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Content Marketing Tactics: Webinar Pros, Cons, Examples & Best Practices

Webinar-Content-Marketing-Tactic

Quality, useful, and engaging content is the foundation of a marketing strategy. However, content is much more than just words on a page.

Humans are visual learners by nature—and we crave visual, interactive content in reality and online. As a result, in today’s digital world, marketers are using webinars to connect and engage with their target audiences. Additionally, webinars create a great opportunity for co-creation and collaboration as well as content repurposing. 

In fact, 66 percent of B2B marketers said webinars are one of the most effective content marketing strategies around, according to as recent report from Content Marketing Institute. In addition, 51 percent of marketers said visual content will be a top priority for their campaigns in 2016.

Definition: Webinars

A webinar is a live meeting, presentation, discussion, educational session, or demonstration that takes place online. As a content marketing technique, webinars use various forms of content such as blogs, audio interviews, and video to promote and execute the event. In addition, the webinar as a whole can be saved and archived for future viewing.

Webinars aim to provide helpful, interesting, or compelling content and instruction, and ultimately encourage participants to take action (e.g. buy a product, sign up for a newsletter, become a member, etc.) on what they learned. They can also be great ways to build recognition as a thought leader, which some consider to be the ultimate content marketing tactic.

Webinars are often confused with virtual conferences—and while they’re both online meeting events—virtual conferences are far more elaborate affairs that attempt to mimic a real-world event online. Webinars generally focus on just one topic and are much shorter (generally running an hour to two hours) than virtual events.

Pros

Webinars are convenient, cost-effective, and allow businesses to market their content in real-time to a wide audience. Here are some more benefits as a content marketing tactic:

  • Businesses find they’re able to attract customers earlier in the buying cycle, as well as target various stages throughout the buying cycle.
  • Excitement is created for a topic, especially when a well-known expert delivers the presentation.
  • There are a variety of content repurposing options such as live blogging the event or using participant questions to create new blog posts.
  • Since webinars require registration, they can serve as an excellent lead generation tool where content can be provided as the lead is nurtured afterwards.
  • Webinars can be archived to the web and will attract views indefinitely.

Cons

While webinars can be a powerful content marketing tool, the may not be practical for every brand. Disadvantages of webinars include:

  • Unique skills and technology such as a registration platform that ties into your CRM or a presentation hosting platform are needed to produce an event.
  • Archived webinars can become outdated, and need to be monitored and removed when appropriate.
  • Like all online events, the general low cost of entry makes it easier for people to skip the event or bow out early.

What Industry Experts Say About Webinars

Signing up for a webinar is much like scheduling an appointment. Your audience can make room for the webinar in their schedule ahead of time, making it much more likely for them to give undivided attention and participate. A live webinar creates more of a one-to-one engagement than many other types of content and encourages participants to ask questions and interact on the spot.
Ashley Zeckman, Director of Digital Marketing, TopRank Marketing

“With over 60% of marketers using webinars as part of their content marketing programs and 76% of the 17 largest SaaS companies in the world using marketing automation, it’s clear that these tools are becoming increasingly essential to today’s marketers.”
American Marketing Association (Source: ama.org)

“They are the next best thing to being face to face, in-person with your target market. If you want to leverage yourself and scale your business, webinars are key. By being the person at the helm you set yourself as an expert, it’s your virtual stage.”
Nick Unsworth, Facebook marketing expert. (Source: The Huffington Post)

How Brands Use Webinars for Content Marketing

McKesson (client)

Revered as a leading healthcare technology company, McKesson provides a series of educational webinars for many of their different business units. For the Medical-Surgical division, users can register for upcoming webinars or access their library of previously aired webinars on a whole host of topics that cover everything from reimbursement to preventing infection in patients.

McKesson Webinar

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)

ASDC is a global network of educators and advocates that develops programs and services to help educators continually improve how they support their students. Through webinars, the organization offers numerous professional development opportunities to support their mission, while also encouraging new membership and more participation from current members.

ASCD Webinar

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Yes. Even the IRS offers webinars for individuals, businesses, and tax professionals.

IRS Webinar

Webinar Best Practices

  • Choose a topic and headline that is searchable. SEO best practices should always be part of your content marketing efforts, and you want to entice your target audience.
  • Create a list of content marketing tactics you’ll be using. Your list should include tactics such as emails, social messaging, blogs, video, and press releases to promote the event, run the event, and repurpose content after the event.
  • Get organized. Create an agenda, make sure all your visuals are ready to go, confirm your platform is working, and communicate regularly with any speakers you’ve lined up.
  • Practice makes perfect. Schedule a dry run with any presenters or if you’re doing the talking, set aside some time to go through your full presentation.
  • Promote, Promote Promote. Promotion is important to any event you put on, but digital events don’t require the commitment of real-world events. Use that list of tactics you’ve created to get the word out and keep your event top of mind.

Webinar Software and Resources

There are a number of different webinar software companies to choose from. Some of the most popular options include:

  • AnyMeeting
  • CiscoWebEx
  • GoToWebinar
  • Skype
  • Adobe Connect
  • ClickWebinar
  • MegaMeeting

People are visual by nature. So, it’s no wonder that interactive, visual content like webinars is a powerful tool for brands. If you’re not afraid of getting your hands dirty with some of the technical demands, consider weaving webinars into your content marketing strategy. The demand for visual content is only getting stronger, so brands need to consider other content marketing solutions to stay competitive and achieve their goals.

How have you used webinars as part of your content marketing strategy? What are your best practices for pulling off a successful webinar? Share in the comments section below.

If you liked this post, check out our content marketing tactics index page with links to more than 25 helpful posts just like this one.

Header image via Shutterstock


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The post Content Marketing Tactics: Webinar Pros, Cons, Examples & Best Practices appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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Check Also

10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild

Hey, friend, have you heard the good news about podcasts? 

Given the most recent stats, it’s highly likely you have. Over half of all Americans over 12 years of age have listened to at least one. Podcasts have well and truly hit the mainstream. In other words, the gold rush is on for brands looking to connect with a highly-engaged, long-attention-span audience.

However, getting a podcast up and running isn’t as simple as publishing a blog. We recently published an entire B2B podcasting webinar to walk you through the entire process, from conception to publication. This post will zero in on the choices you need to make and the steps you need to take to release your podcast into the wild.

B2B Podcasting Launch Checklist: 10 Steps

Sure, you could just upload your audio to your web server, add an RSS feed, and call it good. But if you want people to actually find and listen to your podcast, there are a few extra steps you should take. This checklist will help your podcast find an audience and start building a subscriber base.

via GIPHY

#1: Choose Your Hosting Platform

A podcast syndication platform makes it easy to publish your podcast and get listed in directories. Think of it like WordPress is for your blog — it hosts the files, makes them look pretty, and makes it so people can find them.

Most platforms will also give you embed codes for embedding episodes in blog posts or on a landing page. You’ll also get stats on how many people are downloading episodes, and on what program they’re listening.

We prefer Libsyn as our hosting platform. Podbean, buzzsprout, and Blubrry are also solid options. They all have a free tier of hosting, but you’ll want to pay a few bucks a month for bandwidth and analytics.

#2: Upload Your First Three Episodes

Podcasting is all about establishing a regular cadence (more on that later). But for launch, you’ll want to have at least three episodes ready to go. There are a few reasons for publishing multiple episodes for your debut:

  1. One episode may not be enough to convince people to subscribe. 
  2. Multiple episodes show you’re committed to keeping the content coming.
  3. Most importantly, Apple podcasts requires at least three episodes to qualify for their “New and Noteworthy” section. 

So before you publish, have at least three episodes completed, and be ready to follow up with more at your promised publishing cadence.

#3:  Register with Podcast Directories

Podcasts are peculiar in terms of content delivery. Your hosting platform makes the files available, but most people will listen to your podcast on their chosen podcast app. Each app maintains its own directory — think of it as a search engine for podcasts. 

Your podcast needs to be listed in their directory, or people won’t be able to find you. I recommend registering with at least these six:

  1. Apple Podcasts
  2. Google Podcasts
  3. Stitcher
  4. Podbean
  5. Spotify
  6. TuneIn

Each of these sites will ask for the RSS feed of your podcast, which your hosting platform will generate for you.

I created a podcast tracker to keep track of all these directories — sign up for the webinar and you can download it for free.

B2B Podcast Tracker

#4: Promote Internally

Gaining visibility on a podcast directory is tricky business. Apple and Google are where the majority of your listeners will be, and each employs an algorithm to promote podcasts in search results and feature pages.

How do you get an algorithm’s attention? Engagement! Start by promoting your podcast to all of your employees. Encourage them to subscribe on Apple or Google, give a rating, and write a brief (and honest) review. What’s more, draft some social messages and encourage everyone to promote the podcast to their networks, too.

That base level of initial engagement will help your podcast start finding its audience.

#5: Activate Your Influencers

Most podcasts are Q&A-style interviews with influential guests. If your podcast includes influencers in your industry, make sure they know as soon as their episode goes live. Give them the tools to promote the podcast easily:

  • Sample social messages
  • Social media images in the correct sizes
  • Embed codes

If your podcast doesn’t feature influencers, it’s worth re-evaluating your strategy for your next season. Influencer content not only is more valuable to your audience, it’s an indispensable channel for promotion.

#6: Publish Blog Posts

The one downside of audio content: It’s not super crawlable for SEO purposes. Granted, Google has started to auto-transcribe episodes and add them to search results, but the technology is still in the early stages.

To truly get some SEO juice from your podcast, we recommend embedding each podcast in a blog post. This example from the Tech Unknown Podcast by SAP* shows how simple it can be. All you need is an introduction, a few pull quotes, some key takeaways, and a transcript.

#7: Add Paid Promotion

As with any content, you want to use every tactic available to make sure it gets seen by your target audience. That’s especially true with podcasts, since podcast search engines are incredibly competitive.

Targeted, paid social promotion can help establish your subscriber base and get your new podcast some much-needed visibility.

It’s also worth considering cross-promotion on other podcasts. Consider both paid advertising and trading guest spots with a podcast that shares your target audience. 

#8: Solicit Listener Feedback

Ratings and reviews are essential to your podcast’s success. They’ll help provide social proof for new listeners and boost your search visibility in podcast directories. 

The best way to get ratings and reviews? Ask for them. Make it part of each episode’s sign-off. You can even encourage thoughtful reviews by reading the best ones on future episodes. You will engage your listeners and solicit more reviews at the same time.

#9: Keep Up Your Cadence

As with blog content, there’s no single “right” frequency to publish a podcast. Some of my favorite podcasts publish weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. The best cadence for your podcast is “However frequently you can reliably, regularly publish quality content.”

Choose your cadence with an eye to long-term sustainability, and tell your listeners explicitly how frequently you’ll publish. Whether it’s “See you next week,” or “PodcastTitle is a monthly podcast that…” listeners will find it easier to make your podcast a habit if you stick to a schedule.

#10: Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose

In my last post on the content marketing benefits of B2B podcasting, I mentioned that podcasts are a content machine, and I’ll say it again. It’s easy to finish an episode, publish it, then forget it and move on to the next thing. But don’t do that! 

Pull snippets of audio content for social media. Turn them into short videos, too: Add a still image or a simple looping GIF for visual interest.

Use your transcriptions as fodder for future blog posts, quotes for influencer marketing, or even a stand-alone asset. 

Any way you can reuse that content can help bring more listeners to your podcast. What’s more, putting the content in a different medium can reach an audience who might not be into podcasts (yet). 

Check, Check, One Two

Launching a podcast is a little trickier than launching a new blog, especially if you’re new to the format. But if you follow this checklist, you can make sure your podcast is available on all the right channels and is ready to start attracting an audience.

Need more podcasting help? Check out our B2B Podcasting Webinar. In addition to learning the Four P’s of podcasting success, you’ll see me make this face:

B2B Podcasting Face

*Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post 10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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