When you think content marketing in 2020, video content takes center stage. Diving deeper into video content marketing, live streaming is the name of the game. In case you have this rather common misconception about live streaming, no, live streaming is not just for gamers on Twitch and YouTube. Many brands have been successfully using live streaming as a part of their marketing strategy since 2016, and the numbers don't lie:
- Live video accounts for over two-thirds of all internet traffic and is projected to climb to 82% this year.
- Live content is watched three times longer and receives ten times more comments than regular videos, according to Mark Zuckerberg.
- As of January 2017, 63% of people aged 18-34 were watching live-streamed content regularly. This percentage has grown substantially since then.
And so, live streaming is quite undoubtedly a major marketing strategy that's here to stay (it's not a fad!). But if you still aren't convinced, here are five powerful reasons why live streaming should be a part of your content marketing strategy in 2020 and beyond.
1. Live streaming enables real-time engagement
One of the biggest reasons why live streaming is still trending up and to the right (and will continue to do so) in the field of content marketing is because it allows real-time user engagement, enabling your audience to join the conversation as it happens.
Your followers can share their reactions with you or comment in real-time, allowing you to converse with them and understand what sparks their interest and what motivates them to engage with your content.
Businesses can encourage their existing and prospective customers to ask questions and use the live stream to respond immediately. This ability to provide prompt feedback enhances brand rapport and a feeling of connection between the company and its customers.
It's no wonder that so many brands, big and small, are incorporating live streaming in their social media strategy to drive increasingly more meaningful engagement that serves to build their authority.
Besides enabling real-time engagement, it also gives an opportunity for businesses to offer live assistance and Q&A sessions to their customers using a screen recorder, which makes live streaming quite nifty.
2. Live streaming helps build trust and transparency
People do business with brands they trust. Sure, putting out professionally edited, high-quality video content has its own benefits, but your audience would also appreciate authenticity over heavily edited and scripted stuff.
For example, if your business streams an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) session on Facebook, viewers would feel they are participating in truly genuine interaction with your brand.
Likewise, if you show customers the "behind-the-scenes" of the processes you follow to design your products, their level of trust would shoot up. Indeed, backstage access is extremely enticing for 87% of audiences, who would prefer to watch online over traditional television if it meant more behind-the-scenes content.
A spur-of-the-moment live stream conveying a motivational or inspirational message in line with your brand's vision would go a long way in humanizing your brand. Not to mention showing the raw and unedited side of your business will boost customer loyalty and retention, driving more word-of-mouth in the long haul.
3. Live streaming is appealing and exciting to the modern audience
There's no denying that watching events unfold in real-time, such as watching a live football match or race, is far more exciting than watching it later after everything is concluded. Live streaming is a great way to capture engaging and unique content.
For instance, if you go on a company retreat to an exciting location or attend a major event or festival (such as SXSW), you can invite your audience to follow along by regularly streaming live on social media.
You can also showcase or reveal a new product in real-time, which builds up the excitement. Viewers love the sense of unpredictability, drama, and anticipation they feel when watching a live stream wherein anything can happen. This is especially true for people who don't enjoy watching scripted videos, so your business can capture that audience segment as well.
In fact, 80% would prefer to watch live video from a brand than read a blog post, and 82% prefer live video from a brand over the usual social media posts. So, it all adds up.
4. Live streaming can be super cost- and time-effective
Marketing is an ever-evolving field with new trends emerging each year, such as chatbots and influencer marketing. While these new advancements are also important in their own right, the problem is that not all of them are cost-effective. Before adopting any new form of marketing, you have to make sure that you get the best bang for your buck.
Now, when you think about it, live streaming doesn't cost a pretty penny and potentially even nothing at all. All you really need to live stream is some camera confidence, a stable internet connection and a decent camera, like the one your smartphone has. You don't need any special software or gear to get started.
While conventional business blogging would still require a modest monetary investment as you'll have to hire full-time or freelance writers to keep churning content on a regular basis, live streaming is something you can do yourself anytime you fancy in a matter of clicks.
What's more, it takes considerably less time to produce an engaging live video.
HubSpot's data suggests that it takes around two hours to write a 500-word blog post and between four to eight hours to produce a 1,500-2,000 words article. A 500-word post can be easily read in under three minutes, isn't comprehensive, is unlikely to rank high in search, and wouldn't generate much exposure. Similarly, it could easily take between two to three hours to create and edit a simple, quality vlog.
So guess how long it takes to create a 10-minute long live video? That's right: 10 minutes (make it an hour if you want to do extensive planning and preparation, but that's about it!).
5. Live-streamed content can be easily repurposed
Content marketing is not always about creating new content. It is only natural that you should always try to extract the most marketing juice out of every piece of content you create, which leads us to the concept of content repurposing.
Content repurposing is the recycling of your existing content in different formats so as to reach and capture new audiences. Of course, this point applies to pretty much any type of content (blog posts, infographics, and so on), but live videos are a prime candidate for repurposing.
They can be easily converted into other formats for maximum exposure and results. So, once your stream is complete, you can simply take that video and publish its transcript as a blog post, and/or an infographic, and/or a podcast, and obviously a refined version of it as a proper video.
Over to you
Like it or not, in 2020, video content is where the money's at. And live streaming is very much in the spotlight. Now you can appreciate the tangible benefits of live streaming, so if you're serious about content marketing, there is no reason why you live streaming shouldn't be a part of your 2020 marketing strategy.