With tech events being canceled around the world, it seems to me that every marketing team is doing a lot more of two things:
- Sharing recommendations on how to better work from home
- Researching and implementing Webinar software...
Pros and cons of webinars
- Perfect format for educational content with remote attendees
- Engaged audience with sign ups for lead generation purposes
- Ability to keep the content longer than the event, with the video available afterwards
- Needlessly complicated and stressful to pull of a professional 'live' event
- Coordinating the live event: software and internet glitches, getting enough people to attend, but not too many, as you didn't pay for the higher-tier license
- No room for retakes of fixes after the fact
- Undue pressure on the presenter
The end product can be great, but there is no reason to make it live. Yes, people like the feeling of 'attending' and being able to raise their hands and ask questions. But one of the most amazing benefits of being digital is that it is on-demand. I don't want to have to set a calendar reminder to learn about a piece of software. Cord-cutters everywhere validate the fact people have busy lives and want to consume content on their own terms.
Just release it as a video!
- You can ensure higher quality - see here
- You can edit the video down so that it isn't an hour or more for no reason
- Q&A?? Ensure there is a chat tool on the page the video is embedded on for users to ask questions
- Lead gen? Cut the video to allow a few minutes and then gate the full version to capture people who are REALLY interested
- No special software required - everything can be done with tools that ship on mac or pc and/or free online services
Think about every digital channel.
You don't need to fill the event gaps with virtual events. You have so many incredible ways to connect with people digitally that recreating an event is not the only way.
Re-purpose existing content
- Chances are that you have a blog and resource center with a ton of content. Just because it is a few weeks or months old, in many cases the content is still good and valuable to your target audience.
- Take a peek at your website analytics - which blog posts have been the most popular over the last 12 months?
- Think of ways to repurpose this content. Make an infographic, make a video, record a voice over and share the audio.
Already have those things? Make them interactive!
- How many of your infographics and white papers exist as a PNG or PDF?
- Why is that?
- More often than not, people are not reading this content on a printout. ESPECIALLY if they're working from home. Printing a 50-page guide at work is always wasteful and stupid, but it is especially dumb if you're trying to do it from home on a $300 Ink jet
Embrace the fact these documents are digital and make them innovative and engaging!
- LEVEL 1: Add links to the PDF using Acrobat. Internally linking to different sections and also link out to additional content on your website
- LEVEL 2: Cut the content up into sections and turn into social posts and even short videos. Good for people have little appetite to wade through reams of pages in a PDF.
- LEVEL 3: Recreate the infographic/white paper as mobile responsive web page. Why was it made as a PDF IN THE FIRST PLACE? Make it a web page and you can include animations, clicks, videos, expandable content, tool-tips, and ensure that it looks good on a mobile device! You can still gate it, you can still have the PDF version as an optional download, AND you can track views and specific interactions in way more detail.
Done all of the above? Promote the S#%t out of them then!
Advertising and promoting your hard work is just as vital as making the stuff in the first place.
Invest in high-quality assets for advertising
- Embrace digital in all it's glory and for Pete's sake (yes, me) don't promote this awesome content with static, low-resolution banners.........
- You're spending a ton of money to produce the content, buying audience data to target the right people, technology fees to enable it all and then, of course, the media costs to get it in front of them. But the asset itself you're using to promote it, the actual thing that people see is very often an afterthought and usually, well, pretty-shit. And no, not good-looking shit. Pretty-shit, like WTF were you thinking get-that away-from-my-eyes-ugly
- Make video ads. Videos don't have to be expensive to make or expensive to run. Make some 10-second ads with one of the many tools out there and share it on your owned channels. These social sites LOVE video content and will get it in front of more people than an image. (They want to be able to say they have lots and lots of video plays/month in order to increase their prices for their own advertising. Even if it isn't all monetized video)
Made some good ads? Well done! Pat yourself on the back and make, like, a dozen more
TEST, rinse and repeat
- Another wonderful benefit of digital is that it is easy to make multiple versions of creative and set up tests to see what is working.
- Sounds so simple (it is) but soooo many people don't bother to do it. Why?? Because creative is often an after thought and there is no time or budget allocated to produce multiple, high-quality assets.
Ok, so you got good content, in a bunch of formats. You got a load of awesome promotional assets to launch with and test. Now, where are they clicking through to? Getting awareness of your content is amazing, but if the user has a shitty experience after clicking the ad, then no one will see your precious data visualizations...
Keep your landing pages simple for goodness sake!
- You don't need to recreate your entire website in one page, or make sure you have a million selling points and testimonials... Keep it simple and focused on the action you want them to take.
They almost have it!! They almost have your shiny, awesome, over-thought, but still important piece of content. Woo hoo!!
Oh, shit, wait, the email template looks like crap!
- Don't lose them at the final hurdle.
- Invest in a fully responsive, easy to read, not bloated with too many images, email template.
In closing... Webinars can be good. But let's try harder. Make everyone's day a little more beautiful and invest some of that event budget into making your content more engaging and the promotion of it, a little less offensive to the eyes. Your future new clients will thank you!