A Google Hangout is a relatively new medium by which one can deliver content and I had the rare privilege of interviewing Alex Mandossian about Google Hangouts, via a Google Hangout, in order to help create the content for this chapter. You can watch that entire Hangout by clicking here or by copying and paste this URL into your browser – http://bit.ly/1QMJEDe.
I consider Alex to be the leading authority on Hangouts and during the course of our time together Alex repeatedly stressed that he views a Google Hangout, first and foremost, as a content creation tool. Yes, you are delivering your content via the Hangout, but the repurposing of that content you’ve created during your Hangout is where the real power lies.
You can take the recording of your Hangout and put it up on your website or on a YouTube channel. You can strip the audio from the recording and turn it into a podcast or an audio product. You can have the Hangout transcribed and turn that into articles or blog posts. We discussed repurposing in the Key Concepts section at the beginning of this book and you should review that section if necessary.
Aside from being a fantastic content creation device Google Hangouts are an excellent delivery medium for your content because of the engagement you can create with your audience. While many content delivery methods are entirely one way communication, Google Hangouts allow you to involve your audience in the training process at a deeper level. Alex utilizes Facebook comments for viewer input during his Hangouts and he feels that by engaging his audience more into the process he creates a better learning environment.
He builds that engagement right from the get go by having audience members enter into a chat box their name and where they are watching from. He is getting people to consume his content by essentially involving them in the creation of that content. After he’s done his introductions he queries his audience about where they would like to see him focus the majority of his time during the training phase. He discusses what he plans to cover, anywhere from 3 to 5 major points, and then gets the audience to input what their preference of what should be emphasized is.
Alex has always been a big proponent of the concept that people will support what they have helped to create and by getting them to help craft the focus of the Hangout they are more engaged and, as a result, better content consumers.
To keep the audience watching the Hangout the use of ‘teasers’ such as “At the 33 minute mark of this Hangout I’ll have a special bonus for those of you watching” is another tactic used by Alex and highly recommended. It is just like the teasers used by radio DJs to get listeners to stay with them through a commercial break.
Getting people to stay with you after they’ve signed in is just as important as getting them to show up after they’ve signed up. Do everything you can to make it as easy as humanly possible for your signups to add the Hangout to their calendar so they’ll get additional reminders. Of course, reminder emails right up until the start of the Hangout are important.
Finally, another tactic employed by Alex that positively impacts his show up rates is the encouragement of people to invite their friends and colleagues to also participate in the Hangout. You’re far more inclined to show up for a Hangout if you know someone you’ve invited is also going to be there. Who wants to hear, after the fact, that they missed you at an event that you invited them to?
Whether Google Hangouts remains the medium of choice for this type of content delivery remains to be seen. New technologies and competing platforms are seemingly popping up all the time. You’ll need to do your own due diligence to determine which platform best suits your needs. Regardless of whether it is Google Hangouts or another platform there is no doubt this kind of content delivery method will continue to grow in popularity.