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Lessons Learned: What Can Make or Break a Periscope Broadcast


I’ve been broadcasting on Persicope for a few weeks now, and it’s been quite a trip. I don’t know what I expected would happen when I went live on video and anyone could join at any time, leave at any time, and comment at any time. You literally don’t know what to expect, and that’s both exhilarating and terrifying.

However, I’ve learned a lot, so based on my experience so far, here’s what can make or break a Periscope broadcast:

Test it privately first

You can certainly hit the “broadcast” icon, type in a title like “test” and jump on, but I’d recommend that you do a private broadcast first so you can try out functionality without mumbling to yourself – that can definitely “break” a broadcast.

Here’s how to do it:

Follow a friend and ask him or her to follow you back. Hit the “broadcast” icon, and right above the Start Broadcast button, you’ll see four options. The padlock allows you to do a private broadcast, so choose that and then pick your friend. Now you can test away without going public.

Ask someone to be your moderator

Janine, one of my copywriters, serves as my moderator when I do a broadcast. She jumps in and asks questions, she replies to people’s comments if I miss them, she takes notes, and she blocks trolls (more on that in a sec). I cannot emphasize how much this helps “make” a broadcast, as it gives me the mental space to focus on what I am saying.

Choose your topic carefully

Again, this will make your broadcast on Periscope. Pick a hot topic that you can provide guidance on, like “How I landed a regular column at” Share a little-known insider secret that will save people time and/or money, like “3 tax deductions most people don’t know about.” Or give people a behind-the-scenes look, like “Backstage at Michael Kors during New York Fashion Week.”

If you have a blah topic that no one is interested in, you’ll know quickly enough. That’s because when you broadcast, you can see the number of people who are watching you. If you see your number plummet – or never get very high – that’s a sign that you need a better topic next time.

Be a good host

People will continually jump on and off, so as you see people join, introduce yourself briefly. “Hi there, thanks for joining! I’m Monika Jansen, Head Copywriter at Jansen Communications, and today we’re talking about Topic X. Glad you could join us!”

Engage your audience in the conversation as you go. Ask them where they’re from, what they do, if they have experience with Topic X or their own tips to share. And every once in a while, ask people if they have questions.

Shut down trolls

You will have trolls, I guarantee it. They will join and make lewd, X-rated comments, or they’ll just add nonsense comments like “uuujjjjllffffl.” You can block people when you’re live, but it requires you to take your attention away from what you’re saying, and for me, that means I totally lose my train of thought.

Janine will block people for me, but I will also just shut down trolls by saying something along the lines of, “I can see you. Everyone on this broadcast can see you. You’re being an idiot [feel free to use a stronger word here like me], so knock it off. Go find something better to do.” And that usually works.

Keep it short

Good news: People have short attention spans, so Periscope broadcasts will not take up gobs of your time. Keep your broadcast short. My broadcasts have yet to go beyond 15 minutes, and that feels about right.

Stick with it!

Unless you are a celebrity, it will take a while to find your groove and build an audience. So, like anything marketing-related, stick with it. Follow other people as you go and join their broadcasts. And, when you begin your broadcast, ask your moderator to share the broadcast with his or her audience – it’s an easy way to get more exposure.


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