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Tips for Creating a Live Stream That Every Live Streamer Should Know

May 4, 2021 - Erikka Innes

You've been inspired by your favorite live streamer, or maybe your boss asked you to create a live stream for work. If it's your first time live streaming, it can be a little overwhelming to get started. But with api.video's list of things to consider for your project, you will be live streaming your show in no time!

Brainstorming a Live Stream Concept

Some people know exactly what they want to live stream. If you already have your concept, don't worry about this section. If you find yourself trying to come up with ideas, here's some things to try:

  1. Look at other people's live streams. If someone is covering a topic you're interested in, do you see a way you can improve on their offering? If you have a different perspective, you can be inspired by their topic and then make it unique by presenting it in a new way.

  2. Look at the structure of a live stream you like. What do you like about the structure? Can you repurpose this in some way?

  3. Do you have favorite topics you like discussing? Can you make a show out of the topic? You can test by starting to write down ideas for it. See if you can create a list of ideas on one topic.

  4. If you weren't able to create a very long list of ideas for one topic, are there several topics you like talking about? Write a list of ideas for a group of topics, where you come up with at least three ideas per topic. Then see if there's a connection between all of them. If you find a connection, could that be a concept for your live stream?

Write down as many ideas as possible, even if some of them don't seem like a great idea. You may find a way to turn your ideas into something later.

Live Stream Planning

Planning a live stream can be a big production, or it can be you pressing play on your webcam in your apartment with a couple of friends. After you pick a topic for your show, decide what level of production you want to do. If it's your first time, simple and low cost is usually better. That way, if you don't like your setup, you can easily make a switch instead of being stuck with something expensive. Here's some things to keep in mind for your production:

  1. Make a list of everything you need for your live stream. Take some time to research camera and audio equipment. Steer clear of expensive gear unless you already know what you are doing. Buy something that lets you learn and grow while being cost effective (budget around $150 for everything maximum).

  2. Back up everything. If you want to save your live stream recording for later, record it to two places, that way if one has problems, you still have the other.

  3. Make sure all of your equipment is properly charged up.

  4. Test the lighting with your camera.

  5. Test the audio. If you will have someone on-air with you in the same space, make sure you test both your mics and work out how you will record yourselves. If you plan to have guests who are online, coordinate with them so that they test the equipment they'll be joining your show with. If you plan to have anyone call-in, try doing a best guess test of this. This will help ensure you get the best sound for your project.

  6. If you have random callers, have a way to screen people before adding them to your show.

  7. If you want to use a greenscreen, test the lighting for your greenscreen and any effects you may want to use. If you want to put a different backdrop behind yourself, make sure you test at what point you are leaning too far back into the backdrop.

  8. Make sure your live stream works with your computer equipment and live stream provider. api.video is a great choice and we offer ways to set up your live stream that are no-code or developer friendly.

  9. The day you plan to record, set up everything in advance of the start time. This is more crucial if you will have guests arrive or phone-in for your show.

  10. Keeping your project simple to start is a good idea, but you may benefit from adding one person to help monitor your live stream. Having someone who wants to be an engineer for your project can make it easier for you to focus on your performance. For best results, talk through your expectations ahead of time and figure out how your engineer can monitor the show real-time.

Marketing

There are multiple marketing strategies you can employ for your live stream. If you're just starting out and inexperienced, it's easier not to focus too aggressively on marketing. Some things you can consider include:

  1. Create a digital flyer.

  2. Invite friends from your personal social networks.

  3. Create social media accounts for your personal brand or live stream. When you get a sense of your style, you can start to promote yourself more.

  4. Invite guests with big followings online and ask them to promote their appearance to their followers.

  5. Make good use of SEO (search engine optimization) keywords on your website to describe your show. This will be difficult at first, so something you can do to make things easy is provide viewers with written transcripts of your show. It can be added under each video. The transcript will help your show turn up in more locations.

  6. Add captions to your video. This allows you to reach a bigger audience, and you can use the captions file as your transcript if you like. There are

  7. Track the analytics on your live stream. Did people check out somewhere during the show? Did more people arrive to watch at some point during the show? Do you have more viewers for particular topics? Use this to help guide future topic choices.

Onscreen Performance

This section goes over some tips for making your live stream performance it's best.

  1. Be prepared with your team and your equipment so you are not stressed before you start your show.

  2. You can write outlines of what you want to cover and set them up on your computer screen in front of you if you like. Just be sure you aren't obviously reading from the outline too much.

  3. Remember to look into your camera, not at the image of your live stream or yourself. Glancing is okay to figure out if you're making a weird face, but otherwise most of your focus should be on the camera lens (make it natural, don't over-emphasize where you are looking).

  4. If you are allowing viewers to send comments, respond to them real-time. If you want your show's engineer to monitor them along with audio-visual, make sure you mentioned that and have a way for them to introduce comments to you. Some shows even include the engineer on camera! Figure out what you like best.

  5. Don't worry about having everything be perfect. When you start out you will make mistakes. Learn as much as you can and strive to improve with every new broadcast.

Happy live streaming!

Erikka Innes

Developer Evangelist

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