When planning a livechat as part of your content marketing, start by thinking whether it’s the right format for you, and what you want to get out of it.
Livechats are good for:
✓ positioning your organisation as a thought leader and promoting your in-house expertise
✓ generating interest around a topic that’s both of interest to users and mapped to your business goals
✓ generating debate and turning those findings into future content (like a takeaway on social media best practice)
But livechats are maybe not so good for:
✘ trying to communicate a central message or control the conversation – livechats are about discussion, not you dictating an overarching theme
✘ promoting products or services – if people sense that the event is just a disguised plug, they won’t find you credible and won’t come back
Livechat planning: focus points
If you decide a livechat is right for you, what do you need to think about? Here are some focus points.
- How will you measure the success of the event?
- How does the event map to your business goals?
- Which segment(s) of your audience are you trying to reach? What do you want them to think, feel or do as a result of participating?
What will you actually talk about?
- topics that people will actually be interested in hearing about, not just things you want to say
- themes that address people’s pain points, tell them something they didn’t know, plug into a trend or issue that’s topical in your world
- social media-friendly subject matter – content that people will want to share
- developing a narrative arc for the chat, so you’ve got topics and points you can move on to, to keep up the momentum
Ideally you want a good mix of participants from inside and outside your organisation.
- sending them plenty of information to ensure they’re well-briefed
- attracting an industry name who will help to generate interest and anticipation
To make sure the livechat runs well, make sure you:
- start to invite participants early – say 8 weeks in advance
- appoint a moderator – someone to keep an eye on comments
- have enough participants to make the livechat work and keep it flowing
- inform your IT team so they’re on hand should something go wrong
Build-up to the event
Put some thought into promoting your event.
- building anticipation by pushing it on social media and blogs in the preceding weeks
- announcing interesting participants as they confirm
- launching an email marketing campaign
- encouraging your team to promote the livechat through their own channels
After a livechat ends, there’s no reason to let it stop there.
- using your findings to create new content eg ‘5 things we learned about x’
- putting a replay online for people who couldn’t join
- keeping in touch with external participants – ask for their feedback and invite them back for future chat
- review your metrics to assess the event’s performance, and think about what you’d do differently next time