Give Your Race an Edge with Live Video
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.
What's more, live video can be easier to produce that regular video, often requiring only a smartphone, stable internet connection and a bit of enthusiasm.
In this feature, we'll be showing you some of the cool things you can do with live video to enhance your participants' race experience, as well as giving you some practical advice on preparing for your first live broadcast.
Ok - so let's get started!
Things you can do with live video
There are mainly two types of uses live video is particularly well-suited for:
- Producing spontaneous, exciting promo clips of your race and course
- Conducting live conversations with your participants, volunteers and race fans
And they can both be very very effective in different ways.
Promo clips, for example, can provide highly-engaging content you can share online or use in advertising campaigns, things like race teasers or improvised race course tours. Conversations, on the other hand, can help inject excitement into race briefings and pre-race Q&A sessions, reinventing the way you share information with your race audience.
Let's look at some of these in more detail:
- 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. What's great about the race start in particular is that you can work on creating an audience well in advance of your broadcast, as the broadcast time is known.
- 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 have a go at the best bits of your course. Give your viewers and prospective participants a first-person view of what it would be like to take part in your race. Planning a road race instead? Strap your camera or phone on a bike and take it around the course. Talk through highlights on the course. 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, from parking arrangements to bib pickup and the like. So instead of emailing, you can help get a live discussion going. Very efficient and a lot more fun than going back and forth over email.
- Broadcast your pre-race briefing online. This is an excellent way to increase participation for your safety briefing, among other things. You can choose to conduct the whole thing remotely or simply set up a feed during your regular, onsite briefing that you can broadcast live through your Facebook page. Not only will your participants tune in, a good number of non-participating fans will also!
Hundreds of events are experimenting with these same ideas every day. So have a go - and don't hold back!
Things to keep in mind before your first broadcast
There's a few things you'll need to keep in mind before going on air. And some preparation to be done.
Firstly, you will need to decide what platform you'd like to broadcast on. The natural choice and the one we recommend is Facebook. Your fans are there and their friends are there also, making it easy to have your video shared with a larger audience of people. If you're after fancier broadcasting features, such as GoPro integration, you may want to look at things like Periscope instead - but odds are Facebook will do just fine.
Then, there's the matter of preparing your audience. Going live should be spontaneous, but giving your audience a heads-up when possible is highly recommended. Make sure people know what time you'll be broadcasting live so they tune in, by posting notices on your website, Facebook page, Twitter account etc.
Finally, do play around with the technology before going live. Last thing you want is sitting through a scheduled Q&A video session, trying to figure out how things work or how you can communicate with people on the other end. For a quick Facebook Live test launch a test recording from your personal profile (not your race Facebook page which will go to public broadcast) under the "Only Me" privacy setting.
Things to keep in mind during your broadcast
There are not too many things to keep in mind during your live broadcast and you should try to enjoy yourself. But keep in mind there are people on the other side and some interaction wouldn't go amiss.
The form that interaction takes will depend on the kind of video you're shooting. If your video is a race clip or a GoPro sequence out on the race course, talk to your audience in the second person ("you") as if they were there sharing that exciting moment with you.
If you are conducting a Q&A or race briefing, on the other hand, go one step further and address 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 - that's what they're doing, albeit remotely.
Getting more out of your live video
After you're done recording your live video, you can stretch its impact further by doing all the kinds of things you'd do with a regular video.
For instance, assuming you 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 - or not. These rougher edges are often what gives live video its charm.
Other things you can do with your video, is embed it on your website or use it as your Facebook page's cover. Staged video, like a race highlights teaser, is also very effective for this, but there is something to be said for the spontaneity and excitement of live video. When it works, it works well.
Lastly, do not pass 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 viewers visualise standing on the start line for your next race edition.