One of the biggest trends in online video content today is to produce and post live footage and interviews. Thanks to technology, brands of all sizes can dip into this river by taping things like segments from industry trade shows, in-store events and the like. Yet if you aren’t prepared, a live video and interview can go from bad to worse in the blink of an eye. Just ask Fox News’ Lauren Green.
In what’s being called the “worst interview ever,” Green has made headlines and viral history for all the wrong reasons. In an interview with Reza Aslan, a best-selling author, Green breaks journalism law 101 and browbeats her guest. Green repeatedly wondered how Aslan, a Muslim, could possibly have written a historical analysis of the life of Jesus Christ. The painful three-minute segment featured borderline-discriminatory questions like, “Why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?” while Aslan squirmed and tried to remind her he has a Ph.D. in religion and writes about a variety of faiths. What Green never got around to doing is getting more information on his book (which she clearly didn’t read) or even starting a real conversation or debate. Oy.
But Green’s train wreck can be our tutor in what to avoid in branded live videos and interviews. Here’s three tips we can take to heart for our own live videos:
1.) Come Prepared: Whether Green was simply fed questions or didn’t have anything else to talk about rather than the faith of her guest, there is no denying it was awkward. She seemed totally ill-prepared. When interviewing and shooting live footage, make sure you know who you’re talking to and what you want to ask them. Read their bio, visit their website, email them beforehand get to know them a little (bonus tip: if they’re promoting a book, you should read that, too). Also, get professionally schooled on the technical requirements of streaming live and uploading to your channels. What’s the WiFi situation where you’re filming? Have you tested your equipment? How will you address sound issues? Answer these before you go live. You don’t want to promote a live interview or event and have your followers not be able to watch it.
2.) Be Respectful: It’s important to remember when shooting on location or while interviewing that the people involved are most likely doing us a favor by letting us show up with cameras and equipment. The least we can do is get there on time, make them feel comfortable and return things to where we found them before we leave. With guests, a little warmth and respect not only makes them feel comfortable but makes you easier and more engaging to watch.
3.) Move On: What makes this downright excruciating is Green’s one-note questions which accomplish nothing, other than make her look like a tool. Instead, when someone is rambling or a guest isn’t as fascinating as you hoped, move on to different questions. Try to engage them in topics that relate to their field and to the things your followers are interested in. If it still isn’t working, wrap it up. The last thing any brand wants is its video to go viral for being a disaster.