If you’ve spent any time browsing around YouTube, you may notice that they are occasionally promoting a live streaming event. Whether it’s a political debate, a sporting event, concert or major happening, it’s not uncommon to see a live stream of a major event on any given day. But did you know that anyone can host a live stream on YouTube? You can!
In order to live stream on YouTube, you have to make sure your channel is verified and in good standing. Then, you can enable the feature on your dashboard. Once you do that, make sure to set up the right information for your feed, including title, description, and tags so your audience can find your video.
Promote and Prepare
If you want an audience for your live streaming event, make sure to promote ahead of time so people know when to tune in. Use whatever outlets are your company’s bread and butter, whether that’s social media or an email blast. Give them a specific time and link to the event so they can find it later.
YouTube will let you use your own webcam to broadcast your stream, so make sure to clean up your set! Depending on what kind of live stream you want to run, alter your environment accordingly. If you’re writing a review or talking about media, even a simple background of bookshelves will do nicely. If you have a more corporate angle you’re going to be running with, find a meeting room or office that will give you the space you need to give your presentation.
It’s also not a bad idea to do a test run ahead of time to make sure everything is working. Try running a live event, share the link with a few friends or coworkers, and then you can delete the video from your channel after.
Turn the Camera Outward
Remember to turn your camera outward! A live stream has to be engaging, so make sure you have an itinerary to prevent your show from dragging. Bring objects into view, have a guest along with you, and make sure you know the general schedule if you’re covering a particular event.
Using multiple cameras may require more research and forethought before you’re ready to turn your office space into the next Late Nite set, but using a simple webcam is a great way to start putting a face to your company.
Engage with Your Audience
The biggest difference between hosting a live stream and recording a video to post later is that you get to directly interact with your audience as you’re formulating the show. YouTube’s live stream will allow you to see comments from viewers in real time so you can respond to questions or gauge how you’re doing.
This is especially important if you’re running an event such as a tutorial. Make sure to stop and answer questions and check in on the audience. The last thing you want to do is forget you’re in front of a live group of people and ignore important questions.
Depending on what kind of stream you’re running, don’t be afraid to make them very long. The video player will allow users to jump back up to four hours of content in case they missed something. A lot of channels have had great success running a 24 hour stream similar to a telethon that has a rotating schedule of events. Have a look at organizations such as Games Done Quick which run a biannual live stream where they play games quickly in order to raise money for charities.
Record Now, Results Later
YouTube will automatically archive your live stream and place it on your channel for future viewers to find. If needed, make sure to change your description and the title as necessary to get the most out of your SEO. Don’t be afraid to promote the video after it’s all done! As long as you created relevant content, it will still gain views over time.
Don’t be afraid if you didn’t draw a large audience! So long as the video is in your channel, it will continue to get hits, especially if the rest of your videos continue to grow your brand. People will always go back to it.
There are plenty of other live streaming options that might be better suited to your needs. For example, Twitch is great for video game players or anyone who needs to show their desktop. Likewise, Google Hangouts has a streaming option that will also let you share your screen or broadcast a conference. We recommend YouTube for the sake of this article so that it works within your current ecosystem.
If you have any questions about how to get started with YouTube live streaming, or questions about social media marketing in general, feel free to leave a comment or contact us!