The quality of your content has always been one of the most important criteria when it comes to running a successful webinar.
Now, in 2021, with more of us attending more webinars than ever before, compelling content is even more crucial to keeping people engaged.
Why? Because, by the end of last year, one in three of us (30%) were attending more than 10 online meetings and events a month, according to Redback’s own research. One in two of us also expected to attend even more virtual events this year.
However, many of us were starting to suffer from what has become colloquially known as ‘Zoom-fatigue’ by the end of 2020, with the proportion of attendees that left an online event early also on the rise.
It seems the more webinars and other online meetings and events we go to, the less likely we are to keep watching if the content doesn’t meet our expectations or if the presenter fails to engage us.
When it comes to webinars, content really is king, so here are 7 steps to keep in mind to ensure you’re creating compelling webinar content.
The Why, What and How of Webinar Content
The first step to consider before you start to create your content is what you want to achieve. When you clearly identify why you’re holding a webinar — your key goals and objectives — you’ll be better able to tailor the content to suit.
It’s also important to think about how your webinar fits into your broader marketing plan — don’t treat it like a stand-alone component. Webinars work well as part of broader virtual events and hybrid conference programs, online communications initiatives, digital marketing activities and online education and training programs.
When creating content for your webinars, think about how you can link to other resources, blogs and upcoming events to get the most from your marketing activities.
Types of Webinar Content
Webinars work well at all stages of the customer journey, from awareness and consideration to the purchase decision. However, what you want your webinar to achieve will have a big influence on how you approach your content:
- Awareness – If you want to raise awareness you need your content to appeal to everyone you consider a possible customer — whether they know your brand or not. Topical issues, expert presentations and research studies are good options.
- Consideration – If your aim is to persuade your audience that they need your product or service, highlight the particular problems your offering solves. Internal experts and panel discussions work well at this stage.
- Conversion – Customer success stories and product demonstrations are a great choice if you want to convert leads or prospects into buyers.
Know Your Audience
If you know what interests your audience, it’s easier to create content that they will find compelling.
A good place to start is to create fictional, but realistic profiles of key audience groups — otherwise known as your target personas. Personas should include personal attributes, goals, motivations and attitudes, as well as job titles and demographics, which will help you personalise your content.
Once you know who your audience is, you should establish what they want or need to know about.
If you can’t ask them directly, speak with your customer-facing staff, identify topical events in your sector, source ‘how-tos’ and other expert tips, and use public sources such as forums, chat groups, social feeds and search analytics.
Identify Your Topic
Your marketing or content calendar and existing assets can be a great source of engaging webinar content, assuming they match your target persona’s interests. Here are some common sources it may be worth examining in search of content that will make a great webinar.
- Research studies
- In-depth blogs
- Ebooks and White papers
- Sales presentations
- Conference agendas
If you can answer the burning questions your target market has, you’ll go a long way to creating content they’re compelled to view, share and act on.
How to Frame Your Content
Framing your content refers to how you want to present your topic to a particular audience, or the angle you take.
Tips for framing your webinar topic:
- Be specific: For example ‘How to Take your Webinar Presenting to the Next Level’ rather than ‘How to Run a Better Webinar’.
- Be clear about what you’re promising: What’s in it for your audience?
- Make it inspirational or memorable: Make it worth your audience’s time and they’ll be more likely to re-engage with you.
Don’t forget to frame your topic to get cut-through, for example:
- Ask a question: Using the words ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘when’ will get your prospects thinking about their own experiences and needs
- Flip it: Looking at your topic from a negative perspective is a great way to attract your audience’s attention: ‘3 mistakes not to make in your training programs’ instead of ‘3 steps to a better training program’
- Use numbers: Research shows that numbers are an excellent way to attract a reader’s attention, illustrated by the rise in the popularity of the listicle (yes, you’re reading one right now). Before they even start viewing, readers know what they can expect to take away, so they’re more likely to pay attention.
How to Structure Your Content
The key to creating compelling webinar content is to focus on delivering actionable takeaways for your audience. Drill down on what they’ll learn, and how can you help them be ready to apply
But don’t overdo it. We suggest identifying three key things you want your audience to take away from your event: any more and it will get harder for your audience to remember them.
Begin your webinar with a welcome, then introductions for the host and presenters, then a short introduction of the topic. Then move through your agenda.
When structuring your webinar, write down the 3 key points you want your audience to take away and list the major ideas you want to cover under each point. Create a slide for each major idea. If you’re using interactive video, your speakers will spend more time discussing key points so you’ll need fewer slides.
The ability to interact with presenters, and increasingly each other, is a key reason people watch webinars, so make sure your webinar provider offers interactive elements such as online polls and quizzes and surveys. Have set times throughout your presentation when you hold them.
It’s important for your host to encourage attendees to ask questions, so outline how you’ll be taking questions and when you’ll be responding to them.
Finish with a call to action.
Adapting Content for the Online Environment
While organising webinars can be a lot easier, cheaper and more effective than trying to get a whole bunch of people in a room together, webinars still have their fair share of moving parts, so it’s important to get as much return on effort as you can.
To do that, you need to make sure you’ve adapted your content for the online environment, including training your presenters for virtual delivery, making your webinar available on-demand as well as live, and promoting it via all your channels, as well as integrating it with your other marketing content.
Webinars are unique because they can be filmed and broadcast live, filmed as-live and broadcast at another time, and can be hosted online and offered on-demand. Choose the approach that best suits your audience, as well as your organisation and speakers.
Choose passionate presenters that also know their content. Our research shows three in four webinar attendees (74%) rate passion and good online delivery as essential qualities in a presenter.
Webinars are a great source of other content — if you generate blogs or video clips from your webcast, you’ll provide more and more opportunities to link back to your webinar, improving your ROI over time.
To learn more, check out Webinars and Wine. In this episode, we cover some simple strategies for Creating Compelling Content in Webinars.