Live or pre-recorded?

Suddenly going live feels a whole lot scarier

It’s one of the big questions we’re discussing with our clients. Events have always been live so when we are in a virtual setting suddenly going live feels a whole lot scarier. Pre-recorded content provides a comfort blanket from anything that could go wrong technically within the virtual experience but is that the right thing to do?

There’s good reason to pre-record but let’s explore some of the pros and cons for going live.

Let’s start with the pros:

Authentic and real: A live moment isn't always perfect, but it's real. It's been proven with research that your audience will be more engaged by an authentic moment, with immediate access to your brand and your speakers. Engagement is what we're all striving for in live events, keeping our audience's attention even when surrounded by distractions in their home environment.

Interactive: With pre-recording you can’t be truly interactive. By being live, constant two-way interaction is possible between you and your audience. As well as the live conversation, simple interactive tactics such polls, Q&A, networking and live chat can be built in to further enhance the experience and keep your audience engaged.

Cheaper and faster: It’s easy to fine-tune to perfection and in the process spend lots of budget on pre-recorded content. Whilst it’s important the live experience is polished and well executed, decisions on content and messaging can be made later and ultimately, the whole process is much quicker and more efficient saving you budget to use elsewhere.

Engagement: This is the biggie. Authentic, interactive experiences create higher engagement. Your audience isn’t just a passive watcher anymore – they’re fully involved and leaning forward into your experience.

And the cons:

There really is only one significant point here.

Technical issues: When you’re live, unexpected things can happen. Your audience is in control of their own connection and technology so that last piece of the live delivery you can’t truly control. The authenticity of the moment will allow you a great deal of slack and forgiveness from your audience though. Rehearse, test, rehearse, test and put a solid backup plan in place. Start by providing help guides and assistance to your audience. Give your audience time to familiarise themselves with the virtual environment. Keep it simple and make it easy.

With live events, we advocate some pre-recording but we mustn’t forget to keep as much of the live element as possible. Ultimately it’s about finding the right balance of pre-recorded vs live.

In events, we live for those live moments. There is nothing better than the energy it creates for your audience and everyone involved.

Let’s be brave and go live.

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