The goal wasn't to write yet another "apply this book to webinars" post. But then I got inspired by my friend Cathey Armillas (whom I was helping recently with a virtual presentation).
I trust you'll be inspired, too.
Cathey's book, The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing: 9 1/2 Ways to Get People to Love You is that kind of common sense that should be more common.
The webinar angle? Too often webinars and webcasts are used as publishing platforms which, while not wrong, often miss out on the opportunity to use them to "get people to love us."
Consistency beats ability
Nobody's webinars are great to begin with, and how to get more butts in seats is a game we'll never stop playing.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Some may flop, and some will rock. In time you move the needle in the right direction.
Perception is reality
As Cathey puts it, "Your job is to control customer's perceptions," and it's likely that some part of your audience thinks a webinar is something you listen to while getting email done.
It doesn't have to be that way.
If you want an engaged audience, learn to be engaging. In a different medium.
Be creative or die
The world is noisier than it's ever been. So just why do I want to make it a point to attend your event? Because I remember that in the last webinar you gave away books to people who answered the game show quiz correctly?
There are zillions of ways you could drive both attendance and attention if you gave your online event the same attention you gave a tradeshow booth.
The medium is not the message
…but it does affect how we engage with people. Unfortunately, webinar presenters often leave out the best parts of themselves when they move online… they way they ask for a show of hands or take a question on the fly or otherwise work the room.
A webinar is not a "format." There is no rule that says, "Must be one hour long, must present for 45 minutes and take Q&A at the end."
Work hard to keep it simple
Live presentations (of any sort!) are rarely the best place to present a boatload of details. They're awesome for conveying emotion and getting people to understand the structure of a point of view. They're awesome for getting people to want to dive more deeply with other content you've produced.
Webinar attendees are a click away from email. Data dumps aren't exactly edge-of-your-seat engaging.
Give love to get love
Two studies of mine have confirmed that the number one thing audiences hate is content that's not delivered as advertised.
It should go without saying in content marketing strategy, but it needs to be said again. Give value first. Skip trying to slip 'em a Mickey.
Emotions rule the world
Facts tell, stories make meaning. And storytellers can make or break the story.
So why are most webinars devoid of the emotional impact that is common to other media forms involving speakers, teachers, coaches, consultants, experts, actors, storytellers, grade school teachers, and songwriters?
Go big or go home
Cathey's point is, "Do it like you mean it. Or don't do it."
So do you roll over when your webinar presenters don't want to rehearse? Or learn to adapt their presentation? Or use new tools to engage with the audience?
Big doesn't have to mean 1000's of registrants. It means you should commit to excellence and figuring out how to do something that stands out from the rest of the noise.
Everything is marketing
Everything you do influences how people see you, and that perception is the basis of your brand (sorry, a logo on a slide is not branding).
The cool thing about live webinars is, as mentioned before, the opportunity to make them events. Have a little fun. Connect people to people in authentic ways.
THAT is what you can do in a realtime event that you can't do in a whitepaper or tweet.
Know the rules, and know when to break them
Is there a perfect way to write a book, make a movie, or get to know someone over coffee? (I don't need to answer that, right?)
The bottom line
The best thing you can bring to the table is your self, your point of view, your twist on things.
Anybody can copy your stuff. But they can't copy you.