After several months in stealth mode, we’re pleased to announce the launch of AnswerStage — a new way to produce live Q&A and Twitter chat sessions. The service is designed to improve the effectiveness of Content Marketing and Thought Leadership programs. While most companies tweet links to their blog posts, the live Q&A experience created with AnswerStage provides significant benefits over static content:
- It’s a scheduled event. There is a natural flow that enables marketers to promote the Q&A session before it happens, engage prospects and customers during the session, and attract more traffic after the event is over by publishing the transcript. AnswerStage is designed to support each of these three distinct phases with moderators and panelists able to pre-collect and pre-answer questions and then improve the velocity and frequency of updates during the session and preserve a much more detailed and editorially reviewed transcript after the event.
- It’s easier to create compelling, relevant content. Responding to questions submitted by prospects and customers is easier than working with a blank slate blog post. Rather than rely on me-too techniques of publishing “top x ways to do this or that” AnswerStage is inherently personal, interactive and interesting. The Q&A format is familiar from traditional news programs and industry conferences. Being “on stage” clearly conveys authority and thought leadership while fielding questions directly from customers and prospects builds stronger personal relationships and trust.
- It’s non-linear and non-committal. Unlike traditional webinars and other scheduled events, Q&A sessions don’t require constant attention or attendance. By maximizing accessibility through Twitter, AnswerStage Q&A sessions enable participants to pop in and out of sessions. This is a key issue for marketers confronting the ADD and multitasking that is an inherent aspect of behavior on social media – well, actually, behavior in all aspects of business. People are simply too busy and distracted to commit to the time required by hour-long webinars.
- It’s Twitter-friendly, but not Twitter-constrained. Some marketers try to use Twitter to build awareness and audience, but the truth is it’s nearly impossible to provide a meaningful answer in 140 characters. AnswerStage enables marketers to publish longer-form answers — up to 3000 characters — that provide the full context necessary to answer questions. These answers are posted directly to the Q&A session stream and they are cross-posted as images attached to tweets so anyone on Twitter can read the full response. It’s the best way to combine the succinct aspects of Twitter with the longer-form requirements of well thought-out replies.
- It’s editorially controlled. Twitter chats are often disrupted by abusive or self-promotional users. There’s no way of stopping people from posting tweets with your hashtag, but the backstage tools available with AnswerStage provide editorial control over what gets released to the event stream. AnswerStage creates the appropriate balance between user expression and editorial control. And when the Q&A Session is over, you can review the transcript to fix typos or other errors before publishing it to your site.
While AnswerStage is new, the platform on which it’s built has a long history. The workflow and privileging features are derived from technology used to host some of the largest “event chats.” Clients for the event chat service include Martha Stewart, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, CBS, Fox, ABC, CBS, Cleveland Clinic, and Carnival Cruiselines. The enhancements made over the past several months have focused on seamless integration with Twitter, features for embedding a live session on blogs and web sites, and making the session responsive so it adapts to all types of devices including computers, tablets and phones. AnswerStage is tailored specifically to the requirements of marketers addressing an audience hungry for real-time information and direct access to thought leaders.
AnswerStage is available for pilot partners immediately and will be available to a broader group of clients by mid-summer.
Submit a question and see the “stage” view at: http://answerstage.com/views-and-qs/
Request a demo for your company: http://answerstage.com/get-in-touch/
Example of an AnswerPic tweet with the full text Q&A provided as an attached image (click to view on Twitter).