Introducing live video to your online content mix is a fantastic way to reach out to your audience, create a buzz and stand out from the competition.
If done correctly, live video can be not only more effective but also easier to produce that regular, staged video. Often, all you’ll need is a smartphone, a stable internet connection and a bit of enthusiasm.
In this feature, we’re showing you how to prepare for your live video broadcast and a few useful tips on how to use live video to enhance your race in more ways than one.
Things you can do with live video
There are mainly two types of uses live video is particularly well-suited to, as far as races go:
- Producing spontaneous, exciting promo clips of your race and course
- Conducting virtual conversations with your participants, volunteers and race fans
Both can be very effective in different ways. Promo clips can provide you with highly-engaging content you can share online or use in advertising campaigns, whereas virtual conversations can help develop exciting new ways of sharing information with and receiving feedback from your fans.
Here’s a few examples:
- Broadcast race highlights live, such as your race start and first finish. Lots of races are catching on to this and it is now very common to see live videos of race starts circulating on Facebook. Besides the fantastic excitement a race start – or anticipation thereof – can hold for viewers, it is the regular timing of it that make it an excellent candidate for live video. All you fans know when to tune in for that special moment when you race starts.
- Go on a tour of your race course. If you’re working on a trail race or obstacle course, put on your best gear, get your action camera out and go on a quick attack of the best bits of your course. Give your viewers and prospective participants a first-person view of what it would be like taking part in your race. Planning a road race instead? Not to worry – strap your camera or phone on a bike and take it around the course. Talk through the highlights. Get some friends to clap along the way. Be creative!
- Conduct a live race Q&A. You can have several of these every few weeks in the months leading up to your race. Your participants will have all kinds of things they’d want to ask you, from parking arrangements to race pack pickup. So instead of emailing, you can help facilitate a live discussion where answers to their questions could be shared with everyone. Very efficient and a lot more fun than going back and forth on email.
- Broadcast your pre-race briefing online. That way, even participants who cannot attend physically can join in remotely and pick up valuable advice on emergency and other race arrangements they would have otherwise missed. This doesn’t have to be all done remotely by the way. You can just get a member of your team to set up a camera or phone on your scheduled pre-race briefing and broadcast the whole thing on your Facebook page. Trust us when we say that some of the geekier racers out there will tune in, even if they’re not taking part in your race!
Thinking this all sounds a bit too new and outside your comfort zone? Good. This stuff isn’t rocket science, though. Hundreds of events are experimenting with these same ideas every day. And most all of them get it right. So take the plunge.
But before you begin
There’s a few things you’ll need to keep in mind and a little preparation before going on air.
Firstly, you will need to decide what platform you’d like to broadcast on. The natural choice and the one we recommend, assuming you also have a presence there, is Facebook. Your audience is there and their friends are also there for your audience to share your video with. Mind you, there are certain things, like GoPro integration that Facebook Live cannot currently do (or can do in very convoluted ways). If you want to be able to do things like that, you may want to consider Periscope. Otherwise, stick to Facebook.
Then, there’s the matter of preparing your audience. Going live should be spontaneous, but often giving your audience a heads-up is highly recommended – particularly for things like live race starts. Wherever possible make sure people know you’ll be broadcasting live so they tune in, by posting notices on your website, Facebook page, Twitter account or wherever else.
Finally, please play around with the technology before you go properly live. Last thing you need is sitting through a scheduled Q&A video session and trying to figure out how things work or how you can communicate with your attendees. The best way to conduct a Facebook Live test is to shoot from your personal profile (not your race Facebook page which will go to public broadcast) under an “Only Me” privacy setting.
Things to keep in mind during
When you’re confident enough with your broadcasting platform and have your audience lined up, you can start to test the waters with your first live video.
There are not too many things to keep in mind during a live broadcast – a level of spontaneity goes with the territory – other than engaging with your audience. It there is one rule to keep in mind, make it this one. Remember, there are people on the other side and they rightly expect an interaction with you during live video.
The form that interaction takes will depend on the kind of video you’re shooting, but should always be there. If your video is a race clip or exciting GoPro sequence out on the race course, talk to your audience in the second person (“you”). Share you thoughts and feelings with them. This is a special moment you chose to share with them, your closest and most loyal fans.
If you are conducting a Q&A or race briefing, on the other hand, go one step further and identify people by name when they raise questions or thoughts in the comments section. Think of your audience as sitting across from you, paying attention to every thing you say – because that is exactly what they’re doing, albeit remotely.
Getting more out of your live video after
After you’re done recording your live video, you can extend its impact further by doing all the kinds of things you would do with a regular video.
For instance, assuming you first broadcast on Facebook Live, you can download your video from your Facebook video library and publish it on Twitter and YouTube. Before you do that, you can choose to make little edits to it to take the rougher edges out. But if you’re not comfortable doing that, go ahead and publish it anyway. These rougher edges is often what gives live video its charm.
Other things you can do with your video, is embed it on your website. Typically, you would have a very elaborate teaser video of your race on your website highlighting the best parts of your event. Uploading a live video out on the race course instead can be as effective and create a connection with your visitors that staged video often lacks.
Lastly, do not skip on the opportunity of using your video in Facebook campaigns. Obviously, we’re not talking of Q&A or lengthy race briefings here. Race course videos work great, particularly for trail and adventure races, and of course an extended start line clip can help prospective participants viewing your ad visualise standing on the start line for your next race edition.
Did you find this post helpful? Having something to add? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below
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