1. Plan and Organize
Stream with a purpose, and have a purpose for streaming. Know what kind of video content you are putting out there for viewers and plan accordingly. Where are you hosting your live stream? What kind of sound and lighting conditions are there? If you are filming in an unfamiliar location, be sure to scope out the place with these things in mind. Be prepared to minimize background noise and other distractions. Also ensure that you have a strong broadband connection! You can even run a speed test—you don’t want spotty service to interrupt your stream and turn away viewers.
A crucial part of planning is organizing. To make setup for your live stream easier, keep your equipment in order. Have a clean setup and prevent accidents by keeping cables untangled. Essentially, because a live broadcast has little leeway for technical flubs, prepare well beforehand.
A successful live stream needs an audience, and generating buzz is the best way to ensure that people tune in. Marketing your stream is easy with social media: create event pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other sites where you can target your intended audience or existing personal network. Briefly discuss what your live stream has to offer potential new viewers. Create a catchy hashtag for your live event and gain exposure by encouraging people to like, share, and retweet.
This may be a given, but when announcing your event, include details like when and where to access the stream. If possible, create a pre-event page and produce media having to do with your stream, like a short graphic video. This is better for large-scale live events. Try to maximize viewership as much as possible to build a bigger audience for the future.
Perhaps the most important aspect of hosting a good live stream is engaging with your audience. The more comfortable you are with them, the more comfortably they can engage with you. Relax, introduce yourself or your organization, and discuss what can be expected of your stream. Keep viewers interested by offering something of value—let them walk away having gained something from your live event.
Keep it interactive! Encourage questions, comments, and feedback. Because your stream is live, there is a face-to-face aspect not found with recorded video. A good streaming service offers live chat or poll features and a good live streamer uses these to their advantage.
4. Consider Quality
Nobody wants to watch something that looks like it was filmed with a potato, or worse, an old-school Nokia. Luckily, cameras of this decade have good standard quality, and many can shoot in high definition. Shooting in HD is ideal, however, there are some things that need to be considered. Can your bandwith support HD streaming? What about that of your viewer’s?
In order to make sure that everyone can tune in, offer an alternate stream in standard definition. You don’t necessarily have to sacrifice quality for quantity (or in this case, high definition for a larger audience) since it is possible to capture content in HD and render it down to SD. In fact, shooting in HD and converting down will still look better than shooting in SD.
Feedback, feedback, feedback. This should be the live streamer’s mantra. When choosing a live streaming service, be sure that it includes user analytics. Understanding your viewers is the most important part of providing a good experience, now and in the future. Analytics provide data on crucial user trends and demographics. When is the best time to host your next video? Where in the world do you need to better market your content? Which ages are your audience? All of these questions and more can be answered with analytics.
It doesn’t have to be all numbers, though—extending engagement past your stream is possible by asking the viewer about their experience while still live.