Should we be doing more webinars?

Webinars are an effective route to reach members. So why aren’t we doing more of them? Guest Blogger Jackie Scully, Director of Think Intelligence addresses this…

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Now the fourth most effective channel for communicating with professional members, webinars are at last taking their place in the spotlight alongside member magazines, events and e-newsletters.

So why is it that, according to Think’s latest trends research (out this autumn), these web-based video conferences don’t even make the top 10 of channels most used by membership organisations?

A recent Think webinar for the Association Project Management shows just how powerful the right online event can be. With more than 3,000 registrations from a membership of 23,000 and high levels of attendance and attentiveness throughout the session, the webinar was deemed a huge success.

Ask resident Think webinar expert Matthew Rock what made it so and he’ll talk less about luck and more about clear planning. ‘Start by creating content that meets a clear audience need. For APM, that meant the subject of stakeholder management. Next, you need to sell the session as arresting and relevant. Get a great speaker (we had project management guru James T Brown) and make sure the chemistry between host and moderator is strong. Rehearse both from a content and technical perspective (using a robust webinar platform). And, finally, think about adding that element of surprise (James scribbles on his slides during the presentation).’

With a clear formula for success and intelligent technology on the market, the question membership organisations should all be asking is not ‘why don’t we host webinars?’ and more ‘why wouldn’t we?’ Matthew believes the answer lies in the fact that it’s often easier to revert to traditional communications methods such as holding a physical event or printing an article in a magazine. Then, there is an element of fear surrounding the technology, skills and potential lack of audience engagement. But, while opening up channels isn’t without its challenges, the rewards can far outweigh the risks.

Think’s advice? Take that first step. Trial a platform, secure a great speaker and get hosting. It might just work wonders for those member engagement levels.

Find out more: Visit www.thinkpublishing.co.uk/thinking for tips on how to make your member communications even more effective. And, for a checklist on how to write a great webinar, email jackie.scully@thinkpublishing.co.uk

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