The internet and social media revolutionised the way information is consumed in part because it allowed readers and viewers to get involved. Even before social media, you could still comment on articles and get conversations going in message forums. But creating live experiences was somewhat more challenging.
Live content takes “audience engagement” to a whole new level.
Creating podcast episodes, articles, or pre-recorded videos are all great, but there’s still a bit of separation between you and your audience. People can leave comments, but they know there’s going to be a delay before you respond… if you ever do. In a live situation, however, they’re right there with you and with all the other like-minded people who showed up to hear what you have to say.
Live content can turn an audience into a community.
You can listen to the whole episode below, or keep reading for my written breakdown of this topic.
The Social Learning Style
Some people crave more of a live experience. They respond really well to the more hands-on way of reaching you and connecting with other people.
We are all wired very differently in the ways we like to learn. In episode 8 of the Content 10X Podcast, I talked about how you can connect with your audience by bearing in mind the 7 major learning styles:
- Social / Interpersonal
Number 6, social or interpersonal, is a learning style where people get much more out of learning in groups than they do, say for example, reading a book in their room. A good portion of your audience probably falls into this category. Or perhaps there aren’t many people like this currently following you precisely because you aren’t creating live experiences!
If you’ve only ever offered articles, for example, then you’re mainly attracting visual, solitary learners. This is not to say that you are repelling the rest, they will still be consuming your content if they like what you're saying, but you're not creating the kind of content that really helps to connect with them (they have to work a little harder because it's not their ideal way of consuming content).
You have a much larger potential audience if you tap all the other learning groups, and the great thing about live video, in particular, is you can easily repurpose it and touch on all the major learning groups (with the possible exception of physical learners, unless you’re able to take people through a hands-on demonstration).
Creating Live Experiences Can Help You Engage & Grow Your Audience
Live experiences have the potential, almost by definition, to be more engaging than any other form of content. But why is that?
1. People Get Access to You
Sometimes access to you is all people want. Even if they know it’s not one-on-one and they might get crowded out by other attendees, people greatly appreciate that you are opening yourself up to the community in a live setting. You’re not hiding away in secret somewhere!
2. Your Audience Becomes a Community
Community is powerful. Seth Godin has thought a lot about where our world is going, and he’s noticed that the most valuable currency has shifted from efficiency to connection.
Those that bring people together, that build tribes, will thrive in the new economy
You can build your tribe very effectively when you start to offer live experiences.
3. You Boost Your Credibility
This is really important. There are many people jumping onto “educational marketing” and content marketing who, quite frankly, lack depth to their knowledge. And people are getting wise to that.
If you put yourself forward in a live format such as a Q&A, however, you’re making yourself “vulnerable” to your knowledge being tested by your audience. By answering questions live, without doing any research, you’re proving that you’re the real deal.
Don’t worry too much, by the way, about knowing everything before you get started. Even times when you don’t know a question, being honest about that allows you to demonstrate humility and confidence. And it also gives you a great springboard to create a new piece of content that serves your community while ensuring that you’ll never be stumped by the same question again.
4 Ways to Offer Live Experiences
When I hear ‘live content’ I often immediately jump to thinking about Facebook Live, but it’s not all about video and about Facebook!
How you offer your live experiences comes down to what industry you’re in, what your audience is like, where they spend most of their time online, and where you’re most comfortable.
1. Live Twitter Chats
If you’re active on Twitter, and if you want to avoid putting yourself on camera, then live Twitter chats, for example, are probably the best way to get people talking and building relationships with each other. Commenting in a YouTube live stream it can be difficult for people to chat directly to each other because while you’re typing your response, the chat might have been filled with other commenters. On Twitter, by contrast, any tweets are organised in threads and people can peel away from the main conversation to chat directly to each other.
To get a live Twitter chat going select a topic, a date and time, and think of a super specific hashtag so that people can be sure to find the conversation. Get the word out as best you can and get ready to show up on time. You can reply to people by normal text or by recording quick videos, as well, which might increase engagement and interest even more.
Janet Murray demonstrates how to run a highly engaging Twitter chat every week (usually focused on the topic of her podcast episode that week…nice bit of repurposing there!)
2. Live Video Show
You can create live video on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook… pretty much any platform these days is into creating live experiences.
When it comes building your credibility, authenticity and connection with your audience, what better way than video? The fact that they can see your face as you talk and respond to questions make you feel more “real” and genuine.
You could do your live show regularly, such as every week after you put out a new blog post or podcast episode. Or, if you’re like many of our clients at Content 10X, you could make your regular live show your core content, and repurpose that into text, audio, and other video content. I talk more about that in episode 7.
Ian Anderson Gray hosts a Facebook Live show along with Julia Bramble that goes live every Monday like a regular TV show. Head over to Free Range Social on Facebook to check it out.
Alternatively, you could do your show on a more ad-hoc basis. Andrew and Pete, who I had on in episode 9 to talk about marketing with GIFs, are active on YouTube and they tend to jump on live to cover important news in their industry as it happens. For example, when Twitter stopped all third-party tools from recycling tweets, they jumped on to discuss how this would affect people who use tools like MeetEdgar.
How to Prep for Live Video
Remember, when you go live you don’t need to provide an overly-polished video. That’s not what people are looking for with live video.
The whole point is for it to be a bit more raw, a bit more behind-the-scenes.
However, I would recommend you do some planning.
Think about your audience and about your key message for that live experience.
If you’re repurposing from content you’ve already created, the key message should be really clear. Try to keep focused and on-point.
If you plan to start with the live video and repurpose from that, think hard about what your key message is going to be. It can be fun to go on tangents with your audience and be spontaneous, but without a clear takeaway, it can be tough to translate the content into an article or a more edited video. Make a general plan and scribble down a few notes to jog your memory.
In episode 11 I spoke to my good friend and live video expert Ian Anderson Gray. He provided loads of great advice on how to prepare, the kind of equipment you should use, and how to keep things focused and smooth while you’re “on the air”.
3. Live Coaching
Another great option is to offer live coaching.
A good friend of mine, Mark Asquith (founder of Excellence Expected and CEO of Podcast Websites), goes live every week to provide free coaching to his audience (I really recommend joining Mark’s coaching sessions over on his Facebook Page every Friday 11am UK / 4pm EST).
His audience submit questions in advance. Then, when he’s live, he goes through as many questions as he can.
What a fantastic way to demonstrate your authority in your niche and build a community!
You get to keep close contact with your audience and they get answers to their questions in a live environment where, if they have any follow up questions, they can ask them for the rest of the community to benefit from too.
When Mark goes live every Friday he is not only demonstrating his knowledge and expertise, plus providing tremendous value by providing his time to really help people with their burning questions, BUT, he’s also creating a very strong connection and building a community. He’s building his tribe. Incidentally, if you have a podcast or are thinking of starting one, go and check out Mark’s Podcast Success Academy, it’s FREE and it’s awesome.
Live coaching is also really rich for repurposing. When you have people asking you questions, you can reflect on them later and use them to create a lot of different types of content. You could turn your answers into blog posts, social media content, a podcast episode, short video snippets or more video content where you go deeper into the questions, and you can be 100% sure that at least one person (and probably loads more!) is eager to consume it.
4. Live Webinars
You can also record live Webinars.
This usually involves jumping off social media and bringing people onto software like WebinarJam, GoToWebinar, Zoom, CrowdCast. There’s a bit more friction when you take people off the social platform, but it can have a more formal tone where people might expect a presentation.
If you have a Q&A section, then you’re providing that live experience and helping those who love to learn in a social context. They’re going to get so much more out of a live webinar than a pre-recorded video. Again, it’s all about connection.
My Challenge to You
My challenge to you is to grow your audience by figuring out a way to reach all those social learners out there.
Consider taking one of these suggestions and running with it this week. See how your audience responds, and either comment below or tweet me how you get on! Also, do tell me any questions you have after reading this post. Who knows, maybe I’ll answer it live! 😉
If you choose to go with live video and you want to repurpose it into a whole array of other content, I’d love to help you out. Loads of our clients do live video as their core content, so we are all over that! Head over to our services page to find out more about what we do.