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Shireen Qudosi

Small Business Marketing Tactics: White Papers vs. Webinars

Aug 19 2011, 07:12 PM by

The marketing equivalent to the proverbial “paper or plastic,” white papers and webinars have become competitive when it comes to great organic ideas for reputation building and client accruing strategies.

You’d think marketing white papers couldn’t compete with digital media savvy webinars, but you’d be wrong. With new digital platforms making white papers more accessible, webinars have been given a run for their money.
White Paper v. Webinar: Round 1 - White Papers Satisfy with Utility
Consider the Audience - Both have their benefits. White papers get more traction simply because not everyone or every company is media savvy. Everyone can read a paper and pass it along easily. But we’re not quite at the point were everyone can treat a webinar file/link the same way. Research shows that white papers are also more likely to be circulated (and go viral) than webinars. That alone is a huge marketing plus since going viral is highly coveted no matter what your industry is.
Speed - When it comes to research, white papers can let you really dive into a subject and show off a wealth of information in a way that webinars can’t. Any professional would rather scan through a document and filter through the table of contents to get to directly what they need, rather than sit through what would inevitably be a very long video were it turned into a webinar.
Lack of Time - Additionally, people don’t always have time to spare just for a webinar. We’re so inundated with inboxes, to-do lists and piles of projects that the thought of sitting through a lecture is just time we can’t afford. So it makes sense to read through a white paper when we have the time, especially since white papers are known for their professional sources whereas anyone with a webcam seems to be able to create a webinar.
Where to Go - If you do go the white paper route, definitely utilize Scribd, which has become the source for hosting content-rich documents by top industry leaders.
Webinar v. White Paper: Round 2 - Webinars Dominate with Engagement
Duality - Webinars can compete with white papers by producers turning webinars into digital text files that might also include notes and questions from audience interaction. In this way, a webinar competes with white papers by being media savvy, but also transforming into a platform to reach its less savvy audience.
Engagement - Videos are also a far more engaging way of interacting with your audience than just a paper alone. A white paper doesn’t allow for live feedback, nor does a white paper draw a real-time audience – all of whom will grant you a more defined reputation since you clearly demonstrate a strong following.
Where to Go - The most reliable source for hosting a webinar continues to be GotoMeeting. However, you should also check out leading competitors, including WebEx, which allows for online meetings, web conferencing and desktop sharing. I’d check out the free trial for both GotoMeetings and WebEx by running the same closed webinar on both platforms.

There’s also Yackpack, Vyew and Iotum. Iotum is currently used by Facebook as part of their first attempt to complete with Google Plus’ ability to allow users to conference call.

If you really want to break down webinars and white papers, it would come down to the fact that webinars are traditionally best for B2C (Business to Consumer) marketing whereas white papers are best for B2B (Business to Business) marketing. In my opinion and history though, I employ both for cross-functional purposes and have been very successful. For a demonstration of a live email marketing webinar, click on the link to sign up for one today.

Posted in Online Tools and Applications, Growing Your Business

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