The apps Periscope and Meerkat, among others, allow you to live-stream your content in real-time to anyone with an Internet connection. As with any content-based technology, it can be used for a wide variety of content, ranging from the wonderful to the worthless — and it can also be used by enterprising folks to make money. How can you monetize a live stream of your content using one of these apps? Here are a few considerations to get you started.
- Assess Your Options – What can you broadcast that provides value to someone on the other end of the transaction, and is that value compelling and distinct enough that people will pay for it?
Are you a performing artist? If so, think of Meerkat and Periscope as the street corner of the virtual world, where you can display your talents for donations and build a following that can spread to other platforms and venues. You can establish a virtual tip jar by using Square's Cash app to create a custom "$cashtag."
Do you have tutoring skills? Can you teach math or languages to people? Are you a top-notch cook or an expert knitter? Are you skilled at fantasy football or other sports fantasy leagues? You can set up a broadcast that shows off your skills and entices viewers to tune in to future broadcasts.
In short, find out what you have to sell to the world — but assess your skills honestly. Seek a trusted friend to give you straight advice if you cannot objectively assess your own skills.
- Create a Comprehensive Plan – Once you have identified your marketable skill, it is time to set up a comprehensive strategy on how to cash in on it. A great way to use Meerkat and Periscope is as an advertising platform that provides a compelling sample of your skills or services and directs consumers to other places (presumably your website) where they can make follow-up purchases.
For example, if you are a skilled home brewer, you can set up a tutorial on how to make a special kind of craft beer. Publicize the upcoming tutorial with Facebook, Twitter, or other social media posts. Execute the tutorial on Meerkat or Periscope. At the end of the tutorial, let customers know when to expect another broadcast and direct them to a site where they can buy your book, Tips for Making Superior Craft Beer.
Remember that you are streaming live, so if your skill involves a time lag like cooking, use the old trick of having a finished dish already prepared for display as the one you prepared in the tutorial awaits the oven.
- Evaluate Results – Keep close tabs on all your social media outlets and posts to see where you are gaining traction. If you are getting better results in one media or path, dig into the reason why.
If you are not getting sufficient response anywhere, evaluate both your content and your marketing methods. Does the name of your channel clearly represent your intent so properly interested parties can find it? Do you broadcast so infrequently or at odd and unpredictable times that you miss potential viewers or blunt any interest? In cases like that, it may be a matter of re-evaluating how you pitch and present your content.
Otherwise, you may have to face the cold reality that people simply are not interested in your content. That is not necessarily a sign to give up, but it does mean that you should seek out honest advice (if you did not originally do so). They may spot flaws in your approach, or just gently suggest that this is not the moneymaking path for you.
Are you inspired to use Periscope and Meerkat to its full capitalist potential? If so, good luck, and let us know when your broadcast is ready. We may be interested in your offerings, as we enjoy a good craft beer.