By now, most content marketers are aware how valuable video content is—especially as it grows in relevance in the coming years. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have worked furiously over the past few years to optimize the video uploading and viewing experience, from introducing auto-playing videos in newsfeeds to enabling the use of live video feeds. New apps like Meerkat and Periscope have similarly enabled more convenient, reliable live video streaming for users and have become radically popular in the process.
In 2016 and beyond, any brands who make clever use of live streaming video content will stand to benefit—users are hungry for this content, but most businesses will be slow to adopt it as a pillar of their online marketing strategy. It pays to get in early, but that also means you’ll be probing the unknown without an established set of best practices to go by—so where do you even begin?
You can start by pursuing one (or hopefully, more) of these ideas for successful live streaming content:
Let’s say you’re attending one of the biggest industry conferences of the year, or that your business has a special booth set up for an event in your area. Use live streaming to cover your attendance at the event. Anyone attending will be further immersed into the event, and those not attending will have the opportunity to feel as though they are. How you cover your attendance is up to you—you might walk up to other attendants and ask their thoughts, walk around to different booths, or just start streaming to cover some of the main highlights.
There’s some overlap here with the “special event” idea, but here you’re going to be focused on a specific speaker. Again, that speaker is up to you—it could be a major influencer in your industry or a local politician who showed up for a special event. Your live video will act as a portal to your followers, giving them access to a speaker they might otherwise have missed out on. You can also use this opportunity to engage with some of your viewers, talking about your thoughts on the speech and uncovering theirs.
Interviews remain one of the most effective pieces of content for sheer practicality—you don’t have to plan them much in advance, and because you’ll be dealing with another influencer in the industry, you’ll automatically get some extra credibility and an extra push when it comes to syndication. If you’re planning out a major interview, it might be better to film and perform some editing work, but live streaming gives you an opportunity for impromptu interviews; talk to some people on the street, or some of your coworkers. You never know what you (and your viewers) might learn.
Is there a complex topic on which you’re an expert? Something that’s easier to talk through than it is to write out? Do you have a strong opinion on something you haven’t gotten the opportunity to express? Now’s your chance to make the most of it. Do a quick round of prep, turn your camera on, and let the words flow naturally out of your mouth. Your audience will love the sincerity and reality of the moment, and if you want, you can follow it up with a written or otherwise recorded piece.
Most live streaming apps and features allow for written correspondence during streaming sessions. This makes it a perfect opportunity for a question-and-answer segment. This is a live stream you’ll have to schedule a bit in advance—ask for some questions in advance that you can prepare to get the ball rolling, then take live requests as you continue your answers. You might eventually encounter a question you can’t or won’t answer, but your viewers will be forgiving, considering the nature of the medium.
How many of your customers have seen your office, or where your products are made? Give them an office or factory tour, introducing some of the most important members of your team and a taste of the cultural environment that produces the business they’ve come to know and expect. It illustrates a human element of your brand, and encourages people to form a closer relationship with your business.
Of course, you can always use livestreaming to convince more people to buy your product or service. Forgo the potential skepticism associated with edited videos and offer a “live” demonstration instead. It will lend you more authority and make the demonstration seem more real and more believable. You might want to do a dry run before going with the live cast, however—the last thing you want is for your product to malfunction during a live feed.
As you might imagine, the most successful streaming content will follow many of the same rules other successful content must follow; you have to be original, informative, timely, and entertaining, all at once. The improvisation factor will make you more vulnerable, exposing you to the possibility of error or interruption, but you’ll also seem more sincere, more personal, and more up-to-date with the latest content trends. Experiment to see which approaches work best for you, and never be afraid to try something new.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.