What makes the difference between a valuable webinar experience and a regrettable waste of time? Great question! This is the 5th of my content marketing blog posts inspired by Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman’s book “Content Rules,” let’s look at a few of Ann and C. C.’s tips and talk about some of the things that can make the difference between an informative and engaging webinar vs. boring waste-of-time-inar:
So as soon as I say “prospects,” sales begins to think “dollar signs.” But back up the truck a moment. Yes, we are doing this to gain revenue, but you won’t get there nearly as fast or as often unless you provide value and pave the way for a clear channel of two-way communication and a trusted partnership first. There will come a time to sell, but webinars are a time to inform, to converse, to ask, to inspire and to build credibility. Get this part right and the dollars will follow.
Having the right information does not always solve the problem. Knowing what you want is great, but making it happen takes a good plan, hard work, attetion to detail, hard work, a good plan “B”, more hard work and a lot of flexibility. Consider these ideas before you plan your next webinar series.
Start with the why
If I were your target prospect, why would I attend your webinar? Remember that I likely have 10 meetings today, 300 emails, 25 voicemails from sales people, and oh yeah, a couple deadlines looming. In order to get me to register, you better have a good bead on what’s keeping me up nights. Use that horror story to develop a killer title that will grab my attention, even though I’m breezing through my inbox at 90 miles an hour, and you just might get me to sign up.
“Just winging it” will lose my attention faster than a C-Span two hour special on foreign exchange rates. Start with a really good story. Not a fairy tale. Not a pitchfest. No one wants to hear about your products and services. Map out a really good true story I can relate to that I can see myself in. Winning. Getting a promotion. Being a hero, sitting on a beach. Being asked to tell others how I did that. Map out the beginning with a great hook, two or three great illustrations and a strong finish. Then, and only then should you fire up Powerpoint and start building a presentation.
Make it a conversation
I like webinars that have a lively and likeable moderator who keeps things flowing and fun. Add in a couple knowledgeable and engaging speakers and I’m there. Even so, I and my colleagues have short attention spans. We can only sit and absorb so long. We need interaction. Some great ways to do this: ask the audience to vote on a subject you’re discussing. Asking for a volunteer to share their experience is another way, but sometimes a little harder to stay “on script.” Either way, make it a two – way exchange or people will be checking email and playing angry birds instead of hearing your key points.
Encourage backchannel chatter
Provide a twitter hashtag for the event. This allows people to create side conversations together, share quotes with eachother, express themselves during the event some webinar tools also provide a chat function for this purpose. Create a hashtag anyway. Give us a choice. Get people talking about the ideas among themselves and among their peers. If you produce good content and make it easy to share, it will spread across the internet fast.
Use reality and humor
Two things that will kill a webinar: fairy tales and boredom. I want to know about someone like me who used you idea and was succesful, not features or benefits; real people who really got help from this. Secondly, I want to be entertained. Make me laugh a little, even if it’s at myself. This should be fun! Not like Mr. Kravitz math class.
That final slide
Now we have the story. We’ve had a conversation, we’ve learned something new, built a bit of a relationship. Don’t just shut the door. Continue the conversation. Provide a white paper to download, or a second webinar on a related idea. Perhaps a way to buy or get a demo. And always invite relationship with several ways to connect! Is there a Linkedin group? Is there a twitter chat? Is there a meetup? Here’s where you should get me to continue down this road. Ask me for something; some next step. Always provide a call to action and let it linger there on the screen while you ask if anybody has questions or comments.
For all 25 great webinar content markteting tips check out Ann Handley and C. C. Chapman’s book: “Content Rules.” What an awesome collection of ideas, which I have only touched on here!
Also – check out the rest of my posts inspired by this book as well: