3 Practical Tips for Live Broadcasting You Need to Know Right Now

Opinion: Live broadcasting can feel intimidating for YouTube creators transitioning over

Almost 50 percent of millennials aged 18 through 34 have created a live social media video, and more than 50 percent have watched one
Eloi_Omella/iStock

Mobile live video creation is definitely a wave. Even if you’re not creating it yet, millions of people are, and that figure is only growing every day.

The live content experience may seem unusual to those accustomed to more traditional forms of entertainment, but a quick glance at some stats surrounding live broadcasting shows an industry that is just starting to find its audience.

Almost 50 percent of millennials aged 18 through 34 have created a live social media video, and more than 50 percent have watched one, according to eMarketer.

Live.me is seeing that aggressive uptick, as well, with more than 300,000 hours of live video being created on a daily basis.

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is smitten with the format for the same reason a lot of consumers are: Live video is immediate and accessible for nearly any modern mobile phone, and it produces a deeper connection than any other social communication before it.

For all of those reasons, however, live broadcasting can feel intimidating for YouTube creators transitioning over, especially since those creators previously had the luxury of re-dos with their videos until the content was just like they wanted it to be.

Beyond the obvious logistics like a strong internet connection, proper lighting and clear audio, here are three real, practical tips to make live broadcasting less intimidating and help you master the skill of creating live videos.

The real marker of success for live broadcasting isn’t about how many people tune into your broadcast, but rather how many people stay in your broadcast. To ensure longer retention, there are a few key tips all broadcasters should keep in mind when preparing to go live.

Don’t wait for fans to join

While the first few minutes of a broadcast typically start off slow, as it takes time for fans to get the notification that you just went live, those minutes don’t have to be awkward. A creative solution is to start your broadcasts talking to the people that will be watching later, after you’re no longer live.

Here’s an example of what you might want to say: “Thanks for checking out my profile and pressing play on this replay. I’d love for you to hit that follow button so you see the next time I go live. I typically broadcast a few days a week. You can also find my social media account on my profile.”

This type of introduction productively fills the beginning time, and it will usually catch the viewer off guard just enough to get you that follow from them.

Browsing other people’s old live videos, it’s obvious that the first minute or more needs something besides watching people’s phones fall over as they try to finish getting ready for viewers to join.

Plan your live broadcasts in bite-sized segments

Live broadcasting benefits from time. The longer you broadcast at a time, the more people will have a chance to tune in. Besides just the commitment of time, longer broadcasts also mean finding content that’s engaging and entertaining for viewers.

One easy way to tackle the fear of time is to set a time goal you’d like to broadcast for, and then break that time into 10 to 15 chunks, varying the content between some of items you’re passionate about. Whether it’s music, comedy, pranks, some other talent or just telling stories, having a plan to vary content will benefit you and your viewers.

While it’s easy to have a plan with different type of content planned out, switching naturally between the different “segments” will likely be the part that really take some practice. Learn which chunks of time work the best with your viewers and keep testing until you find the right formula.

Give each of your broadcasts a finale

Why does the Academy Awards wait until the end to give out the award for best picture? To keep people watching until the end. It’s a simple and proven method of broadcast television that the local news stations practice every night, trying to get people to hang on until the last story.

Your live broadcasts, done from your mobile phone, should have that same type build up to some finale to keep people watching as long as possible as well. Generally, people have something they want to do for a live broadcast, so use that and tease it out for the first half of your live broadcast to keep people hanging on until the end.

A fireworks show’s finale comes at the end for a reason.

The easiest way to demystify the process of becoming a live broadcaster is to jump in and give it a try. As you work on your live broadcasting skills, keep in mind that the most successful broadcasts are interactive.

It remains true that the most compelling live content, in whatever context that may be, should be something that makes sense to watch in real-time. What that almost always means is that the content is interactive and involves the broadcasters and the audience working together.

Khudor Annous is head of marketing and partnerships at Live.me, the live broadcasting platform from application developer Cheetah Mobile.