It seems that success for print magazines is tied to their ability to embrace and make efficient use of digital tools. Video has been a staple of viral marketing for some time, and webinars have become commonplace in the business world. In this article we discuss how magazine publishers can use these formats to grow readership and advertising revenue.
First, what’s the difference between video and webinars?
Although they’re both delivered via a screen, video and webinars have some obvious differences.
Video provides a platform for visual messaging, but they’re static. Once a video has been recorded and edited, there’s no opportunity for dialog between the audience and presenter.
Webinars, on the other hand, specifically provide the audience an opportunity for real-time interaction with the presenter, and possibly even with other viewers.
Like an in-person seminar, webinars often include a presentation deck of text and images to help presenters get their information across. Video can be used as part of a webinar presentation, but more often, presenters are reliant on their voice and presentation deck to share information and keep viewers engaged.
In an article for EContent Magazine, Lin Pophal, a business journalist and content marketer, shares that webinar organizers may want to challenge this norm. “Especially when combined with video, webinars offer the ability for organizations to ‘get personal’ with their audiences,” writes Pophal. “Live formats allow for interactions through polls and online comments/Q&A.”
With a platform like Facebook Live, presenters can provide a webinar that incorporates live action and demonstrations.
Don’t forget that after the live broadcast of a webinar, the presentation can be made available for additional viewing. Of course, viewing later loses the opportunity for live interaction, but the content can retain much of its engagement value.
But, should you use webinars?
According to web content specialist Dan Shewan, you need to carefully consider whether or not webinars are a good fit for your content before creating a webinar. If you want to foster live interaction between your audience and select subject-matter experts, especially for how-to tutorials, then the answer may be yes.
As Shewan points out, a lot of work goes into producing a webinar or video. You need to be sure it’s worth all the trouble.
The potential for advertising revenue with webinars
Webinars offer an opportunity to generate additional revenue from your advertisers.
For example, if restaurants are already advertisers of yours, or if your magazine already creates content aimed at people who enjoy food and cooking, a good webinar might be a chef’s tips on preparing a Thanksgiving dinner. For a fee, the advertising restaurant could feature its chef, menu and event space as part of the webinar. And, potentially for a premium subscription, your audience would have the opportunity to interact with the cooking expert.
Naturally, the key to successful revenue-generating webinars is providing something of value to your audience and providing your advertisers direct exposure to your audience.
And, since you’re the expert at advertising, make sure you send email invitations to your subscribers and advertise the event in your magazine, on your social media and on your website.
Building readership with video
If a presentation doesn’t need to include live interaction, you can skip the technology issues related to hosting a webinar. Instead, you can create static videos and offer them to your audience for free, for a premium subscription, or a mixture of both. You can still incorporate your advertisers and the subject-matter experts they can provide.
So, what kinds of video topics would grab the interest of your magazine audience? Depending on your magazine’s content focus, it could be something common like how to make a quiche or how to maintain a perennial garden. And, it could even be a topic as niche as how to use a reciprocating saw safely and effectively. Your magazine staff could produce the video independently, or the production could be outsourced and funded with a partnership with one of your advertisers.
Here are ten tips to ensure your videos are engaging:
- Enlist a pro. Making a video is not just a matter of point and shoot. You need strong writing and videography. It’s going to cost, but you might be surprised how little.
- Simplify, simplify, simplify. Sometimes you can be too close to a subject—too “in the weeds”—to explain it without getting into too much detail. Knowing how to keep it simple is a good reason to hire a professional.
- Keep it short. Brief is better almost every time.
- Employ some humor. But don’t overdo it, unless it’s your shtick.
- Keep the focus on your audience. Shine a spotlight on the benefits to them.