Key points
  • Live video is a fast growing content type that drives online engagement
  • Getting started requires a bit of planning and experimentation, but results can be powerful
  • Finding the right content can be challenging. We share a few ideas for inspiration 

Live video can be a scary concept. Getting in front of the camera, unscripted and hitting ‘record’ is uncomfortable and, at the very least, a little bit awkward.

2018 was called the year of video marketing, because it was the first choice for many marketers who wanted to reach a wide net of followers with genuine, authentic and instantaneous content. In fact, a study by IBM Cloud Video and Brandlive found that 95% of brand and agency executives planned on using live video in their marketing strategies last year. The proof is in the pudding: live video is happening. Everyone else is doing it. It’s time for your school to get on board.

Back up a second... What’s live video?

Live video, or live streaming, allows individuals and organisations to share exclusive, real-time video content with their audience from their social media feeds, YouTube channel or a live video service such as Periscope. Live video includes everything from broadcasting high-profile public events (think the launch of the latest iPhone) to Q&As with the micro-influencers on instagram. Anyone can do it, and your audience can comment and react in real time.

Why should our school use live video?

In 2017, Vimeo’s live video service, livestream conducted a survey in conjunction with New York Magazine to learn how consumers think about and use live videos. They discovered that 80% of users would choose watching live video over reading a blog, and 82% of users would prefer watching live videos to seeing social media posts.

The trend is too significant to ignore, and there is certainly plenty of opportunity for schools to include live video as part of their school digital marketing plan!

What kinds of content should I feature in my live videos?

The same livestream survey reported that 87% of users would prefer to watch video online if it meant more behind-the-scenes content. 67% said that quality is the most important factor when watching a livestream. With this in mind, we have put together a number of ways that your schools can use live video in your marketing this year.

Open days

Open days are the time when your school is presenting its best face to the public - why wouldn’t you capitalise on that by broadcasting it to the public? In addition, there are likely a number of families that are unable to attend your open days, due to their location, work commitments or illness. Live video gives them the opportunity to experience your school’s open day from wherever they are.

Use your Principal or a key member of your senior leadership team to take viewers on a virtual tour of your school campus. Ask them to invite viewers to visit your website and register for your next open day. The live video will generate excitement and encourage registration for future events.

School events

At any event, from the cross country to choir performances, use snippets of live video to share parts of the day. House chants, final races, announcements of scores and musical medleys are all engaging ways to get views and interest from your online audience.

Prospective parents who are unable to attend can participate, and prospective families can get a feel for what it would be like to send their child to your school.

Significant moments

Throughout the year, your school will host a number of key events that showcase your school community and ethos. Think of your school dux giving the valedictory speech, your senior choir performing the school hymn or your principal welcoming new students to your school in his opening address.

Sharing significant and emotional moments through live video creates a connection with your audience and shows potential families how special your school community is.

Charity events

There are likely a number of charity events that your school participates in every year, from the World’s Greatest Shave to Jeans for Genes Day. Live videoing student and teacher participation both shows your community that you are concerned about giving back, and also raises awareness for a great cause.

Sharing your live video

Pre-planning and promotion is really important when it comes to live video. Even though there are options for your video to be viewed after the live stream is over, the appeal of live video is to experience the event in real-time.

It’s important to plan what you will stream in advance. You don’t want to scramble around at the last minute, trying to get staff members to speak on video, or trying to figure out what you will capture. Once you find out that an event is taking place, work it into your content calendar.

In the weeks leading up to the event, start promoting the live video on your social channels, newsletter and school website. Provide a link that will allow parents to access the live video straight away, and create an event link that will allow them to directly add in the time to their calendars.

Lights, camera - action!

To film a live video, you have the option of using video gear, but most are simply filmed on a smartphone. Bonus: most staff members will have a phone that’s new enough to record high quality video, and you can carry it around in your pocket. No more lugging tripods and bulky cameras to sporting events!

It’s important to remember that your live stream videos won’t be perfect - and that’s okay! In fact, it’s the imperfections, bumbled lines and bursts of giggles that will add authenticity to your marketing. And after all, that’s why people are drawn to live streaming over a slick, edited professional video.

Published 24 October 2020