Will Facebook Live Replace the Press Release?

Live video is one of the most exciting innovations of the information age. With just a cell phone, anyone can go live to share their perspectives on a wide range of topics. During a recent walk in Santa Monica, California, I came across a group of young men from Germany playing music in the street.  What was unique about their performance was the presence of a cell phone mounted on a tripod nearby. The lead singer of Denmantau was addressing the audience in front of him, and the audience tuned in live on Facebook. I stood there listening to their feel-good vibes admiring their ingenuity.

Denmantau going live from Santa Monica on Facebook

Denmantau going live from Santa Monica on Facebook

Major consumer brand takes a bold step going live

The creative way Crayola delivered news the color Dandelion was going to retire wasn’t lost on marketing expert Jay Baer. As Jay remarked in his Jay Today video, Crayola’s plan to retire Dandelion on National Crayon Day wasn’t done through the usual press release alone.  Instead Crayola made the strategic choice to go live from Times Square with the news. Laurie Schacht from The Toy Insider  introduced Smith Holland, the president and CEO of Crayola and Melanie Boulden, SVP of Global Marketing to share the news. During this playful live stream Crayola referred to Dandelion as an “adventurous color”, and explained how “Dande” was about to embark on an extensive retirement tour.

Never let them see you sweat

Before going live it’s important to be prepared for the potential of things going wrong. There were a few glitches which prevented the stream from going perfectly, like TV screens not working during Dadelion’s retirement video,  and we could not hear what Dandelion was saying when he strolled in to meet the kids. But going live carries a certain inherent risk.  So far, the nine-minute stream has been viewed an incredible 256,000 times, received 3300 likes and 900 shares.  During the technical glitch, Melanie Boulden kept smiling and listened as the audio track from the video played.

The key point that Jay made earlier is, if you are working in public relations of any kind you need to be familiar with all things live video,  because it’s a medium that’s rapidly replacing traditional PR tactics as a means for delivering a message to the marketplace.

Live video is the equalizer

Every Friday Michael Stelzer and his team at Social Media Examiner go live on Facebook, Periscope, YouTube at the same time with Social Media Marketing Talk. The show format is brilliant, invite on experts with knowledge in a wide range of social media platforms to discuss the very latest announcements and enhancements, and discuss how marketers can use these tactics to reach their audience. The shows are extremely well organized, and despite a few occasions where bandwidth hasn’t been ideal, or a guest speaker can’t go live at that moment, the shows have been excellent. Michael always makes a point of reminding the audience, in a cheerful, no-stress manner that we are live and occasionally some technical issues will interrupt the flow. Expectations have been set, the audience understands that we are in the pioneer stage of live video, and to expect the unexpected.

For me live video represents a great opportunity to share perspectives on marketing and social media with the world. I’d like to learn as much as I can about it.  I want to be a practitioner who can produce excellent live content for myself, my company and others. So, I will be listening to Jay Baer and Michael Stelzer and anyone else with expertise on this topic.

Do I think Facebook Live will replace the traditional press release?  I think there is a distinct possibility. How many of you still use a Fax machine?  How many of you receive email from friends more often than you do say comments or Snaps on Snapchat or status updates on Facebook?  I know that I receive  a lot less personal email. So my thinking is, we are seeing a great new way to reach a mass audience emerging, and if done right, why would you continue to use traditional means over digital and live?

What are your thoughts? Are you as excited about live video as I am?