How to Livestream and get Millions of Viewers to Watch
How to live stream is a popular topic in marketing circles. But the more important question is ‘how to get people to watch my live stream?’ This post breaks down not just the set-up and delivery of a smooth live stream, but how to plan for an audience of millions of viewers.
Livestreaming can be as easy as you make it. Like anything else, it becomes easier and more familiar the more you do it. Driving views is the hard part. There are so many people vying for so few eyes, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Here’s a campaign plan highlighting the keys to producing a good live stream while ensuring a large audience of engaged viewers.
Here’s the main difference between a webinar and a live stream – scale. Webinar platforms are typically walled gardens, and everyone who shows up has to register. Why not maximize your audience by combining the intimacy of a webinar and the scale of live streaming? You can reach 1 million people with a live stream if you connect it to a scalable video platform and put a promotional budget behind it to drive registration and attendance.
Content – make it sharp or no one will care
Content is king, and good content will always be discovered eventually. Most Internet celebrities who became famous from one video or a stunt made content for years before they were able to monetize in a serious way. While going viral might seem like an overnight phenomenon, it often involves years of work and dedication to your craft. Don’t focus on the view count just yet if you’re not positive that you’re making the best content. By honing your content funnel to coincide with your audiences’ interests, you’ll create a loyal (although maybe small) organic following. This will no doubt make it easier to plan for your channel strategy and post-event follow-up campaign.
Plan your strategy
So you’re ready to start your livestream, but you’re not sure about strategy, content or production equipment. Have no fear, we’ll start with strategy element of how to livestream.
When thinking about how to livestream well, consider it a job. You must have a schedule, delegate responsibilities, and identify goals you want to achieve. Base your schedule around the assumed schedule of your target audience. If you’re looking to attract millennials in high school, make sure to go live later in the afternoon so they can catch your broadcast after school. Properly scheduling your streams to fit your demographic can dramatically increase viewer counts.
Get your equipment together
With your strategy and content all planned out, it’s time to gather your equipment. Now is the time to decide how you want your broadcast to look to your viewer. Do you want a grassroots, do-it-yourself viewing experience? All you’ll really need is a cell phone or tablet to stream from and some initiative. If you want an HD stream with extra crisp audio and visuals, be ready to spend a moderate amount of money on your setup. Let’s go over some of the things you might need for this type of viewing experience.
Here are 3 other key questions to consider when thinking about equipment:
- How will you record the live video? What camera will you use? Do you need tripods or other accessories?-These days, all of us have a little HD camera in our pockets at all times. If your phone works for you and your content, you definitely don’t want to complicate things by adding equipment. However, if you’re looking for a more stable, sharper video, maybe you’ll want to upgrade the camera. There are tons of fairly priced, high quality cameras on the market, many broadcasters even use a basic DSLR camera/tripod setup. Some cameras, like the Mevo, come fully equipped with a tripod and software that streams directly to your OVP. The range of possibilities with your camera is endless. From a cell phone, to a camera that was specially designed with livestreaming in mind, you almost can’t go wrong with either option.
- Does your camera live stream, or do you need stand-alone production software?-Let’s assume you chose a camera that doesn’t have standalone streaming capabilities., now you’ll need to choose a streaming software. The most widely used recording program is Open Broadcaster Software, or OBS. Some of the many features include real time audio/video capturing, and many configuration options. To see a complete list of OBS features, visit their website here.
-Have you tried OBS and didn’t like it? Try programs like XSplit, Gameshow, Vmix, or Wirecast. All of these platforms are robust solutions that should meet or even exceed your needs.
- Do you have enough bandwidth to support your stream?
-Streaming live, high-definition video to millions of people can eat up all your bandwidth, so make sure you have enough! It’s estimated that you’ll need somewhere between 1.5 mbps – 4.0 mbps. You may need to be on the high side of that estimate depending on frame rate, resolution, etc.
-Data caps can be a real issue for independent streamers. DaCast estimates “A typical 8.5 Mbps stream chews through about 60 megabytes of data per minute, which works out to 3.6 GB per hour. If your ISP limits your data usage to 50 or 200 GB per month, you could quickly run up against your limit when live streaming.” If you’re not careful, you’ll exceed your data limits easily.
Make sure you’re not playing to an empty house – Roll your own audience, and then ask for help.
Before you start brainstorming topics for your live stream, figure out how you’ll get millions of viewers to watch your content. Your business likely already has an email list, social followers and some level of website traffic. Focus there first, but keep in mind there’s a vast universe of people who don’t know you or your business beyond the borders of people you know.
Building audience is about putting your content in front of relevant eyes. Here are 3 can’t-fail strategies for attracting a large audience ahead of your go-live date:
- 3 to 6 months out:
- Forge partnerships with other blogs and broadcasters to carry each other’s programming. Start 3 to 6 months ahead of time in order to have a stable of people willing to help (and audiences to choose from).
- Find a platform that allows you to broadcast once and publish many to places at the same time, like your website, Facebook Live, Twitter, YouTube Live, etc. StageTen or Switcher Studio are good places to start.
- 1 month out:
- Add a pop-up on your website offering people the chance to register for your live stream.
- Invite your email list. Plan to send at least 3 invitations to build a pre-registration list of people who put up their hand. Pro tip: customize the invitation. Make it sound like you sincerely want them to show up. And please don’t use the default invitations inside your webinar tool. Take the extra minute to personalize a note and make your invitees feel like you actually want them to show up.
- Keep in mind only about 30% of them will actually show up to the live show, so be sure to have other promotional tactics in your arsenal.
- 3 weeks out:
- Post ahead of time on your social media accounts, tap into as many different outlets as possible. Start at least 3 weeks ahead of time, and give your followers at least 3 reminders.
- 3 days out:
- Wrap up your final email invitations and social media posts promoting your live event.
- Connect and test your system – technology only breaks when you need it to work flawlessly. Do a few dry runs to make sure your webinar platform and distribution network play nicely together. Set up your syndication strategy, and be sure you have your business (not personal) social accounts connected.
- 1 day before:
- Full dry run with your performance team.
Go beyond organic reach with paid distribution
If content is king, then distribution is queen. She is the most powerful piece on the board. Having no distribution plan is like trying to play chess without your queen – you can still win but you’re severely handicapping your chances. Why not guarantee that your best target buyers will see your content? After all, you’ve spent the time, effort and resources to plan an amazing live stream; distribution ensures that you have an audience to watch your creation.
AmpLive handles distribution in three ways:
- Engage with your organic audience – Install the free AmpLive frame on top of your video player in order to capture deep data analytics from your live stream when it’s embedded on your own website. YouTube Live and Facebook Live restrict user engagement data and only provide view count and view time. AmpLive goes beyond to provide real-time insights into the most compelling moments during your broadcast, where your audience lives, how millions of viewers engage with the video while it’s live and how long people spend with your story.
- Find your best prospects where they already spend time – AmpLive places your live stream in ad units across our audience network of 3,000 premium publishers in order to get your content in front of millions of viewers. No other platform guarantees live viewership in those magically engaging moments when your content is live. For the end-user, they see live video on top-tier sites like The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Techcrunch and MSN.
- Retarget for conversion – Once your live stream is over, it’s time to turn those millions of viewers into pipeline opportunities. Using AmpLive’s engagement data collected during the live stream, marketers can continue the conversation with personalized messaging based on the attention spent on your content. Think about it, you wouldn’t follow-up the same way with someone you had a 30 second chat with versus someone you connected with during a 30 minute conversation, would you? Same holds true for live streams. Therefore, offer your 30 second viewers the opportunity to subscribe to your newsletter, while your 30 minute viewers may respond well to a free trial offer or a free eBook.
To truly succeed in live, you must plan for everything else that happens before and after your event. Live streams live and die by old school planning. Sure, the broadcast may be spontaneous and free-flowing, but the prep, buzz-building and post-event follow-up are decidedly off-line events.
How big an audience can you reasonably drive yourself? How much more successful would your broadcast be if you could multiply that by 100x or 1000x? This is what paid distribution is for.
Make sure to think about your entire production experience before going live. How do you want people to find your event? Announced a month out on Twitter, via email, or ‘going live now’ notification on Facebook? This is what the pre-registration campaign is for.
Most importantly, make sure you have a plan in place to follow up on the relationships you built during your live streams. Think of live videos in the same way you do for your other marketing programs: your goal should be to drive more qualified leads to feed into your nurture campaigns and ultimately track each viewer through to a conversion.
Find more live streaming tips here.