When Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space in 2012 as part of the ‘Red Bull Stratos’ space diving project, more than eight million people around the world flocked to YouTube to watch. It shattered the record for the most traffic to one live stream, beating the previous record 16 times over.
It was a truly historic jump, not just because the 43-year-old daredevil broke several long-standing records along the way, but because it showed the power of live streaming. Here was something that could rival TV when it comes to live events.
Since then, we’ve seen Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook incorporate live capabilities into their platforms and live steaming has become a go-to for many brands to unveil new products, make major announcements and engage with audiences in a new way.
An industry worth in excess of $70 billion
On any given day, millions of people are watching live streaming content, and it continues to outpace many other forms of online content. In fact, live streaming is projected to more than double in growth by 2021 to become an industry worth in excess of $70 billion.
In the last few years, PROs have enthusiastically jumped on the live-streaming bandwagon in their quest to reach new audiences, and many brands are using it successfully to add an innovative twist to their marketing.
Top tips for maximum impact
The ones who are doing it wrong tend to be obsessed with the moment of the live stream and have forgotten that it should include the fundamentals of any good broadcast campaign. Here are my top tips for a live stream with maximum impact:
Define your narrative. First and foremost, you need to tell a story. Live streaming is all about engagement, but without giving people a reason to tune in why would they care? Use storytelling to engage and entertain, otherwise you’re just adding to the pointless live streaming noise.
Plan. If it’s a new product reveal or big announcement, you need to plan as meticulously as you would for any other live event. Use a director, script the run of show and hire a professional presenter to ensure links, VTs and live interviews are seamless and keep people interested until the very end of the live stream.
The right equipment. The appeal of live streaming for many brands is the lure of authentic human-to-human connection. But that doesn’t have to mean going live on a shaky handheld phone. Use decent kit and a knowledgeable crew and you can still hit those authentic notes without compromising production values.
Don’t forget newsrooms. Most live streams go direct to social without any thought for newsrooms, but this is a hugely wasted opportunity. Sell in the live stream to key target titles to host on their own platforms and set up interviews post-live stream.
Channel strategy. You need to really think about which channel to use for your live stream – which is the best fit for the audience you’re trying to connect with?
Repurpose content. Turn the live stream into short-form content which can be used across different channels – including for editorial – and it will ultimately drive traffic to the live stream, even weeks after it’s finished. Do you need B-roll, are you creating on-demand web edits, will there be social content, how are you getting stills, what’s the accompanying copy?
There’s no doubt that the appetite for live streaming will continue to grow apace over the coming years and I can see the time will come when some sort of live element is incorporated into every PR campaign. In the meantime, stay tuned…
Written by James Myers, group managing director of comms agency TVC Group
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