So, you’re finally ready to begin live streaming, or maybe you’ve already started. But one major hurdle remains: building an audience that will actually watch your video content and help spread it to a broader audience.
Once your live stream is prepared on your video hosting service, learning how to reach your audience is fundamental marketing problem. In this blog, we’re going to go over basic marketing tips to help you attract and retain an audience for your live stream. First, let’s start with the basics.
Knowing Your Audience
The first step in building an audience is actually knowing who they are. Who is your audience? Where do they live? What sort of media do they consume? Are they mostly smartphone users, or is technology difficult for them?
These are the sorts of questions you need to ask to begin defining your audience. No audience is monolithic—everyone is different—but narrowing down your parameters may leave you with four or five main segments of people who you want to reach. At this point, you can tailor your outreach for the people that you need to communicate with.
Your Outreach Strengths
Every organization does some form of outreach, whether it’s through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest; video outlets like television, live streaming, or YouTube; online discussion forums; pamphlets; or just plain old in-person meetings.
To bolster your ability to reach your audience, you want to leverage your strengths. That means knowing what your best tools are—how your community likes to obtain information—and using those strengths to spread the word about your live stream.
Here are some examples of how this could look:
- Post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Try to embed your live stream, or just share the URL, a preview of the content, or an encouraging message.
- Put a reference to the live stream in your newsletter and brochures. Make sure to include the URL, and if your audience isn’t technically savvy, you may want to explain that watching a live stream isn’t a difficult process: generally, all you have to do is visit the page and click “play.”
- Talk about your live stream during sermons, conferences, or presentations. Consider giving a live tutorial on how to view the live stream to your audience members.
- Let’s say that your website is your most important online outreach platform. You can embed your live stream on your website as a way to leverage this strength and reach as many audience members as possible.
Weaknesses… or Opportunities?
In addition to strengths, every organization is going to have weaknesses when it comes to reaching their audience. In the worst case scenario, you may not have any major ways to reach your target audience whatsoever. You could be starting from scratch.
Another example could be that you have an older audience who isn’t tuned in to modern digital tools. The very term “live streaming” may be a barrier, even though most of your audience could reach these sites using computers, tablets, and modern televisions quite easily once they know how.
These could be looked at as barriers, but also as opportunities. Live streaming allows you to deliver content to your audience anytime, anywhere. If you’re creating content that has an audience, then building a following is truly a matter of spreading the word.
More Ideas for Increasing Your Reach
There are a million different methods for marketing a live stream. Let’s look at a few of these in more depth.
1. Create a Highlight Reel
To “tease” your content, you might consider making short advertisement-style videos to showcase the type of material that you have on your live stream. These short videos can be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms as a way to spread the word. Make sure to include a link to the full live stream, as well as timing details if it’s going to be a one-time broadcast.
2. Enlist the Media
Traditionally, any major live broadcast would be preceded by a round of press releases that would hopefully result in TV, radio, and print coverage. Today, press releases are still useful (especially for local-interest stories), but perhaps a more effective method is direct contact with the media.
Many bloggers and modern media outlets have public Twitter accounts and email addresses. Try contacting those in your niche to help spread the word. Think about what you can give the media in return for publicizing your broadcast.
3. Generate Virality
The holy grail of modern marketing is when something goes “viral,” meaning that it is shared on social media networks until a certain tipping point is reached and the number of impressions skyrockets.
It turns out that getting your content to go viral has a well-established formula. It’s not easy, but it is possible – and if you target a specific audience, achieving a sort of “mini-virality” within that community is much easier.
4. Consider Other Platforms
Today, the Internet has many different platforms to distribute content. First was Facebook, then Twitter, and now a million other options—Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest—have arisen.
Each of these platforms reaches a slightly different audience. Facebook, for example, used to be the best way to reach young people, but now many millenials are flocking to the newer social apps, and Facebook is just as likely to have 40 and 50-year-old users as it does teens.
Putting It All Together: A Strategy
Any attempt to market a live stream should be based on some sort of strategy. This doesn’t have to be complex, but jotting down some goals, methods, and progress milestones on a piece of paper will help you assess your progress and see what’s working.
Once you’ve got a plan, it’s all about measuring results and refining your approach. Consider surveys or tools like Google Analytics to find out what’s working and what’s not worth the effort. With these tips, you should be able to grow your audience and reach the people that you want to reach. Good luck!