6 Tips to Produce Successful Live Streams
Live streaming is one of the leading popular forms of online content today. Since its beginnings in the 1990s, this modern form of mass communication has transformed into a multi-billion dollar industry.
Nowadays, all social media platforms- Facebook, Tiktok, Twitter, Youtube- allow users to broadcast live via their phone wherever they are. For a more professional setting, platforms like LinkedIn and Vimeo also offer live stream features. There are also dedicated live streaming platforms like Bigoo Live and Twitch where audiences can earn while live streaming.
With this multitude of live streaming platforms, it is no doubt that this form of content is here to stay and, as a business owner or a content creator who wants to expand their audience, live streaming is a perfect opportunity to achieve your goals.
But where do you begin?
This technology can be overwhelming at first, so to help you out, here are the things you need to jumpstart your live streaming career.
Prepare to Go Live
Before the broadcast, you have to plan your discussion. Remember, this is a live show, so it is right that you have control of how it will pan out. Here are some points you need to answer before your live stream.
- Identify Your Niche–What is the stream for? Is this for your ecommerce business to gain sales? Is this a mukbang where you eat while talking about random topics? Is this a gaming live stream? Are you going to play music for your audience? There are many niches and topics to discuss during the live, but be sure you stick to a single theme. By doing so, you can easily build authority and audience on that theme.
- Define Your Audience–Who are the people that would watch your show? Based on your niche, you can easily identify who your audiences are. This is important so you know how to interact with them.
- Set Goals–Do you want to sell? Get 100K viewers? Or get donations? Setting SMART goal helps you present your show. It also becomes a guide for your next live productions.
Have a Reliable Internet Connection
A good internet connection can make or break a live broadcast. With a slow internet, your stream will occasionally lag and it will affect user experience. Audio will also not transmit properly and sometimes a constant delay with the voice and the video.
So before you start, test the speed of your internet. Do some test runs, and if possible, have a backup internet source in case of unforeseen incidents.
Complete Your Set up
Before we start, note that your gears does not have to be expensive. There are cheaper brands that works as good as the more professional and expensive products. Here are the equipment you need to start your live stream.
Webcams and smartphones are the simplest live stream camera you can use. Neither requires external tool (encoder) to go live. The problem, sometimes, is its inferior quality, especially in an indoor/ low light setting. The best live stream camera to use are mirrorless cameras, action cameras and compact cameras that have built in live stream feature. A good example is the Sony ZV-E10 that is made especially for vlogging and live streams. Cameras like the Sony a7R IV or the Panasonic Lumix GH5 are also great for the quality of their video.
What to look for in a live stream camera?
- Long Record Time–Choose a camera that can last for a longer period. You do not want your gear to shut down mid recording, only because it is overheating.
- HDMI Output–This cord is most commonly used for connecting your camera to your laptop or audio device.
- Bitrate–Depending on your requirements, you will need a higher bitrate to stream quality video. Remember: The higher your frame rate and resolution you require, the higher the bitrate needed.
- Sensor Size–Since you are shooting indoors, a camera with a bigger sensor size helps capture video even in low light.
Note that you will also need a wider angle lens (24-35mm equivalent) to give an illusion of having a bigger studio even if you are in a compact room. You will also need a sturdy tripod to hold your camera in place.
Sound is very important for live streamers, so make sure that your video has a good audio quality. For food and game streamers, a shotgun microphone like the AudioTechnica AT2020, Shure SM7B, Rode NTG5 or the Sennheiser MKE 600 is great. Mount them on a boom stand to give more freedom to move while streaming. If you are doing interviews, lavalier microphones are perfect for recording speech at a close range.
If you are not using a webcam or a smartphone, you will need an encoder to convert your video for the web. An encoder will also let you control the external audio, background and other parts of the production.
- Software Encoder–This is a software that transmits your video to any streaming platform of your choice. It gives you more control and flexibility. It is also more user-friendly and many are available for free.
- Hardware Encoder–This encoder has built-in capture cards, so you can broadcast straight from your camera.
A continuous LED light is ideal for your video setup because it gives a reliable natural daylight tone that illuminates your skin. You can add two softboxes with diffusers to add drama to your backdrop. Alternatively, you can use lamps, nightlight or candles for a more creative space.
Note that the bigger your studio is, the more light you need.
Other than the ones mention above, you will probably need some of these accessories:
- Green Screen–If you want to be more playful, use a green screen to instantly change your background.
- Tripod–This is not only for the camera but also for the lighting and audio device as well.
- Microphone Boom Stand–It keeps your microphone sturdy and gives you more freedom to move while live streaming.
Interact with Your Viewers
Live streaming is a real-time form of communication with your audience. For non-formal streams, creators would read comments or questions from the viewers. For a more professional setting, questions are thrown at the end of the program.
Whichever you prefer, be sure to read and answer comments. This is how you keep the viewers glued to your show. Even if they are just greeting, greet them back. They will feel acknowledged and special. Who knows? They might hit that follow button and become a regular viewer in the future.
Establish a Community Rule
Anyone watching your stream can post their comments on the chat box. And since the chat or comment section is a shared space, it is your obligation to keep the discussion safe for everyone. Set ground rules at the start of the broadcast. You may also pin them on the chat so people can see it once they logged into your stream. Your guidelines should include no cursing, no racist remarks, avoid sexist jokes, respect other people and more.
Promote Your Live Stream
To gain more viewers, you should share your stream to your personal social media accounts so your friends can see it. You can also share them on communities and groups so more people can discover you.
Here are some helpful tips to help you jumpstart your live stream. No matter what audience you are trying to reach, if you follow these tips, it will be easy for you to grow your following. Just continue creating content, stay creative and you will surely be on your way to social media stardom.