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Okay, so the concept is a little meta, but Thomson Reuters hosted a webinar called “How to Use Content-Based Webinars to Generate Leads and ROI,” which I attended last Friday afternoon.

Guest speakers were Cameron Brown, President and Founder of King Fish Media, and Lisa Tanen-La Fontaine, Director of Marketing Management for Prudential Retirement.

First of all, it was interesting to see a live webinar with such high production values. Thomson Reuters carries all their video events from a real studio located in Times Square. This was my first time participating in one of their programs, so I was a bit taken aback at the quality.

But on to the important part: as always, content ruled the day.

The single biggest bombshell for most folks was probably the statistics from research conducted by King Fish Media. In their 2009 study on marketing, media and measurement, 74% of companies surveyed stated that based on their current experience, creating their own original content and media is the most effective means for generating marketing return on investment (ROI).

That bears repeating:

74% of companies said that creating their own original content and media is the most effective means for generating marketing ROI.

Now look at the pretty picture:

Courtesy King Fish Media

Courtesy King Fish Media

 

Now look at what you’re doing. The companies in the survey are shifting their overall marketing priority to a self-published model, and have demonstrated that model is making them money. Do they know something you don’t? Are they doing something you’re not?

The whole notion is based on the concept of owned media. Paid media (advertising) and earned media (articles written from press releases) still exist and can be used effectively, but owned media–self-generated content–provides the greatest opportunity to invite people in rather than speak at them. This level of interaction is de rigeur in today’s media climate, and people expect credible content and interaction rather than one big sales pitch.

Owned media also provides the greatest flexibility in media consumption.

By owning your content, you can repurpose and redistribute it across as many channels as you see fit. You can update it as conditions change and new information becomes available. In other words, unlike ephemeral press coverage or a fixed media buy, owned media can last forever.

Another salient point from the discussion was customer awareness of the “empty ask:” when companies ask for their opinions, feedback or questions, people are generally savvy enough to recognize when the company is patronizing them, not actually wanting to hear the answer or follow up. The solution here is to ask and mean it; commit to following up.

Finally, the speakers emphasized the importance of making it as easy as possible for the user or customer to take action. No matter what media or channel you’re using, always make a call to action available and obvious so that you move from education or information dissemination to action. Whether the action is the sale or a request for more information, you’ve transitioned the user from a passive observer to a customer. They are now on your list; they’re a warm lead that’s worth money.

I highly suggest checking out the Thomson Reuters Best Practice webinar series. They’re free and highly informative and useful.