It will probably come as no surprise to anyone who has frequented this blog for even a short while, to hear this confession—
My name is Peg, and I’m a webinar junkie.
It started last year, when I was looking for work. It was around then that I first stumbled upon Twitter, and began actively participating in the numerous webinars that I saw “tweeted” there.
Webinars and Professional Development
Webinars helped me to network and continue to professionally develop, during the downturn. I’ll never forget how much my world opened up, when I discovered the vast professional resources available to me online, mostly for free, or in the case of my MarketingProfs membership, at a very low cost. (Disclosure: At the time of this blog post, I was a Contributing Writer at MarketingProfs.)
For example, through MarketingProfs Social Media Summer Series (still available via recording, to MarketingProfs Pro members), I came up to speed on social media trends, which impact me as both a technical and marketing communicator. I remember Charlene Li’s impassioned kickoff to that dynamic series, calling for marketers to focus on relationships, not technologies, and to set goals, which in turn define strategy, and how various parts of your organization can start to engage in social media.
Webinars also helped me to stay professionally viable in the field of technical communication (see “Technical communicators rely on Scriptorium Publishing for free professional development”), on current trends related to structured information, XML, and DITA.
And then there was the highly informative online experience at HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University, including tips on blogging, social media, lead conversion, lead nurturing, and closed-loop analysis.
Since I first started regularly participating in webinars, I’ve returned to work, on a few freelance and full-time contract assignments. Though I’m grateful to be employed again (an understatement), I miss being able to regularly tune in to webinars live, as often as I did, when I had more free time available, during the day. These days, I still catch as many webinars as I can, but I’m more likely to register, when I see that a recording will be available afterwards.
In its Behind the Curtain presentation, MarketingProfs provided tips (see below), on how to develop compelling webinar content. Here are other themes and tips from the seminar, which I’d like to explore more fully, over time:
- Do’s and don’ts for finding and compensating speakers
- Tips about seminar timing and format
- What to do with awful slides
- The best ways to handle incoming questions
- Successful promotion tactics
- Production steps you shouldn’t overlook
- Questions to ask yourself when choosing a web conferencing platform
- How to get useful audience feedback (plus additional ways to measure your success)
I found the tips on developing useful presentation slides, the web conferencing platform checklist, and the discussion on moderating webinars, especially helpful.
Webinars as Marketing, Webinars as Training, or Both?
I definitely have webinars a bit on my mind these days, especially as a recent assignment with a different client has a training component. As the MarketingProfs seminar points out, many online marketing professionals use webinars to generate sales leads, but much of the information from Ann and Shelley’s presentation also applies to long-distance training.
Webinars: Hear All About It (at WebinarListings.com)
Related to webinars…I recently came across WebinarListings.com—a centralized site that helps you keep up-to-date on the latest webinars—recently launched by Rachel Levy (also known as @bostonmarketer on Twitter), who I’ve enjoyed bumping into at the occasional Tweetup. According to Levy, WebinarListings.com is intended to list “ALL upcoming Webinars, from business to health, from the U.S. to Europe.” So far, I’ve found it to be a helpful resource.
Examples of Effective Webinars
Here are posts about some of the memorable webinars from my online travels, over the last year. These examples illustrate for me how webinars can serve as both effective marketing and training:
- MarketingProfs’ Digital Marketing World: Spring 2009 – Winning Against the Odds
- 2010: A DITA Odyssey (free webcasts, sponsored by Scriptorium Publishing)
- Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University
- Awareness Inc. Webinar: Using Online Communities to Create a World Wide Rave, featuring David Meerman Scott ~ Takeaways
- Awareness Inc. Webinar: Building Digital Communities on the Social Web, featuring Larry Weber ~ Takeaways
- New Marketing Labs Webinar: How To Use Inbound Marketing to Get More Leads at Lower Cost ~ Takeaways
Rules for Creating Compelling Webinar Content
The MarketingProfs seminar provided ten rules, for creating compelling webinar content. Among these rules, MarketingProfs recommends instilling trustworthiness, encouraging interaction, and starting a conversation.
What are some of the most compelling webinars, with effective content strategies, you’ve seen?