Using webinars to become a thought leader in your field is an extremely smart and efficient way to gain new followers and boost your credibility.
Before we begin suggesting ways you can become a thought leader by hosting webinars, we want to be sure you understand why this is a good goal in the first place. Make no mistake about it, nothing will increase your credibility (and sales) like becoming a thought leader in your industry.
You’ll also greatly reduce the amount of money you have to spend on each new customer.
So what exactly is a thought leader? Well, another way of thinking of the term “thought leader” is as an influencer. People with this kind of stature in an industry can influence everything from buying decisions to major trends.
Think about people like Warren Buffet, Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk and Mark Cuban. People hang on their every word. It’s not surprising, then, that they all make a lot of money.
Now, to be clear, we’re not saying this article will turn you into a thought leader by the time you finish reading it, but you will have a much better idea of how a webinar can help you reach this level of influence in your market.
Below are a few reasons why you should start hosting webinars to position yourself as a thought leader in your space.
Use Webinars to Build Social Proof
One of the most important ways you can become a thought leader is to prove to others that you’re a respected member of your industry.
Unfortunately, doing this usually takes decades of hard work and unparalleled achievement.
While that’s certainly one route to take, most people would rather opt for the shortcut to becoming a thought leader: rubbing shoulders with other thought leaders.
With webinars, it’s easy to put together interviews with these people. The more you do this, the more people will begin associating you with this level of success.
Another huge benefit is that you get to network with these thought leaders and will most likely learn some helpful lessons simply by doing so.
Of course, you could always network and interview these experts in a blog post or on a podcast. However, a webinar is far more dynamic. As it’s still a fairly uncommon form of media, it also works well as a method of distinguishing yourself from the crowd.
Not Everyone Hosts Webinars
Let’s expand on that last paragraph a bit. As we said, you could interview a thought leader and turn that into a blog post if you wanted. This would most likely produce a beneficial result, too. It certainly couldn’t hurt things.
That being said, a webinar is next-level media. Any company could post a blog right now if they wanted to. Most people could also send a list of questions to a thought leader and then reprint what they had to say.
There’s something about actually interviewing someone and presenting it as a webinar that makes the people involved look so much better. The audience can automatically tell that the company behind this approach is doing more than their competitors.
Webinars Are an Effective Tool for Building Email Lists
Here’s another great way webinars put you in a unique position to become thought leaders.
Again, let’s compare it to more common forms of content. With a blog, people may read what you have to say and decide to come back later to read more. They may even decide to subscribe so they can get updates when you post again in the future.
How confident are you that they’ll do this, though?
After all, they don’t have to subscribe to view your blog. Most people will do anything to avoid another email in their inboxes, too.
What usually happens is the vast majority of readers simply sidestep that request.
You can still become a thought leader by regularly posting your blog, but it should be obvious that this is going to involve a steep uphill climb.
On the other hand, by using a webinar, you can require people to first provide you with their email address in order to gain access.
This is so helpful because now you have a method for directly communicating with them. You can use this opportunity to consistently build yourself as a thought leader. Show them case studies that speak to your successes; introduce groundbreaking ideas; let your list know about upcoming interviews with more great thinkers in your field.
The list is endless and, while you do want to be smart about how you leverage it, an email address makes it all possible.
Webinars Make It Easy to Cover Complex Ideas and Demonstrations
One way that webinars beat out every other form of content marketing is the combination of visuals and their duration. In short, you can show people how to do things and you also have plenty of time to explain complex ideas.
Going back to the popular blog post, it’s generally impossible to do either. Obviously, your use of visuals is limited, which, in turn, limits what you can teach people.
Likewise, if an idea gets too complex, you can’t do it justice. No one is going to read a post that keeps going and going, especially if it’s about something that could risk becoming confusing.
With a webinar, any topic is fair game. It’s worth coming up with a list of things your market wants to know – ideas that could make you a thought leader – and then covering them in your webinars.
Webinars Provide Live Help
A big part of becoming a thought leader is establishing connections with your audience. They should look at you as a reliable source of information and also someone they can truly trust.
Don’t underestimate this. All other things being the same, the person who clearly has their audience’s best interest at heart is going to win the most market share.
With a webinar, you can build this connection by holding Q&As where you answer viewer’s questions. If it’s a live session, they can literally type them in while you answer others. If you’re not up for a live session, keep an inbox open for people to provide their questions in between sessions.
The other nice thing about this is that you’ll know exactly what your market is interested in, which can help you create other pieces of content in the future.
While your competitors are doing their best to analyze feedback from their posts, you’ll have your market telling you exactly what they care about and you’ll be seen as the authority figure who’s kind enough to provide them answers.
Your Webinar Can Become a Profitable Product
That alone should be enough reason for you to become interested in doing webinars. People from every industry are doing them solely as a source of income.
The interesting thing is that charging for your webinars can also help you become a thought leader.
One reason for this is the level of exclusivity you’re providing. Everyone is more interested in things they can’t have for free. This should come as no surprise. By charging for attendance, then, you may actually enjoy larger audiences in the long run.
The second reason involves another psychological principle, which is simply that we tend to associate value with price. Therefore, if someone says they’re giving a free webinar, many people may attend, but most will also assume that this opportunity is going to be underwhelming. After all, it’s free.
If you charged $50, though, people will adjust their expectations. Now they are more likely to believe that your webinar is worth $50. Of course, this also means that they’ll think your webinar is worth more than anything that’s being given for free.
To be clear, you still have to deliver. If you don’t, people will be upset and ask for refunds. As long as you do, though, you’ll be well on your way to building your profile as a thought leader.
Recording Regular Webinars Will Keep People Coming Back
Although this may be difficult for you, we encourage you to schedule regular webinars if you want to speed up your path to becoming a thought leader.
Sure, it’s going to be a challenge to come up with this much content, but consider two things:
- After you build up your audience, you can always just hold Q&As; you can even invite guests on to answer questions.
- Along the same lines, you can continuously bring on other influencers from your market (and, as we mentioned at the beginning, increase your own profile by doing so).
Over time, content creation will become easier, too. As you see your audience grow and begin experiencing the benefits of this new level of success, you’ll also find it’s much less of a chore to come up with content.
Anyway, the point of this section is that holding regular webinars will help you become a thought leader in your industry by increasing your attendance numbers. If people know you go on every Thursday at 2 pm, they’ll be more likely to leave that slot open.
This is also a good way of taking mindshare in your market. Every Thursday, you’re going to be on your market’s mind because they’ll remember you’re about to speak at 2 pm.
Webinars Are Easy to Repackage
A moment ago we talked about the importance of mindshare. You definitely don’t want to lose this to anyone else on your path to becoming a thought leader in your industry.
By providing your audience with lots of content, it will be easy to hold onto and grow the amount you have, too.
Webinars are obviously a phenomenal form of content, which we’ve covered already. Despite our love for them, though, they’re definitely not the only kind you should be using.
In fact, you want to diversify your content marketing approach as much as possible. Google loves this for SEO purposes, but your audience will appreciate it, too.
Therefore, after each webinar, consider typing up a transcript. Unless you’re going to include closed captioning on your webinar, this will be very helpful for the hearing impaired.
Some people would appreciate having a transcript simply so they can take notes and reference your webinar later in an easy way.
You can also include show notes. These are links to anything you may have brought up or touched on during the show.
Having all of this typed out on your website will give Google plenty to scan. At the moment, the search engine doesn’t have the ability to understand what your webinar is about, so this is a very smart move. The fact that it can help increase your rankings doesn’t hurt, either.
Someday, Everyone Will Be Hosting Webinars…So You Better Start Now
One word we used at the beginning to help describe what a thought leader is was “influencer.” They’re someone people look to because they’re constantly influencing their industry and also aware of new trends before they become widespread.
Webinars continue to grow in popularity and, someday soon, companies that don’t do them will be the exception, not the rule.
If you take a look through your industry, you might even see that this is already happening.
You don’t want to be left behind. There is absolutely no way anyone will think of you as a thought leader if you’re only producing blog posts while others are putting out regular webinars. You’ll look old-fashioned and out of touch – two terms no one wants associated with their brands.
Start now before you have to launch a webinar just to keep up. You want the rest of the industry to look like they’re the ones trying to stay current while you’ve been doing it for years.
Webinars are important to do for a number of different reasons, many of which we’ve touched on in this post. One of those with the highest potential, though, is to become a thought leader. If you’d like help with this, BigMarker is at your service. Hosting amazing webinars on BigMarker is easy! Sign up today for a free 14-day trial or send us a message to get in touch.