Guest article: 20 days of daily livestreaming

Philip Morgan

Alastair McDermott was very kind to write for you about his experience with a month-long weekdaily livestreaming experiment. The article below is from him:

As an experiment, I livestreamed on video every weekday for the month of November 2020.

The livestream videos averaged about 25 minutes, with a couple shorter ones in the 5-10 minute range, and a few longer ones lasting over an hour.

There were three types of video:

  1. "talking head" with me speaking directly to the audience on camera,

  2. presentations with slides - with talking head in the corner, and

  3. screen shares where I demonstrated something - often a website, or building out an idea in a Google spreadsheet.

This was broadcast on my business YouTube channel, my personal YouTube channel, my business Facebook page and my personal Facebook profile. The reason I broadcast to so many channels was to access a larger aggregate audience as I don't have a big following on my new brand YouTube channel.

The topics were focused on two overarching topics: my old generalist brand focus on websites, and my newer niche specialization, focusing on marketing for consultants. To give you a flavor, some of the titles were "The Perfect Homepage Checklist: A Section by Section Breakdown", "Why Selling Consulting Services is More Difficult", "How Using Surveys Grew My Expertise & My Audience" as well as live website audits and an "Ask Me Anything" video at the end.

There were several reasons I did this livestream experiment.

  • I wanted to learn from the process.

  • I wanted to get some good recordings of presentations I deliver frequently.

  • I wanted to kick-start my content production - I had started 2020 quite well but shuddered to a halt in March when COVID disrupted the world.

  • Another important reason is that I wanted to do more work in public live, where it feels higher stakes.

What I Learned

It was an interesting experiment, and I learned some things that I'd like to share.

The biggest take-away from this live stream experiment is the accelerated effect of daily publication. Philip talks a lot about the benefits of daily emails, and I think I experienced some - but not all - of the benefits of this.

When I look back at twenty videos from twenty days of streaming, it's an incredible amount of content produced in a very short period of time. The math is very simple: a daily content producer will create [a year's worth of content from a monthly producer] in just over two weeks.

That accelerated schedule means a huge amount of learning and failing happens quickly. You've heard it before: "Fail fast, fail cheap, fail often", "Just ship it", "Take imperfect action", etc.

The one aspect where I believe it is quite different from daily writing is that livestream video is more about delivering existing knowledge, rather than developing new thinking. I find writing is far better for finding and developing new ideas & concepts.

Another benefit of the livestream that was different for me compared to writing is having this "dedicated time" where I'm supposed to be going live. I didn't manage to be exactly on time everyday, but because it's daily and because it's live, it felt like I couldn't get away with skipping out or half-assing it!

Another couple of smaller learnings about video. The first is simply that I need to improve my delivery, especially making more of an effort to look at the camera a lot more - this helps the audience to connect with the presenter. I'm guilty of looking up and to the side as I'm going through my thought process, or looking at something on the screens in front of me.

There is a credibility effect that comes with video, which is helped by the sheer volume. I had several people comment to me about the trust-building and credibility-building impact of seeing a livestream video going up every day.

In terms of platforms, it was quite interesting: when I checked about two weeks in, Facebook had given me 89% of my views, YouTube 11%. There seems to be a very clear differentiation:

  • Facebook is a social network that will deliver immediate traffic, but once the stream is over and a few days have passed, it doesn't get much follow-up traffic.

  • YouTube is a search engine that will provide very little immediate traffic - apart from subscribers - but is more likely to provide search traffic in the longer term. Adding custom thumbnails and doing better SEO around playlists, titles, tags: and video description text is very important.

What am I going to change as a result of the livestream experiment?

Frequency of Podcast Episodes

I'm in the late planning stages for my podcast Marketing for Consultants. Originally I was planning to publish one episode per week. However, seeing the effect of more frequent publication - and the fact that I was actually able to keep up high-frequency publication schedule, I'm thinking about making that two episodes per week.

It's a significant commitment, but it will help to build an audience quicker, have more content out there with SEO benefits, and build relationships with more guests quickly.

Side-note: I'm looking for guests for my first few episodes to come on and speak about anything related to "Marketing for Consultants" - if you're interested, please fill in this form.

Write More Often

I'm going to write more often, because it's been reinforced for me just how critical writing is in the development of thinking and true expertise.

Work in Public & Experiment Further

Another Philip Morgan mantra is to "work in public". I'm going to continue to do experiments like this one, because it's taking action and working in public, which compounds the feedback loop.

Thank you, Philip, for the opportunity to write for your audience.

And thank you, Alastair, for this gift to others in the indie expert world. -P