From The Editor | July 31, 2017

Successful Webinar Conception In Two Steps

By Bill King

Successful Webinar Conception In Two Steps

I was talking to a colleague of mine the other day about webinars. We were discussing what makes a webinar successful. And I realized that the same measures of success can be applied to most any type of marketing content.

Obviously in evaluating content performance, success depends on what your desired outcomes are. You may be happy with one killer lead or a handful of high-level prospects that have the purchasing power to buy your product. But most manufacturers would be thrilled to reach multiples of the right type of customer and so our conversation focused on boosting attendance.

And when we talk brand publishing in the water market, we’re generally musing over the same concept of increasing the frequency of views over time. So what does winning content look like?

You might think that a superstar or two would attract an audience. And you’d be right of course. It takes me back to my days as a schoolboy in Cambridge, England. I was walking down St. Andrew’s Street when I came upon a growing crowd of people amassed outside Emmanuel College. So I joined the fray and five minutes later, out walked the Queen of England, waved to the crowd, got into her car and was chauffeured off.    

The crowd and the famed dame certainly pulled me in. But there wasn’t much substance to the occasion.

A good webinar has to have more than just an industry celebrity or two. They will certainly pull in attendees but if there’s nothing of substance being shared, you will quickly lose your audience’s attention.

Far more important to determining webinar success is the topic of discussion itself and we see this across all forms of content. Find yourself a “hot topic” and it will drive attention. There are a number of hot topics in the water and wastewater space that perform well. Some of the more visible ones over the last year or two have been Flint MI repercussions, water reuse in drought-affected areas and controlling algal toxins.

Some of the more subtle topics packing a punch today might be PFOS and PFOA contamination, WOTUS under a new EPA administrator and alternative funding models for utilities’ rising infrastructure repair or replace budgets.

Finding your hot topic is the easy part. It’s the second circle in our Venn diagram that is infinitely harder but ultimately defines the sweet spot of success. To drive success it’s important to find the hot topics that haven’t been discussed to death already. Hmmm … that’s the tricky part of it.

Think about that for a second. Identify a hot topic that hasn’t been discussed a lot already. Sounds like it might be easier to get the proverbial camel through the eye of a needle than line up a critical but unaddressed need for your webinar subject. However difficult, that is the sweet spot for compelling webinars and content creation. It’s the same for all your brand publishing efforts.

You might be able to outperform the seldom-addressed factor by adopting a unique angle here-and-there but at the end of the day, finding hot topics in an information vacuum will pique audience interest and drive the engagement you are looking for.

Image credit: "Venn Diagram," Kyla Clay, 2012, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/