'WWD' Finds Success With Webinar Strategy During Pandemic

WWDhas run a webinar for some time, however, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the brand saw an opportunity to serve its audience in a way that would keep it connected it and help it deal better during a time of uncertainty.

The result is a three-part webinar series called “Crisis Management and the Coronavirus,” led by WWD’s senior editorial team.

Each episode features industry experts who focus on themes such as what to do with an overabundance of supply to ecommerce to what’s going on in the fashion industry worldwide. For example, WWD has offices in Milan, Beijing, London and New York, among other cities. During the first webinar, a WWD editor from Milan spoke to the audience about what’s happening in Italy amid the outbreak. 

“Being a B2B publication, this is a time when business is amplified by 100%,” Paul Jowdy, Chief Business Officer at WWD, told Publishers Daily. “The thing about a webinar is, you hear a voice, which makes it a little more community-driven.” He added WWD has hosted webinars in the past, but they’ve generally been sponsor or media-driven. 

Sponsors have been gravitating to these webinars, too, eager to connect their products with an engaged audience, but did so after seeing WWD’s ad for the series. Jowdy shared that the first time WWD ran the ad, he received about a dozen calls from solutions providers who wanted to be a part of it.

Jowdy has ensured brands attached to each episode serve a specific need of the audience, with his editorial staff vetting brands that best fit the audience and worked into content in various ways.

A brand might be a noted advertiser, or, if it has something valuable to add to the webinar, its content might be added to the webinar’s deck.

In the webinar’s next episode, First Insight’s CEO Greg Petro will share his thoughts on working from home, price points and which parts of the industry he thinks will bounce back first. First Insight is a consumer shopping and insights company.

The webinars are also a means of connecting people in the industry with each other. During the webinars, a community chat takes place simultaneously, where participants can ask and answer questions. Jowdy noted that many participants were small-business owners looking for information from those experienced in problems similar to theirs.

The first webinar of the series, which took place on March 18, recorded a 70% participation rate with 1,209 registrations, double the participation WWD has seen with past webinars. Episode two, set to air March 25, has 1,473 registrations. 

Following the success of the first episode and the soaring registration for the second, Jowdy expects to produce a webinar weekly. WWD will also begin to produce similarly themed podcasts to accommodate those who in other time zones. The first podcast is expected this week.

“For people who haven’t listened to podcasts or webinars, this could be a sea change, where they come to rely on this type of content as they participate and see what they were missing,” said Jowdy. He anticipates the brand will continue to produce webinars for the foreseeable future, as demand continues.

 

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