Broadcasting at Home: An Inside Look at the LinkedIn Team’s Approach

September 2, 2020

Previously recorded screenshot of LinkedIn's "Live With Marketers."

Have you ever brought home a new product and opened up the box brimming with excitement, only to find a set of instructions that you had to unfold eight times into a massive page of complicated steps and diagrams? 

There goes your excitement. (Along with your plans for the day.)

We know that many marketers are being challenged to rethink their live event strategies in this altered environment, which can diminish the inherent enthusiasm involved with such endeavors. To combat this, our team is dedicated to providing resources that can help you simplify and streamline this transition. 

In the past we’ve shared ideas to inspire your next (or first) virtual event on LinkedIn, recommended actions from start to finish with virtual events, and tips on creating professional videos from home.

As an extension of that last article, today we’ll bring you behind the scenes with our own experience bringing an established in-person talk show series into a new homebound setting. We recently broadcasted our first episode of Live with Marketers in which all participants were in their own homes. 

Read on to learn from our experience so you can nail the logistics, cover your bases, and focus your efforts on what matters: creating entertaining and educational content for attendees. 

How the LinkedIn Team Brought “Live with Marketers” Home

One of the most common pieces of positive feedback we’ve received for our award-winning Live with Marketers series, which features candid conversations between marketers on topics that matter today, pertains to the authentic nature of the dialogues. Because we were able to bring marketing leaders together, side-by-side, for organic and free-flowing discussions, the insights felt natural and genuine.

Recapturing this dynamic was a key objective as we pivoted to a setup where the host (yours truly) and each guest would be speaking from their respective abodes. 

Here are some of the tactics and techniques we used before, during, and after to ensure that Live with Marketers maintained its quality, unique appeal, and measurable impact.

Before diving in, you can watch the episode, in which I talk through turning in-person events into virtual experiences with Adobe’s Ryan Lytle and LinkedIn’s Chris Packard, below: 

Pre-event Promotion

Create a landing page with a save-the-date. This is a standard practice for us and it works well. In order to maximize attendance, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to find your event, learn about it ahead of time, and remember that it’s coming. The ability to create a dedicated landing page with a unique URL to promote is built into the LinkedIn Events feature.

Publish a blog post promoting the episode, with CTA links and a banner. One week ahead of the live event, we announced it to our blog audience with multiple registration links. To illustrate the value of attending, we shared details about the show’s content and embedded a Live with Marketers highlight reel full of past clips.

Encourage guests to talk about the events. Everyone who was set to be involved with the production — Ryan, Chris and myself — posted frequently about it on our social accounts as the date approached. Reaching everyone’s distinct network is invaluable!

Promote to a targeted audience through Sponsored Content and Sponsored Messaging. These LinkedIn ad types are great for driving event attendance, as you can orient them toward specific members who are likely to be interested and personalize the message. We also promoted organically on all of our social channels.

Create an invitation template for sales. We whipped up a quick ‘save the date’ graphic with all of the pertinent details so our sales team could easily extend the invitation to their valued accounts or prospective customers.

Prepping for the Show

Consider rehearsals and broadcast notes. Because this setting is unfamiliar for many, we held enhanced rehearsals with help from the media productions team. This gave us a chance to ensure participants’ hardline internet connections were up to snuff, and their backdrops looked good on screen. We typically provide guidance for guests on things like what to wear to look sharp on camera; in this case we simply took the practice a bit further.

Equip guests to succeed. There are many simple steps you can take to help your guests excel on-screen, while also providing them value. For example, we mailed Ryan from Adobe a ring light to use during the recording. It helped him look his best on the show, and he was able to keep it for future broadcasting efforts as a small token of our gratitude.

During the Show

Prepare notes, but avoid scripted conversations. Since we wanted to be sure all participants were as comfortable and prepared as possible, we provided a list of questions that would be asked. Instead of potentially writing out your answers word by word, my recommendation is to use simple bullet points for reference that can guide the conversation while still allowing everyone to riff openly.

Assign an event moderator. One of the key differentiators between a virtual event and a standard webinar is generating an organic feeling of interactive immersion, and real-time participation. You want attendees to feel like they are part of the experience. For this, having a dedicated moderator manage your event feed is critical. They can respond to comments and direct questions to the on-screen talent.

Run polls to keep your audience engaged. Another handy technique for driving that real-time engagement is taking advantage of the polls feature in LinkedIn Events. It’s an easy way for viewers to interact and it can provide added value and context to the broadcast. For example, you could start the show by asking where everyone is tuning in from or what roles they have at their companies. 

After the Show

Added the on-demand episode to a central hub. To build an audience for serial content, it’s important to make all past and upcoming installments reliably easy to find. We aim to do this on our Live with Marketers hub page, which houses this episode and all before it. There’s also an “Upcoming” tab to find what’s on the way (and sign up).

Slice the show into shorter modules for promotion. People like bite-sized content, and it can often serve as an entry point. We carved out short clips of the hour-long broadcast — featuring memorable moments or particularly keen insights — and published the videos organically on our social channels to drive awareness for the episode and series.

Create an eBook repurposing the content of the show. Not everyone has the time and inclination to watch an entire episode, and that’s perfectly fine! It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to the information within. So we repackaged the episode’s content into a free guide on turning in-person events into virtual experiences.

Send out a recap email to your broader team with metrics and results. Everyone involved with the initiative, or even with eyes on it, deserves to know what was accomplished. As usual, we put together a bulleted email covering results. Here are some of the metrics we include in this recap:

  • Number of people reached
  • Concurrent viewers
  • Peak viewers
  • Net Promoter Score 
  • Notable companies that tuned in and  from what cities (Available free within  LinkedIn Live analytics.)
  • Comments (including a few snapshot examples of ones that stood out)

We also share key takeaways and next-steps in this email to build momentum going forward.

Follow up with people who registered but did not attend. There are many reasons why someone might register for a virtual event but miss the live experience. Oftentimes, it’s because they got too busy, or forgot. You can help them out by emailing or messaging a link to the on-demand version to those who couldn’t make it. (Many third-party tools such as Slido, which we use, have functionalities like this built in.)

Bring Home the Goods with Your Next Live-streamed Event!

The idea of broadcasting business-oriented content to a professional audience from your home might feel jarring on the surface, but it’s one of those aspects of the “new normal” that will gradually become natural for creators and viewers alike. We’re happy with our first Live with Marketers: Home Edition experience and we’re sure it won’t be the last. Hopefully our shared learnings can help you bring down the house.

For more guidance on thriving in a reshaped marketing environment, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Blog.