Updated February 25, 2019
Successful live streaming does not come easy. The biggest challenge? The live factor. That means no stopping, no do-overs. You can’t yell “CUT” and take a bathroom break. Once you’re on, you’re on — and you better be on like Donkey Kong.
No pressure, right?
Thankfully, there are a few tried-and-true elements behind successful live broadcasting, and really they’re a lot simpler than you might think. Just keep in mind that while some of these pointers may overwhelm you, the live streaming learning curve is pretty straightforward, leaving a lot of room for error and growth. Above all, as you strive for successful live streams, keep this in mind:
The Live Streaming Tip to Rule Them All: The MORE You Broadcast, the BETTER You’ll Get, the BIGGER Your Following Will Be
So don’t stress too much. It’s all about a numbers game. Keep broadcasting, putting your brand out there — people will watch. Consistency matters. When you have a routine in place, start implementing these eight practices to refine your video marketing regimen.
1. Don’t Just Get the BEST Equipment… Get ENOUGH Equipment
And why is that? Simply put, your equipment may fail. It happens to everyone, even the professionals, so always hold this mantra close to your chest: if you have two, you have one; if you have one, you have NONE. That means you’ll always keep a backup of everything you need to begin live streaming.
Keep all your devices charged. Keep all the connectors and cables organized. Label EVERYTHING. You can never be too prepared for the unexpected, so make sure to run preliminary tests of your equipment before starting your live event. Always take advantage of Wi-Fi, but don’t automatically assume the latest tech will be the best. Save yourself some money. Go with what works well.
And please, please, please… Check your Internet speed. Nobody wants to suffer from “frozen” face.
2. In the Event That You Do Have Issues, Don’t Panic. Break Down the Problems & Solve Them One at a Time
This means you have to set things up early. When you commence testing, you may notice that one of your pieces of equipment isn’t working like it did during your last broadcast. Be methodical as you try to figure out why, and take comfort in the fact you have a backup (because you should DEFINITELY have a backup) in the event it can’t be fixed.
Start with the cords. Work your way to the boxes. Check the wiring. Check the Wi-Fi. Make a list of the possible calamities, and start checking it all off.
3. Don’t Take Your Equipment or Setting Lightly
You’d be surprised at all the little noises a microphone can pick up. Keep your asides and off-conversations while broadcasting to a bare minimum. We know you’re not a professional anchorman or anything, but the truth is if you’re anywhere near your equipment, mute your phone and stay on point.
It's also good to avoid distracting attire unless it's a key part of your brand or broadcast. This means no crazy shirts or glittering party hats — way too distracting. Review your setting, too, to ensure you have enough light. If you can, incorporate more than one camera during the live broadcast for those cool close-ups. Make sure you test that second camera though!
4. We Know It’s Live, But That Doesn’t Mean You Can’t REHEARSE
If you have a crew, chat with them before the broadcast and keep them in the know. Get yourself in the know. Make a list of everything you and your crew needs to do before the broadcast: set-up, mic check, rehearsals, rundowns, bathroom breaks, etc.
When everyone is on the same page, your broadcast is significantly more likely to go according to plan!
5. Choose Your Streaming Platform Carefully
Everyone thinks YouTube is the way to go and Facebook Live is just easy peasy. They are. However, those platforms might not be the best streaming service for you and your brand. Let’s say you want to have more control over who will see your live stream or you want to stream to multiple destinations. This is where you choose a platform such as Switchboard Live, which gives you maximum control over your live streaming experience.
In the end, whichever platform(s) you decide to stream to, keep in mind each one's copyright rules so that you can avoid legal messes and focus on the most important thing, your content.
6. We Know It’s LIVE, But That Doesn’t Mean You Can’t PROMOTE
In fact, you should. Don’t rely on chance for someone to see your awesome live event. Market your live broadcast at least two weeks prior. Do it again a week later. Do it one more time the day before. Heck, throw in one more “reminder” an hour before you go live and another right as you go live!
You can even announce a launch date entitled X just as a teaser and then write a compelling description with a clue about when you’ll be on. Get clever and start stirring the social media pot if you want to learn what works best.
7. Don’t Skimp on Graphics & Engagement Tools
If you’re live, your viewers will also be live. They’re watching your video in real-time, which means they can interact with you, ask questions, and so on and so forth.
Engagement is important to a stream’s success, as it increases the likelihood viewers will stick around and come back for future streams. Place some great on-screen content in your stream for context and branding, and answer their questions if they ask questions. Talk to your audience!
8. Remember: You DO NOT Have to Run a “Perfect” Broadcast
It’s actually pointless to try. Even pros flub it up from time to time. But that’s okay. In fact, trying to go for perfection might actually kill the morale, which can kill your entire production. Just go with the flow, be creative, have fun with your crew, and don’t be afraid to go big. Above all else, HAVE FUN!
Seriously, think about it. There’s a reason why people watch live streams. They’re not there for the news or the weather; they’re there for entertainment, so give them the high-value experience they’re looking for!