ReadyTalk just announced a new feature that lets webinar organizers create and distribute a press release as an integrated step during the scheduling and setup of the event. You can read details and see screen shots on the ReadyTalk blog at this address: http://j.mp/rtalkpr
This is a fantastic concept, and I am not aware of any other web conferencing vendor with a similar capability. Sure, there is nothing going on here that couldn’t be done manually through standard press release creation and distribution services. Anybody can write a press release, include hyperlinks, and pay for it to go out on the wires using any of the myriad press release distribution vendors. But small businesses or webinar administrators might not be comfortable with that process. The first time you go through the motions, you wonder if you are doing things correctly.
ReadyTalk has made the connection between scheduling a webinar and promoting it easy and template-driven. They automatically put you into the press release software (iReach from PR Newswire) with default text and the registration link for your event already embedded in the template. All you have to do is edit the text to better suit your preferences and select a distribution/payment option.
I have long advised webinar marketers to use press releases as part of their webinar promotion strategy. A press release is a great way to get your registration link picked up by search engine indexes and associated with your topic keywords. This tight integration makes the process just convenient enough that more small businesses might give it a shot.
If you are thinking of trying this out, I’ll offer a few snippets of advice from my career in corporate marketing:
If your company has a marketing or corporate communications department, check your verbiage with them for approval. You won’t believe how much those people care about what goes out as an official announcement with the company’s name on it! If you do an end-run past them in order to save time, somebody will end up yelling at you.
If there is ANY chance your company might go public within the next year, consult your legal department before putting out press releases. The slightest bit of exaggeration or future tense announcements can come back to haunt you during an IPO.
If you have the luxury of no formal departments and corporate structure to deal with, use that flexibility! Stand out from the boring, watered down “company-speak” press releases they are forced to put out by using some humor or hyperbole or a conversational style. Look at what has happened to the guys at Dollar Shave this month by daring to be different!
Don’t forget to track effectiveness. ReadyTalk lets you construct campaign-specific URLs for registration. Use a unique URL in your press release so you can see if anybody followed it to your webinar.
This is an exciting integration and demonstrates that webinar vendors need to start thinking about new ways to increase the total value proposition for their clients. Assistance with marketing and promotion is a constant request from webinar organizers. Kudos to ReadyTalk!