Yesterday I ran my second impromptu video streaming chat session with readers of this blog.
Both times that I’ve done it I’ve come away from the experience feeling that is a very worthwhile thing to do – something that has added to both my own blogging but also hopefully to those readers who participated (yesterday we had up to 33 participants at a time with people coming and going over the two hours – probably around 100 to 150 people).
The Benefits of Video Streaming Chats:
Some of the reasons why it is a medium to experiment with include:
- Adds a Personal Element - one of the things I’ve noticed about doing regular video posts here at ProBlogger is that it’s added a more personal touch to the blog. Video streaming chats takes things a step further as you’re actually interacting with readers love. They see your face, hear your voice, ask you questions, see you make mistakes, hear you thinking out loud….. Much more personal. I had a few readers email afterward thanking me for answering their questions – I guess personal attention makes an impression.
- Immediacy of Interactions – having an almost instantaneous interaction with readers was a real treat. Most of what we did yesterday was question and answers and instead of reading a reader question and having a day to ponder it, then to see their response what we had was much more of a conversation. While I’m sure my answers were not as comprehensive as a considered post – we covered a lot of ground very quickly. Another advantage was that there was much more opportunity for clarification – if I didn’t understand a question I could ask for more information – and if I readers needed more information they asked. Getting immediate feedback from readers was great too – its nice to know if you’ve hit the mark or not.
- Sharpen Up Your Mind – there’s nothing like having 30 people firing questions at you to get your mind ticking over. I’m a fairly slow paced person usually – but to get this level of interaction got my mind racing and switched into a new gear. While I came away from it a little tired – it was also quite stimulating.
- New Post Ideas – one of those participating in the chat asked me towards the end whether I’d come away from it with any new post ideas. At the time I didn’t have too many – but upon reflection there were a lot of great questions asked during the time which would make great post topics. Next time I’ll be recording the chat and will make note of those questions that could do with dedicated posts.
- Drive Traffic - I’m not sure how much traffic it actually drove – but on numerous occasions during the chat I referred readers to things that I’d written previously. At the very least it was a good way to highlight posts in the archives.
What I’d Do Differently Next Time
There are a number of things I’d do differently next time:
- Give Advance Warning to Readers – both times I’ve done it I’ve held these chats fairly spontaneously. This of course means numbers of those participating is smaller and some miss out.
- Set a Regular Time - perhaps having a regular time each week/month would help some readers also to plan to be at the chats.
- Record Sessions – Ustream allows sessions to be recorded. This would enable readers not able to participate to watch later on (although they’d not get to see the text/chat area).
- Pick a Topic – yesterday we covered everything from how to promote a blog, to SEO, to branding, to what my exercise routine is like. While this was fun it might be good in future to nominate a topic ahead of time that we stick to.
- Get some Moderation Help – at times today the questions came too fast for me to keep up. Perhaps having a second person to collect questions and feed them to me might have helped a little in this.
This is all very new to me – so if you have any other tips I’d really appreciate it.