Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes courtesy of Liz O'Neill, a writer and content marketing manager at Kapost, a software that helps marketers develop, manage and analyze their content. Prior to Kapost, she advised big brands like AT&T on their social media strategy at Location3 Media, a digital marketing agency. And before that, she spearheaded marketing campaigns for ONE, an anti-poverty advocacy organization co-founded by Bono. She thinks a well-oiled content operation is essential for brands that want to connect with and convert leads. And she loves helping them do it.
Webinars can be one of the most effective marketing tactics a marketer deploys. They can generate hundreds of high-quality leads, foster valuable partnerships, and do it at a low cost.
We try to do at least one per month. For our team, that’s a considerable investment so we try to squeeze out every last penny of value possible. At Kapost, webinars aren’t standalone assets, but multi-faceted content pillars.
What is a content pillar, exactly? It’s a major piece of content (eBook, webinar, whitepaper, etc.) on a specific topic or theme which can be broken out into many derivative assets like emails, blog posts, SlideShares and infographics. Each derivative piece points back to the content pillar in the CTA section.
Treating webinars as content pillars allows us to both promote the webinar effectively and to repurpose the best practices and learnings provided in the webinar and share them with a larger audience.
So, what’s the best way to chop up your webinar before, during and after the event? Here’s how we do it.
Before the Webinar
If you want people to come to your webinar, you need to promote it. When and where to promote isn’t always obvious.
Let’s take a look at the best distribution channels at your disposal, and how to use them to attract registrants.
You should start promoting your webinar, and any related blog posts, across owned social media channels at least two weeks before the event. That means your registration page needs to be up and running early on. Arm your co-presenters with social language and encourage them to share across their personal and corporate social channels as well.
Write at least one post for your own blog two weeks before your webinar. Don’t make the post an announcement. Rather, contain useful information relevant to the topic at hand. Interested readers who want to dig deeper into this topic are given the opportunity to do so in the CTA section of the post, which should lead them to the webinar registration page.
In addition to writing for your company’s blog you should encourage your co-presenters to publish blog posts as well. If they don’t have the bandwidth to do it, offer to write it yourself.
Paid promotion can be another effective way to promote your webinar. We’ve found success with social ads. Which channels we choose depends entirely on the topic of the webinar and the target audience. Social networks with more volume, like Facebook and Twitter, are often the best way to attract the most traffic to your registration page. But if you’re targeting a specific, more professional audience, LinkedIn might be the way to go, even if it has a lower lead volume with the highest cost of acquisition.
Emails targeted to the right segments in your database is, hands down, the best way to drive webinar registrants. And if you’re integrating your webinar registration process with your marketing automation, you can really get to know leads on a deeper level -- you’ll get insight into what content to send them in the future because you can see what content resonates now. We send out four different types of emails before our webinars:
The Invitation (round one): Ideally your first invitation should go out no earlier than one week before the event. We’re all busy people and your recipients will forget all about the webinar and why they signed up if you send out your invite too early.
The Invitation (round two): We send out the same invitation email with a different subject line for all recipients who do not open the first invitation email.
The first reminder: We send our first reminder email 24 hours before the webinar starts.
The second reminder: We send our second reminder email 1 hour before the webinar starts.
During the Webinar
Just because you’re hosting the webinar doesn’t mean you need to stop creating content. Keep the conversation going online.
During the webinar, we ask our social media manager to join as a participant, live tweet, and engage with other participants. He quotes statistics and shares key insights, making sure to always include the designated webinar hashtag. Social media can act as a kind of digital conference room -- it’s a place for participants to unite and share ideas.
After the Webinar
Some may think the work is over at this point. In reality, the work is just beginning.
Derivative Assets: Blog posts, SlideShares, Infographics, etc.
When our webinar is complete, we start digging into the full hour of insights, data, and best practices and repurpose that information into multiple supporting assets, including SlideShares, infographics and blog posts. In one recent webinar, for example, LinkedIn’s Jason Miller reviewed 12 great questions to ask when hiring a content marketer. We transformed those questions into this SlideShare presentation.
If your webinar is data-heavy, consider whipping up an infographic that summarizes the theme or topic. Or consider creating a cliff notes-like blog post that provides a high level overview of the webinar complete with salient quotes. Use this as an opportunity to point prospects towards your recording of the webinar, that way you continue to generate leads for months to come.
Follow up emails: After the webinar, we also send two emails to all registrants:
Sorry we missed you: This email is sent to all registrants who did not end up attending the webinar. It contains a link to a full recording including a video of the all slides.
Thanks for attending: This email goes out to all registrants who did attend the webinar. It also contains link to the webinar recording in case they want to share with their colleagues or review a section that resonated particularlly with them.
Webinars are a lot of work. If you’re treating them as one-off assets, and not as a content piller, you’re missing a big opportunity to develop a wealth of supporting assets that will fill up your editorial calendar, inform prospects and drive leads for weeks to come.