Live streaming is another serious tool in your content marketing utility belt and should be treated with the same respect and care as all your other tools.
In fact, it might be even more useful than other communication methods, as one survey found 80% would rather watch a live stream than read a blog and 82% would rather watch a live stream than read a social media post.
5 steps to create the perfect live stream experience
Good content marketing requires strategy, and that goes for your live streams too. With these five steps, you’ll be able to use live streams to engage and excite your audience:
- Develop a plan. Each live stream should be focused. It should be about a compelling topic you want to share with your audience. It should be professional and casual all rolled into one. From its professional side, think of a good title for the stream (used when you are actually streaming) and an outline for the presentation. Remain more casual, however, in your speaking—like any good presentation, make your prepared speech sound impromptu and conversational. And finally, add your live steam to your marketing calendar and make it a routine part of your overall strategy.
- Design your live stream broadcast space. The brilliant thing about live streaming is you can do it from your phone, tablet, or computer—no other equipment needed. However, there are some easy things you can add to your broadcast space to make it even more attractive to viewers. First, if you are using a phone or tablet, use a desk tripod. Second, test your video and audio to see if you need enhanced lighting or a microphone to provide your viewers with the best audio and video. And finally, look behind you. What elements can you add behind you to unite your live stream with the rest of your brand? Be it a blank wall and logo, or a sheet in on-brand colors, your backdrop can be the final bit to bring unity to your stream.
- Promote your live steam in advance. Live streaming is much less an “If you build it, they will come” affair and more an “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, will it make a sound?” Meaning: You have to let your audience know a live stream is coming. Since you picked a topic and title, show it off and promote it in your other content marketing, especially, if possible, on the channel in which your live stream will occur. Make your live stream an event. Excite your audience until they can’t wait for it to happen. Engage them before the actual stream even happens.
- Record your live stream. All live streaming services have an option to record the stream. Always record it. If you’ve planned your live stream right, you’ve presented a conference-worthy presentation. Having this as a recorded video asset is invaluable. Post it on social media and upload it to your video channel so others who missed the live stream can learn from it and get on your email list (see step 5). Your recorded live stream will provide you a host of other benefits, which we’ll cover in the next section.
- Provide value to use after the stream. Your live stream is providing something important to your viewers. But don’t let it the information pass and disappear into their memories—give them something to take with them and provide a call to action. Always think about the next step. It can be as simple as, “If you want the exclusive tip sheet summary of this live stream, go to my website, give me your email address, and I’ll send you the PDF.” Now, you are providing them something extra to keep with them (full of your branding and contact information), and in return, you have collected them into your email list. Just make sure you are upfront on how you will use their information. (If you’re new to live streaming, this is a common practice.)
Benefits of a live stream
Live streams provide many opportunities to engage your audience. Use them all to the utmost to keep your audience interested in and talking about your brand.
Before the live stream, you need to promote it.
Maybe that promotion comes as an email campaign, posts on social media, or a combination of all your content marketing tools. Keep mentioning it, build the excitement, and enlist your followers to spread the word. You can even do tiny live streams to promote the live stream (live stream inception).
During the live stream, enhance the engagement.
With an in-person presentation, normally the only feedback you get during it is applause or laughter. Sometimes you can do a “raise your hands” response for an informal tally or vote, but that’s about it. With live streaming, you have some wonderful tools at your disposal. Most live stream platform will let you create real-time engagement by conducting live polls. You can also end your presentation with a Q&A session. And since all the information is being recorded, you’ll have data to use for other projects—including promoting your next live stream.
After the live stream, follow up with the participants.
Assuming a lot of participants gave you their email address to get your takeaway, you have a lot of new emails to thank. Take this as a time not just to thank them, but to promote your next live stream. While you’re at it, ask them to help you spread the word about your live streams. Give them something they can easily share on social media and encourage them to do so.
After the live stream, repurpose the recording.
Good content is a gift that keeps on giving, as you repurpose it into other forms—and live stream recordings are no exception. Post them to your favorite video sharing service and build a repository of presentations. Create a webpage around them. Take the information and write a blog, article, or social media post. Take the supplemental information learned during your polls and Q&As, and construct an infographic. Once you get a few live streams under your virtual belt, the connections and repurposings will grow exponentially.
Live streaming is a fun way to deeply engage with your audience while reaping numerous rewards, but only if you have a plan of attack. Doing it as part of your regularly scheduled content marketing strategy will give you new ways to keep your content flowing and provide bonus touchpoints to interact with your audience.