A common denominator began to form as I started checking on live shows that publishers I know started doing last year. They’re still going strong. And that’s smart. A new article reports that live blogs/reports are converting at a much better rate than standard articles. We like when people are live, especially now—even when things go slightly awry. It makes us feel better for our own Zoom showings.
The article by Max Willens on Digiday calls these live blogs, shows, briefings and informational chats “conversion monsters” for publishers. I’ve always been a big fan of doing things live when possible—just seems to add a positive spontaneity—and the pandemic has even built in a small cushion for minor tech slip-ups and such.
During most of last year, the Coleman Report was doing a live midday show and garnering huge crowds. “For the most part, people are so thirsty for any spot of normalcy,” Joseph Coleman told me, speaking about his audience of small business bankers and lenders. “We start at 1 pm Eastern time every day, no matter what. I think it’s comforting for people to log in for 30 minutes. It’s a ritual now.”
Hundreds of small-business lenders—and perhaps, Coleman had heard, the #2 at SBA—and more were tuning in every day to hear the latest news about the trillions of dollars that the government earmarked for loans. I was curious if these were still taking place, so after a short search, there they are, Coleman Report Live, still daily and around 20 minutes long! It was good to see Bob in his usual ebullient self.
“Welcome to Coleman Report Live. I’m Bob Coleman.” The show quickly hits home not only with where his guests are but with the first guest saying they had a “spat of the virus” in the office so everyone is home now.
“Our show is still the place for our audience to go,” Joseph Coleman told me last year. “There’s so much misinformation out there. Bob and I have been doing this for the last 10 years. We’ll try to keep the show going as long as possible. All of the new connections we make become staples of the daily show.” (On this show, Bob calls it “Tuesdays with Chris.”) These shows continue to lead to lots of goodwill and revenue for Coleman Report.
Then I turned over to Facebook to see if Chesapeake Family’s excellent Live Friday discussion show is still running, and happily it is. Friday’s topic: What benefits does nature play provide and how does it go beyond what a typical playground or play structure or yard can provide? Find out what you can do in your yard.
“I really like to do those virtual interviews as long as we can give 2-3 day notice,” Donna Jefferson told me last summer, adding it’s a good platform to talk about timely topics. Previous interviews focused on Virtual School From Home Tips and Navy Football Takes on Racism with an assistant coach and running back. (That interview received more than 700 views. “By doing virtual [and live] interviews, we get things out there quickly.”
The New York Times actually has an assistant managing editor of live, a new division charged with driving adoption of the Times’ live briefings, live blog and live chat formats across the newsroom, writes Willens. The Times would actually prefer more of their writers go live on Times’ formats rather than just tweeting. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s live blog has a subscriber conversion rate twice as high as their standard articles, he adds.
Publishers are also using these live talks to build their membership programs. Last April, TechCrunch introduced Extra Crunch Live, a virtual speaker series with live Q&A exclusive for Extra Crunch members. I just took a look and saw this headline: “Extra Crunch Live is back in 2021, connecting founders with tech giants and each other.”
Inc. launched a weekly interview called “Real Talk.” “It’s people who have had success and are willing to give back to entrepreneurs and the small business community and answer questions for an hour.” It’s hard to tell how recent they are, but there are a quite a few of them up there now including this one: Should You Release a New Product During a Pandemic? Here’s How to Know.