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Four tips for converting webinars into thought leadership articles people will actually read

Converting webinars into thought leadership articles people will read requires more than simply polishing and publishing a webinar’s transcript.

Today, webinars are still important marketing and business development tools for attorneys and law firms, even though there might be fewer webinars today than there were during arguably the peak of webinars: the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

While you can read online about all the ways attorneys and their firms can repurpose webinars into various content marketing and thought leadership marketing assets, I want to focus here on how to repurpose webinars into thought leadership articles that people will actually read.

Here are four tips for doing so.

Decide who the article is for and make that clear in the title

Attorneys and law firms often target webinars to specific audiences. Articles derived from those webinars should make it clear whom those articles are for.

Sometimes, webinars are targeted to broad audiences, such as when a CLE webinar targets attorneys in a particular geographic region or a practice area. Other times, the targeted audience might be more narrow, such as in-house counsel or executives within a particular industry, or relatively new litigators.

If potential readers don’t know that an article is targeting them, they won’t know they should read it. Thus, attorneys and their firms need to decide who the article is for and make that clear in its title.

For example, a 60-minute CLE regarding construction litigation might be mostly geared toward general practitioners, but could include a few topics relevant to experienced construction litigators. An attorney or firm should decide who the article is going to be for: general practitioners or seasoned construction litigators.

After they decide (based on their overall marketing and business development strategy or the fact that the presentation has more information relevant to one of those audiences than the other), they can convert the webinar to an article focused on the audience they chose, and make that choice clear in the title. For example: “Construction litigation: Tips and tricks for new practitioners,” or “Construction litigation: Advanced techniques for maximizing damages.”

Likewise, if a webinar was targeted to a group of healthcare executives and focused on artificial intelligence in healthcare (because what else is there to talk to healthcare executives about these days?!), the title of the article will be more likely to draw in readers if it was “Five things healthcare executives need to be thinking about when implementing AI in their companies” versus “Implementing AI in healthcare companies.”

Embrace slicing and dicing what was discussed during a webinar

Even when a webinar seems like a perfect fit for an article—from the first word spoken until the last—attorneys and their firms need to be comfortable cutting down the contents of a webinar to fit a reasonably sized article.

At one of the law firms I work with, four partners presented a 70-minute webinar. I was asked to repurpose that webinar into at least one article. When we created a transcript for that webinar, we learned the attorneys spoke approximately 10,700 words during it.

No matter how compelling that webinar may have been, nobody is going to read 10,700 words in an article derived from it—not even the presenters’ families.

When converting a webinar into a thought leadership article, attorneys and their marketing and business development colleagues need to be comfortable removing portions that don’t translate well to an article, could be consolidated, or could translate well to their own articles (more on that in a moment).

Just because a topic was discussed during a webinar doesn’t mean it needs to be included in an article derived from that webinar.

One webinar could fuel many articles

On a related note, attorneys and their marketing colleagues should understand that one webinar could provide substance for multiple articles, and should not leave on the cutting room floor material that deserves to be featured in its own article.

The webinar I mentioned above, in which roughly 10,700 words were spoken, could have been converted into three or four articles of between 1,000 and 2,000 words each, depending on how much the presenters wanted to build on what they discussed during the webinar.

If a webinar has discrete sections that an attorney or their marketing staff can carve out and use as the foundation for additional articles, it behooves the attorney to get as many bites of the apple as they can with one webinar by converting as much substance as possible from it into additional articles.

For instance, going back to the example above about a construction litigation webinar, if there were discrete sections that could be carved out and used as the basis for other articles that would be of interest to an attorney’s target audience, such as ones covering pre-complaint investigations, discovery, experts, trial techniques, etc., an attorney should consider carving them out.

But if the webinar jumped around from point to point and blended numerous areas together, it makes sense to create only one article from the webinar.

Incorporate the audience’s questions throughout the article

When converting a webinar into a thought leadership article, sprinkle the audience’s questions—and the presenters’ answers—throughout the article where appropriate.

Even though audience members’ questions aren’t technically part of a webinar presentation, the questions they ask could be insightful and mirror questions readers might have as they read an article derived from that webinar.

For that reason, when writing articles based on webinars, attorneys should weave into those articles the questions audience members asked and the answers the presenters gave. They can introduce these questions with phrases like, “Some people may be concerned,” or “There’s a concern within the industry that . . .”

If audience members asked questions that elicited even more knowledge and wisdom from the attorneys presenting than they expected to convey based on their presentation and prepared remarks, why waste an opportunity in an article to show off to readers that additional knowledge and wisdom?

Increase the returns on an investment of non-billable time

When your attorneys invest non-billable time into creating a webinar, they should be thinking about how they can get as much bang for their buck out of it. A great way to do that is to create one or more thought leadership articles from the webinar.

Following the four tips above can help attorneys and their marketing colleagues convert webinars into thought leadership articles people will actually read.

Thinking about bringing on an outside writer to help your law firm strategize and create compelling thought-leadership marketing and business development content? Click here to schedule a 30-minute Content Strategy Audit to learn if collaborating with an outside writer is the right move for you and your firm.

Wayne Pollock, a former Am Law 50 senior litigation associate, is the founder of Copo Strategies, a legal services and communications firm, and the Law Firm Editorial Service, a content strategy and ghostwriting service for lawyers and their law firms. The Law Firm Editorial Service helps Big Law and boutique law firm partners, and their firms, grow their practices and prominence by collaborating with them to strategize and ethically ghostwrite book-of-business-building marketing and business development content.

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