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Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Age of the Webinar and Content Marketing

As a web solutions company, Fig Leaf Software’s mission is to help our clients communicate over the web.  We do this in many ways.  One way we help is with webinars.  Specifically, we help our clients use Adobe Connect to deliver engaging webinars.  Most of the time, companies are using webinars for marketing purposes, which makes a lot of sense because webinars are easy to produce and reach a large audience—and if you are a marketer to control the message. Fig Leaf Software is also a consulting company that provides Web Content Strategy, Management and Digital Marketing services, aka: Content Marketing.

How do Webinars and Content Marketing relate?  Well, glad you asked.  But first let’s define Webinars and Content Marketing:

  • A Webinar is a live, online informational presentation during which participants can ask questions and submit comments.
  • Content Marketing is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire and retain customers.

A Content Marketing Strategy Varies

A Content Marketing Strategy will include a number of different tactics, like email announcements, newsletters, white papers, website content and, of course, webinars.  This content marketing mix, also referred to as the Content Marketing Funnel, guides potential users down an “ideal” path to purchase by providing valuable information.

The key to effective content marketing is valuable, relevant content. That is, content that speaks to the intended audience.  Marketers will devise a Content Marketing strategy that is unique to whatever they are selling and who they are selling to.  With the rise of social media and all the various forms of communication, sky’s the limit on how marketers choose to disseminate this valuable content.  Metrics, statistics, reports and gut feelings also play a role in how and where marketers focus their content.

Whatever the strategy, the goal in any Content Marketing Strategy is to engage users.  This is where webinars relate to content marketing.

Top Ways to Use Webinars for Content Marketing:

Engage the audience: Webinars are ideal for engaging users.  During a live webinar, presenters can control the content and get instant feedback from participants. Using Adobe Connect, hosts can take it to a higher level by leveraging a variety of content, like PowerPoint, Video, interactive games and more.  At Fig Leaf Software, we highly suggest using polls during webinars to engage and learn more about your audience. Knowing your intended audience is also important to your overall Content Marketing Strategy.

Provide Value: Live webinars can provide tremendous value to participants.  The first question we ask a client when they are planning a webinar is WHY.  Why would a participant attend?  What are they going to learn or take away from the webinar?  We call this the Learning Goal.  A webinar must have a learning goal of some kind for the participants. (Marketers should also ask these questions when creating content too!)

Flexibility—Mix it up: As a tactic within an overall marketing strategy, a webinar can be introduced anywhere within the Marketing Mix or Content Funnell.  Some of our Adobe Connect clients use webinars at the beginning or top of the funnel--to introduce their company and solutions to prospective clients.  Alternatively, some marketers think a webinar should come after a client has consumed other forms of marketing content, (whitepapers, case studies, etc).

For savvy marketers, this ability to change, revise and hone when and where a webinar resides in the marketing mix is extremely valuable.  Our clients who use Adobe Connect have the flexibility and ease of use to mix-it-up and offer webinars in all stages of the marketing cycle.

Note: Adobe Connect users can also offer additional forms of content, (white papers, case studies,etc.), to participants during a live webinar.

Metrics and Reporting: For any content marketing strategy to be truly successful, there needs to be some level of metrics involved.  How do marketers know if their strategy is working or needs to be improved?  Is the content being consumed by the intended audience?  Which social media site should you focus on? These questions and more can be answered by incorporating webinars into the marketing funnel!  Our Adobe Connect clients know how many users register for webinars from Facebook, LinkedIn and other specific campaigns.  During a live webinar, Adobe Connect tracks the engagement level of each participant.  This type of reporting also helps marketers revise and improve their content marketing strategy.

Note: Adobe Connect clients can also easily record webinars and incorporate those recordings into their content marketing mix, and see reports on the number of views and hits.

Are Webinars are just for Sales and Marketing?

Nope!  Webinars are not just limited to sales and marketing.  Webinars can be used by anybody to broadcast to a wide audience.  At Fig Leaf Software, we also work with a lot of non-profit and associations that use Webinars to communicate with their members.  We work with government agencies that use webinars to communicate, engage and educate the public.  We have seen online conferences, consortiums, panel discussions, board meetings and much more delivered with Adobe Connect.

Webinars can also be used to provide value to both new and existing clients.  We have a number of clients who use Adobe Connect to on-board new customers and provide informational updates to existing clients.

In either case, the webinar is the communication medium that is providing some kind of information to someone who wants that information.  Users are engaged and immersed. Feedback and questions are asked and answered. Users are learning.  Is not this the whole idea behind Content Marketing?

Attend a webinar:

http://www.figleaf.com/events

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