Want to Increase Your White Paper's Influence? Try a Webinar

Want to Increase Your White Paper's Influence? Try a Webinar
Michele Linn - Wed Jan 06, 2010 @ 04:21AM
Comments: 11

Increasing White Paper InfluenceIn my last post of the year, I wrote about ways to repackage content to make it more valuable. So, I was interested when I came across this information in the Eccolo Media 2009 B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report:

"We were curious if respondents would find value in white paper content presented in alternate forms -- specifically, in audio form via a podcast, or in a webinar. We got interesting responses. Twenty-four percent said they would find white paper content more influential if presented in a podcast. Even more (29 percent) said they would find white paper content more influential if consumed in a webinar. This suggests that marketers have the opportunity to leverage their thought leadership content with optimal effect by repurposing it in other ways."

Webinars continue to be a popular vehicle to share information, and in my previous life as a product marketing manager, I executed many. While they may seem straightforward, they can be quite an undertaking, even when you are using a vendor for the logistics.

Below are 12 tips on developing a webinar using content from your white paper. Many of these suggestions are useful for all B2B marketing webinars.

Content and Presentation

Include content not available in the white paper
Even though this study indicates that people are interested in consuming white paper content in webinar format, to make it most appealing to a broader audience, include some content that is not in the paper. For instance:

  • Include additional case studies, having the customer speak if possible.
  • Share some additional industry data (especially useful if the webinar is meant to educate)
  • Invite an industry expert to speak on trends

Have multiple speakers
The best webinars I've participated in have used multiple speakers becasue it makes the event more conversational. You can certainly use two people from your organization, but as mentioned above, think about using one or more customers or industry experts.

Make the webinar interactive
It can be tough to keep viewers' attention. While it helps to be conversational, it also is a good idea to use polling questions to keep the session more interactive. For instance, if you talk about trends, consider doing a polling question to see where the audience is, comparing that to what a study may have found.

Be prepared but not scripted
I always think it is a good idea to do a dry run of the webinar, even if you are using seasoned speakers. Everyone needs to be familiar with the technology, and if you have multiple speakers, they need to understand the transitions. One note: while you want to be prepared, don't be scripted. Listeners can easily tell when presenters are reading, and the event sounds canned instead of authentic.

Keep it short
While most webinars are about 40 to 45 minutes, with some time for Q&A, don't be afraid of going shorter. I have seen some webinars recently that are only 30 minutes, which may be more palatable for some users.

Logistics and promotion

Create a transcript
One of the easiest things I think marketers can do to increase the reach of their webcasts is to create a transcript of the event. Personally, I rarely watch webinars becasue I don't have the patience, but I am often interested in the content. If I knew a transcript would be available, I would absolutely register for more. And, even though the webinar may be based on published content, if you add in additional information, the transcript will be sharing something new. Of course, you can also publish a podcast of the audio as well.

Promote the archive of the event in all of your registration materials
You are probably losing registrations if someone has a conflict at the time of the live webinar. My suggestion is to include some text like this in all of your registration materials: "Even if you can't attend the live webcast, please register. You will be notified once the archive and the transcript of the event are available." If you need to track people who will be attending live, you can include a check box that indicates, "I am not planning to attend the live event."

Choose a time that works for your audience
Consider multiple times if trying to get an international audience, and provide a table for time zone conversion on the registration page so registrants can easily see what time it would be for them.

Send multiple emails to remind participants of the event
Send an immediate email with the info about the event. It's nice if people can easily add it to their calendars and check the technology to make sure it will work on their computer. Of course, send a reminder the day of the event as well.

The Actual Event and Follow Up

Have a copy of the slides available as a PDF
Someone will always have a technical difficulty during the event, so great idea to have a PDF of the slides available so someone can follow along if they are having trouble connecting.

Send a follow up
Of course, you should send a follow up to the event. In addition to thanking the viewer for attending, also include a link to the white paper and the transcript.

Publish the Questions and Answers
If people can submit questions during the webinar, you can answer the relevant ones and send them to all participants. You can and include it with the webinar archive on your website as well.

What other tips do you have for creating effective webinars, or do you have any success stories to share?

Related posts:

Read more Savvy B2B posts from Michele


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