August 19, 2015
/ by Erin Feldman
Streaming, or live, video is the hot new tool in PR and marketing, but what does it take to be successful with the medium?
The answer is simple: the video itself. With a blog post, you can get away with some fluff words here and there. The audience is likely to forgive a blurry photo on Instagram.
They aren’t as gracious with live streams. If you don’t capture their attention within the first five seconds, they’re off to a different stream.
And five seconds really is all the time you have anymore. Attention is short in the digital age. A new study from Microsoft proclaims that the average person’s attention, particularly on mobile, is now less than that of a goldfish.
Fortunately, you can capture attention and reel viewers in with five basic tips.
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The shorter a medium is, the tighter the script needs to be. Time is precious. Don’t waste it with “ums” and “hmms.” Plan what you’re going to say, where you’re going to say it and how you’re going to respond to viewers’ comments.
While you can riff and should be ready for that eventuality—this is a live stream, after all—come prepared. The script is your bait. Keep the tackle box filled with the kinds that will attract the audience you want.
Each live stream, regardless of whether you’re using Meerkat, Periscope or new rival MyEye, has a title area. It’s the lure for the bait. Use it to your advantage.
Tricks of the trade? Being straightforward always works. A “Behind the Scenes at [Blank]” can work well, too. For B2B brands, the title may be more educational in nature: “Tune in to Learn about [Blank].” Other brands—cough, cough, Red Bull or Mountain Dew—may go a quirkier route.
Titles should be short and sweet. With Periscope, the point is even more important. Periscopes are shared directly to Twitter (an opt-in feature), meaning you only have 140 characters with which to play.
People tune into a video to hear from you. Keep them engaged with an ongoing narration. Even if you’re the proverbial fly on the wall, be a vocal one. The goal is to shape the story, not let it simply flow around you.
Disclaimer: If you’re live streaming an educational session, you may not want to narrate the stream. But you should shape the story with some sort of intro—just make sure to get it in before the speaker takes to the microphone.
Real-time interactions with viewers will increase awareness, engagement, and word of mouth. Respond to comments, either in the live stream app itself or on a secondary social network.
As noted earlier, be prepared to go off script. Scripts are not written in stone. They’re bait. Choose the one that will persuade your audience to tune in and to act.
This tip isn’t a must for every stream. In fact, a call to action used in every live stream will only make you come across as a used-car salesperson. Don’t do it!
Do, however, use calls to action when they make sense. Use them to measure audience interest and participation. When possible, encourage viewers to take a deeper dive into other content or to subscribe to the live stream channel or email newsletter.
Images: Justine Sanderson, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, RabunWarna (Creative Commons)
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