Writing Tip: Using Live Broadcasts with Periscope to Engage Readers
Now you can broadcast your own live streaming video with real-time viewer interaction. This new technology could be a powerful viral marketing approach for HubPages.
As an author on HubPages, my first thoughts for this new technology is that it’s a great way for you to create awareness by having live discussions about your hubs. I think this is going to have a huge potential to get additional readers.
The broadcasts are done with your iPhone or Android and with the free app called Periscope.
It works on an iPad too, but I find it a little buggy. From what I can tell, iPhone users have the best experience. Updates to the app always are done for iOS users first. Android users usually have to wait for new features to be included.
I started by paying attention to see what other people are doing and what works on Periscope. With this article I share what I’ve learned.
Twitter Bought Periscope Before The Launch Date
Twitter purchased Periscope in February 2015 for about $100 million (in addition to a stock compensation package) from Co-Founders Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein. Kayvon is also CEO of this San Francisco based company. The app was launched on March 25th, 2015.
The purchase enhances Twitter's social network beyond text. I can see they have huge plans for additional live streaming features. They just added Periscope live-streams to Twitter feeds in January 2016.
Viewers Can Watch Behind-the-Scenes Real Life
I have found anchorpersons scoping their true behind the scene life in the television studio. For example, I watched a weather lady giving a forecast on her news channel. The scope showed her doing her presentation in front of the green screen, and I got to see what it looks like to her. It was just green and she was looking at a monitor off to the side so that she knew where to point as she talked about various temperatures on the map behind her.
I also watched a news anchor. This was even more interesting because I saw how boring the job could be. She only spoke on camera between commercials. During each commercial she was free to talk to us, the Periscope viewers. I could hear the commercial in the background as she prepared for her next short segment on camera. Most of the time she was board as she waited through each commercial break. At least she filled the boring time scoping.
Specific Ideas for HubPages Authors
Since I became interested in Periscope as a means to compliment my writing career, this entire article is related to that endeavor. Here are my thoughts with that in mind.
Have a Plan For Each Scope
For each broadcast, make a plan for what you want to accomplish.
In my case, I was thinking if I ever start doing live broadcasts I wanted to have a list of things I would focus on for each scope.
As an author and writer on HubPages, I would want to engage with my present followers and potential new readers. It's helpful to plan ahead and know what the goal for each broadcast. Therefore, I came up with the following focus list. You can use it too if you want to do scopes of your Hubs.
- Introduce myself and describe my Periscope plans.
- Discussions of HubPages Updates.
- News of Google Announcements that effect online authors.
- Discuss other Hubbers and share news of their articles.
- Interview other writers and share their experiences.
- Live Q&A sessions of what authors struggle with.
- Discuss my hubs that don't work and why.
- Discuss hubs that do really well and why.
When planning each scope, prepare by making a simple outline. This will help you stay focused, especially as the flow of viewer comments can easily take your attention away from what you want to say.
How To Broadcast Successfully
As for setting up the broadcast, I won’t go into that here. It’s not part of this discussion and there are a lot of tutorials available by others. However, what I do want to discuss here are a few thoughts that have come to my mind as I learn and as I observe the mistakes others make.
Targeting Your Market
Don’t just broadcast miscellaneous scopes. You need to stay focused on a particular market.
Consider what your followers are looking for. Speak like you do to a group of friends.
Using a Good Title
Just as with our online articles, titles are important to attract an audience. The title needs to attract the interest of viewers and it needs to clearly state what to expect from the broadcast.
The image below shows how the app provides a field to type in the title we want to use for our broadcast. This may be my discussion planned for a Scope someday.
The First Image - Thumbnail
I noticed that many people who broadcast don’t realize that the first image their phone’s camera is seeing will become the thumbnail for the scope. It’s the forward facing camera. Therefore, it’s important to point your phone at something meaningful when you click the “Start Broadcast” button.
Flipping Between Camera Angles
Each broadcast starts with the forward-facing camera view.
The forward facing and rear-facing camera can be switched by double-tapping the screen. On iOS there is also a tiny camera icon that can be tapped to switch direction.
Portrait vs. Landscape
I see many people holding their iPhone vertically when making videos outside or in large public places where landscape mode would be more favorable for a better viewer experience.
Did you ever notice when user videos are shared with news agencies and aired on television, black sidebars need to be added to fill the HD screen?
A simple solution is to hold the phone horizontally. All smartphones have a built in chip to detect position. So when holding it sideways, the video will be recorded in landscape mode that provides a widescreen view. When this is done with Periscope, the viewers can enjoy a full screen view by also holding their phone sideways.
Having said all that, I discovered while experimenting offline that portrait (vertical) mode could be better for in-home broadcasts where you have the camera only on yourself.
So experiment and see what works best for your particular broadcast situation.
I notice that some people don’t pay attention to the direction of light. If the light source is behind them, they appear dark. It’s a good idea to keep this in mind and such an easy thing to do.
Trolls become especially troublesome for broadcasters who have a lot of followers. They curse and leave nasty comments. It becomes obvious that they are there because they feel inferior about their own ability to present themselves publicly in a live broadcast.
It’s not easy to watch the screen and click to block them while focusing on presenting a dialog. I guess it becomes easier with experience. I see many Periscopers doing a great job at keeping trolls under control. The main thing is not to engage with them. Once they are blocked, they become nonexistent. Viewers can block trolls too, by clicking on their comment and clicking “block”.
Recording Scopes For Future Use
Repurposing the video stream of a scope can be useful to give others a chance to see the rebroadcast. Scopes are kept on Periscope's server forever, but you can delete your broadcasts if you don't want to save them.
Besides saving automatically on the server, you can set an option to save the stream to you phone’s photo gallery and later post to YouTube.
In addition, there is a free service by Katch.com that automatically catches your broadcasts and posts them permanently. You have full control and can always delete your own broadcasts. In addition, you own the rights to your broadcasts.
The Future of Periscope
I wouldn't be surprised to see future advertising included with scopes similar to how it's done with YouTube.
Twitter will most certainly want to monetize their investment in Periscope.
While in the development phase, it's best to leave it ad free. However, when it matures and the bugs get worked out, advertising will not only bring in revenue for Twitter, but hopefully it will be shared with Scoppers too. Maybe even by using AdSense. Wouldn't that be great for authors, especially since we're already signed up with AdSense?
Sponsored Company Logos
Soon people will be able to include their own graphics in the hearts, which are shown when viewers show their love. Hearts are similar to Facebook likes.
Of course this will be a sponsored service for a fee. Can you imagine the power of advertising on Periscope with company logos floating by instead of hearts when viewers show love by tapping the screen.
Live Periscope Feeds in Twitter
As of January 12th, 2016 Periscope live-streams can autoplay in Twitter feeds for iOS users. It should be available for Android users in the future.
This is a huge step forward. It increases one's audience tremendously since people no longer need to have the Periscope app installed to watch live scopes.
Is There Competition?
Periscope is somewhat similar to another product called Meerkat. However, Meerkat doesn’t interface with Twitter, which I think is a huge benefit for live broadcasts.
Facebook Live is available to Facebook users, but it has some limitations. For example, you can only live stream in portrait mode. That’s a poor choice since it only provides a narrow view where wide-angle landscape shots would give a better overall presentation in most cases.
Facebook Live does have a neat feature that captures all the comments in the recorded video on the wall of the broadcaster. I think this could become somewhat overwhelming, but that’s just my opinion.
Livestream is also a similar technology, but it’s a paid platform after a free trial.
Learning From Others First
Okay, so here I am writing this Hub about Periscope before even getting comfortable with live broadcasts myself. Nevertheless, I did take the plunge to do my first scope, which you can watch below.
As a systems analyst, I have a knack for absorbing information and self-learning. This is the stage I’m in right now with Periscope. I’m watching others, experimenting with off-line video, and getting familiar with using Periscope.
Many Periscopers broadcast training sessions. In addition, there are a lot of YouTube videos, although many are out of date since Periscope is a development in progress and adding new features every month.
My First Live Broadcast Experience
Even though I tested the waters by making my first scope, I don’t know if I will continue. As for doing Scopes for supporting my writing, I have not yet begun.
The thing about a live broadcast is that you are laying all the cards on the table for all to see. It’s not like making a YouTube video that you can edit and make perfect before anyone sees it. Yes, I posted my Scope on YouTube for you to see, but the actual broadcast was live!
With live broadcasting all your mistakes are out there, and you may not even be able to keep up with the influx of questions in comments as you are talking.
The first thing I became aware of was that I was not paying attention to the comments appearing at the bottom of the screen, even though I knew ahead of time to expect that.
It’s different when you’re on air. Your focus turns inward. There’s action going on from your audience and you have to focus on that too. I guess I would get used to that over time.
I Did It !!! - My First Scope Broadcast
So here's my first broadcast. Remember what I mentioned earlier about the difference between Portrait vs. Landscape mode? Well, I did this broadcast vertically since it was only me. When broadcasting with several people or a scene that covers a wide area, landscape is better.
Will I continue with more broadcasts? Truthfully, I may never carry out my plan. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop me from learning the ropes and understanding it well, as well as experimenting with putting myself outside my comfort zone. That's why I made this first broadcast.
My main consideration is to use Periscope to enhance and grow my article-writing endeavor. The thing is, I recently retired and this would have to be another commitment that I may not want to make at this point in my life.
I feel that I would have to put my heart and soul into it to make it successful. I would have to make a full commitment to making broadcasts on a routine basis unless I just want to do a few at random just for fun.
I might consider that, but to gain a following of viewers one needs to be consistent with live broadcasts. It doesn't have to be daily, once a week might work. However, it has to be on a schedule that followers can expect. You can see why I hesitate to make that commitment.
I’d love to know your thoughts about this dilemma, and how you feel about considering it for yourself to enhance your success as an author.
What about you?
What are your feelings about using Periscope yourself?See results without voting
If you are uncertain if you want to do live broadcasts where dozens, or even hundreds, of people are watching, just start with the research as I have done. Get to know it anyway from a viewer’s point of view. Periscope is a fun place to be even if you just use it to see the world through other people’s eyes.
Explore the world in real time through someone else's eyes.— Periscope
Useful Book for Periscope Wannabes
I found a detailed overview of Periscope by Shanda Trofe that can be downloaded for Kindle.
I highly recommend getting her book "Periscope Your Biz: Live Video Broadcasting for Profits"
Video: How to Use Periscope to Chat and Broadcast
© 2016 Glenn Stok
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