How Can You Cut Through With Live Video?
January 12, 2021 | Education
Live video was the medium of 2020. We attended concerts, took cooking classes, learned French, networked, and gamed, all streamed online. But as we’re allowed to dream of a summer and fall with drastically fewer pandemic restrictions, are we all too mired with Zoom fatigue to enjoy engaging with live video?
Live streams can be great for brand awareness, building authority on a subject, and making lasting connections with your audience, but how can we keep them interesting?
Planning Impactful Live-Video Content
Giving your audience what they want in the time and place they want it is an art.
- Like all content, any live stream you do should have clear business goals. Work backwards from your goal for clues about the most valuable format.
- Consider different formats: will you film horizontally (a calmer, broadcast feel) or vertically (a one-to-one intimate feel), how will you include your audience, and will you use graphics and music for a professional feel, or avoid them for a more ‘charmingly l0-fi’ look?
- Be led by your audience. Find topics that will truly engage your audience by doing social listening, check the back end of the search function on your website, look through appropriate Google Keywords, search Reddit forums and Discord servers. Solve a problem for them and you’ll be guaranteed viewers.
- Try using Instagram stories or Facebook polls to find out what topics would be interesting to your customers: would they enjoy watching you package orders while answering questions about your new product line, are they interested in news or trends in your industry, or are they looking for something fun that’s a bit more left-field?
- Make sure you have these three elements (h/t Neil Patel);
– A promise of value
– A reason to keep watching until the end
– Interaction with viewers
- Choose the right platform for your content and audience: a concert streaming to a younger crowd would work better on Twitch than on Facebook, and a small educational class would work better on Zoom than on Instagram Live. Look at the demographics and functions of each platform to make a decision.
- Don’t try to pad out what could be a 40-minute session to a one-hour time slot. There are no time constraints on these types of events. Be frugal with your words and make sure everything you say adds value.
- Start promoting your video two weeks before if your content is niche and needs time to reach a specific audience, or one week before if it has broader appeal.
Be a dazzling presenter
Seeing the red recording light can induce fear in even the most confident among us.
- Take a deep, cleansing breath before you start and smile before you hit the button.
- Vacillate between standing tall, holding your shoulders back, keeping your head straight and speaking in a clear, low vocal range, and experimenting with warmer body language like open palm gestures, leaning slightly forward, making eye contact with the camera and smiling.
- Incorporate storytelling formats to your script or outline. Over a billion TED viewers can’t be wrong.
- Understand that this medium is new to most people and that means that viewers can be quite forgiving. What would happen if you tried to approach the live stream with a little bit of joy, even if your natural feeling would be dread?
Make your live stream stress-free by being organized
Avoid watching the viewer number ticker slowly drop as you sort out a technical error or try to get back on script.
- Create two checklists; a setup checklist of all of your equipment and a run of show (an item-by-item sequence of events that will happen in your show).
- If you’re sharing a platform with someone else, have a quick tech check to make sure you both know how to add the person to the live stream.
- Script out the key points you want to cover in each section.
- Keep a timer nearby.
- Stick notes underneath your camera in case you get off track.
- Do a run-through out loud.
- Have back-up discussion topics in case there’s dead air as you’re waiting for a co-host or transition.
- Have spare cords, chargers, and equipment on hand if possible. You never know when you’ll be let down.
Avoid distractions in your content
You could have the most interesting content, but if your mic is echoey, your lighting is bad, or your space is cluttered, viewers will have a hard time staying focused.
- Make sure you have light on your face. When people are backlit they can look like a silhouetted witness in a crime documentary.
- Test different audio setups. Most of the time your headphones will be fine, but it’s good to hear what your audience will hear to make sure it’s clear.
- Consider your background carefully. A well-decorated home will look relatable, a plain white background will look polished but undynamic, a poster of your company logo will look professional but maybe a bit salesy.
- Think about what will happen as people join your event. Will there be background music or a welcome screen to let them know it’s about to start?
Good luck adding live video to your content mix and bon courage if you’re the person stepping in front of the camera! We’d love to hear about how it goes.
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