I recently wrote that firms are beginning to implement strategies built around “digital first” programming designed to favor online events, even in the future when physical events are possible again.
...online events can fill in the gaps when in-person programs aren’t possible.
It’s easy to see why they are doing that: among other things, the pandemic has made it clear that online events can fill in the gaps when in-person programs aren’t possible. Through digital, firms are able to continue providing leadership and guidance to clients, maintain important connections to their audiences, and gather valuable data that shapes future programming.
The most likely scenario for the future is a hybrid of digital and in-person programming, where digital events play a greater role than ever, complementing in-person conferences and seminars.
So what can firms do today to prepare for that hybrid future? These three things, for starters:
1. Increase Online Programming
I’ve talked about it before: as clients respond to unforeseen events and challenges – the pandemic, of course, but 2020 has also brought unprecedented natural disasters, changing federal regulations, global trade wars, and other developments that affect business operations and success – they need your firm’s insight and guidance more than ever.
Increased production of thought leadership allows your lawyers not only to address a broader range of issues, it also lets them provide more in-depth analysis on the subjects they cover. And additional programs give you increased opportunities to provide greater value, establish relationships with clients and potential clients, and position the firm as a go-to, authoritative resource on a broad range of issues.
2. Strengthen Your Data Stream
You’re already tracking analytics of your written content and webinar attendance to guide the firm’s thought leadership – which articles and blog posts are being read and shared? Which programs draw the most attendees, and the most follow-up from participants? You’re capturing audience feedback, both to improve the delivery of the firm’s webinars and to confirm that you’re addressing the topics your audiences care about.
To that, add other data you capture, like which bios and practices are getting the most attention on your website and which posts are getting likes and shares on social media accounts, to better understand the topics and people you should be promoting.
Supplement with anecdotal information from lawyers on the issues and concerns their clients are asking about. And finally, as in-person events become safe again, include participant responses and feedback to round out your data stream.
3. Simplify Processes
Easy is important. To successfully increase programming, your lawyers need to be able to propose new topics, get marketing support for webinars, and translate client interest into thought leadership, without having to jump through budgetary hoops and complex approval chains.
You can help them by streamlining the procedures for turning ideas into client-facing activities, like developing a standardized webinar request process that includes workflows for practice group approval, audience identification, and content production.
...make it easy for your lawyers and practice groups to propose data-driven programs.
Another way to simplify the webinar creation process: send out a weekly email to lawyer and practices seeking ideas based on new regulations, recent decisions, and what they’re hearing from clients. Include data you’ve compiled on potential topics – content that’s being read on the website, issues the competition is writing about, current events, and more – to make it easy for your lawyers and practice groups to propose data-driven programs.
These three steps will help you improve your current webinar stream with more programs focused on the very issues most important to your audience. What’s more, they’ll set your firm up for success in what promises to be the new normal of event programming.
[Katie O'Rourke is Regional Vice President, Sales at ON24. Connect with her on LinkedIn; follow for her latest writing on JD Supra.]