More and more audiences are willing to tune in for scheduled, longer form, livestream content. And a lot more communicators are playing with the format – from weekly interviews with actors, to bedtime stories read by celebrities, and even streaming dance parties. Now is a great time to take a chance and experiment with livestream content. Here are a few pointers to help get you started:
1. Have a purpose
One of the biggest mistakes communicators can make is not having a strategy around why you’re communicating. Give your communication efforts a purpose beyond “sell more product” or even “get more traffic on our website”. One of the big strengths of livestreaming is that it allows you to speak and interact directly with your audience in real time. So maybe your purpose for live streaming isn’t about getting new followers, but about deeper engagement with the followers you already have.
2. Make a plan
Livestreaming is about authenticity – you don’t want to sound like you’re reading from a script. But it’s important to have a map or outline of your video that you can work from. Write down what you want to cover, and about how long you want to spend on each point. Give yourself an idea of how long the video should last – whether is 2 minutes or 25 minutes, you need a plan for how to fill that time effectively. A few questions to ask yourself:
- Is this part of a recurring series? If so, what’s the format?
- How long should this video be?
- What are the key things I want the audience to take away?
3. Know your audience (and your platform)
There are a lot of different platforms out there for livestreaming, and audience behavior and preferences can be different on various platforms. Consider who you want to reach – where are they already interacting? Next, look at those platforms and think about the best practices for each. Here are a few resources for some of the most popular platforms:
4. Find a partner
One way to expand your reach to new audiences is by bringing a partner onboard with your livestream. Team up and bring someone relevant in for an interview. Maybe you partner with a nonprofit whose mission aligns with yours. Or a prominent thinker in your sector. The idea is to create content that will appeal to your audience, and also your partner’s audience as well. This will amplify your work. You can even change out who is participating in the livestream, swapping out one guest for another during the stream.
5. Spread the word
Once you have a plan for your livestream, you’ll need to get the word out. Set a date and time, and let your audience know well in advance. That means you’ll want to create some graphics that publicize the livestream that you can share on social media, your website, and in emails / newsletters in the days leading up to the big event.
6. Check your tech (and your background too!)
Do a test run with your camera and mic before you go live. Watch what you captured with a critical eye. A few things to consider:
Is the background distracting? A clean frame will keep audiences focused on you, not the books or laundry in the background.
Find the best possible light – usually it’s with a window in front of you (not behind you).
Minimize background noise. If you are just using the internal mic on your phone, make sure you’re in a quiet location.
Check your wardrobe for any visual or audio distractions. Very stiff fabrics can interfere with audio.
Make sure your internet connection is stable.
Livestreams don’t need to be perfect to be effective. Audiences appreciate an authentic way to interact with you and others – especially if you’re doing it with a service mindset. Don’t try to sell through livestream, try to serve your audience with information or entertainment.