Content marketing consistently ranks as one of the best organic ways of drawing prospects into your sales funnel. However, creating content that's versatile and lends itself well to repurposing is a challenge. After all, it's hard to consistently generate top-quality ideas.
"Content marketing is a long-term game," says Katya Allison, Director of Content at GRIN, an influencer marketing software firm. "It's one thing to create a whitepaper in a PDF and another to figure out whether that's what's useful for everybody. Can I create content in multiple, digestible ways to account for different learning styles?"
Webinars are a subset of video content, but they might be the most versatile choice you have. Not only do they allow you to leverage the power of video, but they also replicate the in-person touch that a trade show or industry event brings.
Here are 4 reasons why webinars should be a part of your B2B inbound marketing strategy.
Hosting an event that discusses important issues that your audience is interested in is the best way to build authority. These events allow you to network with influencers in your field and bring them together on a panel to bounce ideas off each other. Often, the buzz that these influencers generate will be enough to draw enough attention to your webinar.
Socially promoting your webinar will bring you more leads, and you can be certain that these prospects are well-qualified. By giving you their contact information before the event, attendees are signaling their willingness to add themselves to your list. Thus, compared to other top-of-the-funnel list-building methods, webinars offer more concrete leads.
Tools such as Google Analytics can give you a clue about what your audiences want you to address. For instance, collecting the topics of your most viewed pages together will give you a rough idea of the subject of a webinar. Other sources such as Quora and Reddit are also invaluable in monitoring secondary social conversations about your industry.
When marketing the webinar, you'll have a slew of supporting content that will add value to the primary topic. "For example, before a recent webinar, we had a podcast that was focused on the topic," says Allison. "We created a guidebook on that, a series of blogs, etc. This way everyone's well-informed. I've got a glossary of common terms, the top 3 things you should keep in mind, how to structure it, what are the key integrations, and so on."
The result is that you'll have a strong content package that automatically generates itself around your webinar.
Show, Not Tell
Product reviews are more important than ever, and customers want to see proof of a product's benefits before pulling the trigger. A webinar's video format lends itself very well with regards to this. After all, everyone learns differently, and a video covers almost every learning style.
Someone who wants to learn by doing can follow along with the video, while it also accommodates those who prefer audio instruction. It's no wonder that the popularity of video content has grown exponentially.
A survey conducted by HubSpot revealed that 20% of content marketers identify video as their primary medium, ahead of blogs and infographics. Combine this with the fact that the rate at which videos are shared online is 12X compared to text, and it's clear that using video for case studies is one of the most effective ways of reviewing your product.
From how-to webinars to peer reviews and even customer highlights, webinars allow you to demonstrate value in a live environment. Conducting live reviews also demonstrates confidence in your product. The spontaneity that a live session brings humanizes your team and helps you build a strong connection with your audience.
Build a Community
Webinars offer you real-time interactions with your audience, unlike blog or social media posts. As the host facilitating their interaction with industry experts and influencers, they are likely to engage favorably with your product and brand. In some industries, they can even help create a community of like-minded people.
"One of the things that's consistent in customer conversations is that there isn't a single community they can tap into to learn a little bit more," says Allison when speaking of GRIN's audience. "The structure behind our webinars is aimed at bringing out customer stories."
These stories help Allison and her team curate content that draws prospects deeper into the sales funnel while humanizing GRIN. The result is that a webinar helps Allison hit multiple goals, such as increasing awareness amongst top-of-the-funnel prospects, building a community, and growing GRIN's influence in their industry.
There is no other content format that lends itself to such versatility. Podcasts come close but fall short due to their shorter run time. Using a podcast as part of a larger content package is a great way to boost the effect your webinar will have on your audiences.
Content repurposing is standard practice amongst marketing teams. However, finding great content to repurpose is a perennial challenge. There's also the fact that you can repurpose a piece of content in only so many ways. For instance, not every blog post lends itself well to a video discussion.
Webinars offer multiple spinoff opportunities. Allison highlights an example of this by spinning off unanswered audience questions into separate blog posts or videos. Webinar transcripts also offer you the chance to create text-based content and infographics.
The discussions you had on your webinar could lead to more content creation opportunities such as podcast topics or a Youtube topic playlist. All of these additional content forms lend themselves well to lead-nurturing and re-engagement campaigns.
As long as the issue is relevant to your industry, hosting the webinar recording on your website's resources page will continue to give you a huge ROI. You can even use your slides as a lead magnet and gate it for prospects deeper in your funnel.
Webinars are a great way to achieve multiple content marketing goals in a single stroke. Needless to say, hosting a successful webinar requires you to know your audience well and anticipate their needs. When done right, you'll create a store of long-term value that lends itself well to multiple uses.