Making the Most of Live Stream

While browsing the Internet, I discovered this article on PR News featuring a interview with the senior director of digital communications for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Erin Flior. It addresses how to best utilize live streaming to bolster your promotional efforts.

This topic was of immediate interest because as an intern at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a student in the PR Lab, I have found that live streaming is an increasingly valuable tool. While not universal to every client, the question is how to design the best possible live stream for the given situation.

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How do I design a live stream that makes viewers feel engaged in the politics of local business, an industry that often appears exclusionary with lots of outsiders looking in?

As a person working on the inside, I understand just how pivotal the ongoings of the business community may affect the average citizen. The challenge is helping them to understand that. Flior advised that it’s most effective to craft an agenda that’s uniquely directed to your live streaming audience, if their engagement is a high priority.

In my case, this means ensuring that stakeholders — legislators and businesspeople — take a break from the jargon to speak in plain language to those tuning in. As Flior says, viewers are more inclined to continue watching, and also engage on social media and in real life, if they feel they are an integral part of your organization.

Another piece of advice that Flior offered was that a successful live stream should be conducted as its own event, not an afterthought to the physical proceedings. Previously, I thought that simply streaming the event from a fly-on-the-wall perspective would generate excitement.  Now, it is clear that this only reinforces watchers as outsiders. A live stream is truly worth doing, but only if it offers its own unique content, conveying to watchers that they might miss something if they fail to tune in.

Above all, the most important takeaway: Is this live stream meaningful to viewers, and will it therefore enhance my communications efforts? If the answer is no, I simply will not do it.

Flior put it best: “The key is to only use it in a way that is authentic to your audience and goals, and not try to check a box just because it’s the latest technology.”

Ask yourself the same questions next time you plan a live stream, and if you have never experimented with one, consider how it might help you reach those populations you’ve struggled to tap into.

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