Written by Heather Buen
As a blogger for the last 5 years, I’ve found we are typically at the forefront of many of the newest ways to create content for our readers. Video and Vlogging is quickly becoming an important part of the content mix for bloggers. If you haven’t started exploring video content or producing your own video content, you may want to truly consider it for your blog. There are video apps on your smartphone and HD camera equipment that makes recording video easier than ever.
Personally, I have found that posting video directly to my blog’s Facebook page has recently increased reach and engagement for my posts. The engagement rate for video is more than double that of photo updates and regular updates. Since Facebook is making the push for business pages to purchase advertising or “boost posts,” being able to upload a video for free and using Facebook’s algorithm for showing more video to your audience for FREE plays in your favor. This is the basis for why I believe live-streaming mobile apps like Meerkat and Periscope (Twitter-owned service) are an important part of your content mix. To live-stream something means to show live video to audiences via the Internet. In earlier years, live-streaming was a hassle with constant buffering and a degradation of the video service for Internet viewers. Today these two apps are making a splash in the live-streaming world with Meerkat being popularized at this year’s SXSW and Periscope being released by Twitter soon after. So how can bloggers capitalize on live-streaming?
Meerkat versus Periscope
Meerkat is an independent live-streaming mobile app that allows you to share Livestream sessions via Twitter. It was originally built in just 8 weeks by one person and has a tight integration with Twitter and Twitter’s social graph. Previously, you could immediately follow anyone on Meerkat that you were following on Twitter. Now you have to follow manually since Twitter shut off that functionality. On Meerkat, viewers of your live stream can tweet at you and they appear as comments on the live stream window screen. Those same comments are then tweeted out of your account allowing for quick, on-the fly interaction and discussion.
Periscope is a platform launched by Twitter shortly after Meerkat was launched. It works the same way in live-streaming video but also allows someone with a large Twitter following to auto follow each other once they join. The unique features that make Periscope stand out from Meerkat are not a big differentiator. Both mobile video platforms allow you to record video in the phone’s portrait mode rather than landscape which takes some getting used to. Each live stream you do can be saved for later use. The only difference is that in Meerkat, it will allow you to save to your camera roll while Periscope saves it to their servers. Apparently since Meerkat came out first, more celebrities and social media superstars are using that platform over Periscope. Despite whichever app “wins,” the importance is that being an early adopter allows you more time to gather followers.
The pros and cons for blogs
Live-streaming offers many pros and cons for blogs. It helps you to redefine and differentiate how you use and post video. Live-streaming requires little effort and little video editing if you have the right tools. But if you are looking for high quality video, you won’t get it via live stream since that is not what it was meant for. You can, however, engage readers and those following you which is making live stream video much more social.
Livestream events and demos
Are you doing a tutorial? Are you at an event? Live-streaming at these types of events are very effective in engaging your audience. I used this when I covered the Dallas Auto Show for my blog. I was able to live stream press conferences and a tour of the show itself. Followers were able to post questions which I could then ask the auto executives at the press conference. This was very valuable since most audiences are not allowed during media days at certain events. As an example, I live streamed the Ram Test Track experience and was able to upload it to YouTube.
If you are a blogger that conducts interviews, you can always live stream them. Some people have video blog series and doing some live sessions can create anticipation of what to expect for your audience. I have found livestreaming to be an easier way to interview someone if you happen to catch them on the fly or at the moment. It’s also a way to schedule personal time with your audience. By doing so, you can answer questions with your audience right then and there and engage the on topics they care about.
Showcase yourself and your talents
For your current readers this is a great way to showcase who you are and what your blog is about. It’s also a great way to pick up new followers.
Monetizing and increasing traffic
The purpose of most types of social platforms is really about driving traffic. Having another avenue just gives you more options to do that for your blog. While you can’t directly monetize the app, you can monetize your blog or the video that you create. Think about it. If you are a publisher you can save your live stream video, perform a few edits and upload to YouTube with some great monetizing capabilities such as ads. You can also take the same video and upload to Facebook to drive engagement and traffic to your blog. You can also embed the video or add it to your own blog with your own monetizing methods such as ads and affiliate links. Or if you are selling a product or service and doing a demo via Meerkat or Periscope I’m sure on your live stream you will direct people on where to buy the product.
About the Author: Heather Buen is a Dallas based “Creative Online Innovator” and a local Dallas celebrity blogger at her blog, Dallas Single Mom and a host of other lifestyle blog brands. Heather provides marketing consulting to small businesses and teaches web marketing and analytics at the University of Texas at Arlington. This mom of three is also a freelance journalist and web content developer.