Webinar tips and tricks
The great debate among content marketers for the past few years has been about podcasts and webinars. Each format has benefits that can boost your marketing plan, with varying results for your end goals.
Podcasts are like talk radio on demand. Built for mobile listening, podcasts are audio files that can be accessed online. Unlike their radio counterparts, once they are published, podcasts can be accessed at any time. Podcasts are not interactive mediums, although they can include listener questions or voice messages. However, the action is not broadcasted in real-time.
Webinars are web-based seminars that engage with audiences in real-time. Designed for professional settings, webinars are recorded and distributed online. They can be recorded live and posted online at a later time, made available on-demand, or be accessed as live streams.
Podcasts are able to focus on niche topics, which can then be accessed by a global community. Narrowing the subject matter means that hosts can go into extensive detail, bringing a lot of value to their listeners. The format of distribution for podcasts is also a benefit of the medium. They can be accessed on most audio platforms, like Spotify or Soundcloud. And since podcasts are available all of the time, audiences can fit them into their schedules when it suits them. This can also create a sense of trust among audiences, as podcasts follow them as they commute, complete chores, or do any number of activities in their personal lives. This benefit is actually a bit of a double-edged sword for branded podcasts. Since they have so much competition, podcasts need to be compelling enough to motivate people to listen to them outside of work.
The video and sound component of webinars means that they can cover a lot of material with the help of graphs, charts, and other visuals. They are more flexible than podcasts because each webinar has its own topic and form. And, it’s common practice to attend webinars during working hours. This makes it easier for viewers to fit them into a work schedule.
When considering whether to create a podcast or a webinar, think about your end goals. If your goal is to build a community, podcasts are the way to go. Fans tune in each week and engage later on online forums about what they heard. A lot of podcasts feel pressured to create episodes that will please these communities, which is something to keep in mind before you make one. If you are more interested in building authority, growing marketing lists and bring a higher return of qualified leads, webinars are your best bet. Designed to be individual presentations, audiences can attend on a one-off basis. Plus, after the webinar, the replays can be reused and repurposed in a bunch of different ways. Since the purpose of webinars is to educate, inform, and help audiences they can be useful tools for viewers.
Let's check out a few ideas from our favorite tech and marketing podcasts. Podcasts are gaining in popularity as nearly 32% of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month. Here is some inspiration for how to incorporate classic podcast techniques into a webinar format.
It’s no surprise that the writing experts at Copyblogger host an interesting and helpful podcast. This episode is a quick dive into writing epic blog posts. As part of a three-part series we liked how it was relatively short, coming in just under the 25-minute mark. This made the subject matter feel super relevant. We didn’t have to set aside a large chunk of time to learn something new. And even though it was the third part of a series, it was structured in a way that didn’t make us feel like we had to listen to the other first two episodes to understand it. It stood on its own as a strong piece of content.
To create a how-to webinar, you’ll follow much of the same process that you would to create any how-to. Researching your topic and testing out your own steps will be important factors for a successful presentation. The cool thing about webinars is that they have a visual component to them that podcasts lack. This means you can explain more technical processes, and show your audience your process while you present. As you screen share, your whole workflow will be right there on their screens. It’s a great opportunity to go in-depth into a complicated topic.
Include any tools or resources that could add additional assistance for your audience in your presentation. And if the webinar seems like it will be a little long, try breaking your webinar into chunks. You can even create a weekly series, which will keep your audience coming back for more.
NPR’s podcast “How I Built This” shares inspiring stories about well-known companies. Founders tell the stories in their own words, explaining how their ideas came to be international corporations. What was neat about this episode was that they did a good job building an initial hook. We felt connected to the founders and were rooting for them to be successful.
To include this technique in your webinars, start with the why. In this example, Crate and Barrel founder Gordon Segal opened by explaining that there was something missing in Chicago's local furniture market. They created their company to fill this vacancy, part of why it became so successful. So if you are telling a story about how your company came to be, highlight the problem that you wanted to solve in the beginning.
Try to follow a true story arc during your presentation. If there is a why there should also be a learning process to undergo and challenges to overcome. After all, chances are that you didn’t wake up one day with the perfect business already up and running! In this example, we hear about the struggles the founders had keeping their company afloat in the early days. You don’t have to get too explicit, especially if it involves financial details. But a word about some challenges you overcame will keep your audience rooting for you.
In this episode of Marketing Over Coffee, Lola CEO Mike Volpe chats about his experience launching a startup. This episode really felt like we were listening to a conversation. Interviews are good for creating unique content and build authority for your brand. This is especially the case if you’re interviewing an expert who is respected in their field.
As far as format goes, interviews are pretty straightforward. You’ll be inviting a guest onto your webinar, and asking them a series of questions about their topic of expertise. The best interviews feel like conversations, so don’t hesitate to build a rapport with your guest.
Before every interview, make sure you do a little research. This will help you have a good handle on your guests and their subject of expertise. The more informed you are, the better your exchanges will be. A little homework beforehand will help you ask smart questions, and can spark complex discussions.
It’s a good rule of thumb to make an outline of the conversation before it takes place and to share it with your guest. This way they can pre-approve topics, and won't have any surprises during the webinar. This doesn’t mean mapping out exactly what you and your guest will say. It can be as simple as adding keywords to a list. You just need something to help guide your conversation (and help you remember what you want to talk about!).
If your city is anything like ours, you might have noticed an influx of electric scooters in recent years. Some places have embraced them, while others have outright banned them from certain areas. This episode of Techdirt dives into the controversy surrounding electric scooters. Packed with detail, we walked away feeling like we had genuinely learned something new after listening. There has been a lot said about this divisive topic, but this in-depth look really helped us understand the many pros and cons of the issue.
If you want to host a webinar about a popular subject, make sure you choose something that relates to your audience. There are a few different techniques you can use to find your topic. There are some tools out there that track trending topics. Our personal favorite is Glimpse, which tracks trends and notifies you months before they reach explosive growth. It makes us feel like we’re seeing into the future! If you want to know what is trending right now, you can check out Google Trends. This can be useful to see if a trend is gaining in popularity, or beginning to drop off.
We’ve also experimented with Hootsuite and Tweetdeck’s social listening tools. We prefer Tweetdeck over Hootsuite, as it gives a much more comprehensive overview. Also, it does not have as much of a delay as Hootsuite does in reporting the data.
Want to make sure you aren’t missing anything? Head over to Quora or Reddit to scan some of the highest rated posts. And finally, trusty Google Keyword Planner can help you find subjects that rank (and those that don’t).
Once you identify your topic, you’ll want to make an outline. It’s a good rule to stay as objective as possible. The goal is to bring up thought-provoking questions and spark discussions. Not to bash something, or create content that feels like clickbait. Finally, when creating a webinar about a trending topic it is best to move quickly. The news cycle moves fast, and new stories can get buried easily. The sooner you can get your webinar out, the more likely your audience will want to attend it.
We’ve covered how to use podcasts for webinar inspiration. But what about the other way around? After you record your webinar, you can turn it into a podcast for your audience. Not only is this an awesome way to repurpose your content, but it also means that you can extend your potential reach.
Your webinar will be automatically recorded, depending on what platform you’re using. You can then isolate the audio file, editing the audio quality as needed. You can even get creative and add intro and outro music. Once you’ve made all of your desired changes, upload your podcast to your podcast channel or website.