Webinars can be another great platform for b2b readers to consume content. They can also provide sponsorship opportunities and serve as a good moneymaker for B2B publications. Solar Builder and Craft Brewing Business magazines in the United States use webinars as a content marketing vehicle for advertisers. Often topics cover industry best practices or go in-depth on products.
“Our metrics at both CBB and SB indicate our audiences like learning about new products,” said Chris Crowell, an editor on both publications. “A webinar format can really add value in presenting that information versus a static post on the site. I think of them as virtual trade show booth visits. Readers get to ask their super specific questions and get deeper into the nuances, past flowery marketing speak.”
Crowell works with advertisers to make sure content is relevant to his publication’s audience. Even though advertisers pay for these webinars, he doesn’t see the editor’s role as any different than in print.
“Understand the point of view of the advertiser, filter it to find the audience points of interest and make sure the presentation focuses on the notable tidbits and key facts versus leaving the sponsor to put together a useless half-hour commercial,” he said. GIE Media, also in the United States, produces both paid and editorial webinars for its various publications. While paid webinars cater to one advertiser which dictates the presentation, on the editorial side, the company hosts half-day “virtual events,” a series of 45-minute webinars on one topic.
Sponsorships are also available for these editorial events. Each sponsor gets one 10-minute slot between sessions to give their message.
Editor Brad Harbison is the publisher’s webinar lead. He said his role is similar between the two types of presentations. “On the client-sponsored webinars, the editor’s role is to introduce the topic and speaker(s), explain how and where people can ask questions, collect and vet questions and conduct the Q&A at the end of the webinar,” he said. “For the virtual event, my role is pretty much the same, although sometimes I will be one of the presenters.”
Unlike with Solar Builder and Craft Brewing Business, GIE Media’s editors do not work with advertisers on their presentations. The company’s paid webinars range from educational to “sales-y,” depending on what the advertiser provides. “For client-sponsored ones content is out of our control,” he said. “For editorial ones, throughout the year at conferences we attend we identify speakers/topics that might transfer over well to a webinar format. Also, we review past magazine issues for potential topics and speakers.”
GIE Media uses GotoWebinars.com as its webinar platform. Typically, speakers present for 35 to 45 minutes, followed by a 10-to-15-minute Q&A session. The company averages one to two webinars a month. Harbison recommends hosting a conference call with presenters in advance of the webinar to make sure they have the platform software installed and are comfortable using it and that everyone is on the same page in terms of the flow.
“We also ask presenters to send us a few seed questions for the Q&A, just in case we don’t get many questions–though usually we do get questions and don’t end up using them,” he said. “All webinars are recorded and a copy is given to the client. We give the client the option of us housing the webinar on our website. Most times they want us to do so.” Harbison said paid webinars bring GIE Media revenue, but also editorial value. “They are a revenue generator for us, so yes, they are important,” he said. “We also will re-purpose the content into magazine articles (if we think they will translate well), so there is editorial value too.”