One of our content marketing consulting clients recently asked us, “Is live video worth it for marketing?” and, if so, “how should we use live video for marketing?”
To answer their questions, I interviewed my C&C colleague and strategist, Lauren Teague, who was an early pioneer in social media live video during her years with the PGA TOUR (yes, that PGA).
In this post, she shares the three most relevant situations and opportunities for marketers to utilize live video to promote a marketing message or agenda, and the three most common mistakes marketers make when pursuing live video content. Let’s dive in:
What are the biggest opportunities to use live video for marketing?
The best reasons to use live video are for one-time-only events or opportunities, such as product launches, or the types of things your audience would tune into. These include red carpet events and interviews (not necessarily with celebrities), B2B shows and conferences, your customer-centric events, webinars, live, tradeshows, keynotes and more.
Not every brand is going to have an event on the scale of the Apple Developers Conference, but almost every industry has key customer events that not everyone can attend.
Think of the most important things in your industry that only happen once. We call them exclusive opportunities. These opportunities appeal to those who want to be the first to know. Play on their fear of missing out (FOMO is a real thing!) and allow them to to join in, in real-time. This creates audience demand.
Recurring Shows and Interviews with Subject-Matter Experts
Next, there are the events that allow the viewer to be front and center. Think of the opportunities that give them access: a scheduled appointment, an ask-me-anything format or recurring shows (interviews) with subject-matter experts within the organization.
For these live events, consistency and continuity are key. These are not one-offs; they are regularly scheduled, real-time shows, just like those that television networks produce. Schedule a reccurring time period, like a lunch-time chat or open office hours. This very flexible format works great with B2B, B2C and industry associations.
Video for Press and Media
The third is live video aimed directly at the press and media. This is a forum to help get ahead of a newsworthy event, add your perspective quickly, and have a voice in the story being told — rather than letting someone else (a competitor) frame that narrative. Being live in front of an audience increases authenticity and credibility. It allows the audience—the media and subsequently their audiences—to feel like they’re getting their information directly from you as opposed to a manufactured press release. The format also spurs additional media coverage and dialog. Being accessible is important to the media, and live video delivers that.
What are the most common mistakes marketers make when attempting to capture a story via live video?
I’ve seen these mistakes made over and over so please, learn from what others are doing that can be improved upon.
Simply Going Live for an Algorithm Boost
The first is to believe that simply “going live” is worthwhile just to garner an algorithm boost. That is not true anymore (if it ever was) because so much live video was crap. Crap video content is not compelling, so audiences quickly tune out. Time spent is an important metric to every social media network, and they’ll deprioritize as quickly as they incentivize.
Algorithms evolve to promote the most compelling and engaging content, which at one time did include live video – but doesn’t anymore.
Going Live Without a Plan
This is a big one — DO NOT do live video without a plan. Live video does not mean spontaneous, shoot from the hip, wing it. That won’t get you the best results.
You need to pre-test lighting, audio equipment, background noise levels, internet access and background traffic. Have a loose script or talking points to keep on message. Create a production schedule or rundown to account for any inclusions or timing elements. After all, you’re doing this to convey something meaningful to your audience, so don’t squander the opportunity and waste their time.
Even though it’s live, rehearse and have a plan. Without preparation, you can miss the chance to shine when the moment counts.
Going Live and Not Leveraging Your Video Content After the Fact
And finally, recognize live video is the starting point. Have a plan to cut, edit, and repurpose live video content to share in other social channels. Create a YouTube playlist for previously-live videos. Break the video apart into snippets and teasers to promote replay. Use audio transcripts to repost in articles and in blogs. Really think about how to atomize the video into many different smaller pieces of content, then get it out there where your audiences are already hanging out. Live video is a starting point, not the end product.
So, the take-away message is clear: effective live video is not spontaneous, impulsive, unplanned, and hap-hazard. Done correctly, it is intentional, thoughtful, and planned — just as with any other meaningful content marketing endeavor.