Successful content marketing takes time and energy and let’s be honest, as you begin to develop your strategy, you simply can’t do everything at once. Writing a daily or even weekly blog may seem simple at first, but when you add keyword research, interviews, graphics, photographs, CTAs and careful integration into your broader digital marketing workflow, not to mention content calendar, it can get complicated. Then there are all the other ideas funnelled your way from those outside the public relations and marketing team. Once you do have your foundational processes down, though, one of the most significant (and potentially daunting) next steps you can take is the introduction of live video. Here are five things to consider as you contemplate how to introduce live video into your content marketing strategy.
Determine Where Live Video Fits in Your Content Strategy
Live streaming video has come a long way since YouTube and Facebook Live, meaning there are countless ways to integrate it into your content strategy. You need to decide where it fits and where it doesn’t. Facebook Live is great for public awareness, general consumer marketing and cultural events. It doesn’t really do anything to build your marketing lead list, though. More professional audiences might gravitate to LinkedIn with its new and growing video integrations and although the audiences may be smaller, depending on your goals they could be a perfect fit.
Almost every webinar platform now offers a live video streaming option and with some technical know-how, a small team can produce a highly polished live broadcast for very specific audiences. Webinars also give you the opportunity to build lead lists with email registration, restrict audiences to current customers or clients, and answer audience questions live, which builds trust and thought leadership on a topic.
The important thing is to determine what you want to accomplish and how/where live video can help you achieve those goals. Start there, grow as needed and when you’re ready, plenty of new platforms like Restream or StreamYard will allow you to live stream a single event to multiple platforms simultaneously, giving you the opportunity to amplify your ROI without investing the time and energy necessary for multiple events.
Make a Plan For Your Live Video Event
Once you know where live video fits into your content marketing strategy, it’s time to make a plan. A solid, executable plan will be the difference between an awkward, rambling live video experience that no one wants to repeat or a successful event that has your customers, clients and leadership excited for more. That all begins with the format. Decide who your live video streaming event should feature and how. Will it just be them and the camera? Will there be guests or will you need a moderator to guide the broadcast and make sure everyone stays on task. What about slides or pre-recorded video elements (think commercials)?
Once you know the format for your live video event, decide on a topic and build your outline. In general, the more specific you can make your topic the better. A focused topic helps you target your audience and allows them to self select for topics that offer the most value to them. If you’re capturing emails through a webinar platform and integrating with a broader digital marketing plan, this helps you keep that list as clean and qualified as possible too. If you go too broad, you could easily miss your most qualified customers.
When it comes to the outline, make sure you highlight the key points you want to cover and when, but avoid trying to write a script. Unless you’re working with trained news broadcasters or acting talent, no one on your team will be able to follow a detailed script for the full duration of the 30-60 minute live video event and asking them to try is a recipe for disaster. Instead, think in bullet points and rehearse them ahead of the event so a moderator can quickly and easily get your talent back on topic if necessary.
Keep It Professional On-Air
Beyond treating a live video streaming event with the same respect and professional decorum you would offer your customers and clients in person (and yes, that will vary by company), take the steps ahead of time to make your broadcast look as professional as it can. That means in addition to clear topics and professional presentations, you need to find spots to integrate your company’s branding and other clear messaging. That includes a clear Call-To-Action or CTA so those watching the live video event can take the next step you have in mind for them. Remember that they’re not going to figure that out on their own. You need to clearly and professionally tell them what that next step is and why it is right for them.
On top of branding, if you’re stepping into the live video arena, you need to look the part too. Although we tend to get more relaxed when we’re on a webcam vs. in the conference room, you need to treat live video streaming events as though they were face to face meetings with your customers and clients. A company vice president once asked us if something was OK for them to wear for their live video briefing with clients. We simply asked if they would wear it if the same clients were coming into the office. They went and changed.
Identify and Solve Technology Challenges Ahead of Time
Take a deep breath and prepare yourself. You will face stumbling blocks as you introduce live video into your content marketing strategy. It’s inevitable, but instead of allowing yourself to get frustrated or lose the confidence of your executive leadership, help yourself and everyone around you realize that this is a learning process. Each event gets better based on what you’ve learned from previous live events. There are only so many problems you can fix beforehand, but that said, put in the time to find and solve as many of those problems as possible.
If you rush into your first live event, expect a disaster. Instead, take the time and practice, ideally with everyone who will be there for the live event. Host a practice live event that no one can see but your team. The more problems and technology challenges you face during practice means the fewer roadblocks you’ll have to overcome once you finally hit that “Go Live” button for real.
Focus on Results Before Next Steps
Live video can be exciting and if your first event goes relatively smoothly, expect an adrenaline rush for everyone involved as soon as you wrap up. Energy levels will be high and ideas will be flowing for the next event, but once you celebrate, this is where you need to hit the pause button. Start digging into the data from your event. Compare it to your goals. Did your Facebook Live event have high reach and views, but few to no clicks on your Call to Action? Did your webinar have exceptional attendance (35–40% of registrants is average), but most attendees left after the first five minutes? Dig into those results to learn what worked, what didn’t work and what you can improve for future events. That way, each live video streaming event your company hosts will be bigger, better and more awesome than the last one.