Stream content that works well for an online audience.
• Consider using a moderator to interact with online viewers.
• Invest in lighting, sound and background visuals.
• Select the right streaming platform for the job.
• Start small and expand the scope from there.
• Re-create the live conditions for a test stream, and have a solid backup plan.
Live-streaming technology has changed dramatically in the past 10 years. When I first started live streaming event content in 2008, it was still quite foreign to the meetings and events industry. People worried that it would cannibalize their events, or were afraid the technology would fail. Video-streaming technology has come a long way since then. Today, everyone seems to be doing it. As director of digital engagement for PRG's Corporate Events group, I'd like to share some best practices to ensure a successful experience at your next event.
We all know that content is king. When you live stream your event, make sure the content you showcase on the stream really works for an online audience.
• Feature your best content and most dynamic speakers when possible. Just because you can stream it doesn't always mean you should.
• Consider having a moderator for your online audience before, between and after the sessions you broadcast. This helps keep the online audience engaged and minimizes a drop-off in viewership.
• Don't simply point a camera at the stage and start streaming. Make sure you have decent lighting, sound and visuals. Nothing turns off an online audience more than poor video or sound quality.
• Consider including an online chat with the stream. This will allow viewers to communicate with each other and participate in the conversation on-site. Just make sure someone is monitoring it.
PICK A PLATFORM
Many streaming platforms are available. It's important to take the following factors into consideration when selecting one.
• If your content is free for anyone to watch, consider streaming it on your company's YouTube, Facebook or Twitter channel. These are all tremendous streaming platforms to promote the event and to encourage viewers to participate.
• If you want to track your online viewers, the streaming platform will need to have some sort of registration. This is the only way to tie viewer information to a live stream.
• If the presentation has both camera footage and slides, consider a platform that can show both simultaneously. A number of platforms offer more than one video feed on the screen.
• The more browsers and devices the stream can work on, the better the experience for the viewer. The last thing you want is for a potential viewer to be forced to download a plug-in or experience connection difficulties. Frustration isn't the takeaway you want to provide for your viewers.
PREPARE AND PRACTICE
Live streaming an event can be daunting the first time. Take these simple steps to make the initiative a little less scary and build confidence.
• Start small and build from there. Pick a single session or one room to stream from. See how the audience reacts. Learn from the mistakes and build on the successes.
• Test the live stream well in advance, and then do it again in the event's location the day before. You need to re-create as closely as possible the exact conditions of the live event to ensure that any glitches are resolved.
• Make sure people from different locations participate in the test -- the more people, the better. If you have just one person watching from one location, you won't know if any issues are with their connection or the stream.
• Always have a backup plan. If for some reason the network were to go down, record the sessions and post them for on-demand viewing as soon as you get a working connection. Notify the audience that a recorded version will soon be posted.