What You Need To Know Before You Go Live

Live gameplay streaming. Live press conferences. Live Q&A with your favorite celebrity.

If you’ve spent any time on social media lately, you’ve probably witnessed the boom in live video. With good reason, too. Live video puts the power of broadcast back in the hands of marketers with great versatility, instant connection and the ability to tap into the social communities you’ve already developed in a way that gets results. In a recent survey by Livestream, it discovered that 80 percent of customers would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog and 82 percent preferred live video to social media posts.

However, just because you can go live at the click of a button doesn’t mean you should. Just like any on-demand video you may produce, it takes strategy and purpose to create content that gets attention and generates engagement. If boring subject matter, poor sound quality and horrible lighting kept viewers away from your produced pieces, they’ll be even less inclined to give your live content a look.

So before you decided to go live, take a step back and think consider the following:

Have a Content Plan

There’s nothing worse than and uninspired or uninteresting live broadcast. No one is going to watch it, and, maybe worse, no one would want to watch it. Sure, some people are great off the cuff, but for those who aren’t broadcasting unicorns, going live without a plan is a recipe for disaster.

So how do you plan to be spontaneous? Keep your audience in mind and narrow your messaging to themes that appeal to them, and, while memorizing a script is the antithesis of live video, creating an outline with 4-5 key points that you want to cover will help keep the broadcast flowing, and always end with a clear call to action.

Make Sure You’re Ready

A content plan is only part of being prepared. You have to make sure you have the equipment to pull off a live production and do a dry run to work out as many of the technical or pacing bugs as possible before you start broadcasting.

Like with any production the right equipment can make or break finished product. Investing in cameras, tripods, microphones, lights, lenses and locations/backdrops can help to enhance the overall quality of the production. If you decide to use external cameras make sure to test any encoding software to make sure your footage is in the right format for streaming.

Pick the Right Platform

It seems like more live streaming options pop up every day. How do you pick what’s right for you? Go to where your audience already is.

Facebook Live: As one of the largest and most popular live streaming platforms, it offers great flexibility and the ability to broadcast right from your mobile phone. It allows you to harness the power of your community by alerting them when you’re live with push notifications.

Periscope: This Twitter affiliate offers similar functionality to Facebook Live, the main difference being how they integrate with their respective platforms. When you broadcast with Periscope, your followers don’t have to leave the platform and the broadcast auto-plays within the tweet – however, your video will disappear 24 hours after the broadcast.

YouTube: This video juggernaut has taken its first step into live video streaming. 

Promote, Promote, Promote

You’re not going to throw a party without sending out invites, so don’t start a live broadcast without promoting it ahead of time. This will help you drum up interest and make sure your audience is available.

Use your tools to get the word out. From landing pages to email blasts, you have all the tools you need to drive viewership.

Give your audience plenty of notice. A good rule of thumb is to start promotions about a week out, of course this can vary based on content and length of the broadcast.

Leverage targeting tools to find the right audiences. Yes, there’s pre-production involved in a live broadcast. Targeting will help ensure word of your live event reaches the right communities and audiences.

Don’t guess on timing. Study your analytics to know where your audience is and when they’re most captive. This way you can plan for the right time and time zones to capture the most attention.

Plan For Engagement

What makes live video special is that it allows for opportunities for views to interact in real time. Have a person run community management during your broadcast to help feed audience participation – whether that’s feeding the presenter questions, providing supplemental information to your viewers, or just acknowledging quality comments.

Just like it took you time to build a customer base, it takes time to build your audience. You can help it grow by working toward a consistent frequency. Study your broadcast analytics and be prepared to make adjustments before your next broadcast. And, finally, don’t be afraid to repurpose live content for other platforms or media.

Live broadcast is without a doubt one of the most exciting media trends to emerge in the last few years. Sure, it can be intimidating, but with a little planning and legwork, it can be a way to turn your message into a conversation.

Are you ready to take that next step and go live?

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