Benefits of live streaming
Live streams can help you engage with your audience in a way that not many other mediums can. Throughout your live event you can ask questions, run interactive elements and even invite members of the audience onto the stream. This way you are hearing directly from your customers or potential customers, with a live feedback loop that is hard to achieve with other content marketing.
More interactive than other content
With a blog you write, edit and publish. Sometimes you might get some comments or responses on social media. To that point, on social media you probably get the most instantaneous feedback loop - but that is one of the reasons many of the social platforms now have live streaming options. However, even with social media posts some context can be lost in tone and usually the content is pre-edited. The same thing with podcasts and videos. You are producing content for the audience to consume, not to engage.
However, with live streaming you'll be right there with your audience. They'll be watching along with context, giving them the opportunity to ask you questions or interactive with members of the team in ways that just isn't possible with other content.
Set your brand apart
Many marketers are slow to adopt live streaming in 2021. Some have dabbled in webinars (more on that later) but never really turned it into an integral part of their strategy despite the benefits. This means there is a ton of opportunity for you to set yourself apart from the competition with your live stream.
This isn't to say that you should stop doing other content that has been working well for you but add live streaming as another string to your content marketing bow. It's hard to say exactly why some brands haven't adopted live streaming, considering how popular it is with consumers, but I have a feeling it would be too to with the perception of how difficult it is to produce a live stream.
However, this is far from the case...
Easy to produce
In the past live streams have been a challenge to produce. Often you'd need someone technical on the team to setup the audio visual parts and manage how to get the show live and on the air. Over time it has become easier for small teams to produce live streams using software like OBS, but you'd still need some existing technical knowledge to go live.
In 2021, software has come a long way and it's now easier than it's ever been to go live in just a few minutes. Better still, those livestreams look professionally designed and produced without having any prior knowledge of design or production. We've created Welder studio to help you with exactly that. We promise that in just a few minutes you can go live and have it looking well-branded and professional.
One of the most powerful things about running live streams is the amount of incredible content you can repurpose into smaller, micro-content for social media and more. Snippets of your live stream will be unlike any type of content you create usually as it will be spontaneous, unscripted and could even contain your own customer's voice.
The old school workflow for repurposing content would be to download your recorded live stream, bring it into a video editor or send it to a freelancer who can then cut various sections of your stream and turn them into additional content.
With Welder Studio we're going to make this easier as ever for you, with a marker tool that lets you mark a point in the stream you want to re-use later, find that marker in your free transcript, highlight the section you want and then export the clip with a few clicks. Now that's a workflow that is going to be a game changer for your marketing.
Webinar vs Live stream
A webinar is another form of live stream that you'll often find in a content marketer's toolkit. Especially at the start of 2020 when all event marketing was moved online and brands wanted a way to connect with their audience. But what is the difference between a webinar and a live stream?
The term webinar comes from the words "web" and "seminar" - so a seminar on the web. It's a legacy term that's been around for a while but has just been adopted by marketers for lack of a better term. However, the type of streams that smart marketers like you will be doing are far more than just an online seminar.
This is where the differences come in for live streaming and is what all marketers should be looking to do. Here are some of the differences between the two:
- Instead of using PowerPoint decks, you'll be using engaging visuals, videos and music.
- Instead of a single person talking, or a panel discussion, you'll be conducting well-researched interviews with relevant people.
- Instead of questions at the end, you'll have comments and questions throughout, helping shape the direction of the stream.
- Instead of using a static software like Zoom or complex streaming software like OBS, you'll switch to a powerful browser studio like Welder.
Challenges of live streaming
At this point you might be pumped and ready to go! It seems to be super easy with tools like Welder and you can start on a budget, so what's the catch? There are a few challenges or considerations you might face when you start out so we'll let you know about them now.
Your content needs to be strong and engaging
This goes without saying but without good content then live streaming won't work very well for you. Same goes for other content formats. There is no point deciding to a live stream and putting less effort into it than you would a written blog or video content. You'll see success if you commit to doing a series of live streams that are going to be extremely valuable to your audience. Work on ensuring you're making the most of the advantages of a live stream - such as having your customers or potential customers there with you. They are going to absolutely love your stream if it's entertaining, valuable and includes them throughout. Put plenty of planning into your show, experiment with a few different things until you have a repeatable format that works.
You need a good charismatic host
This is a tricky one as it's often subjective, but try to find someone within your company that is charismatic and is a good host. Live streams are mostly unscripted and aren't edited so having a host that has plenty of energy being able to fill the dead gaps is going to help your stream be successful. Often this might not be the person in the role you're thinking of using as the host (aka your CEO or Marketing Manager). Maybe you have someone really engaging in customer support that would nail being a host and is up for a new challenge? Have a think about it.
You have to market and promote your stream
As with some content marketing mediums, you have to do a level of marketing yourself to get eyeballs on that content, streaming is no different. However, streaming has built in discoverability mechanisms which will help and you can also spread your stream across many different live channels to help you be where your audience is. To promote and market your stream you can announce it as an event, leverage your existing audience on social media and email, then if you have guests on the stream ask them to share it too.
Technical faults can happen
Sometimes you can run into technical challenges as the event is unedited and live. Maybe someone's internet connection drops out? Maybe their computer crashes? Maybe they can't figure out the software. Well, you don't have to worry about the last one because Welder studio is going to be as easy to use as any video conferencing software you've ever used before, except we'll take care of everything for you. But if any of these other technical faults happen, do not worry or stress. It is only part of live streaming. To mitigate against this, run a few practice sessions beforehand so everyone is happy with how the stream is going to go.
Equipment you need for live streaming
Live stream equipment can look daunting and expensive, but truthfully you can get started with very little. In fact, you could start with just your laptop. If you want to improve the quality of your laptop can look to invest in a better webcam and a microphone, then finally a professional-grade camera and microphone.
Setup 1 - Free, low quality
- All you need is your laptop to run Welder studio. Wear headphones if possible and make the content exceptional.
Setup 2 - $200, good quality
Setup 3 - $1,800 - professional quality
How to start a livestream
Starting your livestream couldn't be simpler with tools like Restream, or our upcoming Welder studio. Here are the steps.
- Create an account at Restream
- Connect your live stream accounts
- Launch the studio and setup your branding
- Invite your guests and go live
- Record the show and turn clips into micro-content after
So now you're convinced you want to add live streaming to your marketing toolkit, you know how to go live, but you want some ideas for content? Well we did say we're going to go further than seminars for the web, so here are a few topics you could use:
Product updates - talk your customers through new and exciting features that are in the pipeline for your product. Maybe you have an exciting new announcement you'd like to share with the world.
AMA sessions - use live streaming as a direct feedback mechanism for your customers to ask questions directly to you. Either invite them on to to the live steam for an "ask me anything" session with someone from your company, or just have people drop their questions in the comments.
Interviews - you could interview interesting internal stakeholders on certain topics relevant to your audience, while helping the audience shape the conversation and ask some of the questions. You could also do this with industry guests.
Live podcasts - take your existing podcast and make it live! Add an engaging element for your listeners. This could be an interview show (similar to above) or a regular co-hosted show or maybe a narrative show with some "director's commentary".
Workshops - you could deliver a live workshop through your stream teaching people your subject matter expertise. You have the advantage of inviting people from the audience onto the workshop and that feedback loop that is so important for live workshops.
Presentations - finally, and by no means least, is our regular presentation format. An seminar for the web. Deliver some interesting new findings or a new topic with slides and maybe a panel discussion, but keep it live and engaging. Use the audience you have there to make it more interesting for both you and them.
Live streaming for marketers has always been a grey area, with some companies dabbling and others making it a key part of their marketing strategy. Now, with tools like Welder studio you can get started in just a few clicks and reap the rewards that live streaming brings. However, make sure you bring a new and interesting format to the table and not just port a webinar over to new platforms.