In this episode Lev Cribb, Managing Director of WebinarExperts.com, looks at webinar innovation, i.e. how to innovate your webinars. If any of your webinar features or processes have remained unchanged for more than 12 months, it’s time to review them. Now is the time to webinar innovation, if for no other reason than to keep up with, or outpace, your competition.
So how can you go lateral and begin innovating how you run your webinars? We look as aspects such as video, audio-visual tech, processes and webinar speakers, and webinar formats. Listen to the podcast now for more info and insight.
Podcast Transcript For: Going Lateral With Lev Cribb… and Your Webinar Innovation
Hello and welcome to Going Lateral with myself, Lev Cribb, and your Webinar Innovation. Today we’ll be talking about innovation that I’ve seen happen and how you can innovate your webinars to improve your output and stay ahead of the competition.
Webinar innovation doesn’t stop. In fact, I’ve seen just very recently how a traveling circus is releasing videos of their performances from behind closed doors. It’s local, I guess it’s a traveling circus, but they’re set up locally. Obviously they can’t open up the doors. So they’ve sent a message out on Facebook saying, guys, we’re closed, but here’s a portal where you can see our performances and for a small fee you can download them and you can watch them streaming online. Great idea. And it’s a great way of innovating for circus that normally is just very visual and in person.
Our son’s school is collecting homework online and providing feedback and encouragement back to the pupils, individual feedback saying, hey guys, this was great. Maybe you can improve this and we love how you did that. And it’s just a way of keeping the pupils engaged, providing feedback, and don’t stop while this whole current COVID-19 situation is going on. So again, another way that a school is innovating.
My daughter’s ballet classes are being done in Zoom at the moment. So whether it’s individual classes or group classes, the teacher is at home, the kids are at home and they’re doing their ballet classes online together. Again, a great way of keeping going in this current situation.
One of our micro pubs locally, well they’ve closed obviously, but they make their own beer and they’ve bought a canning machine and they’re selling their small batch beers in cans to take away. They can’t just stop making the beer. Well they could, but it’d be a shame. Tastes great. So they say, look guys, you can collect it here, order it online, we’ll can it for you and you can come and collect it. Fantastic. Keeps us going at home as well a little bit and it keeps them in business. Brilliant, really great idea.
We’ve seen local churches streaming online, from four or five different locations combining them into one service. For example, one for the pastor for the main message, one for the band, one for kids stories. Again, it’s a way of somebody innovating to get, well first let’s keep going, but also to get what they want to communicate over to that audience.
Now doubt you’ve witnessed countless of other examples yourself on how people and companies are innovating to keep going and in the process are probably creating lasting innovations. Things aren’t probably going to go entirely back to normal the way they were before. So use this opportunity now to innovate and some of that may well actually stick afterwards. Great idea and something that you can’t ignore entirely. You have to think in the same line. You have to think about what can we do to change things now and what of those things that we are changing now may continue afterwards.
In the last episode of Going Lateral With Webinar Recordings, we touched on webinar innovation for how you can keep going with your webinar and podcast recordings in the current situation, how you can start doing things differently. But that was very much a tactical example of how you can do things differently. It was all about doing the same thing but differently. So to some degree innovation, to some degree just necessity. But in the current situation you have the unique opportunity or maybe need to innovate well beyond that because one thing’s for sure, your competition is innovating like crazy at the moment. And so should you, if you don’t, you risk being outpaced.
So what areas of your webinars should you look at innovating you might be asking? Good question. For example, your webinar formats. Have you been running the same webinar format for over a year for example? Perhaps if it is the case, it’s time to change that. If something has been going for 12 months or longer in the same way it has been done before, maybe you didn’t have the need before to change things up. Maybe you didn’t have the opportunity or maybe just simply didn’t have the time or the focus to do it. Take a look and see how can that change because everyone’s in the same situation at the moment, everywhere in the world. It’s a unique situation that we’re in and that’s a great opportunity to innovate and test.
So for example, perhaps you haven’t used video before in your webinars. Start using webcams. We’ve all been on some kind of Zoom meeting, whether it was for work, whether it’s a local family pub quiz, whether it’s just catching up with the grandparents, everybody’s using webcams, everybody’s using Zoom. Why should your webinars not be using webcams? If you haven’t used video before, now’s a great time. There’s a huge amount of good will out there for you doing things differently and you innovating and trying to test things. Perhaps you’ve been using the same technical setup for your audio or for your video or lighting or room setup or the same webinar platform or the same data integration with your marketing tech stack. You likely have team members or maybe even entire teams that are under utilized at the moment. So identify their skills, areas of interest or things they’re passionate about so they can help you innovate. It’s certainly better than furloughing, that’s for sure. That’s certainly my opinion.
So these are areas and and there are other areas. For example, perhaps you’ve never had guest speakers before. Now is a great time. Everyone wants to get their message out to their audience, so look for customers, partners, industry experts, and so on who can bring more depth and more interesting areas of conversation into your webinars. If you do that, you increase the appeal of your webinars, but you also increase the reach because you’re not just appealing to your audience. You’re also appealing to the audience of your guest speaker. And that could be an individual if it’s perhaps an expert or an industry analyst who has a great following. But it could also be the reach to that company. So if they work for somebody, they will likely be interested in promoting that webinar as well.
So you’re increasing how your webinars appeal to your audience, but you then also reaching the audience of whichever company that speaker comes from and you’ll likely be able to co-promote this, go out to their social following, go out to their database, publish it online where people can find you on their websites, on your website. So bringing in guest speakers is a great way of innovating your webinar format as well. It doesn’t always have to just be speakers from your company.
And have you ever created specific webinar formats to appeal to your audience in their current or different varying sales and buying stages? Audiences at every stage of the sales funnel have different requirements. You probably know that already. So why not create a webinar format that appeals to each of those requirements. If you don’t know how to go about that, perhaps WebinarExperts can help. But think about it: if somebody is just inquiring, just finding out information, they have a different requirement than perhaps somebody who has already started evaluating your product or your business and their requirements are entirely different from those who have gone beyond the evaluation, who are now trying to find out with more technical items, specific items that they need to make a purchase decision.
Those requirements are different to the previous two that we mentioned and there are perhaps some that are either in the final stages of contract negotiation, they will still want to get information from you or perhaps even for your customers. They’ve already committed to purchasing whatever you are offering them. And then they now need more information around best practices, around how to get the most out of their investment, things like that. So if you’re unsure how that translates into webinar formats, let us know. But have a think about what you can do to innovate your webinar formats, perhaps from the same webinar format that you’ve been running for the last 6, 12 months, maybe 2 years. And think about what can we do differently? How can we appeal to each of those different audiences in a different way?
And then venture into podcasting. You’re already running webinars, so why not explore how one of the most popular mediums in the online world right now can benefit you as well. You likely have already a recording setup. You already have the content, you already have the speakers, but you’re not running podcasts. So think about how that can translate from webinar formats into podcast formats. What you shouldn’t be doing is just taking the audio of your webinars and putting that into a podcast and publishing that. That’s not a podcast, that’s just a webinar audio recording.
But think about how can you change the format? How can you appeal to a podcast audience that might be listening to you while they’re on their treadmill at home, or while they are going out for walk, or simply over lunch listening to something else or just simply at the weekend trying to get more information about the area that you’re operating in. But maybe a little bit more sort of look behind the scenes, not just a product push, not just a sales push, but actually getting to know you as an individual, as a company, as a team, as the people behind the service offering.
Podcasts are another way of changing up your format of your webinars by extending it beyond the webinars and actually appealing to an audience during a different time of their day when they’re in a different mindset and a different area that they want to know about. Maybe not primarily, but it’s something that will help you appeal to that audience. So why not look into that.
And innovate all of the above with a few specific aims. You want to be testing, evaluating and improving your output and your audience appeal. And that’s the point of innovation at this point. You also want to create a lasting and sustainable improvement. You’re not just innovating because you have time on your hands or because I’ve told you so. You need to create innovation in a way that actually will continue after four weeks, four months. It should go beyond and it should be an ongoing process. So make it lasting, make it sustainable.
And if nothing else at all, then you want to be innovating to stay ahead of the competition because everybody is innovating like crazy at the moment. Somebody in your industry will be innovating right now and if you’re not doing that, they are, and your audience may become their audience and they will appeal to them and not you. So that appeal has to be owned by you. You need to innovate, you need to change things the way you do to stay ahead and now’s a great opportunity. There’s a huge amount of good will out there and you can, by innovating, foster that good will, bring the audience more into your sphere, having them listening to what you want to talk about in your webinars and your podcasts and appeal to them. And right now is a unique opportunity to do that in a way that is more personal because things have just become more personal right now and you need to make use of that. And innovation is a great way of staying ahead of the competition, evolving what you do and evolving your overall offering to the audience.
So webinar innovation should not be temporary, it shouldn’t just be a filler for a time that is unusual and different. It’s an opportunity to skip ahead and you need to take that opportunity seriously.
So we’ve got a bit of homework for you, things that you can take away from this podcast. First of all, you want to identify areas of your webinars that have not changed for the last 12 months. Look at your entire process, look at your webinars, look at everything that has to do with it, be it things that you can hear on the webinar or be it the way you’ve set up your webinars, your recordings and so on. Look at things that haven’t changed for the last 12 months. The likelihood is there’ll be areas there that can change, that can be innovated. So investigate and brainstorm how these areas can be improved.
Bring a few folks together that know a lot about it, maybe a few internal stakeholders who are just observing what you do, but maybe have an opinion on that and ask for their input as well. And investigate and brainstorm how these areas can be improved and then prioritize these areas. Set out a plan on how you can innovate each of them in a prioritized way. You can’t change them all at the same time. You shouldn’t change them all at the same time. Going back to the first point, you want to test and innovate in times so you can evaluate that. So prioritize each of these areas and set out a plan, how can you innovate each of them.
I’d love to hear what the outcome of your homework is, so why not send me a quick message on email. Say hello [at] webinarexperts.co.uk or perhaps you want to share which aspects of this episode inspired you to take action. I’d love to hear about that. And the feedback is great. We always want to bring you more of what you’re interested in. So let us know. Or maybe you just want to let us know which area you’d like to go lateral on. What should we cover next? We’ve got a few topics lined up. We’d love to hear what you want to hear about as well so we can address those items. So email me at sayhello [at] thewebinarexperts.co.uk. You can get more information on webinarexperts.co.uk or subscribe to our podcast via your favourite podcast directory. And don’t forget to check out our best practices videos on YouTube. Just search for Webinar Experts.
Okay. That’s all for this episode, folks. Thanks for listening and remember, keep going lateral and keep innovating. Take care. Until next time, it’s bye from me.
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