How to Ensure Your Live Streaming Event is a Massive Success
As a person in charge of promoting events of any kind, you know that the name of the game is attendance. If you can’t get people to your event, there’s not much point in putting it on.
Enter live streaming. This is a great way to get people to attend your event from the comfort of their own homes, and/or give them a preview of what they’re missing so that they’ll be more inclined to show up next time.
But what are the basics of live streaming an event? Is your event worth streaming, and how do you go about doing it? How do you make sure people will show up?
Let’s take a look at the basics of live streaming your events, and get you a little closer down your path towards being able to distribute and promote your live events with style and substance.
Should you live stream your event?
It might be worth noting that not every event deserves to be live streamed. It may be tempting to believe that, because you have a high level of views on your video on-demand (VOD) content that you might be able to do the same for a live event, says Alden Fertig.
He goes on to say that it’s very important to put a great deal of thought into what might be interesting enough for people to show up at a specific time and date to watch your live stream.
“Live is inherently more complicated. It’s inherently more prone to something [going wrong], and it’s more expensive.” So, choosing live streaming over VOD is not a decision one should make lightly.
He stresses that you should think about how you can be sure that the content is interesting enough to watch, as well as whether or not you’ll be able to create the right promotion that ensures that viewers actually show up at the intended time.
The only thing worse than empty seats at your event is empty spots in your live stream.
With all that said, there are a lot of great things that can happen as a result of a live stream, when planned properly.
Make sure you know the objective of the live stream
It’s easy to get excited about live streaming an event and wanting to dive right in and start making it happen. But before you decide to stream your event, it’s really important to ask yourself the purpose of the live stream.
What do you hope to get out of your live stream? Do you want more subscribers, or are you looking to build awareness of your event to get more people to attend in person next time? Are you promoting something special, or are you hoping to help people who might not be able to attend the event get closer to the action?
One of the positives of live streaming is that it may actually help you to increase the attendance of your next event. According to some sources, “15-30% of Virtual Attendees will come to your physical event the following year.” This sets live streaming apart as a potentially cost-effective method of marketing your event.
And it doesn’t mean that your event has to be massive in order to attract attention. For example, Salesforce’s Dreamforce Conference was able to live stream to 75x the number of people who actually attended the event.
The point is that once you are clear on the objective, you can tailor your content to fit that objective, which will help to guide your plans for your live stream.
Where to host your live streaming event
There are tons of options available to those who wish to live stream events of any kind. Let’s take a look at a few of them and the pros and cons of each of those.
Over at Eventsforce, they’ve done a great job of breaking down the pros and cons of Facebook Live, which we’ll paraphrase and expand on here.
Streaming options: Whether you want to present a high-quality live stream with high-end equipment powering the stream, or just broadcast a quick video from your smartphone (in this context, maybe a quick interview with one of the hosts of your event), FB Live has an option for you. It’s nice to have the option, and even better to know that you can get a high-quality stream to your audience through this platform.
Exclusive broadcasts: If you’d like to keep your live stream private, you can set it up so that you’re only broadcasting to members of a specific group (yours) on Facebook. You’ll have to make sure you’ve vetted your group members well in order to get the full benefit of this feature.
Recycle your video and viewers: You can use parts of your FB Live stream to create Facebook posts and ads, which can come in handy when you want to promote your next event. In addition, you can create a segment of the people who viewed your live stream and reach out to them for your next event with a little more information about who they are and what they’re interested in. It’s a valuable tool for ensuring that you’re always increasing your audience.
90-minute time limit: If your event is going to run all day, you’ll have to break it up into multiple segments, as FB Live only allows you to broadcast 90 minutes at a time. This might not be an issue for most, but if you have a conference that lasts all day, this will definitely be a drawback.
Not everyone is on Facebook: As shocking as it may sound, not everyone is on Facebook. This means that if your stream is exclusive to Facebook, you may have to convince some folks to sign up. If they haven’t bothered to do that already, all we can do is wish you good luck with getting them to fill out that form.
You don’t control your own content: Using a service like this doesn’t allow you to control the content (as well as your branding) as well as you could on your own site. A way to get around that is to use Facebook Live as an introduction to the content that you host on your own site, and drive people to that content. This allows you to use the platform as a marketing tool, and then gives you the ability to control and brand your content in your own way once you get them to your site.
Periscope is Twitter’s streaming service, which just happens to be quite popular. In just 12 months, there were more than 200 million broadcasts from within the app. Here’s the good and the bad on Periscope.
Really simple setup/equipment: If you’re not fussy about broadcasting the most amazing quality event, Periscope can be used to broadcast any event with very little investment in setup time.
Unlimited streaming time: Unlike Facebook Live, there are no restrictions on how long your live stream can last. Stream for as long as people are willing to watch — or as long as they’re willing to hold their phone in front of their face.
Instant feedback: There is a chat option that gives viewers the ability to participate in the live stream by asking questions or giving immediate feedback on the stream. And while the hearts may seem like a vanity feature that should be reserved for teenagers seeking validation from their peers, it’s a great way to gauge the success of your live stream.
Occasional tech issues: There have been reports that there are glitches during broadcasts every now and then. Hopefully they manage to continue to improve, but for now, be aware that there are some issues and they may affect your stream.
Instant feedback: Yup, this one is the same as the pro, but it’s also a con. How? Opening up your live stream to public viewing where people can comment on your video gives people the opportunity to say pretty much whatever they want. And as this is the Internet, after all, you can be reasonably certain that someone, at some point, might say something…unflattering or untoward. Your mother may have told you that if you ignore them, they’ll go away. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Since its inception, YouTube Live has been popular with everyone from the kid next door who likes to talk about their Star Wars figurine collection to major brands fighting for the attention of YouTube’s massive audience, attempting to wrest their audience away from cute cat videos. Let’s be honest, it can be a challenge.
But YouTube comes with lots of goodies, and like everything else, a few limitations. Here are a few.
VR 360 capabilities: Other streaming services are slowly rolling out this capability, but YouTube was the first, and they include spatial audio in their offering, making their live VR 360 streams completely immersive. As long as you have the right equipment for VR 360 streaming, you can take advantage of this capability and wow your audience with an amazing experience.
Massive potential audience: YouTube has more than a billion users, with billions of videos watched on the platform every single day. So that’s a pretty large potential audience.
People spend time on YouTube: The average time a person spends on YouTube is 40 minutes per session. This gives you a great opportunity to grab a piece of that massive audience with every live stream.
Limited analytics: YouTube doesn’t do a very good job of communicating with content publishers about how their analytics work, and it’s impossible to integrate any third-party analytics tools into your live streams to better understand the success of your live streaming interaction.
Limited time: While much longer than Facebook’s, YouTube limits its live streams to eight hours. This might not be the worst news for most of you, but just be aware that it is a limitation.
Haivision Video Cloud
Look, we’d be selling ourselves short if we didn’t include a mention of the Haivision Video Cloud in this list, as it does meet certain needs. Just to keep ourselves honest, though, we’ll also include a few cons, which is not to say that there are problems with it, just that it might not be for everyone or for every single event. Sneaky? Maybe a little, but very relevant to the conversation. Take a look.
Viewable on multiple devices: Want to send your live stream to smartphones, desktops, and anything else people consume content with? This solution gives you the opportunity to do that, allowing your audience to view your content on the device they choose, not the one you choose.
Use your own branding: With this kind of service, you can create your own viewer experience on your own website, branded to your own business, not Facebook’s or Twitter’s. You can also instantly share that live stream to other websites, platforms and apps (like Roku and iTunes).
Accurate reporting: Get a great view of your audience demographics and see how well your content resonated with your audience. You can also integrate with other third-party reporting tools to get a holistic view of your content’s performance.
No native audience: Unlike Periscope and Facebook Live, you may have to do a little more to develop your audience. For some, this might not be such a bad thing — there are those who wish to broadcast only to exclusive groups. For others, you will have to put a little more effort into your marketing endeavors — but we’ll show you how to do that in a bit.
These are just the basics
There are a lot more live streaming tools and technologies, and this is obviously just a start to what you can do and how you can do it.
With all of these pros and cons, it will be easier for you to make an informed decision, but the biggest question still remains: Where is your audience? If you are trying to reach an audience who doesn’t use Facebook at all, Facebook Live might not be such a great option.
Also, make sure you are constantly getting feedback from your audience on your live stream. Was it valuable to them? Did they enjoy that? What could you do better, and what did they enjoy the most. This will help you to constantly improve your live streaming, and get you to the top of your game.
Getting people to your live event
At this point, you’ll be wondering how it is that you’re going to get people to your event. The simple answer is that you’re going to launch a marketing campaign to promote your event. Regardless of whether you’re an online ministry, or a corporation hosting a conference, the benefit of having a landing page is that you can collect email addresses so that you can remind people when the event is about to happen, update them about new additions to your event to keep their interest piqued, and interact with them once the event is done.
And like my buddy Oli Gardner, a marketer and landing page experts, says NSAMCWADLP! What does that mean? Never Start a Marketing Campaign Without a Dedicated Landing Page.
You can check out the five key components that every landing page should have here. The basics, according to Oli, are:
1. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
1. The main headline
2. A supporting headline
3. A reinforcement statement4
4. A closing argument
2. The hero shot (images/video showing context of use)
3. The benefits of your offering
1. A bullet point list summary of benefits
2. Benefit and features in detail
4. Social proof (I’ll have what she’s having)
5. A single conversion goal — your Call-To-Action (CTA) (with or without a form)
The really important part is that you express to your audience the main benefit of attending your live event, and very clearly state what they’re going to get out of it. Read your headline and supporting headline to someone who has no idea about what you do, and ask them if they understand what it’s all about. If not, try it again until you can explain to anyone why someone should take the time out of their day to attend your event.
Now that you’ve given folks a clear idea of what your event is and what it will do for them — a reason to attend. Now you’ll have to do a little more convincing and get them to give you their email address so that you can remind them when the live stream is about to start.
To accomplish this, you’ll need a strong CTA. In this case, your CTA might be something like, “Save My Spot” next to a form where they can fill out their email address. This accomplishes the goal of adding a little FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) while also creating some urgency around booking a spot for the event.
The example below shows a clear CTA for collecting email addresses, and also demonstrates how to write a great USP for your landing page. The goal here is to get them to give you their email address and click on that button!
Make sure that once they’ve clicked any button, that the next page delivers on what was promised by that button. Show them a new page that reassures them that a place has been reserved for them, and that they’ll be able to see the live stream at the time promised.
And once you have email addresses, make sure you can email those people with updates and reminders to ensure that they attend your event.
You’ll want to leverage any existing emails lists you might have to send them to your landing page to register for your event, as well as make use of your social media outlets to get people there.
And it might not hurt to throw some money at advertising on different outlets like Facebook or LinkedIn (remember, you want to reach your audience where you know your audience is most likely to be) in order to drive even more traffic to your landing page.
The stream isn’t over when it’s over
Depending on where you’ve chosen to stream, you’ll have a recording of your live event. Whether it’s on your own hard drive or on another branded service, you have something that you can use to continue to reach your audience.
The stream is definitely not over when the live broadcast ends. There is still a great opportunity to promote your recorded content. Use it to spread the message you’re trying to get out there, and start to collect a larger audience for your next live stream.
While every event will be a bit different, and the each will have its own individual goal or set of goals, what is most important is that you’ve gotten people to see your content. However and wherever you choose to do that will depend upon your unique set of circumstances.
If you need help assessing your streaming needs, we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. You can feel free to reach out to us at any time and talk to one of our engineers, who would be happy to guide you through how you can make your live streaming event a massive success. You can get in touch with us here.
Now get out there and start creating some great live content!