and I) to get a better idea of what is and isn’t working in this space:
http://www.feld.com/wp/archives/2012/02/my-gradual-shift-from-skype-to-google-hangouts.html (this is comparing Skype to Google Hangouts)
http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/12/04/10-tips-on-how-to-use-google-plus-hangouts/ (advice on who should and can utilize Google Hangouts on Air)
http://blog.qstion.com/google-hangouts/google-hangouts-on-air-live-qa-is-launched (offers some comparisons between Google hangout and Qstion)
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/twitter-chat-guide/ (some tips on Twitter chats)
http://www.nestivity.com/10-reasons-your-brand-should-host-a-twitter-chat/ (why you ought to host a Twitter Chat)
- CHAPTER 4: Webinar Inception – The (content) gift that keeps on giving – re-imagining your webinar recordings for new content and more mileage.
- What type of attendance rate have you seen to the on-demand webinar version?
We’ve seen 3 – 5x as many people listen to the recording as the original live event because we’re able to put it out to so many additional channels. We do our best not to just let it sit on the archive page by typically running additional prospecting campaigns around the on-demand recording and which increases our reach with new audiences to get our content in front of (blog, social, email, YouTube, etc).
- Our webinars topics are fairly in-depth and sometimes hard to "edit" into chunks and tend to go on the longer side. They fill up fast but are rarely watched later in their entirety. Would conducting them live but organizing them into parts (for easier editing lately) be helpful?
I would suggest the live format, but think about splitting them up into a series of events versus one long, difficult to edit version. This would make each topic more digestible – people can walk away with actionable items to make their job easier. If people know it’s going to be a series, you’ve made your content that much more ‘sticky’ that they’ll come back looking for the next event. This will make the recording more appealing as well – it's much more likely to be watched in its entirety if it a 'video-size' type snippet (think of your own attention span when it comes to watching content on something like YouTube or Vimeo). I think this would help boost the engagement and keep your message clear.
Then you can take advantage of all those smaller recordings and string them together in something like an email campaign or blog series, create an eBook where each chapter references that specific topic and points back to your recording, etc. The possibilities are vast!
- Does ReadyTalk provide the means to cut up an existing webinar recording into chapters – what formats do you offer?
We do have an awesome editing tool that allows you to easily cut your webinar down into more of those digestible snippets, like I mentioned a few times. You can find some additional information here:
There isn’t a way to automatically chapter them out within the tool, but you can work with our support team to make as many copies of the original as you’d like to then edit and repurpose as you’d like. You can host them on the ReadyTalk server for a small monthly fee, or you can download them in a number of formats and host on your own site.
The most commonly used formats and available for ReadyTalk recordings are Flash, MP3, MP4, .wav
- Do you have any recommendations for webinar captioning or transcription?
We’ve used 3Play Media in the past for transcripts of our webinars and they’ve worked well.
Whew! Hopefully there are some actionable tips in here for you. What other questions do you have related to these four areas? Or better yet, leave us your suggestions – the more we can stack best practices list the better! I know there are many webinar experts among us, don't be shy. What would you add?