Five Tips Legal SMBs can use for Surprise Webinars

As a part of SMB Week, we’re highlighting the webinar tips, tricks and hidden secrets any small organization can deploy for better webinars. This article was originally published on jdsupra.com.

Most webinars are part of your firm’s long-term strategy: they’re programmed and planned out well in advance. So what happens when big news that you need to translate for your clients breaks on short notice? More to the point, how can you develop and deliver a meaningful webinar in 24 hours? Here are five suggestions:

1. Work with Seasoned Attorneys

You need subject matter experts of course, but your webinar will go more smoothly when you’re working with lawyers who are familiar with the format, who have done webinars before, who are comfortable with the pace, the provider, the ways questions are asked and answered. Attorneys who’ve already presented webinars for your firm will be able to focus their limited preparation time on the topics to be discussed rather than how the webinar works.

2. Send Personal Invitations

Mass emails announcing presentations on important topics can work when time is on your side, but on a quick turnaround it’s better to send personalized messages to those contacts most affected by the issues you’re discussing (your profiles of clients and past webinar attendees will tell you who those people are).

Craft your message to make it clear that you know the topic is relevant to the invitee – because they’ve attended similar webinars in the past or downloaded a white paper on a related subject, for example – and remember that the goal of your webinar isn’t to transmit knowledge, it’s to build and enhance relationships with the people in a position to hire your firm. Personal invites can do that.

3. Don’t Overthink the Slides

One of the most time-consuming tasks for developing a webinar is the preparation of slides. That’s because, by and large, people tend to try to cram too many ideas onto their slides, to list all the points they’re covering, to fill up the blank page with words. When you’re on a short deadline, the best way to get around this is to stick to the essentials and limit your bullets to the principal points of the discussion. Use the words – and images, if you can – to accent your presentation instead of recapping it. Leave attendees with concepts they can remember.

4. Invite the Media

Clients and potential clients aren’t the only ones who benefit from your insight and perspective on timely legal developments. Journalists too will appreciate your timely explanation of the impacts that changes in the law, for example, will have on the companies and individuals for whom they are writing. You’ve probably already got a list of reporters who cover these issues, those who’ve quoted your lawyers in the past or called you for background or attended your press conferences. Invite them to your webinar (with a personalized invitation, of course).

5. Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Good

You’ve heard it before, but that doesn’t make it less true: seeking perfection can get in the way of producing something good. When you’ve got less than 24 hours to develop, publicize, and stage a webinar on a breaking issue, you have to be realistic about what you can achieve. That doesn’t mean settling for a sloppy presentation or a glitchy webinar, but it just might mean letting go when things aren’t perfect.

* * *

With immediate analysis of current developments, your lawyers get out in front of the issues affecting your clients’ ability to do business. And with a well-produced webinar, you develop valuable collateral that later audiences can access on-demand, when their schedules permit and when they’re ready to act on it. That’s a win-win for everyone.

Is there anything that you would add to this list? I’d love to hear about it.

For more information about how ON24 helps legal firms conduct top-tier webinars, check out the legal section of our website. 

3 Ways Small Businesses Can Make Webinar Videos Work

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video may be worth a million.

No matter what business you’re in, it’s likely that your customers are increasingly tuning in to video content online. According to MarketingProfs, in the U.S., each person consumes an average of 19 hours of online video content each month. This trend is likely to increase – Cisco expects the number of people watching online videos to double to 1.5 billion by 2016.

Videos are a great way to get a lot of information across succinctly, and research shows that video can hold attention longer than audio or text alone. In fact, according to ON24’s customer benchmarks data, live video events are watched for 20 percent longer average duration than audio events.

Yes, video is more complicated than simply reading a script with only audio. Businesses of all sizes are still wrestling with how to use video effectively, and, especially for smaller companies with limited budgets, this can seem like an insurmountable task.

The barriers to more widespread adoption of video by SMBs can be broken down into three major categories:

Cost

SMBs are on a tight budget and often can’t afford to hire a professional third party to produce video content. SMBs are also tight on time and often are forced to focus efforts and budget on other high-impact priorities.

Resources

Videos require an articulate and comfortable spokesperson, for one thing. A small business is not always equipped with an eloquent spokesperson eager to jump in front of the camera. And while larger companies have evangelists who perform this task, oftentimes with an SMB this falls to a product manager or marketing VP who already has a laundry list of other priorities. In addition, while enterprises rely on IT teams to help support the content creation process, SMBs often lack a dedicated IT team that can aid in the technical aspects of video initiatives.

Technology

SMBs may lack the necessary technical equipment, including high-quality cameras, speakers and good lighting, needed to produce a professional video. Many SMBs also lack the marketing know-how to effectively broadcast and distribute that video content. And what is the point of content if it’s not distributed properly?

Fortunately for SMBs, integrating high-quality video content into marketing programs doesn’t have to be impossibly daunting. In addition to platforms that may immediately come to mind like YouTube, Vimeo and Vine, there are also other formats, like video webinars, that enable you to reach thousands of people in an interactive and professional way, without the need for IT expertise. With webinars, you can also track and rank leads to better measure your results.

SMBs can further maximize their investment in video content by chopping it into “digestible” segments and redistributing portions of it across social media, the company website and partner/customer newsletters, for example. The specific content of the video will determine the channels that are most appropriate.

Audience demand for video is fast-growing, and the business that is up to the challenge stands to gain. Those that don’t will be left behind. Text- and audio-only communications may well become as “quaint” as faxing documents!