In today's episode we're going to continue discussing live streaming and Facebook Live. We'll cover three topics: your live streaming strategy, building a content calendar, and designing timeline templates for your broadcasts.
While it's perfectly fine to start live streaming with ad-hoc content, if video or live streaming is going to be a major part of your online business or brand, you will also want to take a strategic approach. This is part of a free content series called the Definitive Guide to Facebook Live.
In this episode you'll learn:
- The steps required to research, plan, and launch your live streaming strategy
- How content calendars can help you integrate live content with pre-recorded and your other channels such as a blog, podcast, and social media
- What broadcast timeline templates are and how they help you execute a flawless live show
The image below is an example of a basic content calendar. This example illustrates spreading your content out over the course of a week.
For any broadcast content types such as a podcast, video, or live stream, I recommend creating broadcast timeline templates to organize your content into segments. An example is illustrated below. Templates like these are a great ways to organize your shows and your notes or script.
- Commit to planning and documenting your live streaming strategy in the next week
- Update (or create) your content calendar
- Create a broadcast timeline template using the example below as a guide
Links and resources mentioned in this episode:
Transcript DownloadDownload a PDF of the Transcript
Hey everybody, Dave Ziembicki here, welcome to StrongStart.FM. My mission is to help you design, automate and outsource the technology of your online business. In the previous episode, we discussed why to go live on Facebook, how to go live and we talked about the three levels of Facebook live broadcasting that range from the foundation level with lower or no budget, to the professional level which moves into multiple cameras and broadcasting from your computer, on up to the elite level with dedicated home studios and high end equipment.
In today’s episode, we’re going to continue discussing live streaming and Facebook live. We’re going to cover three topics: your live streaming strategy, building a content calendar, and then designing timeline templates for your broadcast. This is part of a free content series called The Definitive Guide to Facebook Live, which will be linked to in the show notes over at Strongstart.fm/010.
First topic we’re going to cover is planning your live streaming strategy and there are three steps to work through when planning your strategy. There’s a research phase, a planning phase and then the launch phase. In terms of research, what you want to do is take a look at the major live streaming platforms and the most successful brands on those platforms. In this series, we’re talking more specifically about Facebook live, so what you want to do there is, within your niche or within your particular topic area.
You want to look at some of the more successful brands and take a look at what they’re doing on that platform. What do their Facebook live broadcast look like? Are they doing a consistent weekly show or are they doing a daily show? Are they interspersing prepared content with sort of ad hoc and behind the scenes type of content, you want to see and take a look at what’s working in your particular space and for your particular audience.
That research will show basically where those brands or where those influencers are broadcasting, it will also show you the different types of shows that they do and more importantly, it will help you figure out where on the spectrum of foundation to elite that you’re going to need to target to have success with your particular audience.
If you’re in a more competitive space and all of the influencers in that space are doing very well produced, high end, high production quality broadcasts, then you’re most likely going to have to target a little bit higher than the foundation level. You may not be able to make a mark in that space with just broadcasting from your smart phone or with free and very simple tools. If others have dedicated studios and are doing highly produced content, then you’re going to have to take a look maybe at targeting some of those middle levels there.
Your research is going to help you determine where on that spectrum of foundation, professional, and elite you need to target. That determination is going to then help you figure out the different types of equipment and gear and tools and techniques that you’re going to need to be thinking about for your live broadcast, because as you know from the previous episode, those vary greatly from the foundation level all the way up to the elite level.
In the planning phase for your live streaming strategy, you need to determine what format, frequency, content, and style is going to work for your audience and market. By looking at what the influencers have done, you’ve got some examples of that but the next thing you need to be thinking about is format, which gets into questions like is it an interview show going to be what you want to focus on? Is it going to be more of a question and answer type of format? Are you going to be training people or doing demos and tutorials?
The frequency gets into how many times a week or a month do you need to do a live broadcast? What’s going to work for your audience? Some people and some audiences want daily content, others only on weekly and some even just want some really significant content delivered on a monthly basis. So you have to be thinking about, in your plan. what’s going to be working for your audience.
You also need to consider your commitment to live video and then its value to your brand or business and what your budget is to determine what level of broadcast you’re going to target. Regardless of your budget, foundation level live streaming is almost certainly going to have a positive return on investment because there’s minimal cost upfront when you're talking about broadcasting from your smart phone and then with a reach that Facebook live is giving you today because of their emphasis on live video, you’re almost certainly going to reach a larger audience than doing any other form of content on Facebook or anywhere else. For a relatively low upfront investment, the reach that you’re going to get there is almost always going to make it worthwhile.
To figure out the plan for your live streaming strategy, there’s a bunch of questions that you should go through that are going to help you determine what you want your strategy to look like. So What is the purpose of your show? Is it just for brand building and awareness? Is it specifically market and sell your particular products? Is it to provide some value to your audience and just providing free content and giving them some demos and tutorial sand sharing your knowledge with them?
The purpose for your show, obviously, is one of the first questions you need to ask yourself and start thinking about. What are the goals of your show? Once you’ve decided on a purpose, maybe it is to educate your audience.
What’s your goal in that space? How many topics do you want to consider for them? Are you trying to take people from an entry level to a leading expert or are you targeting some kind of other progression for them? What’s the topic and focus of your show? If you already have determined a niche for your brand or your business, that’s obviously going to help there. But even inside of that, you might say, “Well I’m going to use this live streaming channel for one part of my content.” Again, there’s things that live video are going to be good for and there’s things that live video aren’t going to be all that great for.
So again, things like demonstrations or tutorials, that’s something that’s great for live video. Maybe more deeper thinking or internal analysis and more depth content, maybe not so much a channel for live video. That might be something you want to do in written form or on a blog Again, once you figured out the topic or focus of the show, that’s going to help you shape your content in the future.
Next question is, will you have one format or multiple? What that means is are you just going to do a consistent weekly show? Let’s say it’s every Friday and you’re going to follow the same format on every show so that you drive up that consistency or are you going to mix it up a little bit and say, “Well maybe, Tuesdays are going to be interview days and then Fridays are going to be training and tutorial days.” These are some things you need to think about.
Again, looking at what’s working for the other influencers in your market is going to be helpful but you also want to think about maybe doing something different. So that’s something you’re going to need to think about for your brand and your particular space. You’re definitely going to want to think about having one format or multiple because that’s going to determine how the rest of your planning goes.
Reached format, what is your target duration? Again, by looking at some of the analytics, what some of your competitors and your space are doing and what your audience is interested in, you should be able to get a feel relatively quickly for whether short form videos or long form and other types of formats, whether they’re working for your audience or not.
A lot of experts, and I agree, recommend mixing up your format. So maybe an example is having that weekly well prepared, well produced show but also interspersing random or more ad hoc live videos throughout your week. Maybe more of a behind the scenes type of a scenario or more of a “here is what I’m doing right now” type of thing that might also be interesting to your audience.
Once you’ve built up an audience for your prepared show, A lot of folks do want to know what goes on behind the scenes or what you're doing day-to-day between your prepared content. Mixing those two things together can drive up the value of your live stream. Also, it’s sort of conditions your audience to always be looking out for your content.
One thing is, it’s always recommended to be, have a consistent content publishing schedule but at the same time, you run a little bit of a risk there where people it’s like, “Okay, yeah, I know you're broadcasting every Friday and I’m interested, I’ll be sure to tune in to that, but I may not pay attention to your Facebook page outside of that, right? I know it’s every Friday so why would I go there on Wednesday and check it out.”
But if you and intersperse random ad hoc live streams on to your page or however you’re going to be broadcasting, that starts to condition your audience of, “Well maybe I should check out their page more often, maybe I should turn on notifications so that I know when those ad hoc videos are about to start, I can tune in.” So you want to be thinking about sort of the conditioning that you want to have of your audience and that’s another reason why you may want to mix things up a little bit in addition to keeping that consistent content publishing schedule.
In addition to the duration, you want to look at the frequency. Like I said, it’s usually fusible to target a weekly well prepared show and then after that, you still might want to schedule your random broadcast as well, you might say, “Okay, well if I’m going to publish the well prepared show on Fridays then maybe on Mondays and Wednesday’s I’m going to do some ad hoc videos and I’ll just assume I’m going to do those around a relatively similar time each week so that you can plan your schedule. That’s something else to think about.
Next question is how many locations will you broadcast from or to? What I mean by that is, are you always going to broadcast from sitting behind your desk and your webcam on your computer or are you going to have multiple locations within your office or your home or wherever that you’re going to be broadcasting from? The reason why that’s important is because that’s going to determine maybe how much setup time you have between your different broadcasts.
So if you’re always broadcasting consistently from the same place then you can start to minimize setup time. If you want to ad some variety to your show and say maybe sometimes I’m broadcasting from my office and sometimes I’m broadcasting from my living room and sometimes from outside. You do want to plan that ahead of time as well because that’s going to have potentially an impact on maybe your equipment budget but it’s also going to have an impact on the setup time and the time investment required for your live shows.
If you say basically, “Yeah, I want to have a daily live broadcast and I want to be broadcasting from three different locations each week then obviously you’re set up time is going to be significantly higher than sitting in where you’re just going to broadcast once a week sitting behind your desk, which is always going to be setup and you won’t have to set it up or tear it down between broadcast.
Those are some things to think about there because they’re going to have a direct impact on how much time investment you’re going to have in your live streaming strategy. In addition to the locations and some higher end scenarios, you also might want to list out the different, what I call “shot types”. So, are you always going to be in a static location? Are you going to want to be broadcasting in motion?
Maybe you’re holding your camera in front of you or maybe you’ve got a V Logging rig or something like that where you’ve got a rig that your camera’s mounted where you might be walking around while you're doing your live broadcast. The shot types are going to also be something that you want to think about when you’re planning your strategy.
We talked a little bit already about content types so it was just going to be a solo show where you’re just speaking into the camera? Are there going to be interviews, multiple hosts. As you move in to interviews and multiple host or guests, that get sent to, much more advanced scenarios from an equipment perspective so that’s something where if you’re just starting out, you may or may not want to be able to do that.
There are some interesting platforms that are cropping up like BeLive and some other ones that do make it a little bit easier to do the multiple interview type of format and then eventually we hear that Facebook Live itself is going to add some of that capability as well, where maybe you and a cohost are both broadcasting locally from your offices and Facebook Live will eventually let you show that as one stream or a side by side or something like that.
Today, that can be done but that requires some higher end software and hardware. But in the future, that’s going to be enabled probably either right in the platform or through some third party solutions to make that a little bit easier. Those are some things you might want to think about now because they’re going to impact your schedule and your equipment, and your budget.
Another big one is are you going to use all live content or a mix of prerecorded and live content? If you want to mix live and prerecorded, then by definition, you have to move up into the professional range. Facebook Live app on your phone and the Facebook Live capability that lets you broadcast straight from your browser and webcam doesn’t let you switch between sources.
You can’t have basically a recorded file and say, “Okay, now I want to pause and I want to show this recorded demo and then move back to live.” You can’t do that at the foundation level. For that, you pretty much have to move up to the professional level using something like OBS or Wirecast or other mid-range software solutions.
Once you’ve thought through the answers to all those above questions, that’s going to give you a rough outline of the content creation side of your strategy. Now, the answer to those questions are probably going to change over time; once you start broadcasting and you get like a few broadcasts under your belt, you may decide, “Hey, yeah, I do like the interview format, maybe I want to start moving in that direction?
Or you may say, “Yeah, I really like doing training and tutorials on my live broadcast by that’s difficult to do just speaking into the phone, so maybe I do want to mix that live and prerecorded content and move up to the professional level.” Your answers to those questions will change over time but your answers to those questions right now are what are going to help you determine your content strategy and your content calendar.
Now, before we move into the details of planning out your content calendar and going into more detail on broadcast timeline templates, at this point, you should launch your show. You don’t want to spend tons of time in the analysis and research phase without actually starting to do live broadcast. This is something I’ve actually not done all that great at myself.
I mean, I’ve been doing a few live broadcast here and there, but I’ve been spending a ton of time on planning and equipment and geeking out on software and stuff like that because those are the things I like to do but I haven’t yet launched my prepared, well produced weekly show. That’s something that it is going to be rolling out here probably within the next week or so but I’ve gone on months on some of this topics because I’m interested in them and it is part of my content strategy to talk about this things and help you with them. But again, I have not followed my own advice on this one, which is get that show launched, consistently start delivering your live broadcasts and start learning from them.
Before I go into some more details on the planning and so forth, you want to start getting going and launching that show. You’re not going to be happy with the initial results, nobody is but you need to start so you can start learning and improving. Later you can move up from the foundation level when you need to. So once you’ve done that, you’ve launched and you have a few broadcasts under your belt, then you should start focusing on maybe some longer term planning and the way to accomplish that is with a content calendar.
Your content calendar documents, when, where and how you’re going to go live. As I mentioned, most experts today recommend the combination of well-prepared and well produced live content along with ad hoc or more impromptu, behind the scenes type of content for your live broadcast.
For the well prepared, well produced show, that needs to be delivered consistently, probably minimally once a week and ideally at the same time and in a similar format. So what you want to be thinking about here is the example like a weekly television show or something like that. That’s basically what you want to target. Your content calendar should also reflect all of the content that you plan to publish on a weekly or a monthly basis and I’ll include a few examples in the show notes over at Strongstart.fm/010.
As an example, your content calendar might call for a publishing a podcast every Monday, a blog post every Wednesday, and a well-prepared live broadcast every Friday. Then in between, you could have scheduled social media updates and you could have scheduled some of those ad hoc or more random behind the scenes live broadcast as well. Maybe you put those on a Tuesday and a Thursday in your content calendar.
What that would look like is you’d have a significant piece of content going out every day of the week and you would know ahead of time, “Yeah, this is the day I need to have my blogpost done, this is the day my podcast need to be published and this is when I need to be set up for my live videos.” So a content calendar basically lets you get ahead on all of this topics and helps you know, “Okay, this is exactly what I need to be focusing on, getting prepared for each day of the week.”
Once you have a content calendar that blocks out each day of the week and each content type is and when it needs to be published, from there, you can go into the more of the specifics on each of the content types for that given week or month. The ideal state is to have your content calendar planned out for at least the next two months ahead and to actually have all of your content prepared ahead of time for the current month. For everything but your live content, that means, recording it a month in advance of publication.
Getting to that point where you have your content planned out two months ahead of time and you know, the current month’s already prerecorded for everything but your live content, that’s pretty difficult to get to. That’s something that most people in the online business space aspire to but where most of us are not able to keep up with that pace. This is one of the reasons why I actually started strong start.fm and focusing on the niche of helping you design automate and outsource the technology of your online business.
Because the only way you’re really going to get to being that well ahead of time with your content creation is through good design of your technology, is through automating as much of it as possible and outsourcing as much of the minutia as possible. An example for me is this podcast, right? Basically, to get my entire podcast episode recorded and published, the only part of that that I’m doing is actually recording the audio and putting a little bit of meta data together. The rest of it is done by my virtual team, either my virtual assistant or the outsourced podcast editing company that I use.
Pretty much, my time investment for a half hour or an hour of podcast episode is about an hour and a half total. Most of that is the recording time and then a little bit of the meta data and a few other pieces of coordination. Everything else I have documented in processes and is outsourced. So that’s what you’re going to want to think about down the line when you get in to thinking about your different content types. Live video is obviously not something you’re going to outsource but recording a podcast ahead of time then outsourcing the rest of that process, you definitely can do it. So that’s something to think about there.
From a content calendar perspective, again, the idea is to know what you’re doing on each day, do as much of that ahead of time as possible. By doing that for your other content, like blogs and podcast which you can do ahead of time, that’s going to free up the time and the current month to really focus on delivering a high quality live show to your audience.
Last topic that we’re going to talk about in this episode is designing what I call timeline templates for your broadcasts. If you think about radio and television shows, there are distinct formats and time blocks for every show. You know in radio, there’s going to be station identification breaks, there’s going to be commercial breaks interspersed in the middle of it, and the shows and the producers design their content around those.
It helps them break up their content, provides them opportunities to mix in ads and other messages. That also helps keep their audience engaged if it’s done right. Just having somebody come on and drawn on for an hour with no breaks or no change in tempo or no change in content type or delivery, that’s going to either turn off the audience, put them to sleep, or make them change the channel.
It’s the same thing in television. So in a television show, you see a larger piece of content broken up into segments. For live video, you want to consider a similar approach, the attention span is short so you need to break up longer content. People who also be joining your live broadcast throughout its duration. You also need to periodically reintroduce your topic without losing the viewers that have been watching the show the whole time.
Most of us have been involved in conference call or these things where you’re five minutes into the call and then suddenly three more people join and then and then whoever’s hosting the call says, “Oh we’ve got some new people, let’s go back and revisit the last five minutes and repeat everything that we just talked about.” That drives me nuts and usually I drop right of those calls instead of wasting that time. In a live video, you do need to reintroduce your topic every couple of minutes for the new audience but you want to do that in a super quick way.
For this type of broadcast here, if I was doing this live and we’re already 20 minutes into it or whatever, I’d say you know, “Welcome to anybody that’s just joined us. Today we’re talking about planning your live video strategy and how to determine your content types and your content strategy.” Then from there, move right back in to the core of the content. So it took 10 or 15 seconds to bring new people up to speed, at least on what we’re talking about, that basically would set the context for the rest of that segment.
The other thing you need to do in your live broadcast in your timelines is have calls to action throughout the content. If you’re broadcasting something live and you’ve managed to hold the attention of your audience for a couple of minutes, the next thing you want to do is you want to make sure you’re giving them a call to action.
Sending them to another piece of your content, getting them somewhere like your website where hopefully you get them to opt in to your email list by giving them a lead bag or some other form of free content. While you have their attention, you definitely want to be providing them some value but in return for that, you do want to also be asking them to do something, to take that next action.
If you think about what I’ve talked about content types and calls to action and things like that, it’s hard to think about all of that and orchestrate that on the fly when you're doing a live broadcast. Just like you want to plan your content out ahead of time so that you know when you’re going to be broadcasting live, you also want to create what I call timeline templates for your prepared shows.
What that means is you want to have very well defined categories of content that you’re going to do inside of that broadcast. So here’s an example: let’s say you research shows that you want to do a 10 to 15 minute video show every week and that’s what’s going to work best for your audience on Facebook Live. Your broadcast timeline for your weekly prepared show might have a couple of key elements to it.
So it should obviously have an introduction. Generally, you want to have a standard introduction there that rolls off your broadcast very quickly and that you could do at any time at the drop of the hat. In my case, it could be something like, “Hi, my name is David Ziembicki. Welcome to StrongStart.FM where I help freelancers and entrepreneurs design, automate, and outsource the technology of their online business. Over my 20 year career, I have helped thousands of companies and individuals reach their goals.”
So I can pull that out on any time on any live broadcast whether it’s well prepared, or a podcast like this, or in my ad hoc live streaming videos and if you do that consistently, one, your audience is going to get used to it and two, new people are going to be able to understand who you are and what you’re all about very quickly. So your timeline might say, “Okay, we’re going to start out with a standard introduction every week.”
Then what you want to do is break your content up into segments. So again, if we’re talking about a 10 or 15 minute show, we’ll probably have two five minute content segments. So whatever topic I am talking about, I would break up into one, two or three key areas and then decide how long these areas are going to be.
So as an example we’ve done that in this podcast, right? In designing this episode I said, “Well there’s three topics I want to talk about, live streaming strategy, content calendars and then timeline templates.” So I have already organized my content into three segments. So on the live video what you could say is, “Okay, I’ve done my introduction, then I’m going to move right into content segment number one,” and for each segment, you want to have a little bit of an introduction, the body of the content, and then a summary and an associated call to action.
So what I know is okay, the first part of my show is going to be introduction, talk about my first topic, and then have a call to action related to my first topic. Then I’m going to roll right into my next topic, whatever that might be — do an introduction of the topic, the body of the content and then a summary or a call to action on content segment number two and you’ll basically repeat that in this particular format for however many content segments you want to do building up to how long you want your live stream to be.
At the end of your content segments and calls to action then obviously in most cases you want to do some kind of a summary. And that you also want to generally think about for your well-prepared show being something that’s similar each week. So an obvious example here is thanking your audience for tuning in, summarizing a little bit of what you talked about and say, “These are the three topics we’ve covered today and be sure to go off and do whatever your call to action is.”
And then, I usually would close with something like, “Be sure to tune in next week when we’ll cover topic XYZ,” and since you have planned your content calendar out a month in advance, you should know generally what you are going to be talking about in your next weekly show so you’ll be able to tease that on the current week. So the above is just one example, that is just an example of a timeline template for a weekly show where it’s mostly going to be you delivering content.
So your segments could be, again, training or tutorials, demonstrations. It could be a particular topic on strategy like we’re talking about in this podcast. Whatever is going to make sense for your audience. But again, breaking it up into a few modular segments is going to help retain the attention of your audience and help you basically break up that content into more consumable components.
So there’s a lot of benefits from having these timeline templates. They obviously are going to help you create your content more rapidly. So rather than sitting at a blank screen and writing out a script or something like that, you’re going to say, “Oh okay, I know I’m doing the weekly show. I know it’s 15 minutes. I know I need two to three content segments, let me think about what those are. Okay, for each segment I need the intro, the body and the call to action.” It basically gives you that outline that you need to fill out for your weekly show.
Now if you are using a different format, the same thing holds. If you are going to do an interview format, same scenario, you’re going to need to think about, “Okay, well what am I going to do on this interview? Am I going to have a couple minute introduction where I am talking about the topic before I have the guest on? When am I going to bring in the guest?
How much time am I going to spend on the guest introduction that I read versus how much time am I going to give the guest to introduce themselves and whatever they’re planning to talk about before we move into the content? Once we move into the content, how much time are we going to spend on their background versus the core value versus whatever they might be coming on your show to pitch?” So again, regardless of your format you want to think about what the broadcast timeline is going to be and be relatively consistent with that in your live broadcast.
The other thing these timelines do which is really helpful is they help from a content repurposing perspective. So if you take the example that we have been using here about intro, segment number one, call to action one, segment number two and so forth, after you’ve done your live broadcast you can take the recording of that video and then you can break that up into smaller parts. So that weekly 10 or 15 minute show that has two content segments could then get split up into two videos that you could upload to YouTube or to other channels where recorded video is what you want to do.
You could take those and embed those in your blog or turn each segment into a blog post. So those are some things to think about and that’s the other reason why having those well-prepared timeline templates make sense because if you follow that format that I’ve been talking about, you know that each of those segments is going to have a proper introduction. It’s going to have a proper summary and call to action.
So when you go to repurpose, you’re not going to have to go record those snippets and say, “Whoops I forgot to have an introduction of this topic. I just rolled right into it. Now I’ve got to record an introduction, splice it together, try and make it sound like it did when it was live.” So by planning ahead of time with these templates and having the standard formats, that repurposing just becomes a matter of chopping up the video, posting it, and then putting it up on YouTube or wherever you’re going to do it.
So planning your live broadcast ahead of time is really going to help with some of the scenarios that we were talking about. One of the reasons I focus a lot on design and automation is because proper design is what enables that automation and outsourcing later. So as an example for my live broadcast by using these pre-defined segments like I am talking about here, the repurposing is going to be quite easy.
All I am going to have to do is point my virtual assistant at the recording of my live broadcast and they are going to be able to go in quite easily at chop that up into the individual segments, upload those up to YouTube and my blog and some other channels and that’s work that I’ll never even going to have to do. I’m just going to record the live stream and then after that, it goes into a standard process that is going to turn that into multiple forms of repurposed content. I’ll include some examples of broadcast timeline templates in visual format over in the show notes for this episode over at Strongstart.fm/010.
So at this point we’ve covered how and why to go live, how to plan your strategy, how to create content calendars and the value of broadcast timeline templates. In the next episode, we’ll get into the details of how to prepare and get set up for your live broadcast so that they run flawlessly every time. For a link to The Definitive Guide to Facebook Live and all the other resources mentioned in this episode, head on over to the show notes at strongstart.fm/010.
And as always, I want to thank you for joining me today. If you have been enjoying these first 10 episodes of StrongStart.FM, it would greatly help us out if you could give us a quick review over on iTunes. My goal is to help as many people as possible reach their goals so we need to spread the work on this podcast and the content and I hope you are able to help me do that. Thanks for tuning in and we’ll see you next week on the next episode of StrongStart.FM.