34 Tips, Tactics and Considerations for Using Webcasts to Expand Your Brand
On Oct. 19, Book Business held its first webcast for book publishing executives. The webcast was on—what else—but webcasts. Titled, “Expand Your Brand: Webinars for Publishers,” it featured the following speakers:
• Twila Bennett, director of marketing, Revell/Baker Publishing Group
• Suzie Cross, assistant marketing manager, Revell Books
• Sharon Linsenbach, director of e-learning, North American Publishing Co.
• Noelle Skodzinski, editor in chief, Book Business
• Jeffrey Yamaguchi, online marketing manager, HarperCollins.
Book Business compiled the following tips, tactics and considerations for using webcasts as effective marketing and sales tools, based on its recent webcast. If you missed the live event, you can view it at www.BookBusinessMag.com for more in-depth information behind these tips.
First, some background. Some people think the terms webinar and webcast refer to two different things, but according to most experts, the terms are interchangeable. Despite experts’ definition, however, the term webinar suggests to many people more of an educational online seminar, often with a PowerPoint presentation, while the term webcast seems to suggest an online video broadcast.
Regardless, book publishers are beginning to take advantage of webcasts, with many different goals in mind.
Goals and Uses for Webcasts
1. To promote new and existing titles
2. To promote new authors
3. To promote other books by popular authors
4. To enable the audience to connect with the author
5. As new revenue streams (charging for educational webcasts)
6. To deliver revenue reports to investors
7. For publicity, to supplement or replace author tours
8. To supplement book content and add value
9. To present authors as experts
10. To present guest lecturers that coincide with current titles on the market to keep momentum/interest growing
11. To build an “experience” around the book for someone who is considering buying the book or is being introduced to a new author
12. For books based on timely events, to connect the book visually to news coverage of the author or event.
13. To show to your sales reps to generate internal enthusiasm for new titles and authors
14. To give to your sales reps to use as a sales tool
Tips for Producing Webcasts
15. Hire at least one staff person with webcast expertise.
16. Train existing staff extensively.
17. Find a full-service webcast solutions provider that is known for reliable customer service, will be available to address technical issues during live events, will be as hands-on as your company requires, and will have the technology to support your audio and video needs.
18. Consider hiring an outside company for production of video components.
19. Shop around, view samples and check references. There are many professional-quality videographers out there who won’t charge a Hollywood-style fee.
20. Start small. Work through the growing pains of the process on a manageable (in terms of both size and budget) project first.
21. Consider formats. Some video/media players will run only on PCs, and some webcast platforms may have limitations on Macs. Consider whether you should use Flash for video components to make them Mac-compatible.
22. Be aware of how different webcast solutions providers charge. Some may charge lower initial costs, but a per-view charge once the webcast is launched.
23. Make sure the authors or speakers you decide to feature are engaging.
24. Educate your authors/speakers on the process, deadlines and what will be required of them throughout.
25. Do dress rehearsals to make sure everyone is comfortable with the format, and even suggest that they practice for live events.
26. Have speakers check in for live events a half-hour early to allow time to answer any last-minute questions or address any technical difficulties.
27. At the outset, make a list of every step involved in the process, from finding a webcast solutions provider and technical help to training staff on the platform to shopping for videographers, whether you will be shooting footage on location, educating authors, writing and reviewing scripts, you name it.
Tips for Promoting Your Webcasts
28. Send out e-mail blasts about four weeks in advance to your house lists and to purchased lists, including a link to the webcast. For live events, also send reminders the day before and the day of the webcast.
29. Advertise on relevant Web sites and newsletters, and target these audiences with targeted ads.
30. Run banner ads on your company’s Web sites.
31. Mention the webcast in your company’s blogs.
32. Advertise the webcast in print, and on radio and television.
33. Send press releases about the webcast out to the media.
34. Get journalists or celebrity types to introduce your webcast or moderate your event.