Live-streaming is all the rage right now, and from the looks of things it’s definitely here to stick around. Everything is becoming more interactive than ever before, so that means that the days of only posting written content are long gone. In addition, from the way the trend is going, the days of just posting visual content are becoming short-lived as well. These days, you have to combine all three, live-streaming (or broadcasting), written, and visual.
People crave to be stimulated on all cylinders, and there’s no time like now than to start serving your audience in a more innovative, interactive, and engaging way, such as live-streaming. Nonetheless, there are some guidelines that should be at the very least considered as we migrate our way to these new platforms and explore unchartered methods of connecting with our audiences.
When it comes to live-streaming, it’s definitely something I’ll be incorporating into my business more. I want people to get to know the person behind the brand and blog more, and really start to connect more deeply to my audience. It is my goal to shows behind the scenes of my business, what’s coming up, and how things are going in a live, real-time format. I think it’s awesome that we have the technology to do this, and that many times, for free. However, what I don’t want to do is go about it the wrong way. I’ve seen all too often, whether it be on Periscope, webinars, Hangouts, etc. content creators go about getting in front of their audiences in painfully disconcerted ways.
I’m not talking about being nervous or even scared, but more so unprepared, not appearing professional or organized, and plain out wasting their audience’s time. As a business owner, especially in the digital arena, we can connect with our tribe’s in so many ways, social media, email, video, etc., but what we oftentimes don’t have is the ability to literally step in front of them and connect. Live-streaming allows that, but many don’t seem to realize that the same rules apply to communicating with someone via live-stream as they do when when we do so in person.
Would you step to a potential client in your pajamas? Go to an important business meeting not dressed professional?
My guess, probably not? Just you most likely wouldn’t post a super dark or overexposed picture to your IG if you can help it. I’m not saying your whole life needs to appear as if you just stepped outside of a perfectly styled stock photo, but presentation is key.
The number one live-streaming mistake I see all too often boils down to presentation.
Most often times it’s not how the person themselves looks, but rather the area around them. Here’s something’s that should be strongly taken into consideration before starting your live-streaming, from a setting standpoint:
How is the noise level? – Can you be heard?
Is there a lot of wind blowing or a storming brewing? Is there traffic or a lot of outside sounds that can be distracting? – Yes, this includes kids, family members, friends, etc.
- A crowded cafe or coffee shop may not be the best place to stream. — Try a park, garden, or even your car (parked that is).
- Don’t stream during bad weather. — Not only is it not safe, as you should be insuring that you’re cognizant of your surroundings in relation to the weather.
- If you’re a busy mom, try streaming during nap-time or when your husband, significant other, or another caretaker can watch your kids for a designated timeframe. — This will not only help your focus, but facilitate a distraction free experience for you and your audience.
Be On Time – Early is on time, on time is late, and late is well…unacceptable (lingo from my old USMC days)
When it comes to scheduled live-streams, you must, I repeat, must be one time. There is no excuse for tardiness, and being late reflects poorly on you. Being late to your live-stream sends the message to your audience that you don’t care enough about them to show up on time.
In the case of an emergency, you need to let your audience know ASAP, and via multiple methods, such as email and social media.
Not everybody will be checking their email or on social media, but if you attempt to reach in both ways, they will appreciate your effort, even if they miss the memo.
You only have so many times to be late, before people loose faith in you. They will come to expect you to be late, so they will either show up late or not at all. Either scenario, it’s unfavorable to you and shows a lack of professionalism and consideration.
You will wonder why your audience shows up 15 minutes late and you’re sitting there wondering where everyone’s at. It puts the entire live-stream behind, which makes less time for you to provide your audience with value.
People don’t have all day, and they if they plan to show up for your live webinar, workshop, or master class, they’ve blocked off that specific time.
I can speak personally when I say that I have to do this, because of being a full-time SAHM/WAHM. My leisure (or rather learning) time is extremely precious and limited in regards to me. I miss out on a ton of trainings and live-streams, because I simply don’t have the time with my schedule and priories as a mom.
Many times, all I have is that hour or two to attend your live-stream. If you’re late, then I can’t and I hate that! Missing out on valuable content, when I’ve blocked my schedule off to learn about it is a real bummer. Your audience is thinking the exact same thing, don’t put them in this position. And definitely don’t rely on a replay to get the job done, watching a replay is no comparison to attending live and getting that real-time interaction and feedback.
Test Your Tech
Ensuring that you tech is set up and in proper working condition prior to your live-stream is crucial to its success. Improper setup of your tech, or not checking it before your start your live-stream can result in inadvertently making the previous two mistakes.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before going live:
1. Can my audience see and hear me okay? —
Check your internet connection beforehand. You want to make sure that you’re not coming across fuzzy, pixelated, or at a low quality. You can mitigate these issues by having a good and fast internet connection and using high quality equipment.
2. Are my settings correct on my recording devices? —
This goes for the audio and visual devices. Read the instructions, watch Youtube videos for how to properly and best set your settings for optimal quality.
3. Are lens clean? —
This is an easy one, but one that is missed all too often. A simple wipe of your lens can do wonders for the quality of your videos, because your audience will be able to see you clearly and crisp.
4. How’s my lighting? —
Yet, another thing that oftentimes gets overlooked. You must have good lighting. Everything about videography (and photography) revolves around lighting. If you can’t film during the day time with good natural light, invest in lighting equipment that you can use inside. More specifically, you want the focus to be on your face, so all of your lighting should be aimed at it. Remember your audience wants and needs to see you!
5. Is my recording equipment set up and positioned properly? —
Most of the set up of your equipment is going to be dependent on your setting, and on trial and error. In general, you can find out how to properly set equipment by searching Google or looking at Youtube video tutorials of people showing you how to do it, but adjustments will have to be made by you depending on your space, setting, and size of equipment. If anything, ensure you have plenty of room to set up your recording and filming equipment. This will make is that much easier when you go to arrange it for optimal recording and filming.
Have Your Slides/Presentation Ready – No editing during the stream
No one is perfect and even after proofreading things twice over, we can still miss mistakes. I do it all the time when publishing blog posts, so I’m just as guilty as the next. However, unlike blogging, live-streaming is in the moment and the room to go back and fix things is small, like pretty much no existence. It’s actually one of the reasons that people enjoy the real-time interaction of live-streaming so much. It shows a more human side of who we are, not the over-edited IG image or thrice proofread blog post.
However, this is still no excuse to not be a thorough as possible when we are creating our presentations. Interrupting your stream to correct a mistake can totally disrupt the flow of the presentation and loose your audience’s attention.
A few ways to prevent interruption during your stream are:
1. Edit your presentation slide by slide as you create it. —
You can catch large and small errors and shorten the editing process when your done creating your presentation. Editing as you go is also beneficial, because as you edit each slide, you’re still in the same mindset, so it’s easier to know if you need to add or take away information.
2. Practice and run through your presentation several times before going live. —
Going over the presentation, whether it be by yourself or with someone else can help immensely when it comes to catching errors.
3. Ask or hire someone to edit your presentation. —
Not all of us are great at editing, if you know you’re not, it may be best to outsource the task and hire someone. You will save yourself plenty of strife and energy, allowing you to focus on other things needed to make your live-stream go smoothly. This is the beauty of outsourcing, it can in turn allow you to be more productive, and more importantly prepared.
If you’ve been nervous about live-streaming, you’re not alone, I have been too. However, the only way to conquer that fear is to get out there and do it. In doing so, these mistakes are definitely one’s that I’ll be trying my darndest not to make.
I’ll be incorporating a lot more live-streaming, real-time interaction into the B&F brand coming up, because it isn’t just the way of the future, it’s the way of now. It’s imperative that we get in front of our audiences and allow them to really get to know us, all while showing them our expertise. Live-streaming and video allows us to do exactly that easily and at little to no cost.