Making the Most of Online Events
Publishers looking for new revenue streams are finding success with Webinars and virtual events, online offerings that combine the convenience of from-your-desk access, live expert commentary and lower overhead for publishers. While occupying no more than a window on a desktop screen, smart publishers should pay attention to the style, environment and functionality built around online events as much as the quality of the content, Tim Stark, Penton Media's director of online events, tells Publishing Executive Inbox.
INBOX: What considerations make for a successful webinar - are there different rules (content, logistics, etc.) compared to a live event?
TIM STARK: The word successful is a subjective term. From the point of view of the party hosting the event, a successful webinar would be seen as delivering relevant and quality content to their audience through a flawlessly executed and professionally marketed online event. From the point of view of a presenting sponsor, success can be looked at both the quantity and more importantly the quality of the audience viewing the webinar. We have managed events that have had well over 3,000 live attendees and other events with less than 25 people in attendance. Both events were considered successful by both the host and the sponsor.
INBOX: How do you publicize your webinars? Is publicity mostly tied to your existing products or do you find ways to reach potential new audiences?
STARK: Our webinars are marketed through a variety of channels. Direct email and newsletter promotions, various web ad units on our publications' sites as well as print components, both as ads and editorial mentions. We have begun exploring social network marketing through various Twitter feeds as well as paid targeted Facebook ad campaigns.
INBOX: Why do you think webinars have proven so successful for you in terms of drawing participants into your events segment?