Today, you can live stream just about anything — from a fundraiser, birthday party, or vacation to a cooking lesson, wedding proposal, or corporate event. It's a great way for those who cannot attend in person to experience the event in real-time. For companies hosting corporate events and concerts, it's a great marketing tool, as well. That is, if you do it right. And do it well.
In fact, industry experts say a hefty percentage of folks who catch your event via live stream this year will show up in person next year. But you cannot simply start your camera and press the “go live” button. Your reputation is at stake, so every detail of your audio and/or video feed has to be spot-on.
Here are some must-know tips about live streaming events that will help you create a better event and have a well-informed conversation with your AV production team.
Make a plan
Event planners are pros when it comes to preparation, and successful live streaming has to be part of that from the beginning. Obviously, the technical details are a top priority here. The demographics and location of your audience will dictate which content you live stream and how much bandwidth you will require.
This is one reason it’s essential to get your AV team involved right away. Include your venue, too. Determine what you’ll need including cameras, audio, lighting, and all the technology that transforms your event from live to live-streamed — things like the proper video switcher and encoding required to properly format your feed.
Unlike the Field of Dreams, you have to promote your live streaming option within your overall event marketing if you expect an audience. Live stream to YouTube as well as Facebook Live, and consider sharing your video with relevant Facebook Groups.
Plan to send last-minute reminders to potential virtual attendees, and start your live feed ahead of the scheduled time, as another reminder. Provide technical assistance contact information, in case anyone needs help.
Make it Interactive
If you can, solicit virtual participation via Q&A sessions, live response to comments, etc. during your live event. This will help your virtual audience feel more involved in the event and not just a face in the crowd.
Do a full-on rehearsal prior to going live. Test everything, end to end — from your actual venue, using the actual equipment set-up you’ll use live, and including actual content as it will be delivered. You can fix any glitches you find, verify that you have plenty of bandwidth, and ensure no detail has been overlooked. Remember, people capture live streaming events on a variety of devices, so make sure your feed works perfectly for all.
Don’t Go Live Without a Plan B
Stuff happens, no matter how well prepared and rehearsed you may be. Have back-ups on hand for every single piece of equipment you’ll be using, down to mics, cables, and connectors.
Keep it Alive
Record a local copy of your live stream, so you can use it for follow-up and future event marketing.