Five Ways Music Writers Should Be Using Periscope

If you’re a frequent visitor to the Haulix blog you no doubt noticed our recent article that focused on how musicians should be using Periscope. If you missed it, or if you never even knew it existed before now, click here to enjoy that piece of content. This article is similar, but instead of looking to aide bands in adopting the latest social media trend our focus has now turned to bloggers. They may not have as many reasons to use this service as musicians, but there are still a lot of opportunities for community development and unique content creation.

Before we dive in too deep, we should first revisit the purpose of live broadcasting apps. Here is what the founders of Periscope have to say about their product, its use, and what there is to be gained by watching people broadcast their existence in real time:

“Just over a year ago, we became fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else’s eyes. What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realized there is no better way to experience a place right now than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you someplace and show you around.

For broadcasters, Periscope lets you share an experience with others. Press a button, and instantly notify your followers that you’re live. Whether you’re witnessing your daughter’s first steps or a newsworthy event, Periscope offers an audience and the power of a shared experience. Most mobile broadcasting tools feel far from live. Broadcasters on Periscope are directly connected to their audience, able to feel their presence and interact. Going live on Periscope means more than a blinking red dot.

For viewers, Periscope gives you a new set of eyes and ears. Travel the world and step into someone else’s shoes. See what they see, hear what they hear, and hopefully feel what they feel. Watching a broadcast isn’t a passive experience like television. On Periscope, viewers influence the broadcaster by sending messages, and expressing their love by tapping the screen to send hearts.”

While adoption of this new social media format is still on the rise, now is as good atime as there will ever be for musicians to signup and begin building their community. Unlike several recent social media platforms that quickly rose in popularity only to disappear seemingly overnight, Periscope (and Meerkat) offers something that actual changes the way we are able to connect with one another. It’s not about profiles and photo-swapping, but cultivating instantaneous communities around events happening all over the world in real time. It’s about engaging with others, regardless of location, to experience life in a truly unique way with very few barriers to entry. Like Facebook and Twitter before it, Periscope has found a way to make the world seem a bit smaller, and in doing so the founders created a scalable business model that will likely see large growth in the months ahead.

Every great magazine, be it a physical publication or a product of the digital age, lives or dies based on the way it’s able to not only engage its core audience, but music fans as a whole. Community is the key component to any product, band, brand, or project succeeding, and tools like Periscope are creating new and exciting ways to do just that. The connectivity allowed by technology today is greater than it ever has been, and those who find the best ways to leverage those opportunities to better promote themselves will find success far quicker and easier than those who choose to wait until the latest trend becomes a cultural staple.  We want to help you be a leader in this new social media movement, and to do so we came up with four ways your music site should be using apps like Periscope moving forward:

Artist Takeovers

There is no easier way to bring eyes and clicks to your Periscope account than by sharing it with an artist currently working their way to the top. Just like a Twitter or Instagram takeover, Periscope Takeovers involve handing access to your social media page over to a musician (or group of musicians) currently working to promote something new. While in possession of your account, artists will share their day with fans through your page. If they’re on tour this may include scenes from the tour bus, as well as soundcheck, green room moments, on stage highlights, and post-show fan interaction. If the artist is in the studio, perhaps they will share some clips of new material, or maybe they will host a live Q&A while another member records their contribution to the new record. The possibilities are endless, but you will want to ensure the band knows how to use the service up front. There are few marketing plans worse than handing your social media account over to someone with no understanding of how it should be used.

Live Interviews (which will later still run on your site)

Most interviews take place between two people speaking in a relatively quiet place. No one typically sees these interviews take place, and many do not run on sites or in print for days, if not weeks after they are conducted. Periscope allows publications the ability to double up on the promotion and exposure that comes with an interview by not only sharing the conversation in print as originally planned, but also making it possible to show the conversation in real time to anyone with a cell phone. While one person from your publication asks questions, another team member can hold a phone and broadcast their conversation to the world. This not only allows for the artist’s fans to feel more engaged with their favorite talent, but also creates associates your brand with making that deeper connection possible. You don’t even have to share the full interview. Film a quick segment, share it with the world, and by the time you get the transcription ready to be shared the artist’s fans will already be expecting your content. Heck, there may even be a demand for it.

Exclusive performances

Due to the sometimes poor sound quality that comes with recording concerts from the audience, it may be a while before Periscope works all that well for journalists hoping to share their perspective of a live performance with their audience. In the meantime, music writers can make the most of live broadcast platform(s) by hosting acoustic performances from up and coming bands. These performances can be filmed in HD for posterity as well, so you technically get to share the same content in two unique ways. Once for those able to tune in as it happens, then again for those who learn of your feature later on. Everyone wins, and only a little extra effort had to be exerted.  

Live updates from major events (concerts/festivals/panels/etc.)

Journalism as a whole was changed forever as soon as cameras became something found in nearly every single cell phone. For the first time in history, humans everywhere could document events as they happened, with photographic and/or video evidence as proof. This innovation has caused even the biggest news organizations to change the way create and look for content, so the same should be said of you and the way you approach coverage in a post-Periscope world. Those writers you send to events, be it a festival or an education music conference, can now share their views and insight in real time with anyone who is able to take a few minutes and tune in to their broadcast. You can show people the madness that is 6th street in Austin during SXSW, or what it’s like to attend Coachella for the first time. You can broadcast panels discussing the future of music, or even a one on one conversation with someone who just witnessed the first performance of a reunited Backstreet (should that glorious day ever come). You can and should do everything to make your experience something your readers can enjoy as well. Not everyone will want to see and experience everything you share, but everyone will find something they are curious about. If you can show them something they have never been able to experience for themselves even though they want to, then you just might win them over as a reader and follower for life.

Town Hall Meetings (reader feedback, updates for readers, etc.)

At the end of the day, Periscope is not going to do anything for you unless you are able to engage your readers. Artist-related features will certainly go a long way towards bringing fresh eyes to your brand on a regular basis, but if you can find a way to make visitors feels like a contributing members of your publication’s community at large then you soon see growth unlike anything you have ever known. One sure fire way to accomplish that task is to hold regular ‘town hall meetings.’ These broadcasts would feature updates from the editorial team about new developments at your outlet, new features currently in the works, and any number of site-related business matters in between. You should also use these broadcasts as a time to interact with visitors, ask them what they enjoy, and inquire as to whether or not there is anything that could be done to improve your current content offerings. Those willing to participate are those who already believe in you, and by listening to their suggestions – both big and small – will only reenforce their desire to see you succeed.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.