So you’re hosting Google+ Hangouts On-Air and you’re seeing some success! People are now tuning in and you’re getting them on your email subscriber list! That’s great! As we all know, those email subscribers are more valuable than you think! If you haven’t been getting them on your list, now’s the time to do so!
Although, you might find yourself on the other side of the spectrum where you don’t know where to start or how to conduct yourself before, during and after the HOA. It just seems like there are pieces that you can’t put into place and doing the prep work can seem daunting. I promise that after you read this week’s blog, you’ll have a better sense of what you need to do for your live Hangouts On-Air.
1.) Schedule a Dry Run With Your Future Guest
Just because you’re doing a HOA does’t mean that things will flow smoothly. Sometimes Hangouts are “glitchy” while other times guests “space” their appearance on your HOA. As my sister always tells me when she finishes her own HOAs, “It’s always something…” The headline here is all about preparation…
This includes getting your guest on the actual Hangout On-Air for a dry run. Why? You have to remember that not everyone is sold on the idea of joining another social network–especially Google+. But the idea of being interviewed for a “podcast” (if that’s how you intend to use your Google+ Hangout On-Air) sparks interest with your guests. Who doesn’t want to be featured in an interview? Therefore, you, as the host, should schedule a dry run ahead of time to make sure your guests can join the Hangout and work out any kinks before the live interview.
When you schedule this dry run, you and your guest should test:
- Both of your webcams to make sure video is transmitting.
- The sound quality of your microphone. Whether you’re using your webcam’s microphone or an external microphone, test both so you can adjust your volume for your guest and vice versa.
- The lighting on your face. Make sure that there is light ON your face instead of backlight shining from behind you (and your guest).
- Your lower third and whether your guest wants a lower third on their screen.
2.) Build a Custom Lower Third With a SPECIFIC Call to Action
Now that you have an audience that is watching every one of your Hangouts, it’s time to passively get them on your email subscriber list. If you ask me, it is absolutely necessary to have a Lower Third when you administrate an HOA. Not only should you, the host, have a Lower Third, but encourage your guests to set up their own Lower Third.
I recommend that when you select the Lower Third portion, you include your name and your specific call to action.
What exactly is a “specific” call-to-action?
Most people like to place their website in the tagline below their name. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but since the name of my game is to collect email addresses, I have a page on my website that is dedicated for one purpose only: TO COLLECT EMAIL ADDRESSES.
The above screenshot was taken from a Hangout I did over the Christmas holiday of 2013. Inside of this HOA, I intentionally made a Lower Third with a CTA that directed them to my subscribe page. The intention here was to see if I could see an increase in subscriptions to my email newsletter list.
By doing a simple A/B split test from previous HOAs that I did, I saw more email subscribers on my list at the end of December and the beginning of January than I did earlier in the month when I didn’t include a specific CTA. Given the factor that I was on an HOA that had an audience that was active (through comment participation) and passive (by just watching the HOA), they still took action to join my list.
Of course, this technique is purely situational. If you don’t feel comfortable placing a specific CTA on your Hangout Lower Third and would rather have them go to your website, that’s completely cool. But when push comes to shove, you’re going to want emails down the line when you have a product to push. Why not get them with the power of an HOA? When you think about it, the content that you’re giving on an HOA is equally as good as the e-book that is on your website where they have to opt-in.
Again, this is purely situational.
3.) Be Respectful of Your Guest’s Time (and Vice Versa)
This one is HUGE for me…
We are all busy people and there’s nothing worse than a time bandit who isn’t respectful of you and your schedule. So…
If you’re the host:
Make it known to your guest that the interview is 30 minutes (or an hour) and make sure to start the HOA on time. Your cognizance of time is out of the respect that your guest has a life outside of being on the Hangout with you. If you couldn’t get the valuable information from them within your allotted time, then you probably didn’t conduct the interview right. On the whole, you should always consider your guest’s time constraints.
You as the host should be showing up to your own HOA at least 30 minutes before the start time and setting up the bells and whistles of the HOA. Setting up the HOA 10 minutes before the start time is risky and cutting it close–especially if you have an audience that is on the edge of their seat waiting to see what you’re going to ask your guest.
Even though you’ve scheduled out time with your guest prior in the week, something will always occur before your HOA goes live. So allot yourself some leeway to get everything in order regardless if you’ve had a pre-PRE-Hangout trial run.
If you’re the guest:
The same rule applies as the aforementioned. It’s important to show up to the host’s HOA at least 15-20 minutes BEFORE the actual Hangout goes live. Be respectful of the host’s obstacles because the host is technically “producing” the HOA and must make sure every tool is in place.
Also, I require that it’s an absolute MUST to wear headphones during the HOA. Most guests don’t realize that the sound that is coming from their speakers is feeding back into their webcam’s microphone. Therefore, it’s a must to silence this feedback with headphones. Spare the host from having to tell you to pull out a pair of headphones and definitely spare the audience the feedback that will likely be coming from your end.
4.) Stay “On Topic” With Your Guest
In the 14 years that I have been in radio, I’ve learned to get to the nuts and bolts of my interviews without wasting a whole lot of time. Depending on your intention, each interview should have a purpose and drive home value anytime someone tunes into your HOA.
If the topic of your HOA is called, “From Teacher to Radio Announcer,” then focus on the story that leads to the individual who transitioned to the radio industry. The point is to always stay on topic. Sure, your guest may have a side story that must be told, but if it doesn’t relate to the topic of YOUR HOA, then pull them back into the conversation at hand.
5.) Have Pride In Your Brand
For every HOA that you create, make it a point to have pride in the work that you do. What do I mean?
In the past year that I have watched HOAs, I have seen a number of shows where the hosts of the show bring their brand down by saying things like, “Well, it doesn’t really matter because no one is watching,” or “This show totally sucks anyway and it doesn’t matter.”
Why would you even want to bring your own brand down like that? When you talk down about your brand, it’s like saying you aren’t really passionate about your show or your own passion.
Make every effort to show pride with your brand. Whether it’s talking your brand UP or wearing customize swag, but always have some pride in the work that you do. Plus, if you are always talking down about your brand, you have to keep in mind that your HOA is recorded and saved in cyberspace forever. Anytime someone is stumbling across your videos on YouTube, the record will show you bringing your brand down!
Even if you’re a seasoned HOA host or you’re the beginner, we can all take a step back and reexamine how we can make each Hangout run smoother. The key here is all about show preparation. Make it a point to do your research and test, test, test!
Technology is so amazing, but it comes with its flaws. As I have learned in the radio industry, you have to be ready for any type of curve ball that is thrown at you. Thus, you should be ready to adapt to any situation and make the best of it. In the end, these curve balls will truly make you an expert HOA host.