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A Refreshing Start
It’s been a year.
Last July, we changed up our annual research study to ask how content marketers had responded to the business changes brought on by the pandemic.
At the time, more than eight in 10 of those surveyed said their organizations made quick changes in response. And 86% said they expected some of the changes to stay in effect for the foreseeable future.
I’m not sure any of us thought the foreseeable future would last so long. It’s been a year.
These 12 long months of the pandemic have felt – at the mildest – like some form of limbo (and not the fun dance yourself under a bar kind, either). At worst, they’ve felt much darker.
Now, finally, there’s some metaphorical light on our faces. As the COVID-19 dust cloud slowly disappears, I’m feeling like starting again. Every day I ask myself:
What should we do more of? What should we stop doing? Where can we push our programs further?
What better place to look for inspiration than the CMI community? We’re sharing real stories of what real content marketers are doing, how they’ve gotten through this year, where they’re digging deep on existing programs, and where they suggest things can (and should) go next.
I hope you find these people, stories, and examples as inspiring as I do. Let me know what you think.
IN THIS ISSUE >
Make a Big Splash in the Livestream
Big brands, solopreneurs, politicians, musicians, authors, and seemingly everyone else goes live on social these days. What does it take to get noticed? We ask successful streamers for their advice.
Did 2020 Bring Meaningful Change?
The pandemic changed everything. A collective outcry for an end to systemic racism reverberated. 2020 forced brands to change the way they operated. Many pledged to work with more minority-owned businesses. Did anything change?
Trade Secrets: How Successful
Content Marketers Deliver Results
You can’t copy another brand’s content measurement strategy, but you can take inspiration from its philosophies and practices. Get ideas on measuring what matters from this panel featuring Women In Content Marketing Award winners and judges.
Who Needs Earned Media, Anyway?
Nutanix hits on an overlooked reason to build your own content brand: You can stop competing for the attention of uninterested journalists.
Why Can’t They Just Write Faster?
If you’ve ever wondered why writing takes so darn long, this peek inside a writer’s brain will explain why faster isn’t always better.
Content Marketing Shouldn’t Be a Dead-End Career
To move up, talented content practitioners must move on. That’s a problem. This career ladder will help you give team members a way up – before they look for a way out.
The Wrap Up
Marketers tap into the power of song and sound with a #SeaShanty, a sonic identity pop song, and a playlist for dinner prep.
Editor-in-Chief: Kim Moutsos • Creative Director: Joseph Kalinowski • Public Relations & Video Consultant: Amanda Subler • Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
<strong>Make a Big Splash
in the Livestream<strong>
<strong>What it takes to get noticed in the babbling brook of live video</strong>
Make a Splash With Livestreaming
Big brands, solopreneurs, politicians, musicians, authors, and seemingly everyone else goes live on social channels these days. We asked successful streamers what it takes to get noticed in live video’s babbling brook.
By Stephanie Stahl
How many times a day does your phone ding to notify you someone is “live?” As I sat down to write this article, I found myself struggling to resist the siren song of no fewer than six livestream notifications.
Data science. Goat farming. Cybersecurity trends. How to parent girls. Fast-growth companies. Creating better PowerPoints. There’s a livestream for everything that interests me (and probably everything that interests you, too).
Livestreaming isn’t a new technique, but it’s experiencing a surge in popularity.
“Livestreaming video has became a standard way to share ideas, information, and expertise,” says A. Lee Judge, CMO and co-founder of Content Monsta, which helps brands with video and audio content development.
The Content Marketing Institute's latest B2C Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends research bears this out. The number of B2C content marketers using livestreaming in their content mix almost tripled, rising to 35% in 2020 from 13% in 2019. (If you want more evidence, you'll find supporting statistics here.)
What’s behind the surge?
It’s not hard to figure out the livestreaming flood. Livestreams are relatively inexpensive and easy to produce. The tap of a button on a mobile device is all it takes to go live on multiple platforms at once.
One of the biggest benefits is the human connection livestreaming enables – with relatively few new skills required. People have had to participate in or lead more video calls as the pandemic carried on, and that's helped them feel more comfortable talking in front of a camera.
“CMI team members who never would have a year ago have been doing live video,” says Monina Wagner, CMI’s social media and community manager. “People have become so accustomed to being on video calls that taking it one step further doesn't feel scary.”
The number of B2C content marketers who use livestreaming in their content marketing mix almost tripled in 2020, rising to 35% from 13% in 2019.
The pandemic changed livestreaming's course
Before the COVID-19 pandemic drove many people to work from home, livestreaming typically occurred as an add-on to in-person events. And it often came with a high production value.
A Louis Vuitton livestream presentation of a collection at the Louvre attracted thousands of viewers.
A LinkedIn “Live with Marketers” talk show on the expo hall floor of Content Marketing World gave those who couldn’t enjoy the content in person a peek at what they were missing.
LinkedIn conducted a pre-pandemic livestream from the floor of Content Marketing World 2019.
But during the pandemic, livestreaming become the source of personal connection and interaction with audiences – without all the high-production fuss.
The closest thing to IRL
Goldie Chan, founder and head of content and creative for Warm Robots thrives on the real-time engagement it gives her livestream show Building Your Brand.
“You're able to respond to questions right away, especially when, say, somebody is telling a personal story, you get that response right away. It gets very visceral,” she told attendees of CMI’s Visual Storytelling Summit in December.
Goldie’s show is built around live interviews and discussions with guests. That’s a popular and successful format – but it’s far from the only one.
Many growing and established brands are getting creative with the livestream format.
Goldie Chan, host of the Linkedin Live show Building Your Brand, appreciates the real-time response livestreaming enables.
...When somebody is telling a personal story, you get that response right away. It gets visceral.
Goldie Chan, founder and head of content and creative, Warm Robots
Lexus recently tapped the power of livestreaming to invite the Twitch community to design a new vehicle to appeal to gamers. On a livestream hosted by popular Twitch streamer Fuslie, more than 550,000 viewers gave their opinions on features ranging from the car’s exterior wrap to a custom controller.
The Do It Now! Movement kicked off with a multi-hour event celebrating Juneteenth on Instagram Live because, according to founder Aleah Conlin, “It felt like people needed something closer to a live event.”
Educational sessions, entertainment, trivia, and more brought people together. “The live connection was so important,” Aleah said. The organization hosts the Now Talk show on Instagram Live and other events on Facebook Live to help grow its audience.
Just a couple of months later, Do It Now! hosted a live event called AMPlifyCommUNITY to shed light on education inequality. You can watch the whole "multi-aged student empowerment event" – which featured Black and Brown artists, performers, activists, speakers, and musicians supported by White educators and others – on Facebook or as separate videos from the event on YouTube.
The Do It Now! Movement holds livestreaming events like its August 2020 AMPlifyCOMMunity (shown here), to create live connections and grow its audience.
Standing out takes
The downstream effect of all this creative livestreaming activity: The competition for attention is fierce. But marketers still can stand out in the stream with the right strategy.
Dorie Clark, strategy consultant and executive coach who teaches at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, hosts a popular show for Newsweek on LinkedIn Live called Better.
Dorie’s professorial experience helped her set an educational yet conversational tone for the show, which features interviews with business leaders on topics that help entrepreneurs and other professionals boost their skills.
But another skill helped propel her success – her ability to read the business tea leaves. “Video is incredibly popular on social media, so I knew it would be a great way to reach more viewers,” she said.
“When LinkedIn Live launched, I realized it would be a priority for LinkedIn to see it succeed, and they’d likely give native video an algorithmic boost.”
To grow your following, promote your livestream on not just one social channel, but "on any channel where you reach your followers,” Dorie Clark says.
She built the audience for her Newsweek livestream by mentioning upcoming interviews in her email newsletter and encouraging people to tune in.
Let it flow where it counts
Christoph Trappe, author of Going Live: Livestream Your Podcast to Reach More People, turned his Business Storytelling Podcast into a livestream and goes live several times a week on multiple channels.
He believes livestreaming is “way more authentic” than scripted video and advises streamers to keep things conversational. “If you’re going to read a script on the livestream, just email it to me,” he jokes.
Initially, Twitter performed best for Christoph, leading to hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of views per episode. But when he added Amazon Live to the mix he started routinely seeing 1,000 to 4,000 viewers per livestream episode.
“Length matters. Shorter episodes don’t perform as well as longer ones because it takes people a bit of time to join in once a show goes live,” Christoph Trappe says.
He advises livestreamers to wait to dish out the best content until more people have tuned in.
“I've experimented with just letting the camera run for a bit and then going live 10 to 20 minutes in. That sounds kind of crazy, but it works on Amazon. Just put a graphic up with the time and be available to answer questions.”
Twitch streamer and social media specialist Jason Schemmel says the key to livestreaming is to create content that makes your community want to come back for more.
Livestreaming doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be overly produced, Jason Schemmel says. You can buy everything you need to get started online: a good camera, microphone, lighting, and a streaming service.
Even more encouraging is his reassurance: “It gets easier and easier the more experience you get.”
Do it, but don’t overdo it
Jason Schemmel, senior training and development specialist in social media at Amway, has spent the past few years building a personal audience on Twitch.
As a marketing professional, he sees the tremendous value livestreaming can bring to a brand – as long as brands focus on creating content that makes their community want to come back for more.
Jump on in – the
Livestreaming doesn’t need to be painstakingly scripted or overly produced. But it does require great content.
No matter the format, make sure to offer content that’s educational, entertaining, and, most importantly, worth your audience’s time.
Define your purpose. Pick a platform or two or three. Think about ways to connect with your audience.
They’ll appreciate the ability to look you in the eyes, chat with you digitally, and maybe even see your pets, children, or unfinished basement.
So, what are you waiting for? CCO
As General Manager of CMI, Stephanie Stahl leads the brand’s event, digital, print, and e-learning operations. Previously, Stephanie served as VP of Content Marketing for UBM’s Technology portfolio, providing strategic guidance on content development, content optimization, audience engagement, and go-to-market platforms for technology clients. Find Stephanie on Twitter @editorstahl and LinkedIn.
WADE INTO THE STREAM
CMI launched three livestreamed shows in 2021. Watch episodes below and get schedules and details here.
The Creative Show
CMI Creative Director Joseph Kalinowski and content strategist Buddy Scalera explore the complex, messy, innovative, and fun world of creativity on the last Friday of every month.
Beyond the Chat
#CMWorld Twitter Chat guest of the week tells CMI Social Media and Community Manager Monina Wagner all the things you can’t explain in 280 characters.
Ask the CMI Team
Every Monday, host Amanda Subler chats with CMI team members about topics they're asked about the most.