Tonight I am starting my semi-annual binge watch of The West Wing.
No matter how many great TV shows are out there, something always draws me back to this Sorkin masterpiece that ruled primetime for its 7 seasons back starting in 1999. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of watching this political drama, it is loosely based on the young staffers who comprised the Clinton administration. It aspires to tell a story of how a small but committed group of people can change the world and provides a behind the scenes look at how the white house operates.
I know Sorkin isn’t for everyone. His characters are smug, overly intellectual with a level of recall for facts and events that completely unrealistic. He has been attacked for his weak portrayal of women and his overt liberal ideology, which he cannot help inject with vigor into everything he does. Personally, I love his writing. I love the way he crafts words and more than anything love his story telling. When you decide to take the plunge and watch this show, always look to the end credits to see what episodes were penned by Sorkin (because in order to create 23 episodes a season for network TV he had a team of writers helping out) and you will always note that there was bit more in that episode, something special came together, something pulled at your heart.
So what does The West Wing have to do with webinars? Do not worry I am getting there.
The right message only works with the right vehicle
The West Wing had over 370 nominations and won 118 awards including 26 Primetime Emmy wins. But the West Wing didn’t start out as a TV Show. It was first a movie. Remember back in the 90’s when there were big Romantic Comedies? I ask because now these movies don’t exist but The West Wing actually started as a romantic comedy which was a vehicle for Michael Douglas called “The American President”. It was a decent movie. Not award winning. Not hard hitting. Nothing exceptional.
The first script Sorkin delivered for the American President was apparently almost four hours long. Way too long for a rom com. Not what the studio wanted. So he cut it down but after the movie he felt his story was not fully told. He turned the access script into The West Wing. The Pilot did well. The first season better and from there the story continued to be told for just over 115 hours.
This story needed the TV medium. It needed the ability to develop characters, extend back stories across multiple episodes and the room to tell a story that evolves.
It would never have been an Oscar Award winning movie (Sorry Aaron Sorkin you know I love you)
Have you ever felt this way with your content marketing?
You have a message that you know needs to get out. You start to write a blog or an e-book and you feel like you cannot get your full message out there. It’s likely because the medium is not right for your message! Like Sorkin (I told you I would bring it back to The West Wing) you have a story to tell but you chose the wrong medium to deliver it. Even though this is the Better Webinars Blog, I do not believe that the Webinar is the ultimate delivery vehicle but it certainly has its place in your content marketing strategy and like Aaron Sorkin found in the success of The West Wing sometimes finding the right medium makes all the difference in how your audience receives your content!
So when should you use the Webinar to tell your story?
- When you don’t have room in another medium: The webinar gives you room. The average live webinar is viewed by an attendee for 56 minutes. When speaking English we deliver on average 150 words per minute which means the webinar allows you to deliver over 8000 words. That’s like 10 blogs! Sometimes a message needs to address nuance. The webinar provides you the space to do just that!
- When you need to capture the magic: Have you ever been in the room when a product manager or senior leader in your organization pontificates on a subject and you think..OMG….that is the message I have been looking for! You cannot replicate it. You had to be there to hear his passion and understand the context of the message. You just wish your customers or prospects could hear it too. The webinar allows you to replicate that scenario and capture the magic of the moment to allow your audience to hear the passionate/ profound/ awesome message from the horse’s mouth.
- When it’s all about having answers: Sometimes things happen, markets change, and the greatest value you can give your audience is commentary and providing your prospects or customers answers to their pressing questions. Unlike most another content marketing strategy the Webinar provides you to promote audience engagement and questions, answer them in real time and show beyond any uncertainly your organizations subject matter expertise.
“Those who tell THE stories rule the world”
This native American proverb reminds us about the power of storytelling. We are all trying to become better storytellers. We know we need to. So even if we have a compelling message and have figured out the correct medium to deliver it we need to be good at telling the story. We don’t need to be Aaron Sorkin West Wing good but we need to be better!
At the end of this month The Streaming Network will host Ron Tite of the Tite Group on the Better Webinars desk to discuss “The Art of Story Telling” Register now.