A bold guide to Live Content

A bold guide to Live Content

Learn about types of live content, their effects on customer experience, and how to work ROI from live events investments you make.

Audience Engagement

Tiago Youssef

Tiago Youssef

June 11, 2020

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From politics to fashion and healthcare, live content is a reality, and its stickiness will decide what organizations will stand out and what will fail to fascinate and engage consumers. Here’s a guide so you don’t miss out.

By 2021, videos will comprise 80% of all customers’ global internet traffic. And, if brands need to be where consumers are, then there is no way out: videos should be a vital part of their content strategies. But not any type of video will do. Ads and commercials will surely play their roles, but people want more: They want brands to go live. 

Whether in the B2C or B2B market, organizations have grown aware of the multi-faceted power of live content: it allows them to be emotionally connected to customers beyond the confines of physical boundaries and provides fantastic user experiences.

No wonder live content is so powerful. Social media streaming has made it possible for content to be generated by millions of people and companies all around the world. Every brand, from every sector, can go live, and there will be plenty of audiences vibrating for real-time events being transmitted, no matter if they’re at home or on a business trip.

Wherever your customers are, live content can reach them. Live content can fascinate them. Live content can turn them into your defensors. 

Arena’s bold guide will help you to push your live content strategy further. Learn about types of live content, their effects on customer experience, and how to work ROI from live events investments you make.

What is Live Content?

Different from ads you can deliver on YouTube or prerecorded videos, live content is published while the action takes place. It can cover any real-time event, from soccer games to elections and private parties, and create a mix of huge marketing possibilities. Live content can come out in the shape of live videos, real-time blog posts and chats, and more.

Facebook and Instagram Stories are examples of live content, although it goes further than social networks – and we’ll get there, keep reading.

It is not a secret that people are no longer satisfied by sitting in front of their TVs and watching programs they can’t pause whenever they want. Consumers these days would rather not be attacked with ad videos that don’t match their expectations either. Plus, it isn’t enough to show your products and services anymore, as generic communication doesn’t work to engage people.

Users aren’t merely spectators. If you don’t give them experiences they can be part of, they will get frustrated.

To truly attract and keep your audience, you need to promote conversations they can get into – and that is why social media has grown so popular. The combination of online discussions with topics of interest empowers users and engage them. Live content follows the same logic.

By consistently streaming appropriate real-time events, this type of marketing strategy allows you to attract audience attention, deliver a clear message about your products, and stand out from your competitors.

Live Content through the ages

Several video formats have risen in the last decades. While TV channels still broadcast programs such as Fox News, websites and social networks are brimming with ads, vlogs, presentation videos, live videos, and social media stories. Nowadays, a huge number of brands use those formats to increase audience reach.

Still, live content is relatively new. Streaming services got popular from 2005 to 2008, with YouTube, Ustream, and Apple TV breaking into the market and getting subscribers. From that point on, multiple smartphones and devices matured and were enabled to support videos. Streaming apps, such as Ustream’s, were launched, as were broadcasting apps. It was a perfect response to customer behavior, as TV subscribers started cutting the cord and favoring streaming services.

In the last ten years, streaming services got millions of viewers and subscribers. In 2015, there were 10 billion internet devices worldwide, and people were spending more time on apps than watching digital media.

Countless changes in consumers’ preferences took place since then. People migrated their attention from TVs to computers, and from computers to smartphones and tablets. Currently, streaming services like Netflix put people in front of the TV once again. Still, today, users watch live videos 10 to 20 times longer than on-demand content.

It’s all a matter of context. Audiences absolutely appreciate when brands can provide clear information about products and services, but what they aim for right now is to listen to stories they can connect with and join real-time events, despise of physical barriers. People have all the devices they need: TVs, phones, computers, tablets. It’s up to organizations to build and distribute the best content experiences to bring users closer while delivering key messages.

Thanks to AI and new technologies, such as live blogs, live content is more relevant than ever, and its stickiness will decide what organizations will stand out and what will fail to fascinate and engage consumers.

Free ebook download: How to Create a Live Event.

Types of live content

1. Self-streaming

We’ve mentioned that audiences have grown exhausted of being passive. Today, they are so active they are able to both consume and produce content. With the proper tools, such as a smartphone and a social media account, people can create user generated content in matters of seconds. 

Self-streaming is one of the possible contents internet users are able to create. By using Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Periscope, Instagram Live Stories, and many others, people democratically generate content about their topics of interest. Other users, with the same interests, start following them and build a community. 

Self-streaming can take people far. Not too long ago, YouTube released a reality web series named “Escape the Night“, which cast was fully composed by YouTubers – and YouTubers are great influencers and content distributors now.

Another self-streaming example is when video-game players record themselves playing to online audiences. Right now, there are professional game streamers that work only with self-streaming, going live, and feeding viewers with relevant content.

2. Social live

The greatest thing about social media live streaming is that it turns a video from a broadcast into an interaction. Conversations, discussions, polls, Q&As… There are little few things social live streaming can’t do.

Networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook are live video providers that brands use to catch users’ eyes. Marketers work hard to adapt their content to each of these channels, to attract more viewers, and to bring them to their websites.

Self-streaming is very related to social live. Social networks are powerful mechanisms for users to create exclusive content and keep their followers updated, so user generated content can usually be found in social live media.

Social live are streams brands should keep their eyes on. If they want to be where customers are, companies must monitor user generated content that flows through social streams. By doing that, it is possible to decide to repost what influencers and content creators are saying online, regardless of the social network they’re using.

3. Live broadcast

Thanks to live broadcast, most of us are able to watch the news while having a cup of coffee in the morning, or to listen to the songs playing on the radio while we drive. 

Analog televisions and radios have used broadcasting to transmit a single signal over a wide area and reach many spectators and listeners at once. 

Analog and antennas transformed into digital. High-definition televisions went mainstream and pay-per-view could walk into our living rooms and settle there. Still, broadcasting exists and works just the same – the only difference is that it is digital and requires another type of infrastructure.

A lot of viewers can, through broadcasting, watch the same live video simultaneously. All they have to do is to tune into the broadcast signal and watch the same message that is being transmitted to several other people.

In terms of costs, live broadcasting is way more expensive than live streaming, as it demands specialized equipment and regulations. It is also limited to regional viewership and infrastructure.

4. Live Streaming

Contrarily from live broadcasting, live streams are cheaper and more personalized. In this case, different signals are sent to different receivers at the same time, in a one-to-one approach. If you watch a live sports stream, you will receive a customized pathway, according to the streaming platform, and your neighbor will receive a pathway of his own. Two different people won’t have the same experience.

Streaming requires an encoder to convert audio and video sources to a data stream, a server that delivers encoded media to a network and a media player that delivers media to the audience uninterruptedly. But don’t worry, content generators and organizations don’t have to actually worry about that. It is possible to use accessible social and streaming platforms that do all the background work and provide smooth streams.

Live streaming is what opens up new monetization possibilities to organizations because it customizes digital experiences and generates revenue from different means altogether. 

Live commerce, social media, business conferences… There is endless content to provide through streaming technologies. Besides, live streaming allows features that live broadcasting doesn’t, like live chats and customized social media integration.

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Live content effects on engagement and user experience

Live content isn’t overrated: when done correctly, it can highly engage the right people, build strong long-term relationships, and keep them coming back for more.

Live content relies mostly on user experience. If the material being streamed doesn’t interest the public, it will fail to engage them. On the other hand, events that face technical issues will frustrate users, no matter how relevant they are. Editors and bloggers that can’t deliver proper information at the right timing will lose amazing opportunities to update and be important to followers. That being said, to achieve great engagement rates, live content needs to be interesting, interactive, and effective, all at once.

It takes a lot of planning and customer knowledge to have those three basic elements into a live content strategy, but their importance isn’t up to discussion. Bad experiences make you lose followers, potential customers, and even loyal ones. It takes only a single bad experience for customers to turn to your competitors. Good experiences, on the contrary, will make people remember you and your message – and they are thirsty to be taken into exciting stories. 

In whatever market or sector you are, airing real-time events is a powerful way to promote your storytelling. You don’t have to literally tell what is going on – you can show it! Real-time experiences feed your audience’s curiosity and increase their engagement. Still, remember that people are tired of being passive and don’t want to simply watch. They want to interact. 

Using a platform that only streams isn’t enough. Live content needs to push it a little further. If your followers can’t share their thoughts and have a conversation about your content, it won’t match their needs and make them feel involved. 

Tools like live chats and live blogs are the perfect ways to create spaces where users can interact and discuss. Having such spaces on your website will make users stay longer on your pages and participate in whatever conversations might interest them. And, thankfully, there’s a real-time customer engagement platform to give you a hand.

Live content has made it possible for users to gather around and be part of a long-distance community. Millions of people can be kept up to date in what is happening at every corner of the world, and connect with brands emotionally through valuable content.

By mixing interactivity’s power and creative skills, live content gives you countless possibilities to engage and fascinate your audience.

Live content benefits

  1. It communicates with interested people
    People that are watching your live content find what you have to say interesting. Take advantage of that and work so they can follow you further when you take the next step.
  2. It makes you reach target audiences more effortlessly
    As live events take place when they do and people want to be immediately updated, your followers need to tune in on your time to watch your streams. This instant consumption behavior is a filter that keeps unrelated users away and reaches your target audience more easily.
  3. It increases traffic
    Redirecting traffic and engaging users boosts viewership, especially if you work live content on your website instead of social platforms.
  4. It makes people spend more time on your site
    Engaged audiences are more likely to stay on your website longer, instead of leaving for social media.
  5. It brings your company more revenue
    Several formats of content can be mixed in live events to explore storytelling and sales. From user-generated content to live chat discussions and social media posts, live content allows you to monetize and advertise a little further.
  6. It humanizes your brand
    Live content can’t be completely controlled. Anything could happen once you go live. It is a way to act authentically and captivate your audience, that isn’t very interested in fancy sets or fabricated speeches. Viewers want you to get real by going live. Of course, you might plan and control all you can, but be aware your team can come across unplanned situations.

How to reach your audience with live content

In 2016, Walmart held a live stream to sell an HP laptop during the holidays. People that were considering whether to buy it or not could watch a live demonstration and send their questions in real-time. In the same year, Target paired up with singer Gwen Stefani to record and stream the first ever live music video at the Grammy Awards. 

Some live experiences you can provide are breaking news, product demonstrations, launches, interviews with brand ambassadors, conferences, Q&As, and more.

It should also be said that interesting content is more likely to be shared. Forty-eight percent of consumers have already shared a brand video on their social media profile. If they have an excellent experience watching your brand going live, they will want their friends and family to know, and it is an amazing way to widen your audience reach.

And, with more audience attention, comes the importance of authority. Social networks are definitely important to any digital strategy, but having your own website as a house for your live content empowers your brand in unique ways. Building consistent user experiences on your website will make users come back to check what’s new. This will make them spend more time on your pages and can stimulate interactions in tools such as live chats, that you should strongly consider in your live content plan. All of this shortens your dependence on social media and make your users way more engaged.

It all brings marketers to face the need of having the ideal streaming platform to generate the best content. And strategic thinking is also needed when the moment comes: you need to amplify messaging reach through live content and, at the same time, multiply delivering opportunities. Here is where live blogging potential lies: Automation is possible through platforms that publish news as they happen, live streams, and are easy to scale.

We’ve separated a couple of best practices to reach your audience once you decide to go live:

  1. Choose the right events
    It might sound obvious, but events take a lot of investment and should be carefully picked up. Choose the ones that will matter most to your customers.
  2. Work live content on your website
    It is not that social platforms are bad. It is just that they don’t give you all the control you must have over your own content. By working live events and more on your website, you bring your audience back to your pages and can deliver more personalized experiences through specific features.
  3. Enlist a prepared team
    People in front of and behind the cameras are essential in live content strategy. They are the personification of the message you want to deliver and will have to handle the situation even if something goes wrong. So make sure everybody knows what their roles are and prepare them for the experience.
  1. Test
    Live events hold many opportunities. Don’t be afraid to test strategies, topics, interactions, and more. Learn fastly from the results, whether they are good or bad.
  2. Share reminders
    Start in advance and promote your live event on adequate channels. Send reminders to your audience, talk about the event on social media, anything to create online buzz, and call attention to what you’ll stream.

How to work the return on investment for your live event

Every live content event needs a follow-up plan. Marketers are constantly working on what to say before, during, and after live events, since their strategies are only complete once they know what to do with all the results they get after a live experience.

To maximize return on an investment after a live event, you must know that scalability is key. Unless you’re ready to expand the reach of your live event beyond your website and social networks, you’re not using all of live content potential.

Distribution is crucial after a live event. By the end of one, you might have learned and seen things that your audience would like to know, and you can repurpose the material you have, turning it into something else. Consider transforming it into other forms of content, such as small videos, articles, infographics, and others.

There are many content delivery network platforms out there that can help you boost viewership to get to the right people. Once you know where to find your target audience, those platforms reach out to your target audience and feed them with the content you’ve created.

Arena’s live blogging solution works so your editorial work can be optimized as much as your process can be automated. Our enterprise-grade platform will handle traffic spikes and deliver news in real-time, and easily distribute your content after a live event.

Interested in engaging users and automating the scale of your live events? Try our live blog solution for free!

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