As our world continues to transition into being more digital, webinars have become an important way for businesses and thought leaders to deliver content to audiences, generate sales leads and integrate information from valuable partners. However, while marketers and content planners spend much time contemplating how to engage people and how to market these events, there is not as much focus on the actual content that is being presented via webinars.
Mark Bornstein, Chief Webinerd and VP of Marketing of ON24, suggests that there is currently a widespread misconception that there is digital fatigue among audiences. Borstein believes the actual fatigue is due to bad digital experiences and lack of well-planned digital content. Webinars provide a larger palette for delivering content, offering an unparalleled opportunity to hold the audience’s attention for typically an hour of time, while also presenting the responsibility to make that time count for audiences.
Here are key takeaways as to how to create great webinar content, according to Bornstein.
Know Your Audience
At the heart of webinar preparation, you need to know your audience and align your goals with theirs. Audiences attend webinars to solve a specific problem or to fill a void that they currently have. Understand what that void is, and plan your content accordingly.
Simple, effective ways to gain a better understanding of your audience involve simply asking them what is important to them and what they want to learn. Surveys and social media engagement are a great way to gain feedback. Bornstein also suggests that interviewing your customer service teams can be a goldmine into information surrounding issues consumers are experiencing because no one engages so closely with customers as the CS team.
Brainstorm A Topic
When brainstorming a webinar topic, look at your current website and social media platforms and take note of what content is already resonating with people. What are people engaging with or searching for? What topics are you already positioned as a thought leader in?
Keep a constant ear to the ground for industry trends and news in order to remain timely with content. As new regulations and new innovations arise in your industry, it is important to be a knowledgeable voice on these topics.
Now, Find an Actionable Subtopic
Bornstein suggests that a common downfall of webinars is when content is too broad and is positioned as an “all-knowing” source. Rather than trying to solve multiple problems with one webinar, content should be broken up into sub-categories and those sub-categories should be broken down even further in order to actually provide helpful and problem-solving information.
“Experts go deep, pretenders go wide and shallow,” said Bronstein on the subject.
Once your very specific topic is pinpointed, there should also be an accompanying action item that is made clear in the content and title. You should be able to state what the webinar is about or what specific issues will be addressed in one sentence. For example, rather than focusing on “How to host a good webinar,” you should focus on more specific and actionable topics like “10 tips for pre-event webinar marketing,” “How to find the best webinar speakers” or “Keys to creating great webinar content.” 😉
Creating a series of webinars with related content themes is a good opportunity to give attention to important sub-topics on one broader topic, give a reliable information source that people can return to and help build an engaged audience.
Craft Your Story
With the topic in mind, choosing a format that serves and elevates your story is essential. With the advancement of webinar and online presentation platforms, there is an ever-expanding number of ways to present topics that go beyond the traditional speaker and slideshow presentation.
While sometimes a speaker/slideshow format is the best option, do not be afraid to expand into other formats including coffee talks and conversations, news style, 1:1 taped interview formats or roundtable discussions.
It’s important to remember that while there are often times that having an on-screen presentation can be helpful to keep the audience engaged and on-track, you do not need a formal presentation every time. Other on-screen visuals, such as chat boxes and interactive modules can often be counter-productive and become a distraction. Keep on-screen content engaging and informative, rather than over-complicated and confusing.
Keep the Story Alive
Now that you have put in the work to create great webinar content that is helpful to your audience, do not let the story end. Consider ways to keep your content on demand, whether that be posting the recorded content on your website and social media, or repurposing the content into a blog post. Keep your webinar content working as long as it remains relevant.