Consider the challenges of live video in your messaging efforts

Live-streaming content is an exciting tool for marketers, but it’s far from perfect. Consider the cons—not just the pros—before jumping in with both feet.


With the proliferation of Facebook Live and Instagram Stories, live video is quickly gaining traction.

The benefits of live video have been discussed ad nauseam, but it’s not for everyone.

Here are a few common challenges to take into account when deciding whether to use this tool:

You have to be an effective speaker

Live video streaming is public speaking. Although you are not physically standing in front of thousands of people, live broadcasting takes a lot of courage.

But you are still speaking in real time with almost no room for a mistake. Not everyone is born as confident as Dale Carnegie, but you have to know your topic inside out and be able to improvise in response to unexpected questions.

There is no way to outsource the work

Unlike written content and evergreen video production, you can’t outsource the work.

You can always hire a camera operator to follow you around or a host to do live streams on your behalf, but the result may not be as effective. The real potential and power of this marketing medium comes from an ongoing series of content from an authentic brand personality.

If your primary aim is to share your valuable knowledge and experience, you have to be the one on the front line, producing content at the right time in the right place.

There is no turning back

Once you’ve started a live video stream, you need to commit to seeing it through to the conclusion.

Viewers may knock you off balance by throwing in provocative questions or raising controversial topics. It’s important to address them calmly and remain objective with your responses. The worst thing to do is to become defensive when confronted by these individuals.

There is no escape hatch once you start a live video stream. Take negative comments with a grain of salt and stick to your topic.

Building an audience is tough

Unless you’re already a well-established expert in your industry, generating a high volume of viewers for your live video stream is likely to be your biggest challenge.

As with any other form of content delivery, the primary aim is to accumulate awareness and drive people to your content. Therefore, before you jump head first into the world of live video streaming, it’s important to find your target audience.

Plan your content and gain an audience through traditional mediums before deploying live video streaming. Otherwise your message may go unnoticed.

Time zones can be tricky

Probably the biggest disadvantage of live video streaming over the traditional ways of presenting content is dealing with time zones. Your audience could be spread around the world with oceans in between.

If you are trying to reach as many people as possible, you first need to analyze where the majority of viewers are coming from and plan your schedule accordingly. Don’t focus only on the main geographical location, but try to deliver your content to as many people as possible. Whether that means live-streaming twice a day or publishing a recorded archive of your live video stream on your blog, never compromise on your audience.

Live video has a short lifespan

Unlike evergreen content marketing tactics, live video streaming has a relatively short lifespan.

For instance, if you’re using Instagram Live, the video vanishes instantly as soon as you finish broadcasting. This leaves your followers with no other option but to tune in when you’re live. If you’re planning to repurpose your live video streams in the future, Instagram Live won’t be the ideal option to go for.

On the other hand, Facebook Live allows you to post archives of your live video recordings on your timeline. Facebook Live also gives you the option to download the footage afterwards. Weigh your options carefully before jumping onto a particular platform.

Analyzing real-time feedback can be challenging

Analyzing live video feedback through social media is an exhausting and overwhelming task. If you manage to get thousands of viewers, the number of comments can be overwhelming. And not all of them are relevant to the topic.

If your live video stream’s objective is to gather constructive feedback on your subject , your best option is to direct people to a relevant landing page on your website. This approach will also filter out comments from the “haters” whose main objective is to frustrate the broadcaster.

Although live video streaming has its challenges, it can be a great way to engage with and learn more about your audience.

Do you have tips for hosting a successful live video stream? Share them in the comments.

Dev Sharma is the founder of WPKube, a WordPress resource site. A version of this article originally appeared on Spin Sucks, and it first ran on PR Daily in April 2017.

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