Over the last 24 months, the Australian media industry has watched streaming giants like Netflix, HBO, and Amazon transform the way the public engage with and consume content. In this guest post, Managing Director at Hostworks Will Berryman explores what we can learn.
We now exist in an always-connected world, where the ease and accessibility of information has changed the consumer mindset; we’ve come to expect instant, personalised, and very personable data from anyone worthy of interaction.
From a business perspective, these expectations have naturally transferred from home to the workplace. For brands, cutting through the clutter is harder than ever before and with so many messages firing at your audience from multiple channels, there is a very slim margin to make an impact before the information is passed over or deleted.
Just like the wheel of entertainment is continuously developing, businesses are now faced with the challenge of making content pop in new and unexpected ways if they wish to stay relevant.
Despite its success on the entertainment front, streaming as a business channel hasn’t yet reached its full potential.
While once a clunky, expensive performance reserved only for those with deep pockets, streaming is today relatively easy and inexpensive to do. Despite this, it seems many marketers shy away from using it because it appears complex, which is just an illusion.
Those who understand the platform know that if it’s utilised and integrated correctly, it not only has the potential to draw huge audiences (hello Apple anytime a new product is launched), but can be monetised and leveraged in a multitude of ways.
I’m not claiming that streaming is a shiny new marketing proposition, as we all know it isn’t – rather I’m saying it’s an underused channel with significant potential; now more than ever before.
Armed with this knowledge, over the last year we’ve seen a steady upswing in Hostworks customers re-exploring the platform, through both live and static video, and its potential.
However like any conversation from a brand, to be successful there must be strategy behind what is being said. If you’re wondering how to add streaming to your storytelling mix, here are the six things businesses and marketers need to consider first:
- Have a clear objective from the onset
No one wants to watch a set of ramblers. If you’re going to stream well you need to have a clear goal from the outset. This must also be communicated through the invite so people know exactly what they’re buying into. Ensuring your audience gets value is the number one goal, so don’t serve them something they won’t like.
Prove this value upfront by giving useable bits of content from the get go. It’s one thing to get someone through the door, it’s another to keep them there.
- Remember it’s an intimate experience; respect the viewer with a quality service
Just because you can create video with your mobile phone, doesn’t mean it’s the right tool for the job. Remember, you’re asking your audience for their time, so respect that by giving them something that shows effort was involved in the production.
In some cases streaming via a smartphone is suitable, but make sure it’s still professional by having things like a tripod to hold up the device, as well as a background and set up. If you don’t take your audience seriously, they won’t care for what you have to say.
- Make good content work harder
It’s one thing to put a live feed out there, it’s another thing to monetise that live feed. Some businesses are doing this incredibly well and it’s something everyone should consider if exploring the true value of video. If the content is worth tuning into, it’s highly likely others will want to watch it at a later date as well. A great example of this is a panel of experts debating industry best practice.
This content can be cut and packaged up post event and sold on as an educational series to those who couldn’t attend or view the day in action. Likewise, if you have a big event, streaming that content at the same price as a ticket will no doubt attract a number of online viewers from across the globe.
When you have good content, make it work harder by exploring multiple channels to push out the message.
- Stream in a branded environment
Often we see businesses upload content to YouTube or another static video site to engage with their audience. While these sites do serve a purpose, the connection you make with your viewer is often short lived as once the video is done they click through to cat video or whatever else is in their personalised feed to the right.
Successful streamers control the environment their viewers are in so that they don’t get lost or distracted. Following the content, there should be a clear call to action or next step that the viewer can follow without competing messages demanding their attention.
Streaming is one step in the journey, but it must serve a purpose and lead customers to the next point of the buying or brand engagement journey.
- Convey personality
It can be easy to get swept up in the moment of a camera and audience, but remember streaming is the closet thing we have to a real-life conversation other than a real-life conversation, so treat it as such. It is a candid, real and in the moment channel.
Viewers will want the real you and will switch off if they don’t get that. The content must reflect the brand’s personality to engage its audience.
- Understand the multiple ways in which streaming can add to the conversation
Streaming isn’t simply creating a link and putting it out there for the world to see! There are multiple ways it can be explored to get the story across. From live seminars, to video on demand reference tools, audio podcasts, and rich media integration with presentations and the like, the channel choice should align closely with the objective.
It also doesn’t need to be purely an external thing. Internal streaming of business results or changes can be an incredibly effective way to make a team feel valued over an email notification.
These points are really all about one thing: keep it simple and always keep your true objective front-of-mind. It doesn’t have to be complicated to be successful.