The webinar is the newest wave of online promotion and marketing. Without a doubt, the webinar is the one of the most intriguing and still remains a tool being not being overly used today. Although it has been made popular by all types of business industries to reach the socially interactive audiences of the 21st century. That said, the majority of webinars have the goal of reaching their audience and selling their products in the most straightforward sense.
The general format that most webinars go for is so generic that is belittles the medium itself.
If you have been around enough webinars, you know exactly what I just described, all too well.
In this golden age of information, webinars have expanded their horizons quickly. No longer are they just elaborate infomercials with a simple product to sell the viewers. In the great weird world of modern webinar blitzkrieg, everything and anything goes. Some are to get online businesses to think outside of the box about their marketing and even how they produce webinars. Others are designed to market ideas or concepts that are already well outside the norm. Still others are so weird, that you will have to judge them for yourself.
Now prepare yourself for some of the weirdest webinars that have been produced for online audiences.
1. Do Your Webinar Backwards.
This is a webinar concept that encouraged the audience to forget everything they know about producing webinars. It was a project idea that came out of doing webinar productions for a company call Accelerance Out-Sourcing, who wanted to make their web productions stand out from other similar companies. What they did was very original and gives pause to anyone that has worked in traditional video production. They reversed the entire webinar and production process.
First the client and IT vendors were emailed questions that the production group thought should be addressed in the webinar. Next they conducted recorded interviews with all the webinar guests. The audio was savagely edited, along with a ton of killer slides to support the audio content, and finally all of it was synced with the audio track. Finally they rendered it all to video file formats for the live web conferencing platform, then played it live for the audience and explained everything in the Q&A afterwards.
The response was wildly positive and the speakers loved it, because they didn't have to work as hard to sound intelligent, look great and come across well to the live viewers. Backwards works better for experts who aren't trained speakers, when the topic works better with a back and forth dialogue, if the content is going to be re-purposed later or if the webinar producer is a control freak. This webinar was amazingly insightful.
2. The Best Pre-Recorded Webinar You've Ever Attended
Sometimes necessity gives birth to originality, even when using techniques that are known to everyone. Despite all the attempts for webinars to be flashy, high tech and use all the latest gizmos, there is something to be said for doing it all the old fashioned way. A webinar producer named Shelley Ryan was on location to shoot a live webinar, along with other speakers that each had an allotted time slot of 15 minutes. She was the final speaker of the program, when they ran out of time.
Oddly the show was a fireside chat style webinar at the first Content Marketing World event. Apparently the program wasn't about how to plan your webinars, so that everything is run on schedule and ends timely. Our damsel in distress went ahead and shot her own footage of what she planned to talk about, then later would produce her own longer version for the webinar format. This webinar is interesting, because of the juxtaposition of our speaker letting out frustrations as she records the original video, then giving her opinions about webinars dos and don'ts in the live unedited later version.
The point here is that sometimes context and relevance are everything. This webinar had nothing dazzling about it. It was basically an actual illustration of the worst case scenario and the opinions of someone having been through it, was very enjoyable to listen and learn from. Never neglect to realize that reality is more interesting than well worn concepts. It is real and it is humanizing.
3. How to Act Like a Zombie
Originally this was called the 'Zombie Webinar', but was re-titled for future events that continued using the theme in later versions of this webinar. It was a comic metaphor used by Providence Publications in their corporate webinars with Cal-OSHA Reporter and their collective employees. The webinar explained that with the immanent zombie apocalypse on it's way, there was only one true way to defend against the zombie horde, by learning how to act like a zombie. Then the audience was instructed on methods of how to dress, look and interact with zombies in the real world.
The webinar was using a comic metaphor to illustrate ways of interacting with customers in various niche marketing scenarios. The goal was to get viewers to understand how important authenticity was in niche marketing, but also what to do if you need to relate to customers and don't know how to communicate with them. This webinar actually inspired a second incarnation that was aptly titled, the Zombies are Coming, because it was so well received by employees.
What worked well here was capitalizing on how effectively pop culture translates into complex business ideas. Taking a mundane concept that maybe boring to a webinar audience, but bringing it back to life ( an intentional pun ). The idea takes on a new and energetic characteristics that gets the audience to identify with it, plus makes it fun. This will be reflected later, when the viewers go back to the workplace and share what they have learned. How to act like a zombie is a fine example of a well purposed webinar idea.
4. The Secrets of Erotic Hypnosis Webinars
This was the first in a series of exclusive and members only webinars, all of them produced by an online marketing guru named David Shade. Say what you want about some of the ideas in this webinar, when a product has a marketing potential, it will sell itself. Within this webinar and the series to follow are a well crafted set of ideas that become almost mythic, as explained in detail by the live speaker with other guests.
The whole webinar is very typically formatted from start to finish, but the use of dramatic content makes it's target audience shake with anticipation. Everything is geared toward knowing what the men watching have experienced, are feeling, and even gives them a lot of good advice, despite a strange mix of tantric sex, occult magic and scientific methodology. Everything presented in the webinar is highly unethical ( such as conversational hypnosis techniques to lure women into unconscious sex ) and extremely vulgar, but the presentation is so on target for the audience. Also the webinar is inspiration, after listening to it enough times, any low confidence male would be able to take on the challenges of dating and meeting women.
It just goes to show, how powerful the webinar medium can be. Anything can be presented in a way that appears interesting and acceptable, even if the brain should be able to process it differently. Nobody is recommending this webinar experience, but the work of companies like this are case studies in the strengths of modern programming techniques. The same way that subliminals were once used for brainwashing in advertising, now webinars can do the same with less elaborate technology. There are many wicked secrets of erotic hypnosis within the webinar, all probably work is the scary thing.
5. Psychic Television and the 23 Enigma
This last webinar and many others like it, were produced by an underground organization called the Temple of Psychic Youth or TOPY. The goal of this TOPY webinar was an orientation style introduction to the principles practiced by elder members of the organization. TOPY utilizes a combination of concepts to fund their global interests, but here is the simplest version of what they do as an online business. Essentially TOPY markets itself by being an underground music, arts and media entertainment corporation. All artists come from the membership of TOPY, so there is a cult like family structure that keeps the commerce within the wider TOPY circle internationally. Cult or not, TOPY has been around for several decades and they use two main ideas that were the focus of this webinar.
The first is the 23 enigma, in simple terms TOPY believes that be focusing energies and meditating on the number 23, as a collective. Contract signings, recording dates, musical appearances, live appearances and nearly everything done by members for the organization is done on a year, date, time, minute, or second that numerically equals the number 23 mathematically. TOPY is very ritualistic and formally committed to this, because members then focus on the success of such dealings and artistic endeavors, so that the whole membership is more successful.
The second topic is the practice of psychic television. TOPY believes that the TV is an electrostatic medium for talking to others from a distance and influencing events around the world, simply by staring at and focusing psychic energies through your television set. The organization makes fantastic claims from having made speakers stutter during presidential addresses to causing quarterbacks to fumble football throws during the Superbowl. Psychic television is used between members and branches of TOPY to communicate, but more importantly they use their magic powers to sell music, books, and art around the world. TOPY calls these practices Chaos Magick. The webinar focused on using this for online marketing campaigns and have chaotic influence on the world, which one assumes is lots of fun for the kids.
These are a only a small sampling of many weird webinars that have been produced for online viewers. The choices listed here range from the somewhat practical for business to the stranger than fiction variety. The point is not to argue whether anyone should accept any of these webinars at face value, rather to illustrate the wide range of ways that this medium can be utilized for marketing. What all these examples of webinars have in common is a commitment to their product. Each believes strongly in what they are promoting and give ample evidence that the audience should as well. Each also illustrates how different styles of marketing through either production, promotion, and persuasion can be used to hit home with a chosen target audience. Also all of them have been very successful in their own right.
Keep in mind these strange and original uses of webinar marketing, as examples to draw inspiration from at some point. They are each profound illustrations of how far thinking outside of the box can go. With webinars and online video production, the medium is the message. This means that a webinar must find ways to connect with the live audience, not just pound an idea at them and clobber them with relentless advertising techniques. The best webinars need to have a meaning, be memorable, create magic, and dare to be weird, or it's really just another video or web cast.