How to Manage A Successful Webinar: 3 Key Elements

If your Company is evaluating the sales potential of a Webinar to promote your products or services, you must consider the following three foundational  elements in order to be successful.

1.       Compelling Content: Yes, your products are bleeding-edge and have a great reputation in their respective markets, but Webinar attendees did not want to sit through an infomercial. Before starting the process, carefully consider what content would serve your Company (and sales needs) best.  If your key audience members are generally researchers, then give them useful discussion topics with a hands-on theme. Be sure to pick general hot-button research applications, lessons learned, tricks of the trade, and how-to guides. Once you have the top-level topic in place, then you can highlight how your products and tools can facilitate and overcome these common pain points. It also helps to add dynamic photos and videos, but be sure that this multi-media content works before you conduct the Webinar.

2.       Guest Speakers: A well-known Company representative can certainly be a draw, but your guest speaker is honestly who they come to hear. A thought leader’s opinion regarding your products will not only carry more weight, but can also help demonstrate to Webinar attendees that they too can overcome the same hurdles and get positive results; usually more quickly and efficiently than the methods or tools they are currently using. Make sure that your guest speaker is carefully walked through the process, and offer as many rehearsals as needed. The more comfortable the guest speaker is with their process and presentation, the more engaging the Webinar becomes.

3.       Time, Resources and Commitment: This is the most important factor of the three. You can have the most engaging content, a renowned industry leader as your guest speaker, and an excellent pre-registration response rate, but if your Webinar is not properly broadcasted or there are severe technical problems, then attendees will promptly leave the Webinar and you won’t be able to leverage the recording for  future downloads. When it comes to Webinars, the devil is in the details. If your PR or Marketing departments cannot devote the time to thoroughly manage the process, then seriously consider not moving forward or hire an outside firm . Technology problems will always occur, but most can be avoided or worked around with a few rehearsals and frequent testing of the equipment. All speakers need to have their content ready ahead of time for practice and timing, and this preparation also includes moderator scripts, attendee polls, post-Webinar surveys, etc. It’s a lot of preparation time and more than you would anticipate.

If your Company can successfully manage these 3  elements, then a Webinar is definitely worth the effort. Webinars are a cost-effective tool that can produce significant ROI if you strike the right balance between engaging content and product promotion.  Interested in learning more about what goes into the process? You can access the Hamilton Thorne Webinar Series here and listen to our latest, and most popular, Webinar on “Advantages of Using Lasers in Embryo Biopsy Procedures” with guest speaker, Dr. Barry Behr of Stanford University.

Making Mom Proud, I am Actually Featured in an Industry Article!

For those of us in PR, you know the drill. You tell a friend, a neighbor, your family members that you are in public relations and it is always a lengthy explanation of exactly what you do. For the most part, people get it, but there are always a few who just can’t seem to grasp the nuances. My favorite person dealing with this confusion is my Mom.  She wants desperately to be proud of me, so when I tell her that I placed a great article, she goes through the same list of questions:

Question #1: “oh great, so you have a byline in the article (she was actually a journalist at one point in her career, so she is using this term in the traditional sense)”.

My answer, “No Mom, I didn’t write the article (hence no ‘byline’) and it’s also not a bylined article (ghost written by me, but would be credited to my client/executive anyway), but ‘my story’ ran in the [insert fantastic pub here]…”.

Question #2, “So you were quoted and featured in the article? Well that’s excellent news, I can’t wait to read what you said!”

My answer, “No Mom, again, I only secure articles for my clients/executives, PR people are rarely IN the article.”

Question #3, Now with a lot less enthusiasm, “Ok, so your client/executive is in the article, well that’s, um, very good.”

My Answer,  “…thanks?”

I am happy to report to you, and my Mom, that I have indeed been featured in the November/December issue of PharmaVoice’s 2012 Year in Preview, as a public relations professional (I was in a USA Today article back in 2005, but that was in regards to being a new parent, so it doesn’t count).

So without further ado, here is the PharmaVoice  article, enjoy! http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/7e0af12c#/7e0af12c/80

 

3 Reasons to Consider a Digital/Interactive Annual Report

Well, it’s been a while since my last post. I have been busy, with planning an Annual Shareholder meeting  in Toronto (which went very well), putting out Q1 earnings and launching two major products…phew!  In between, I (along with my supremely talented Marketing Director Cindy Rodzen), managed to create an interactive annual report. And look! A blog post about it is below from our blog The Cell Colony. Happy Viewing!

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It’s the end of the year and you are thinking about your upcoming annual report and how best to reflect the Company’s successes and milestones. The numbers can speak for themselves, but when engaging with a variety of audiences from investors, partners, customers, and employees, why not actually have your management team “speak” to them.   

Here are three reasons to consider a digital/interactive annual report:

1. Put a face on the management team and employees

  • When it comes down to investing in a company, you certainly look at their product lines and financials, but you are also investing in the people. Showcasing personalities and passion for the work will go a long way.  

2. Leverage multi-media

  •  Do you have a corporate video, broll, photos, employee testimonials, podcasts…why not use them for your annual report? Seeing employees in action is a great opportunity for outside stakeholders to understand how employees collaborate and interact with each other in the work environment.
  • If you do not have multi-media in-house, you should consider making room for it in your budget for 2011. There are cost-effective ways to commission quality multi-media projects that will have a high impact.

3. Make it interesting, and dare I say, Fun?

  • Pictures and video are great, but it can also come off as “talking heads” or static. Consider putting in something fun such as an interactive photo gallery where the user selects what and how they would like to view.
  • You can also consider something that viewers can manipulate and engage with that could make their viewing experience fun. Our report had a user propelled 360 degree rotating view of one of our flagship products.

Come see how we did it; view Hamilton Thorne’s Interactive 2010 Annual Report!

 

From the Tooth Fairy to Stem Cell Collection; Could Your Child’s Baby Teeth Save Lives?

As I mentioned, I will be featuring my Hamilton Thorne blog posts on my personal blog as well, in order to feed the beast and keep my blog alive and well. Since many of us are parents with children having lost, or about to lose, their baby teeth, would you collect them for a stem cell bank? Would you consider it if that meant possibly saving their lives down-the-road for a potential illness? Read and discuss!  

As a Mother of a 5-year-old son, I will soon go through a parent’s rite of passage of my child losing his first baby tooth. Usually the only concern would be how much money the “tooth fairy” is going to leave him under his pillow, but maybe now I should consider donating his baby teeth to a stem cell bank. Believe it or not, this is a growing trend despite medical science not quite being able to deliver on the promise (just yet).

Here is a recent article from the Miami Herald discussing this topic, “South Florida and around the world, dentists are extracting baby teeth, wisdom teeth and even healthy adult teeth, and researchers are spinning out stem cells that they believe can be used to regrow lost teeth, someday even to repair damaged bones, hearts, pancreases, muscles and brains.”

In addition to the Miami Herald, there have been several other articles dedicated to this topic of late, as well as a feature news story even back in 2008 from GMA/ABC NewsCould Baby Teeth Stem Cells Save Your Child?

So should we as parents start collecting our children’s baby teeth in order to help them fight potential life-threatening illnesses? Or in the case of ourselves, should adults have their own teeth extracted for future treatments for our own possible diseases? From the current available data, it appears that the answer to that question may be a bit premature.

According to the Miami Herald, “There are concerns. It’s expensive, costing $590 upfront plus $100 a year to store the stem cells from up to four teeth for up to 20 years. It’s speculative, with the first FDA-approved practical use of such stem cells years away.”

With that said, there have been numerous breakthroughs in 2010 in both stem cell research and regenerative medicine. The New York Times reported on the remarkable year that the industry has had in 2010, with all signs showing that the next few years will be even more exciting. So maybe banking our children’s baby teeth might be a good alternative for stem cell collection if the science continues to move full speed ahead.

Which brings me back to my original concern, just how much do you pay your child for their first lost tooth? My parents used to give me a quarter, but should I account for inflation? And if so, how would you go about calculating that amount? I bet there is an app for that, time to search the Droid store!   

baby teeth, Courtesy of ABC News

Uh, Oh! I think I killed my Tamagotchi Digital Pet

Well, I started my career on the other side of the fence [I went corporate!],  and I have to say, so far, so good! It’s been non stop since I walked through the door, and in 4 months, I have managed a corporate photoshoot, a video production project, 3 investor tours (Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto), put out 6 press releases, secured 5 media interviews and gotten some nice coverage, developed the 2011 budget and communications plan, and oh yeah, I created our newly minted social media strategy!

Which leads me to the reasons why my wonderful blog, or symbolic “Tamagotchi” as the title suggests, has not gotten any love, care or feeding, and is on the verge of content death. But never fear–not that my lack of blog posts is keeping anyone up at night–with the new Hamilton Thorne blog soon to be launched, I will be posting across both blogs to take advantage of my fleeting free time.

This post should satiate my pet for a little while, but I promise to not let my proverbial Tamagotchi get so close to death again!

Maybe It is Time for Ned Ryerson to Retire? When New Business Is No Longer Essential to Your Job.

 I knew that going in-house was going to be very different, but I have to admit, I was completely unprepared with just how disoriented and lost I was going to feel at my first networking event. It was a membership event at an association that I actively participated in when I was with my prior agency. This association was a prime new business resource for me, and I have even brought in my biggest client at one of their events. I always go to these events with a game plan; I look over the room for the best prospects, hone in on them and then put on my best Ned Ryerson impersonation…sans the “Bing!”, glasses and hat, and hopefully slightly less annoying.

 But attending the membership event yesterday, I just felt off-balance. I went into the room with my usual “sell ’em” attitude and business cards in hand, but then realized, who am I targeting? What a strange sensation to no longer have to bring in clients to grow my agency. I would love to say it was liberating, but I have been so gung-ho for the last several years, it was almost painful for me not to try and sell people.

The funniest moment was when one of the organizers that knows me pretty well, tried to set me up for a new business opportunity. I stood around politely for my turn as she spoke to another person. I could sense she was annoyed with me hovering, and was probably doing her best to tolerate me until the inevitable moment when I would swoop in and make my sales pitch. When the “prospect” mentioned that she needed to increase her company’s PR, the organizer thought that was my cue and without missing a beat said, “…If you need a PR pro, well Lisa is who you need to speak with!” I politely thanked her for the kind introduction and simply stated that I only wanted to give her my new business card and wish her well. As soon as she read my business card, her mouth fell open. Not only was I not making a sales pitch, but now I had become the prospect (potential new member). I watched as she switched gears and went into her own selling mode. That, I have to say, was actually a lot of fun. I guess I could get used to becoming the prospect for once!

So I guess I have to hang up my Ned Ryerson hat for now, and ease into the fact that the shoe is now on the other foot. I just don’t know why it is so hard for me to give it up; is it because I actually sold insurance?! Maybe that’s it…Bing!

And Now For Something Completely Different; Going In-house!

 

After a decade of agency life, I am trading in my client portfolio and timeslips for the corporate world.  It will certainly be an adjustment to be “in-house”, but I am very excited to begin this new chapter in my career. I will still be focusing on media, investor relations and social media in my blog,  so stay tuned for more insights from a very different perspective.

Although I will miss the culture, energy and collective creativity of PR agencies (I have worked with some remarkable people over the last 10 years), I am eager to see what new challenges lay ahead. And as the Monty Python boys would say, “And Now For Something Completely Different.”

Wish me luck!


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