B2B Marketing News: How B2B Events Are Changing, Consumers Switch Brands During Pandemic, & New B2B Micro-Segmentation Data

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

Study: Most Americans Permanently Changing Brands During Pandemic
45 percent of U.S. consumers have switched at least one brand preference during the global heath crisis, and some 62 percent believe that their brand change will become permanent — two of several items of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

How microsegmenting boosts B2B conversion rates
Micro-segmentation helps both B2B sellers and customers, with better conversion rates and more relevant customer experiences, with some 68 percent of B2B buyers noting that it’s important for vendors to present relevant content throughout the buying cycle without having to rely on salespeople, according to recently-released Forrester report data. Digital Commerce 360

Gartner Identifies Five Technologies to Drive More Agile and Scalable Advertising Capabilities for Marketers
The digital advertising trends having the most impact on the industry have been outlined in Gartner’s latest annual Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report, showing the rise of Advanced Supply-Side Bidding (ASSB), Identity Resolution (IDR) and other areas of interest to digital marketers. MarTech Series

Facebook Releases New Web Collage App via its Experimental NPE Team
Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) test-bed team has launched an experimental image display app called E.gg, offering a throwback look for modern photo collages that could eventually bring marketers new visual display opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

What Types of Content Generate Leads That Convert?
Marketers generate the most lead conversions by utilizing online content that incorporates video, which was seen as the most effective format by 41 percent of marketers, followed by webinars at 36 percent, and original research at 36 percent, topping the list of newly-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Provides More Tips for Virtual Events in New Guide Book
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has published new insight into using its LinkedIn Live and Events features, including marketing survey data showing that some 69 percent of marketers find it challenging to make the move to virtual events, the firm recently announced in conjunction with the launch of its second-ever events guide. Social Media Today

2020 July 31 Statistics Image

Infographic: Consumers Want to See More Brands in the Esports Realm
Today’s consumers would like to find more brands including e-sports in their campaign efforts, with 72 percent saying that would like to see brands that are savvy enough to use the medium’s fast-paced conversation. The gaming industry is the most dominant media channel for Gen Z and millennials, and is expected to top $1.5 billion in brand spending, according to recently-released infographic data. Adweek

Zenith: Global Ad Spend Projected To Drop 9.1% This Year
Overall global advertising spending for 2020 is expected to fall by 9.1 percent, while digital ad spend is forecast to see only a 2 percent decrease, with digital accounting for more than half of global ad spend, according to recently-released Zenith report data. MediaPost

Facebook Tests New Page Design Which De-Emphasizes Like Counts
Facebook has begun testing pages that don’t include page like buttons, instead placing focus on having users follow pages. The expanded test, which has been limited to certain public figures, has now also been implemented for some business pages, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

How COVID-19 Is Affecting the B2B Exhibition Industry
73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have begun providing virtual alternatives, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 July 31 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “multicultural marketing” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Street Artists Reimagine Classic Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt for AR-Enabled Murals — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • TopRank Marketing — Is B2B Influencer Marketing Effective During A Crisis? — Tribal Impact
  • TopRank Marketing — 33 of the Best Social Media Marketing Blogs of 2020 — HubSpot
  • Joshua Nite — Shake Up Your Business Strategies with These Community Suggestions — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — C-Suite Marketing Episode 5: Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing [Podcast] — ITSMA / SoundCloud
  • Lee Odden — B2B Influencer Marketing — Evans on Marketing

Have you come across your own favorite B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us, and please return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post B2B Marketing News: How B2B Events Are Changing, Consumers Switch Brands During Pandemic, & New B2B Micro-Segmentation Data appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

B2B Marketing News: How B2B Events Are Changing, Consumers Switch Brands During Pandemic, & New B2B Micro-Segmentation Data

2020 July 24 CEIR Chart

Study: Most Americans Permanently Changing Brands During Pandemic
45 percent of U.S. consumers have switched at least one brand preference during the global heath crisis, and some 62 percent believe that their brand change will become permanent — two of several items of interest to digital marketers in recently-released survey data. MediaPost

How microsegmenting boosts B2B conversion rates
Micro-segmentation helps both B2B sellers and customers, with better conversion rates and more relevant customer experiences, with some 68 percent of B2B buyers noting that it’s important for vendors to present relevant content throughout the buying cycle without having to rely on salespeople, according to recently-released Forrester report data. Digital Commerce 360

Gartner Identifies Five Technologies to Drive More Agile and Scalable Advertising Capabilities for Marketers
The digital advertising trends having the most impact on the industry have been outlined in Gartner’s latest annual Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising 2020 report, showing the rise of Advanced Supply-Side Bidding (ASSB), Identity Resolution (IDR) and other areas of interest to digital marketers. MarTech Series

Facebook Releases New Web Collage App via its Experimental NPE Team
Facebook’s New Product Experimentation (NPE) test-bed team has launched an experimental image display app called E.gg, offering a throwback look for modern photo collages that could eventually bring marketers new visual display opportunities, the social media giant recently announced. Social Media Today

What Types of Content Generate Leads That Convert?
Marketers generate the most lead conversions by utilizing online content that incorporates video, which was seen as the most effective format by 41 percent of marketers, followed by webinars at 36 percent, and original research at 36 percent, topping the list of newly-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Provides More Tips for Virtual Events in New Guide Book
Microsoft-owned LinkedIn (client) has published new insight into using its LinkedIn Live and Events features, including marketing survey data showing that some 69 percent of marketers find it challenging to make the move to virtual events, the firm recently announced in conjunction with the launch of its second-ever events guide. Social Media Today

2020 July 31 Statistics Image

Infographic: Consumers Want to See More Brands in the Esports Realm
Today’s consumers would like to find more brands including e-sports in their campaign efforts, with 72 percent saying that would like to see brands that are savvy enough to use the medium’s fast-paced conversation. The gaming industry is the most dominant media channel for Gen Z and millennials, and is expected to top $1.5 billion in brand spending, according to recently-released infographic data. Adweek

Zenith: Global Ad Spend Projected To Drop 9.1% This Year
Overall global advertising spending for 2020 is expected to fall by 9.1 percent, while digital ad spend is forecast to see only a 2 percent decrease, with digital accounting for more than half of global ad spend, according to recently-released Zenith report data. MediaPost

Facebook Tests New Page Design Which De-Emphasizes Like Counts
Facebook has begun testing pages that don’t include page like buttons, instead placing focus on having users follow pages. The expanded test, which has been limited to certain public figures, has now also been implemented for some business pages, the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

How COVID-19 Is Affecting the B2B Exhibition Industry
73 percent of B2B event organizers have had to cancel a physical event because of the pandemic, and 81 percent have begun providing virtual alternatives, according to recently-released survey data of interest to digital marketers. MarketingProfs

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 July 31 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “multicultural marketing” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Street Artists Reimagine Classic Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt for AR-Enabled Murals — Adweek

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • TopRank Marketing — Is B2B Influencer Marketing Effective During A Crisis? — Tribal Impact
  • TopRank Marketing — 33 of the Best Social Media Marketing Blogs of 2020 — HubSpot
  • Joshua Nite — Shake Up Your Business Strategies with These Community Suggestions — Small Business Trends
  • Lee Odden — C-Suite Marketing Episode 5: Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing [Podcast] — ITSMA / SoundCloud
  • Lee Odden — B2B Influencer Marketing — Evans on Marketing

Have you come across your own favorite B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for joining us, and please return again next Friday for another collection of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don’t miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

What Do Dolphins Eat? Lessons from How Kids Search — Best of Whiteboard Friday

We’re bringing back this slightly different-from-the-norm Whiteboard Friday, in which the fantastic Will Critchlow shares lessons from how kids search. Kids may search differently than adults, but there are some interesting insights from how they use Google that can help deepen our understanding of searchers in general. Comfort levels with particular search strategies, reading only the bold words, taking search suggestions and related searches as answers — there’s a lot to dig into. 

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi, everyone. I’m Will Critchlow, founder and CEO of Distilled, and this week’s Whiteboard Friday is a little bit different. I want to talk about some surprising and interesting and a few funny facts that I learnt when I was reading some research that Google did about how kids search for information. So this isn’t super actionable. This is not about tactics of improving your website particularly. But I think we get some insights — they were studying kids aged 7 to 11 — by looking at how kids interact. We can see some reflections or some ideas about how there might be some misconceptions out there about how adults search as well. So let’s dive into it.

What do dolphins eat?

I’ve got this “What do dolphins eat?” because this was the first question that the researchers gave to the kids to say sit down in front of a search box, go. They tell this little anecdote, a little bit kind of soul-destroying, of this I think it was a seven-year-old child who starts typing dolphin, D-O-L-F, and then presses Enter, and it was like sadly there’s no dolphins, which hopefully they found him some dolphins. But a lot of the kids succeeded at this task.

Different kinds of searchers

The researchers divided the ways that the kids approached it up into a bunch of different categories. They found that some kids were power searchers. Some are what they called “developing.” They classified some as “distracted.” But one that I found fascinating was what they called visual searchers. I think they found this more commonly among the younger kids who were perhaps a little bit less confident reading and writing. It turns out that, for almost any question you asked them, these kids would turn first to image search.

So for this particular question, they would go to image search, typically just type “dolphin” and then scroll and go looking for pictures of a dolphin eating something. Then they’d find a dolphin eating a fish, and they’d turn to the researcher and say “Look, dolphins eat fish.” Which, when you think about it, I quite like in an era of fake news. This is the kids doing primary research. They’re going direct to the primary source. But it’s not something that I would have ever really considered, and I don’t know if you would. But hopefully this kind of sparks some thought and some insights and discussions at your end. They found that there were some kids who pretty much always, no matter what you asked them, would always go and look for pictures.

Kids who were a bit more developed, a bit more confident in their reading and writing would often fall into one of these camps where they were hopefully focusing on the attention. They found a lot of kids were obviously distracted, and I think as adults this is something that we can relate to. Many of the kids were not really very interested in the task at hand. But this kind of path from distracted to developing to power searcher is an interesting journey that I think totally applies to grown-ups as well.

In practice: [wat do dolfin eat]

So I actually, after I read this paper, went and did some research on my kids. So my kids were in roughly this age range. When I was doing it, my daughter was eight and my son was five and a half. Both of them interestingly typed “wat do dolfin eat” pretty much like this. They both misspelled “what,” and they both misspelled “dolphin.” Google was fine with that. Obviously, these days this is plenty close enough to get the result you wanted. Both of them successfully answered the question pretty much, but both of them went straight to the OneBox. This is, again, probably unsurprising. You can guess this is probably how most people search.

“Oh, what’s a cephalopod?” The path from distracted to developing

So there’s a OneBox that comes up, and it’s got a picture of a dolphin. So my daughter, a very confident reader, she loves reading, “wat do dolfin eat,” she sat and she read the OneBox, and then she turned to me and she said, “It says they eat fish and herring. Oh, what’s a cephalopod?” I think this was her going from distracted into developing probably. To start off with, she was just answering this question because I had asked her to. But then she saw a word that she didn’t know, and suddenly she was curious. She had to kind of carefully type it because it’s a slightly tricky word to spell. But she was off looking up what is a cephalopod, and you could see the engagement shift from “I’m typing this because Dad has asked me to and it’s a bit interesting I guess” to “huh, I don’t know what a cephalopod is, and now I’m doing my own research for my own reasons.” So that was interesting.

“Dolphins eat fish, herring, killer whales”: Reading the bold words

My son, as I said, typed something pretty similar, and he, at the point when he was doing this, was at the stage of certainly capable of reading, but generally would read out loud and a little bit halting. What was fascinating on this was he only read the bold words. He read it out loud, and he didn’t read the OneBox. He just read the bold words. So he said to me, “Dolphins eat fish, herring, killer whales,” because killer whales, for some reason, was bolded. I guess it was pivoting from talking about what dolphins eat to what killer whales eat, and he didn’t read the context. This cracked him up. So he thought that was ridiculous, and isn’t it funny that Google thinks that dolphins eat killer whales.

That is similar to some stuff that was in the original research, where there were a bunch of common misconceptions it turns out that kids have and I bet a bunch of adults have. Most adults probably don’t think that the bold words in the OneBox are the list of the answer, but it does point to the problems with factual-based, truthy type queries where Google is being asked to be the arbiter of truth on some of this stuff. We won’t get too deep into that.

Common misconceptions for kids when searching

1. Search suggestions are answers

But some common misconceptions they found some kids thought that the search suggestions, so the drop-down as you start typing, were the answers, which is bit problematic. I mean we’ve all seen kind of racist or hateful drop-downs in those search queries. But in this particular case, it was mainly just funny. It would end up with things like you start asking “what do dolphins eat,” and it would be like “Do dolphins eat cats” was one of the search suggestions.

2. Related searches are answers

Similar with related searches, which, as we know, are not answers to the question. These are other questions. But kids in particular — I mean, I think this is true of all users — didn’t necessarily read the directions on the page, didn’t read that they were related searches, just saw these things that said “dolphin” a lot and started reading out those. So that was interesting.

How kids search complicated questions

The next bit of the research was much more complex. So they started with these easy questions, and they got into much harder kind of questions. One of them that they asked was this one, which is really quite hard. So the question was, “Can you find what day of the week the vice president’s birthday will fall on next year?” This is a multifaceted, multipart question.

How do they handle complex, multi-step queries?

Most of the younger kids were pretty stumped on this question. Some did manage it. I think a lot of adults would fail at this. So if you just turn to Google, if you just typed this in or do a voice search, this is the kind of thing that Google is almost on the verge of being able to do. If you said something like, “When is the vice president’s birthday,” that’s a question that Google might just be able to answer. But this kind of three-layered thing, what day of the week and next year, make this actually a very hard query. So the kids had to first figure out that, to answer this, this wasn’t a single query. They had to do multiple stages of research. When is the vice president’s birthday? What day of the week is that date next year? Work through it like that.

I found with my kids, my eight-year-old daughter got stuck halfway through. She kind of realized that she wasn’t going to get there in one step, but also couldn’t quite structure the multi-levels needed to get to, but also started getting a bit distracted again. It was no longer about cephalopods, so she wasn’t quite as interested.

Search volume will grow in new areas as Google’s capabilities develop

This I think is a whole area that, as Google’s capabilities develop to answer more complex queries and as we start to trust and learn that those kind of queries can be answered, what we see is that there is going to be increasing, growing search volume in new areas. So I’m going to link to a post I wrote about a presentation I gave about the next trillion searches. This is my hypothesis that essentially, very broad brush strokes, there are a trillion desktop searches a year. There are a trillion mobile searches a year. There’s another trillion out there in searches that we don’t do yet because they can’t be answered well. I’ve got some data to back that up and some arguments why I think it’s about that size. But I think this is kind of closely related to this kind of thing, where you see kids get stuck on these kind of queries.

Incidentally, I’d encourage you to go and try this. It’s quite interesting, because as you work through trying to get the answer, you’ll find search results that appear to give the answer. So, for example, I think there was an About.com page that actually purported to give the answer. It said, “What day of the week is the vice president’s birthday on?” But it had been written a year before, and there was no date on the page. So actually it was wrong. It said Thursday. That was the answer in 2016 or 2017. So that just, again, points to the difference between primary research, the difference between answering a question and truth. I think there’s a lot of kind of philosophical questions baked away in there.

Kids get comfortable with how they search – even if it’s wrong

So we’re going to wrap up with possibly my favorite anecdote of the user research that these guys did, which was that they said some of these kids, somewhere in this developing stage, get very attached to searching in one particular way. I guess this is kind of related to the visual search thing. They find something that works for them. It works once. They get comfortable with it, they’re familiar with it, and they just do that for everything, whether it’s appropriate or not. My favorite example was this one child who apparently looked for information about both dolphins and the vice president of the United States on the SpongeBob SquarePants website, which I mean maybe it works for dolphins, but I’m guessing there isn’t an awful lot of VP information.

So anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little adventure into how kids search and maybe some things that we can learn from it. Drop some anecdotes of your own in the comments. I’d love to hear your experiences and some of the funny things that you’ve learnt along the way. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com


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Boosting and Deepening Engagement through Empathy in B2B Marketing

Business Professional Taking Notes Intently

Business Professional Taking Notes Intently

Empathy is more than a buzzword. It’s not a box to be checked, or an added finishing touch for content. If B2B marketers want to successfully engage human audiences and break free from the deluge of irrelevant messages swirling around today’s customers, empathy needs to be at the center of all strategic initiatives from start to finish.

What Does Empathy Mean in B2B Marketing?

Empathy is defined simply as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. But I’m not sure that characterization fully does it justice in the context of modern marketing.

I rather like the way Zen Media CEO Shama Hyder described empathy in the better creative teamwork guide we helped our clients at monday.com put together:

“Empathy is critical. It’s much more than just having an understanding of what someone else’s challenges might be. Part of it is that you have to give up being a control freak. As leaders, we should really look at the big picture and ask ourselves, is this necessary? Or is this just politicking, or someone trying to make it seem like it has to be done this way because it’s the way they prefer?”

Shama was speaking from the perspective of a business leader trying to get on the same page as their team, but it applies just as well to marketing endeavors. The critical first step in developing empathy is disconnecting from our own ingrained perceptions and assumptions. Only then can we truly understand and support the audiences we want to reach.

Too often, empathy in marketing tends to be a bit narrow and self-centered (which is contradictory to the very concept itself). We often seek to understand only the challenges and pain points that drive interest in what we’re selling. Looking beyond this scope is necessary to build strong relationships founded on trust, especially now.

“What you are creating, marketing and ultimately selling is but one piece of your customer’s life as a human on Earth. One very small piece,” said Mary Beech, principal at MRB Brand Consulting and former CMO of Kate Spade, in an AMA article on empathy in marketing. “And if we aren’t keeping in mind their full journey, including their emotional, mental, social and physical needs — as well as the challenges and joys they are facing — we cannot do our jobs well.”

As Brian Solis wrote at Forbes recently, the need for empathetic customer experiences is greater than ever in the age of COVID-19 disruption. People have so much going on in their lives, and are facing so many unprecedented difficulties, that a myopic brand-centric focus is all the more untenable. “Traditional marketing will no longer have the same effect moving forward,” he argues. “If anything, it will negatively affect customer relationships rather than enhance them.”

Agreed. So, let’s find a better way.

Engaging with True Empathy in the New Era of Marketing

Imagine if it was possible to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with each one of your customers and potential customers. You’d gain first-hand insight into their worldviews, their challenges, their hopes and dreams.

Sadly, it’s not possible. You don’t have the time, nor do your customers. (Although I do recommend making a habit of engaging in direct, candid conversations with them when possible.) To make empathy scalable, marketers need to take advantage of all the tools at their disposal. This largely requires using data to connect the dots.

“It’s critical for marketers to have a real-time 360 view and understanding of a customer’s full journey, at every stage, from discovery to engagement to retention and loyalty to advocacy,” Solis wrote at Forbes.

Here are some suggestions for obtaining such a view:

Use empathy-mapping. This practice, explained in a helpful primer from Nielsen Norman Group, involves creating a visualization of attitudes and behaviors to guide decision-making. Empathy-mapping originated in the world of UX design, but given how much user experience and customer experience now overlap, it’s becoming a powerful tool for marketers.

Empathy Map

(Source: Nielsen Norman Group)

Coordinate and integrate your organizational efforts. Every customer-facing function in a company — marketing, sales, customer service — sees the customer from a different perspective. Seek ways to bring all these perspectives together into one centralized, holistic view. Per Solis: “Cross-functional collaboration is a mandate. As such, integration will become the new standard and will quickly become table stakes as every company rushes in this direction.”

Tap into meaningful influencer relationships. Influencers can play a key role in empathetic marketing because they have relationships and perspectives extending beyond our brand ecosystems. If they align with your audience, influencers can bring unique insight and connect at deeper levels. Turning influencer engagements from mechanical to meaningful is essential to accomplishing this.

Incidentally, Mr. Solis recently partnered with TopRank Marketing on the first-ever State of B2B Influencer Marketing report, in which our friend Ann Handley summarizes the impact quite well: “You could call yourself a good parent or a world-class marketer or an empathetic friend … but any of those things would carry more weight coming from your child, customer, or BFF. So it is with integrating influencer content: It’s a direct line to building trust and customer confidence.”

Research and engage with topics that matter to your customers outside of their jobs. Given the connotations of B2B, it’s all too easy to isolate our customer research around what they do professionally. But these are human beings with lives outside of work. To drive powerful engagement, marketers should search for the cross-sections between their brand’s purpose and values, and what matters to their customers.

A good example of this is found in the IBM THINK Blog, which is “dedicated to chronicling the fast-moving world of cognitive computing” and covers many important societal topics. (Recent focuses include a post on gender pronouns and a corporate environmental report.)

Examples of Empathetic B2B Marketing

Who’s getting it right and paving the way for a more empathy-driven approach to engaging B2B audiences? Here are a few examples:

Seeing human faces brings an instantly relatable element to any B2B campaign. That’s why Microsoft’s Story Labs microsite, which frames some of the company’s initiatives and guiding principles around real people and their stories, is so effective.

Microsoft Story Labs

Let Empathy Guide Your B2B Marketing Strategy

In order to walk in someone else’s shoes, you first need to untie and remove your own. Making empathy a core strategic pillar requires marketers to take a step back, disconnect from their ingrained perceptions and assumptions, and get fully in tune with the people they serve.

Only then can we create the type of relevant and personalized experiences that drive deep and long-lasting brand engagement.

For more tips that will help your business-oriented content strike notes of genuine empathy, read Josh Nite’s blog post on 5 Ways to Humanize B2B Marketing.

 

The post Boosting and Deepening Engagement through Empathy in B2B Marketing appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Boosting and Deepening Engagement through Empathy in B2B Marketing

Business Professional Taking Notes Intently

Empathy is more than a buzzword. It’s not a box to be checked, or an added finishing touch for content. If B2B marketers want to successfully engage human audiences and break free from the deluge of irrelevant messages swirling around today’s customers, empathy needs to be at the center of all strategic initiatives from start to finish.

What Does Empathy Mean in B2B Marketing?

Empathy is defined simply as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. But I’m not sure that characterization fully does it justice in the context of modern marketing.

I rather like the way Zen Media CEO Shama Hyder described empathy in the better creative teamwork guide we helped our clients at monday.com put together:

“Empathy is critical. It’s much more than just having an understanding of what someone else’s challenges might be. Part of it is that you have to give up being a control freak. As leaders, we should really look at the big picture and ask ourselves, is this necessary? Or is this just politicking, or someone trying to make it seem like it has to be done this way because it’s the way they prefer?”

Shama was speaking from the perspective of a business leader trying to get on the same page as their team, but it applies just as well to marketing endeavors. The critical first step in developing empathy is disconnecting from our own ingrained perceptions and assumptions. Only then can we truly understand and support the audiences we want to reach.

Too often, empathy in marketing tends to be a bit narrow and self-centered (which is contradictory to the very concept itself). We often seek to understand only the challenges and pain points that drive interest in what we’re selling. Looking beyond this scope is necessary to build strong relationships founded on trust, especially now.

“What you are creating, marketing and ultimately selling is but one piece of your customer’s life as a human on Earth. One very small piece,” said Mary Beech, principal at MRB Brand Consulting and former CMO of Kate Spade, in an AMA article on empathy in marketing. “And if we aren’t keeping in mind their full journey, including their emotional, mental, social and physical needs — as well as the challenges and joys they are facing — we cannot do our jobs well.”

As Brian Solis wrote at Forbes recently, the need for empathetic customer experiences is greater than ever in the age of COVID-19 disruption. People have so much going on in their lives, and are facing so many unprecedented difficulties, that a myopic brand-centric focus is all the more untenable. “Traditional marketing will no longer have the same effect moving forward,” he argues. “If anything, it will negatively affect customer relationships rather than enhance them.”

Agreed. So, let’s find a better way.

Engaging with True Empathy in the New Era of Marketing

Imagine if it was possible to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with each one of your customers and potential customers. You’d gain first-hand insight into their worldviews, their challenges, their hopes and dreams.

Sadly, it’s not possible. You don’t have the time, nor do your customers. (Although I do recommend making a habit of engaging in direct, candid conversations with them when possible.) To make empathy scalable, marketers need to take advantage of all the tools at their disposal. This largely requires using data to connect the dots.

“It’s critical for marketers to have a real-time 360 view and understanding of a customer’s full journey, at every stage, from discovery to engagement to retention and loyalty to advocacy,” Solis wrote at Forbes.

Here are some suggestions for obtaining such a view:

Use empathy-mapping. This practice, explained in a helpful primer from Nielsen Norman Group, involves creating a visualization of attitudes and behaviors to guide decision-making. Empathy-mapping originated in the world of UX design, but given how much user experience and customer experience now overlap, it’s becoming a powerful tool for marketers.

Empathy Map

(Source: Nielsen Norman Group)

Coordinate and integrate your organizational efforts. Every customer-facing function in a company — marketing, sales, customer service — sees the customer from a different perspective. Seek ways to bring all these perspectives together into one centralized, holistic view. Per Solis: “Cross-functional collaboration is a mandate. As such, integration will become the new standard and will quickly become table stakes as every company rushes in this direction.”

Tap into meaningful influencer relationships. Influencers can play a key role in empathetic marketing because they have relationships and perspectives extending beyond our brand ecosystems. If they align with your audience, influencers can bring unique insight and connect at deeper levels. Turning influencer engagements from mechanical to meaningful is essential to accomplishing this.

Incidentally, Mr. Solis recently partnered with TopRank Marketing on the first-ever State of B2B Influencer Marketing report, in which our friend Ann Handley summarizes the impact quite well: “You could call yourself a good parent or a world-class marketer or an empathetic friend … but any of those things would carry more weight coming from your child, customer, or BFF. So it is with integrating influencer content: It’s a direct line to building trust and customer confidence.”

Research and engage with topics that matter to your customers outside of their jobs. Given the connotations of B2B, it’s all too easy to isolate our customer research around what they do professionally. But these are human beings with lives outside of work. To drive powerful engagement, marketers should search for the cross-sections between their brand’s purpose and values, and what matters to their customers.

A good example of this is found in the IBM THINK Blog, which is “dedicated to chronicling the fast-moving world of cognitive computing” and covers many important societal topics. (Recent focuses include a post on gender pronouns and a corporate environmental report.)

Examples of Empathetic B2B Marketing

Who’s getting it right and paving the way for a more empathy-driven approach to engaging B2B audiences? Here are a few examples:

Seeing human faces brings an instantly relatable element to any B2B campaign. That’s why Microsoft’s Story Labs microsite, which frames some of the company’s initiatives and guiding principles around real people and their stories, is so effective.

Microsoft Story Labs

Let Empathy Guide Your B2B Marketing Strategy

In order to walk in someone else’s shoes, you first need to untie and remove your own. Making empathy a core strategic pillar requires marketers to take a step back, disconnect from their ingrained perceptions and assumptions, and get fully in tune with the people they serve.

Only then can we create the type of relevant and personalized experiences that drive deep and long-lasting brand engagement.

For more tips that will help your business-oriented content strike notes of genuine empathy, read Josh Nite’s blog post on 5 Ways to Humanize B2B Marketing.

5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers

Smiling businesswoman at computer image.

Smiling businesswoman at computer image.

Are you using the latest search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help with your content marketing efforts?

Don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered with a look at some of the most helpful SEO tools to help you refine and augment your content marketing plans.

Sorting through lists of the seemingly endless number of available SEO tools can be frustrating as well as a hit and miss proposition, however we’ve put this collection together so that you can skip the search and get right into SEO tools you can use today to help you create amazing content marketing stories.

Let’s jump in with our collection of fresh SEO tools to boost your content marketing experiences.

1 — Google Lighthouse

Google Lighthouse

Google’s own Lighthouse tool — an open-source project — offers a simple way to check a number of basic SEO-related issues that every website should consider. Among its auditing functions are tools specifically focusing on performance, SEO, accessibility, and progressive web apps, and it’s also capable of examining webpages requiring authentication.

The tool can be run standalone, from the web, in Google’s Chrome DevTools, or incorporated into continuous integration systems, and its Lighthouse Viewer allows viewing and sharing of analysis data online.

2 — Botify SEO Platform

Botify

There are numerous powerful SEO platforms that each look to be as close to a one-stop-shop as possible for marketers and brands to gain reliable and relevant search insight, and squarely in this category is enterprise SEO suite company Botify.

Botify offers a vast array of SEO analysis, data crawling intelligence and indexing metrics tools, all while working to make this complex information both easy to understand and act on, as Google’s Martin Splitt recently touched on in a live video conversation.

3 — Bing URL Submissions Plugin for WordPress

Bing

B2B marketers in WordPress environments recently got access to an open-source plug-in from Bing Webmaster Tools, automating the submission of new site content to the Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Bing URL Submissions Plugin in a feature-rich plug-in that can also be customized via Bing’s API for incorporation into other content management systems.

4 — Schema.org

Schema

Google and other search engine firms prefer that businesses use schema markup for structured data in the format set forth and maintained by the Schema.org organization, which is especially important today as features including Google’s Knowledge Graphs rely in part on this simple yet often-overlooked element, as Michal Pecánek recently examined for Ahrefs.

5 — WebPagetest

WebPagetest

Another free tool frequently used by savvy search industry professionals is WebPagetest, allowing webmasters and technically-proficient marketers to run a variety of tests including content type breakdowns, page speed data and others providing helpful information.

The data from WebPagetest can be used to troubleshoot website slowness issues, as Barry Schwartz recently outlined in “Google: How To Diagnose Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) Slowness.”

Smart SEO Tools To Make You A Knowledge Builder

via GIPHY

We hope you’ve found at least a few new-to-you SEO content marketing tools among those we’ve taken a look at here, and that you’ll find them useful as you create new campaigns that are using the soundest practices of SEO, and that they’ll also help build your own team’s knowledge.

We have a multi-year history of highlighting helpful marketing tools, and here are a few of the other most recent articles we’ve published on the subject:

The post 5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

5 Unheralded SEO Tools for Content Marketers

Smiling businesswoman at computer image.

Are you using the latest search engine optimization (SEO) tools to help with your content marketing efforts?

Don’t worry, as we’ve got you covered with a look at some of the most helpful SEO tools to help you refine and augment your content marketing plans.

Sorting through lists of the seemingly endless number of available SEO tools can be frustrating as well as a hit and miss proposition, however we’ve put this collection together so that you can skip the search and get right into SEO tools you can use today to help you create amazing content marketing stories.

Let’s jump in with our collection of fresh SEO tools to boost your content marketing experiences.

1 — Google Lighthouse

Google Lighthouse

Google’s own Lighthouse tool — an open-source project — offers a simple way to check a number of basic SEO-related issues that every website should consider. Among its auditing functions are tools specifically focusing on performance, SEO, accessibility, and progressive web apps, and it’s also capable of examining webpages requiring authentication.

The tool can be run standalone, from the web, in Google’s Chrome DevTools, or incorporated into continuous integration systems, and its Lighthouse Viewer allows viewing and sharing of analysis data online.

2 — Botify SEO Platform

Botify

There are numerous powerful SEO platforms that each look to be as close to a one-stop-shop as possible for marketers and brands to gain reliable and relevant search insight, and squarely in this category is enterprise SEO suite company Botify.

Botify offers a vast array of SEO analysis, data crawling intelligence and indexing metrics tools, all while working to make this complex information both easy to understand and act on, as Google’s Martin Splitt recently touched on in a live video conversation.

3 — Bing URL Submissions Plugin for WordPress

Bing

B2B marketers in WordPress environments recently got access to an open-source plug-in from Bing Webmaster Tools, automating the submission of new site content to the Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Bing URL Submissions Plugin in a feature-rich plug-in that can also be customized via Bing’s API for incorporation into other content management systems.

4 — Schema.org

Schema

Google and other search engine firms prefer that businesses use schema markup for structured data in the format set forth and maintained by the Schema.org organization, which is especially important today as features including Google’s Knowledge Graphs rely in part on this simple yet often-overlooked element, as Michal Pecánek recently examined for Ahrefs.

5 — WebPagetest

WebPagetest

Another free tool frequently used by savvy search industry professionals is WebPagetest, allowing webmasters and technically-proficient marketers to run a variety of tests including content type breakdowns, page speed data and others providing helpful information.

The data from WebPagetest can be used to troubleshoot website slowness issues, as Barry Schwartz recently outlined in “Google: How To Diagnose Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) Slowness.”

Smart SEO Tools To Make You A Knowledge Builder

via GIPHY

We hope you’ve found at least a few new-to-you SEO content marketing tools among those we’ve taken a look at here, and that you’ll find them useful as you create new campaigns that are using the soundest practices of SEO, and that they’ll also help build your own team’s knowledge.

We have a multi-year history of highlighting helpful marketing tools, and here are a few of the other most recent articles we’ve published on the subject:

6 Connectors to Spice Up Your Reporting: Introducing Google Data Studio Connectors for STAT

Data visualization platforms have become a vital tool to help illustrate the success of a body of work. Painting a clear picture of your SEO efforts is as important as ever, whether you’re reporting out to clients or to internal stakeholders at your own company. More and more SEOs are turning to data visualization tools to do so — pulling in data from across multiple SEO tools, blending that data in unique ways, and helping to pull back the curtain on the mystery of SEO.

Platforms like Tableau and Google Data Studio are becoming more commonplace in the SEO community as we seek better ways to communicate with our teams. We’ve heard from a number of folks in the Moz community that having a central dashboard to present data has streamlined their own reporting processes. It’s also made information more digestible for colleagues and clients, as they can see everything they need in one place.

Thanks to the helpful feedback of many, many STAT customers, we’ve been hard at work building six Google Data Studio Community Connectors to help pull STAT data into Data Studio. Fortified by beta testing and your thoughtful input, we’re excited to launch the six connectors today: Historical Keyword Rankings (site and tag level), Share of Voice (site and tag level), and Ranking Distributions (site and tag level).

If you’re already using STAT, dive into our documentation in the Knowledge Base to get all the nitty-gritty details on the connectors. If you’re not yet a STAT customer, why not chat with a friendly Mozzer to learn more?

See STAT in Action

Want to hear a bit more about the connectors and how to implement them? Let’s go!

Historical Keyword Rankings

Tracking daily keyword positions over time is a central part of STAT and the long-term success of your site. The Historical Keyword Rankings connectors send historical highest rank data to Data Studio for every keyword you’re currently tracking in a site or a tag.

You can start out with a simple table: perhaps if you have a group of keywords in a dynamic tag, you might want to create a table of your top keywords ranking on page one, or your top keywords ranking in positions 1-3.

Turn that table into a line graph to understand average rank for the whole site or tag and spot trends:

Find the Site Level Historical Keyword Rankings connector here and the Tag Level Historical Keyword Rankings connector here.

Share of Voice

In STAT, share of voice measures the visibility of a group of keywords on Google. This keyword set can be keywords that are grouped together into a tag, a data view, or a site. Share of voice is calculated by assigning each ranking a click-through rate (CTR) and then multiplying that by the keyword’s search volume.

It’s important to remember that share of voice is based on the concept that higher ranks and higher search volume give you more share of voice.

The default chart type will display a doughnut chart for current share of voice, and a line graph will show share of voice over time:

Find the Site Level Share of Voice connector here and the Tag Level Share of Voice connector here.

Ranking Distribution

Ranking Distribution, available in the Daily Snapshot and Ranking Trends views in the STAT app, shows how your keyword rankings are distributed across the top 119 Google results.

View your top ranking positions as a bar chart to easily eyeball how your rankings are distributed, where shifts are taking place, and where there is clear opportunity for improvement.

Find the Site Level Ranking Distributions connector here and the Tag Level Ranking Distributions connector here.

Getting started with the connectors

Whether you’re a Google Data Studio pro or a bit newer to the tool, setting up the connectors shouldn’t be too arduous. Get started by visiting the page for the connector of your choice. Authorize the connector by clicking the Authorize button. (Tip: Each connector must be authorized separately.)

Once you authorize the connector, you’ll see a parameters table like this one:

Complete the fields using the proper information tied to your STAT account:

  • STAT Subdomain: Fill in this field with the subdomain of your STAT login URL. This field ensures that the GDS connector directs its request to the correct STAT subdomain.
  • STAT API Key: Find your API key in STAT by visiting Options > Account Management > Account Settings > API Key.
  • STAT Site/Tag ID: Retrieve IDs through the API. Visit our documentation to ensure you use the proper API calls.
  • Allow “STAT Site/Tag ID” to be modified in reports: Tick this box to be able to edit the site or tag ID from within the report, without reconfiguring the connector.
  • Include Keyword Tags: Tick this box to add a column to your report populated with the tags the keyword is a member of (only applicable to site and tag historical keyword rankings connectors).
  • Allow “Include Keyword Tags?” to be modified in reports: Tick this box to be able to turn the inclusion of the Keyword Tags column on or off from within the report, without reconfiguring the connector (only applicable to site and tag historical keyword rankings connectors).

Once you’ve filled in the table, click Connect in the top right.

Confirm which columns you’d like to include in the report. Review the columns, and click Create Report.

Once you’ve created a report, the exciting part begins! Whether you’re pulling in your STAT data for a fresh report, adding it into a report with other pieces of data, or using Data Studio’s data blending feature to create compelling views of your search presence — there are so many ways to slice and dice.

Ready to put the connectors into production? We can’t wait to hear how your Google Data Studio reports are strengthened by adding in your STAT data. Let us know how it goes in the comments.

Not yet a STAT user but curious how it might fit into your SEO toolkit? Take a tour of the product from your friendly neighborhood Mozzer:

Learn More About STAT


To help us serve you better, please consider taking the 2020 Moz Blog Reader Survey, which asks about who you are, what challenges you face, and what you’d like to see more of on the Moz Blog.

Take the Survey

How B2B Marketers Can Get the Most Out of Webinars in 2020

Businesspeople with Screens as Heads Image.

Businesspeople with Screens as Heads Image.

There has to be a word for the creeping dread B2B marketers have been feeling this year, preferably something German with a ton of umlauts.

As we watched events in the spring cancel, postpone, or go virtual, we held out hope that summer would be different. Then July’s events moved out. Now it’s looking like the type of large-scale events B2B marketers depend on will have to wait until 2021… at the earliest.

But we don’t have to despair! We can close the gap with virtual events. The speaking gig at an industry conference can become a webinar, as can a planned panel discussion or product demonstration. 

The good news is plenty of people have more spare time than before to watch your webinar.

The bad news is that everyone who makes webinars has time on their hands, too. So, your webinar has to have a little extra oomph to stand out in the crowd. 

Here’s how you can level up your webinar creation and promotion.

How to Get the Most from Your B2B Webinar

It’s no longer enough to put up a slide deck and talk through bullet points. These tips will help you make a more compelling webinar — and make sure that people attend it.

Start with Content Research

No marketer worth their salt would make a blog post without doing content research. Why should your webinar be different? 

To determine the best subject matter for your webinar, bring all of your research tools to bear:

  • SEO research via SEMRush and Google Analytics
  • Question research via BuzzSumo and AnswerthePublic
  • Prospect feedback from your sales team
  • Competitor content evaluation

All of these resources will help you home in on the topics that your audience most wants to hear about. Your research might even drive what type of webinar you create: If your audience needs how-to advice, you might do a live demonstration. If they’re looking for thought leadership, you might partner with influencers. Speaking of the latter…

Reach Out to Influencers

In case you missed the headline yesterday, B2B Influencer Marketing is kind of a big deal. There’s no greater boost to your credibility (and your potential audience) than adding industry thought leaders to your webinar. 

Look for people who are influential with your audience — those who are regularly producing content and engaging with anyone who posts a comment. They don’t have to have Taylor Swift-level follower counts to make a difference. They just have to be able to get a relevant audience’s attention and hold it.

Also, it’s not enough to just have someone appear with you on camera, though — it’s important to ask meaningful questions that will enable a substantive discussion. Keep your content research in mind as you plan the interview.

Create a Landing Page & Promote

Give your audience plenty of time to prepare for your webinar. We recommend starting outreach at least two weeks beforehand, and up to a month if you can swing it. 

Create a short landing page to collect sign-ups — include a few key points you plan to cover, and introduce yourself and your guests. You can promote the landing page via social media — image-led social works well — and blog content that builds anticipation for your topic.

Don’t forget to include the webinar in your newsletter, and to enlist your influencers to drive pre-registration.

One great way to promote the webinar, and focus your content at the same time, is to poll your audience via social media. Ask for their thoughts on your topic. Ask what they most want to know about it. Ask what they would like to ask your thought leader guest. These posts can help drive registration while also making sure the content will be more relevant to the audience.

[bctt tweet=”“One great way to promote the webinar, and focus your content at the same time, is to poll your audience via social media. Ask for their thoughts on your topic. Ask what they most want to know about it.” @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

Change Up the Format

The Q&A, the panel discussion, the lecture — there are a few tried-and-true formats for webinars. But as the market gets flooded with content, we need to be more creative. For example, what about a working session instead of a discussion, where your panel collaboratively creates something? Or what about spicing up an interview with interstitial, pre-produced video content? 

You could even host the webinar on a platform like LinkedIn Live (while recording it for later publication, of course) and interact in real time with the audience. Just make sure to have a moderator to help keep the questions flowing smoothly.

Plan and Practice, But Be Flexible

It’s always a good idea to run through your entire webinar a few times before you go live. If you’re doing a lecture or presentation format, that means practicing all the content you plan to put across. For a panel discussion or interview, you may not be able to do a full run-through with your influencer, but you can still test the technology you will be using.

Don’t let your practicing and planning make your presentation too rigid, though. You should be able to follow an interesting conversational thread in your interview, or incorporate an audience comment in your presentation, without the whole thing going off the rails.

Of course, it’s always going to be tricky to run a live presentation, especially if you or your guests don’t do this type of presenting for a living. It can be challenging to think on your feet, come across as engaging, and keep a conversation focused and interesting to your audience.

Which is why I’m going to court controversy and say…

You Don’t Have to Be Live

As we think about changing up the format and offering a higher-quality experience to the audience, it may be time to let go of the idea that webinars have to be live. 

After all, editing is the gift that you give to your audience. You wouldn’t write a blog post in real time with a hundred people watching. You wouldn’t record a podcast episode and publish the raw audio. So why not pre-record and edit your webinar?

It’s true there is an immediacy to a live presentation that would be lost with a pre-recorded one. But the boost in quality for the audience could cover that loss. And you can still have an interactive experience with the audience through chat. You could even play the pre-recorded portion first, then hop on the video stream live for an audience Q&A.

There’s an enormous gap between the standard slideshow & lecture webinar and the produced, polished video that audiences appreciate most. Pre-recording and editing is one way to start closing that gap. 

Follow Up with Extra Content

What should your audience do next after attending the webinar? That’s a question to answer before you take your first registration. Once you have a next step in mind, create a content bundle to send to each registrant after the webinar airs. This bundle could include a normally gated eBook or two, some recommended reading from your blog, or more content from your influencer guests.

You can also create extra content from the webinar to help fill out your editorial calendar. Use excerpts from your discussion to fuel blog posts. Repurpose the audio as a podcast. Pull the best quotes to use as video posts on social media that drive to a gated version of the recorded webinar. Essentially, it’s about getting the most value possible from your content asset — the same thing you do with eBooks or blogs.

Webinars Killed the Radio Star

The pandemic has made webinars a go-to tactic for marketers who are missing out on face-to-face events. But as more marketers get into the webinar game, your content needs to be extraordinarily valuable and extremely well-promoted. If you plan, produce and promote your webinar with the same strategic care that you use for the rest of your content marketing, you’ll bring your audience more value and earn their attention in return.

Check out our CEO Lee Odden in a recent webinar: Social Media in the Times of Social Distancing.

The post How B2B Marketers Can Get the Most Out of Webinars in 2020 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

How B2B Marketers Can Get the Most Out of Webinars in 2020

Businesspeople with Screens as Heads Image.

There has to be a word for the creeping dread B2B marketers have been feeling this year, preferably something German with a ton of umlauts.

As we watched events in the spring cancel, postpone, or go virtual, we held out hope that summer would be different. Then July’s events moved out. Now it’s looking like the type of large-scale events B2B marketers depend on will have to wait until 2021… at the earliest.

But we don’t have to despair! We can close the gap with virtual events. The speaking gig at an industry conference can become a webinar, as can a planned panel discussion or product demonstration. 

The good news is plenty of people have more spare time than before to watch your webinar.

The bad news is that everyone who makes webinars has time on their hands, too. So, your webinar has to have a little extra oomph to stand out in the crowd. 

Here’s how you can level up your webinar creation and promotion.

How to Get the Most from Your B2B Webinar

It’s no longer enough to put up a slide deck and talk through bullet points. These tips will help you make a more compelling webinar — and make sure that people attend it.

Start with Content Research

No marketer worth their salt would make a blog post without doing content research. Why should your webinar be different? 

To determine the best subject matter for your webinar, bring all of your research tools to bear:

  • SEO research via SEMRush and Google Analytics
  • Question research via BuzzSumo and AnswerthePublic
  • Prospect feedback from your sales team
  • Competitor content evaluation

All of these resources will help you home in on the topics that your audience most wants to hear about. Your research might even drive what type of webinar you create: If your audience needs how-to advice, you might do a live demonstration. If they’re looking for thought leadership, you might partner with influencers. Speaking of the latter…

Reach Out to Influencers

In case you missed the headline yesterday, B2B Influencer Marketing is kind of a big deal. There’s no greater boost to your credibility (and your potential audience) than adding industry thought leaders to your webinar. 

Look for people who are influential with your audience — those who are regularly producing content and engaging with anyone who posts a comment. They don’t have to have Taylor Swift-level follower counts to make a difference. They just have to be able to get a relevant audience’s attention and hold it.

Also, it’s not enough to just have someone appear with you on camera, though — it’s important to ask meaningful questions that will enable a substantive discussion. Keep your content research in mind as you plan the interview.

Create a Landing Page & Promote

Give your audience plenty of time to prepare for your webinar. We recommend starting outreach at least two weeks beforehand, and up to a month if you can swing it. 

Create a short landing page to collect sign-ups — include a few key points you plan to cover, and introduce yourself and your guests. You can promote the landing page via social media — image-led social works well — and blog content that builds anticipation for your topic.

Don’t forget to include the webinar in your newsletter, and to enlist your influencers to drive pre-registration.

One great way to promote the webinar, and focus your content at the same time, is to poll your audience via social media. Ask for their thoughts on your topic. Ask what they most want to know about it. Ask what they would like to ask your thought leader guest. These posts can help drive registration while also making sure the content will be more relevant to the audience.

“One great way to promote the webinar, and focus your content at the same time, is to poll your audience via social media. Ask for their thoughts on your topic. Ask what they most want to know about it.” @NiteWrites Click To Tweet

Change Up the Format

The Q&A, the panel discussion, the lecture — there are a few tried-and-true formats for webinars. But as the market gets flooded with content, we need to be more creative. For example, what about a working session instead of a discussion, where your panel collaboratively creates something? Or what about spicing up an interview with interstitial, pre-produced video content? 

You could even host the webinar on a platform like LinkedIn Live (while recording it for later publication, of course) and interact in real time with the audience. Just make sure to have a moderator to help keep the questions flowing smoothly.

Plan and Practice, But Be Flexible

It’s always a good idea to run through your entire webinar a few times before you go live. If you’re doing a lecture or presentation format, that means practicing all the content you plan to put across. For a panel discussion or interview, you may not be able to do a full run-through with your influencer, but you can still test the technology you will be using.

Don’t let your practicing and planning make your presentation too rigid, though. You should be able to follow an interesting conversational thread in your interview, or incorporate an audience comment in your presentation, without the whole thing going off the rails.

Of course, it’s always going to be tricky to run a live presentation, especially if you or your guests don’t do this type of presenting for a living. It can be challenging to think on your feet, come across as engaging, and keep a conversation focused and interesting to your audience.

Which is why I’m going to court controversy and say…

You Don’t Have to Be Live

As we think about changing up the format and offering a higher-quality experience to the audience, it may be time to let go of the idea that webinars have to be live. 

After all, editing is the gift that you give to your audience. You wouldn’t write a blog post in real time with a hundred people watching. You wouldn’t record a podcast episode and publish the raw audio. So why not pre-record and edit your webinar?

It’s true there is an immediacy to a live presentation that would be lost with a pre-recorded one. But the boost in quality for the audience could cover that loss. And you can still have an interactive experience with the audience through chat. You could even play the pre-recorded portion first, then hop on the video stream live for an audience Q&A.

There’s an enormous gap between the standard slideshow & lecture webinar and the produced, polished video that audiences appreciate most. Pre-recording and editing is one way to start closing that gap. 

Follow Up with Extra Content

What should your audience do next after attending the webinar? That’s a question to answer before you take your first registration. Once you have a next step in mind, create a content bundle to send to each registrant after the webinar airs. This bundle could include a normally gated eBook or two, some recommended reading from your blog, or more content from your influencer guests.

You can also create extra content from the webinar to help fill out your editorial calendar. Use excerpts from your discussion to fuel blog posts. Repurpose the audio as a podcast. Pull the best quotes to use as video posts on social media that drive to a gated version of the recorded webinar. Essentially, it’s about getting the most value possible from your content asset — the same thing you do with eBooks or blogs.

Webinars Killed the Radio Star

The pandemic has made webinars a go-to tactic for marketers who are missing out on face-to-face events. But as more marketers get into the webinar game, your content needs to be extraordinarily valuable and extremely well-promoted. If you plan, produce and promote your webinar with the same strategic care that you use for the rest of your content marketing, you’ll bring your audience more value and earn their attention in return.

Check out our CEO Lee Odden in a recent webinar: Social Media in the Times of Social Distancing.