Whitepapers Versus Webinars In Reaching An Online Audience

Whitepapers and Webinars are both helpful tools in reaching an online market, and both have their particular uses and benefits. Whitepapers are designed to be authoritative and in-depth getting their name from their government counterparts. Where a webinar is just what it sounds like a web based seminar. Let’s compare the two to asses, which better serves your marketing needs.


The Best Things About Whitepapers

From a marketing standpoint, whitepapers are designed to educate and inform the audience about an issue or idea. Most often, this comes in the form of an in-depth guide on solving a specific kind of problem.

Generally, whitepapers are used to help gain leads in a business, for example the audience will be asked to enter their email to receive the information. Whitepapers are popular and offer a great way to introduce your business to potential clients or customers.

Above all else, these are persuasive in nature, though not pitching a product or service. Whitepapers can go viral when readers appreciate receiving in-depth information on a particular topic, which means that you will reach a larger audience and engage more leads.


The In-between On Whitepapers

One of the issues with whitepapers is they are typically very in-depth and therefore do not appeal to an audience who is looking for fast and simple information. The Internet audience especially has a very short attention span; they want to get what they need, and get it quickly. In addition, many simply do not have the patience or inclination to sit and read a 5-page report.

The flip side is that typically whitepapers are academic in style and therefore convey a lot of information. For many professionals this is exactly what they are looking for, a detailed solution to a problem that they can skim and find the information they need. This part comes down to who your audience is.

Webinars on the other hand offer a more dynamic experience where the audience can be swayed with personality, emotion and engage with humans, instead of reading text.


The Best Points For Webinars

Webinars offer a big competitor for whitepapers, partially because it is an opportunity to truly interact with the audience. Audience engagement is important, webinars provide the best of both worlds, where archives can be posted on site, and live presentations provide time and an outlet for feedback and questions. This interaction level can really help to put your business on top when it comes to lead conversion.

Webinars actually give you some information about your customers, those who sign up for webinars are already interested, meaning they either are interested in your brand, or respect what it is that you do or are simply looking for a solution to a problem in the niche or industry. This underlying interest will allow you easier access to converting them to a customer.

Webinars also let you get more information from your prospective customer. Webinars give the feeling that they offer more value than something like a whitepaper, a chance to listen to and interact with an expert on the subject matter they are interested. This means that people will generally be willing to provide you with more information. One example of this is the Q & A session that allows the presenter to gain knowledge about industry related customer needs, concerns, desires, and problems based on the audienceís questions.

One of the biggest reasons that webinars are more effective than whitepapers is that the personality of the presenter as well as the dynamic nature of the presentation can shine through, as opposed to a whitepaper that is just plain text. This can go a long way to developing brand.

When people attend and enjoy the information being presented a positive association and appreciation is established for that brand. This can lead to viral and word of mouth marketing gains that can improve the companyís bottom line exponentially.


Not All Content Is Appropriate For Whitepapers

Webinars can be used for a wide variety of purposes and goals where whitepapers can never be effective, for example:

  • Product launches
  • Software demonstrations
  • How-to presentations that require demonstrations to be useful and effective
  • Various types of educational or informational content that is enhanced by video, images, polls, Powerpoint slides, graphs and charts, all elements available in webinars, but not with whitepapers.

Of course, there are instances where webinars are not an appropriate choice and where whitepapers would better serve the intended purpose. Perhaps in cases where the audience is smaller or for purposes that do not necessarily require audience engagement.


So Who Wins?

There isn’t a clear winner in this battle because when it comes right down to it you need to know your audience, your business, and the goals of your business, both in marketing and in brand development. One thing is sure, if a webinar is suitable for your needs it can and will grow your business as it has for the thousands of companies who use them every day.

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