A lot of people want to take things to the next level.
They’ve learned the basics of live streaming, and are interested in the platform. But they don’t want to do it halfheartedly.
Maybe they’ve even tried it once or twice, with lackluster results.
If they’re going to invest time and money in video, they want to make sure they get the maximum possible return.
That’s just smart business.
To make live video streaming as effective as possible requires skills and knowledge. You might not have those yet. That’s what our blog posts and essays are about: helping teach those skills. This post is about answering these questions:
- What actions can I take to take my live stream to the next level?
- How can I become a master of video content?
- What can I do to increase views?
There is a lot of potential in live streaming. Are you ready to realize that potential? Are you interested in a professional approach to live video? How about building as large an audience as possible?
If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Live streaming has been on a meteoric rise
I’ve been shocked at the rise in live streaming over the past few years.
Sure, live streaming has been around for a long time. But in the past, it was a fringe activity. It was something only the biggest companies could afford to do (and do well).
That’s all changed now.
Just look at this graph from Google Trends.
Interest in live streaming has risen by a factor of 10 since 2009
Here are some other shocking data points about live video and online video:
- It is 50 times easier to achieve a page 1 Google search ranking with an embedded video on your page.
- Visual content is 40 times more likely to be shared on social media.
- Mobile video viewing has increased more than 1,000% since 2012.
- Shoppers who watch videos are 81% more likely to make a purchase.
- Video game live streaming site Twitch reaches more than 100 million viewers per month.
- Emails that link to video have a 200-300% higher click-through rate.
- Twitter’s Periscope app has 2 million daily users. The service hosted more than 200 million live streams in its first year.
- Streaming entertainment has overtaken live TV.
Live video has major potential for businesses
Some businesses are recognizing the potential of live video.
It’s similar to live television broadcasts. That makes it ideal for live events, breaking news, sports, politics, speeches, and so on. But live video streaming is also similar to pre-recorded video, since content can be saved.
This makes it a great fit for announcements, instruction, and training.
And it can be done very cheaply.
As another medium for reaching out to customers and colleagues, live video has great power.
As one example, look at marketing consultant Kim Garst.
Kim has used live video as the cornerstone of her own content marketing. She does this first by recording a live stream. This content can then be transcribed and re-purposed as a blog post. The audio can serve as a Podcast. Snippets and images can be excerpted and used for social media posts. And slides of summaries can be posted on sites like SlideShare.
And she’s not alone. Small and large businesses are investing in live video.
Video is a powerful communication tool
And why are they doing so? One reason is that video is a rich form of content.
Moving images combined with full sound can communicate a great deal of information. And fast.
Certain types of information are easier to communicate via video. For example, think product or user-interface demonstrations.
It’s been said that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. Turns out this is just an extrapolation from the common saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Nonetheless, there’s something to this idea.
We’ve all seen business videos that create a stunning amount of emotion in a short time. Check out the famous Dollar Shave Club video as an example. It’s only 93 seconds long, but it does a damn good job of communicating.
And it brought their business from start-up to a net worth of more than $600 million. Not bad!
Live video expands on this potential. Recordings can be long or short. Informal or highly scripted. Professional or behind-the-scenes.
Going live also allows interaction with the audience. This can help build two-way communication and a more meaningful connection with your viewers. And people like talking and interacting on live videos.
Facebook live videos get 10 times more comments. On Twitch, interaction and chat is the whole foundation of the community.
What are the differences between live and on-demand video?
In the past, all online video was on-demand.
That means you click play, and the video begins playing at the beginning. It’s the opposite of television, which is ephemeral. Before the days of Tivo, if you missed your favorite program you were out of luck.
There are advantages and disadvantages to streaming and on-demand video.
Live video pros:
- Immediate and timely
- Higher engagement
- Longer view times
- Revenue opportunities
- Stand out in crowded marketplace
Live video cons:
- Can’t re-shoot if problems arise
- Requires strong internet connection
- Possibility of equipment failure
- Watch anytime
- Continue to generate value
- Can shoot and upload at maximum quality regardless of bandwidth
- Lower engagement
- Shorter view times
- Less buzz
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between live and on-demand video. You can use both, using the strengths of one to balance the weaknesses of the other.
What matters and what doesn’t for live video
There’s a lot of confusion about what matters and what doesn’t when it comes to live video streaming.
Let’s clear that up.
In general, these are some important factors:
Fast internet connection. Without this, you’re not able to stream! Learn more about internet speed here.
App vs. video host. Do you want to use an app like Facebook Live? Or do you need more control over your content? Or do you want to monetize, or embed only on your website? If so, a video host is a better bet.
Equipment matters. But not as much as you’d think. You can do a decent live stream with a cell phone. But be sure to test things beforehand. You don’t want a big broadcast ruined by bad audio quality or fuzzy video. If you want advanced features like multiple cameras, you’ll need a dedicated encoder.
Lighting depends on the situation. If you’re just getting started, try walking around your office and taking selfies. Choose the one with the best lighting—maybe from a large window. This may be the best place for your broadcast.
Audio is a lot more important than you think. Invest in getting high-quality audio. Audio is more important than video quality.
Video SEO can be a big factor when it comes to getting views. Optimizing video SEO involves writing good keywords and titles. We’ll cover this in more detail later. SEO is also improved by hosting on your own site rather than on Facebook or Periscope.
Technology is making live video streaming easier than ever before
Things are getting much simpler in the world of live video.
The rise of mobile apps puts live video streaming in everyone’s pocket. And 4G LTE (and upcoming 5G) makes sure we all have the bandwidth needed.
Streaming as a service (SAAS) packages various tools together into one comprehensive package. This includes analytics, monetization, security and access restrictions, embedding, and more.
All this is making live streaming simpler than ever before.
How to take your live video content to the next level
Beginner video streaming is easy.
Making your stream amazing is less so. But it is achievable. Here are a few simple ways to boost your live stream quality.
Have a plan
Unless you’re a master, improv doesn’t go over well. Write a script or bullet-point outline. This will help you stay on track throughout your broadcast.
Even the pros can have problems. Fortunately, avoiding this is simple.
Test, then retest. That should be a mantra for live streamers. The system has a lot of moving parts. Camera, audio, internet, script, people, assistants, graphics, viewers. If any one of these systems fails, the whole stream can fall flat.
The solution is to test thoroughly before going live with a video stream. Make sure to discover, isolate, and correct issues before they become problems.
Have an assistant
As we just stated, live streaming can seem complex. For all but the most basic situations, having a partner is key. A second person can double check settings, ensure you stay on script, or even just hold a camera or mic. Going it alone can work fine, but an assistant lets you take things to the next level.
Of course, this is just scratching the surface.
Becoming a master of video streaming
Taking things to an even higher level of quality is possible.
Things like live-switching between multiple cameras and microphones can make a broadcast extremely professional. So can having pre-recorded content to splice into your live broadcast. This is possible with playlists and live switching.
Timeliness is a key element of live streaming. Some broadcasters use advanced technologies like cellular bonding. This provides enough bandwidth to broadcast ultra high-quality video nearly anywhere.
These are just a few ideas. There are countless other ways to become more professional as a live streamer. But before any of these tricks will be valuable, you need to build an audience.
7 more ways to increase viewership of your live video stream
Video streaming is about generating views.
You need people to watch what you’re producing. That’s the goal of the whole operation.
By starting with live streaming, you’re putting yourself in a good position. Live streams tend to generate urgency and “buzz.” That makes people more likely to sign up and show up.
Marketing professionals know this. According to Troy Evans at Moz, “We’ve known for some time now that a live broadcast will often produce a significant increase in viewership.”
The 2014 Superbowl achieved 1000% growth in live video streaming over the previous year. It’s another sign that the audience has been ready for live streaming for some time.
But video streaming is just the beginning. Most people need additional tools and methods to improve viewership. Here are some of my favorite methods.
1. Spread information before the broadcast
Before your stream starts, you’ve got to generate some excitement.
This means posting on your blog, social media, and other platforms. Send emails. Inform your friends and partners. Spread the word as widely as possible.
You may want to encourage people to pre-register for your stream as a way to capture leads. This many also encourage people to show up. You can send reminders before you go live. Most people register for live events 1-2 weeks before the event begins.
Choose a hashtag for your stream. This allows both you and viewers to engage in social media conversations on the topic.
2. Write compelling titles and descriptions
Titles and descriptions can make or break your video. They’ll either entice people to keep watching, or drive them away.
When choosing a title, you want to iterate. Come up with 10 or 15 ideas, then choose your 5 favorites. Pull out favorite words or phrases. Then, scrap everything and do it again. Your second set of titles will likely be much stronger. You may want to do a little testing to determine which people are more likely to click on. Consider using a segment of your email list for these tests.
Remember, only about 50-60 characters of your title will show up in search results. That means, you need to get to the point quickly.
You description is where you can go into a little more detail. This should be detailed and include keywords and phrases related to your stream. Remember, search engines can’t parse videos. People can’t either: they need to watch them.
Every video description should include a 200-500 word summary of the content. This lets search engines index what your video is actually about—and drive more viewers to your content.
You may also want to include:
- A call to action (such as signup for our email list)
- A link to your website
- Links to your social media channels
3. Tease content
One of the best ways to get more viewers is to tease your content. It’s why TV shows do it.
Usually, this takes the form of pre-releasing snippets of information. These could be images, memes, GIFs, videos, or text/blog posts.
Look for “Tweetable moments.” This is content that’s valuable, interesting, and bite-sized. Content like that has a higher chance of being shared.
Remember to include the time and date of your broadcast in these teasers. You should also include a registration link, or a way to sign up for email reminders.
4. Reward your viewers
One way to get more viewers is to reward those who do come.
You have to give to receive.
The goal is to provide something of value to your audience. This can take many forms.
One social celebrity in Nepal made good on this. He offered to make a phone call to a few randomly chosen fans who commented on his live stream. This eventually generated more than 1500 comments!
Other ways to reward viewers include holding giveaways and raffles. Or, you can offer coupons and discounts. Rewards can also be social. Being the first to learn important or exciting news can be a reward. So can gaining valuable information. Sharing secrets and tips is a great way to generate buzz and get more viewers.
The best way to reward your viewers is with good content. Make sure your content is valuable, actionable, problem-solving, or emotive.
5. Lengthen your broadcast
When it comes to on-demand videos, shortness is key. Live streams are different.
Partially, this is because “views” are counted differently for live streams. Typically, a view counts every time someone log onto a live stream. This is because the broadcast could end at any time. Even a fleeting viewer could end up watching a significant portion of the broadcast.
This points toward the value of taking things slow when live streaming.
Of course, you don’t want to bore your audience. But you also don’t want to run through all your valuable content in the first 15 minutes.
The longer you’re live, the more chance people have to join you. Viewers will increase with time. More viewers equals more comments, more engagement, more information, and more conversions.
6. Cross Promote
Use all your channels to promote your live stream. During the lead-up to the stream, share the URL. Include the compelling description you have written. Once the event begins, you can share teasers or excerpts.
Be sure to use your hashtag in all this material!
7. Have some personality
What do Donald Trump, PewDiePie, and Dollar Shave Club have in common?
Two things: personality, and huge viewership.
Love him or hate him, Donald Trump is a personality. That interests people. Personality is what draws huge audiences. Just look at the GOP debate in August 2016. It attracted about 800% more viewers than the typical audience.
This is a critical point.
People don’t want to watch dry. They want to watch the bizarre, the hilarious, the unexpected. They want the Dollar Shave Club guy. They want crazy, silly PewDiePie. They also want help, support, and actionable advice.
Give the people what they want!
You should also consider improving your skills as a public speaker. To represent your organization to the fullest, you have to be on top of your game.
The bottom line is simple. To increase your viewership by 800%, you have to do a number of things. You have to promote your streams. You have to write compelling descriptions and titles. And not least of all, you have to have some personality.
But the benefits of a successful live streaming presence can be huge.
Video can engage your audience, share information, and generate social buzz. And according to Periscope CEO Keyvon Beykpour, we’re at a watershed moment for live video. It’s a “perfect storm,” in his words, for this technology to succeed.
The question from here is simple. Will you start using video for your organization? We think it’s an opportunity not to be missed.
We’d love to hear what you think. What’s your plan? What’s holding you back? What can live streaming do for you? Sound off in the comments and we’ll respond! And thanks for reading.