It’s hard to believe our first production was in 2006 and the first multi-day conference we live streamed was in 2009 (for The Human Rights Center UC Berkeley). Since then, we have seen and done it all when it comes to live video and live events. Nowadays, live streaming is a must for marketers and event organizers, and we are here to help you implement professional live streaming into your 2018 strategy.
Why wouldn’t you, with companies like Cisco predicting that the online video streaming will grow to more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020. Live streaming is on the rise; in fact, live video is fast becoming the fastest growing segment of internet traffic, totaling nearly 13% of all Internet video traffic by 2021. Check out 30 live stream trends for 2018 for more significant stats and data.
To live stream or not to live stream? If your company is deciding whether to offer a live stream of your next event, consider the benefits of doing so before making your final decision. Implementing a professional live stream strategy can help marketers and event organizers benefit from the above trends by:
- Extending the shelf life of their conferences and events
- Reaching global audiences defined by interest, not geography
- Boosting engagement on social media around their event
- Creating more content to repurpose for future marketing
- Increasing revenues through additional sponsorship opportunities, future ticket sales or pay-per-view
- Building awareness and authenticity of their brand
Ok, so you are convinced that live streaming is becoming an indispensable component of events, but not quite sure where to get started. Not to worry, all the information you need is right here. This guide that will cover the following sections:
1. THE BASICS OF A LIVE EVENT
2. WAYS TO USE LIVE VIDEO FOR YOUR BUSINESS
3. ASK THE LIVE STREAMING EXPERT
4. EVENT PLANNING TIMELINE & BEST PRACTICES
Feel free to jump to the section that interests you most or start reading along here.
THE BASICS OF A LIVE EVENT
Everything involved in a successful live event can be stressful. However, every successful live event strategy depends on the execution of just four basics: videography, distribution strategy, investment and post event follow-up.
Shooting video is the cornerstone of your strategy. You’ll need professional, high quality and cost-effective field production. This can include multi-camera shoots, onsite direction and live streaming. For instance, the live stream of a typical one-day event requires two videographers, a director, a live stream kit, and a robust Internet connection, as well as audio, staging, and lighting.
Consider your online viewers’ experience and plan your live stream around that. You want them to be part of the action too, so consider using at least two camera angles to capture close-ups, audience reactions, speaker presentations and panel shots within the same video. Check out this video for a clearer picture of what can be accomplished with single camera vs multi-camera angles.
Also, be sure to clearly define who your audience is in advance, so you can consider who will be watching and tailor the live stream experience to them. In addition, event video has the ability to benefit the in-person attendees by enabling them to view missed sessions and share their experiences with colleagues.
Viewers today are accustomed to watching video when, where, and how they want. For effective distribution, you should live stream to multiple channels including your own website and sites of influencers and sponsors. Additionally, all your social channels should be engaged. You may have fans that only use either Twitter or Facebook and will appreciate the ease of watching through their preferred channel.
The sheer volume of online video being produced (YouTube estimates 400 hours of video are uploaded every minute) means that reaching new viewers is not easy. You will need to identify and target the right audience using many different distribution channels such as social media, related videos and a landing page. Using a hub where all these can be accessed for the live stream like a Brightcove Gallery portal page can help lead viewers down the conversion funnel easily.
Don’t forget to start your promotions and marketing early: blog, email, tweet, post, send reminders and create call-to-actions to create awareness of the live event to get viewers there. Then keep your viewers engaged once live with surveys, polls, Q&A, behind the scenes access, creating shareable and bite size social media posts that direct people to the live stream (like example below).
Significant, incremental revenue can be generated from live streamed video through sponsorships and if your content is valuable enough, pay-per-view sales. Keep future ROI in your calculations as online video is an investment in future ticket sales as well. In fact, 30% of people who watch a live stream of an event will attend the same event the following year. And 77% of professionals said that attending a virtual conference made them want to attend the physical conference.
If you are already making the investment in creating an experience to appeal to prospects and build brand awareness, do not fall short on quality when it comes to the presentation of your live event. It was found that when consumers are confronted with poor-quality video, they are 62% more likely to have a negative perception of the brand that published the video. Most importantly, don’t skimp on bandwidth as it is can affect the quality of the live stream or worse: could cause your viewers to see a blank screen or the refresh “spinning wheel of death.” 23% of consumers who have been presented with a poor-quality video experience would hesitate to purchase from the brand.
The costs of live streaming are offset by other ROI generators such as growing awareness, lifting your brand’s credibility and using your on demand video to create for weeks, months, or even years. When using live streaming for corporate communications, you can also save time and money from traveling expenses to venues for employees.
POST EVENT FOLLOW UP
Have a plan in place to follow-up with new leads and contacts from the event. Thank your vendors, speakers, sponsors and staff. Debrief and survey for important insights on how to improve for your next event. Examine your data and analytics to continually improve for your next event.
Post promote, post produce and create collateral using videos and images from the event. Re-purpose content to extend the shelf-life of your event by sending a recap to guests who couldn’t attend, clipping highlights for social media posts, client reach out, creating a teaser video to be used for upcoming events, and blogs.
WAYS TO USE LIVE VIDEO FOR YOUR BUSINESS
Live streaming has the power to keep viewers more engaged, convey messages faster, and reach an exponentially wider audience. Below are some ways to use professional live streaming to reach more customers, fans, prospects or internal employees for maximum business impact.
Increase loyalty and excite customers with live video at conferences, user summits or trade shows. Utilize live streaming to capture proceedings for those who can’t be there live. Extend your sessions to more customers and prospects. Reduce expenses associated with travel, while making your team more efficient by encouraging collaborative dialogue by live streaming sales gatherings. You can also engage employees in town hall meetings or other internal communications and allow team members to share ideas, concerns, and collaborate in real-time – no matter where they are located. Video on demand assets can also be used to extend reach or distributed to live attendees who might have missed a session.
Announcements or Product Launches
Whether your announcement is company-wide or to a small internal team, live streaming can be private and secure, or require passwords to enter the stream. Save time and money by live streaming important CEO announcements or launch a new product to various locations. Share behind the scenes of your brand, product demonstrations and live press interviews. Live streaming allows isolated teams to share information and work together like they are in the same room. Live video also allows brands and managers to engage with viewers and employees in a more relatable and authentic way.
Brands can live stream events from festivals to runway fashion shows to red carpet events. If you’re having a red carpet gathering, reception or after party, it’s important to make sure your digital audience gets to be a part of the action. Or if you’re a showing off a new design or launching a new product, live streaming your show is a terrific way to get desired audiences aware and excited about your brand. Will your event have behind-the-scenes action? Incorporating B-roll or green room interviews from backstage will increase visibility and engagement around your event. Don’t let the size of our venue restrict you from reaching a larger audience. Increase press around the event by allowing remote attendance from anywhere. In addition, increase value for sponsors by allowing online video sponsorships for longer lasting branding. You can also grow revenue by enabling pay-per-view for live or on-demand video.
Debates or Lectures
Live streaming your debate or lecture lets anyone join the discussion as it happens. This sets the stage for an online conversation, which can increase engagement around your event. Boost participation and membership with real time Q&A, commentary, polls and voting. Whether it’s scientists collaborating from remote research institutions via satellite or several speakers in different cities participating in a panel discussion, use live streaming and video conferencing to connect your participants. Use multi-location interaction to engage remote speakers, in-house attendees and online audiences around the world.
Seminars or Training
Educate remote team members by live streaming seminars and training classes. Develop employees while eliminating the challenges of being away from the office or having to rent a venue. Make your team more knowledgeable about products or services by conducting live demonstrations that allow for real-time interactions with participants and instructors. Stay in control of your content by having the option to track attendance or requiring passwords. Create content to re-purpose for future training initiatives, as a recruitment tool and/or marketing your business.
Sales or Customer Support
Use live video to answer customer or prospect questions or walk them through a demonstration. Interact with your clients face-to-face and allow them to avoid frustrating response waiting times. Show them the answer they are looking for, especially if products can be complicated, to increase user acceptance. Live streaming can also be useful for sales teams to effortlessly explain and address complex issues.
360° Live Streaming
360° video are recordings where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time. During playback your viewer has control of the viewing direction like a panorama. Whether you’re promoting a product demo, a virtual tour, or interactive on-stage action, 360° video allows your audience to fully engage with your content. Create content viewers can immerse themselves in!
ASK THE LIVE STREAMING EXPERT
We asked production head, Bob Appel, to answer some of the most commonly asked questions when companies are executing their first professionally live streamed event.
What are some common challenges you see customers have?
Bandwidth issues - the most common challenge presented is the venue not having enough bandwidth.
Having enough bandwidth is vital, and not accounting for enough can cause a live stream to fail. In addition, your internet must stable, ample and wired. Meaning it should be separate from any bandwidth onsite teams and attendees will be using. Bandwidth issues will affect quality of the live stream and could cause viewers to see a blank screen. Bob’s recommendation to avoid this is to be sure interface with your IT point of contact onsite to make sure internet is solid. He also recommends having redundancies and a backup for your internet.
Other challenges we see in the field are poor quality video. Not even the most skilled editor can correct footage from an out-of-focus camera or fix a poorly framed shot. Also, lack of postproduction once your event is over, the videography team will hand you a hard drive containing event footage. Who will edit the files and prepare them for play-back on the Internet? On what site? Inside what video player? Create and follow a beginning-to-end video production plan to save time and money.
What is the most important aspect to plan for a live event?
Distribution and promotion – writing down your goals and mapping out a distribution strategy that includes pre and post event planning. Bob points out that you cannot assume people will know where to watch or why they should watch your event without doing the work upfront to get people that information. Viewership is largely dependent on the marketing done ahead of time. Create promotional campaigns well ahead of event day and make it easy for people to get to your live stream the day of. Check out some tips to ensure your live stream event is a success here.
The most significant thing to plan for is failure! Be sure to work with a company that has a proven track record of experience and can fix issues on the fly. Ask for references and inquire about what how they have handled problems that arise in the field. Lastly, companies seem to struggle with working many teams for various parts of the live stream. For example, working with separate companies for production, live streaming management, marketing, and IT. It can be difficult get everyone on same page and integrating all the pieces to deliver the full vision. Consider working with a full services company that can take care of the all the elements and do the project managing for you.
What do you suggest to make live events more successful?
Engaging your online audience. Several components should be incorporated in the live stream to keep your viewers captivated. Such as live chats, Q&A, taking polls and creating event hashtags to keep conversation going on social. Starting on time and avoid awkward moments where nothing is happening on screen. Having slates or countdown clocks to inform those online when you are starting the next segment. Finally, a good description so people tuning in late can know what is going on. Most importantly, provide value to those tuning in online. Try to make something exclusive to the live stream such as behind the scenes access or having a celebrity interact with your live audience.
Watch the full video where Brightcove’s Senior Partner Manager and FORA.tv’s Director of Production, take you behind-the-scenes of what is required to run a successful live event. Or read more here about the #TakeItLive event.
EVENT PLANNING TIMELINE & BEST PRACTICES
BEFORE THE EVENT
As every event organizer knows, the key to a successful event is preparation: Identify key tasks, produce deliverables, and meet deadlines. The same is true when it comes to a successful live stream strategy. When preparing, put the same attentiveness into your live stream plan that you would put into an in-person event of its kind. If you are planning the in-person event as well, keep the two plans distinct as you’ll want to make sure you are creating an experience for your live stream viewers all its own.
3-4 MONTHS PRIOR:
Determine your goals for live video. Having your goals set first and foremost will help guide the coordination of everything else. (Some common goals are reach, revenue, engagement, loyalty, or awareness)
Determine your budget for the event. Talk to a pro about bundling services and to get a clearer picture of what you simply cannot costs on based on your goals.
Select vendors for execution of your strategy. Work with one service provider that does it all (like us!) or solicit bids as needed for video production, live streaming, audio, internet connection, post-production, site hosting, ad serving, reporting, ecommerce processing, customer service, marketing, sponsorship sales, etc.
Determine your target audience and create a marketing strategy that includes content to generate excitement and tactics to reach new audiences to view the live stream.
1-2 MONTHS PRIOR:
Create a landing page or website for your live streamed event. Create anticipation with pre-event content on the page and use an easy to remember URL if possible.
Create a content calendar to help you repurpose promotional content to push out through all your channels such as emails, blogs and social media.
Develop a distribution strategy and create all needed collateral such as lower thirds and advertisements. Check out more preparation best practices here from HubSpot.
Choose which platforms you will be live streaming to. Meet your audience where they already are by streaming to their preferred platform. Think about who you want to view the stream and the quality you need it to be. We recommend multi-channel live streaming to all your social platforms to take advantage of numerous benefits:
Promote and market your event. Use social media, paid ads, influencers and sponsors to promote your live stream event and location. Include “add to calendar” widgets and create events people can rsvp to and save to their calendars.
Coordinate all aspects of video production. This includes choosing correct cameras, a/v, lighting, and all other production pieces. Conduct site visits, obtain media releases or rights clearances to make sure you can use all your content and you won’t get taken down.
Coordinate all aspects of web development such as web designs, registration pages, lead gen forms, sponsor branding, and load testing.
We put together a helpful “live stream essentials” checklist that details all the fundamentals of prepping for a professional live stream you can download from this blog.
DURING THE EVENT
On the day of your event, the power of live video will become apparent. Audiences that far outnumber the capacity of your event space will flock to your live stream. You only have one opportunity to get it right, so don’t leave it to chance.
Live stream and videography: Coordinate and manage all videographers. Establish a stable, high-quality live stream that can be viewed by audiences around the world. Conduct testing, doublecheck your connections and make sure you have back-ups.
Set up social media monitoring: Assign a moderator to manage live chat, questions and twitter feeds. Ensure real-time posting of live stream highlights to social media platforms that redirect back to the live stream. Check out more best practices here from Facebook Live.
Engage with your viewers in real time and encourage attendees and speakers “to share” the event with their followers and friends. Have a two-way conversation with your viewers by answering questions and taking requests while live.
If you are looking for ways to increase your live stream event views, check out this blog that gives you 20 ways to grow your viewership and includes a helpful printable infographic.
AFTER THE EVENT
A well-planned event video strategy post-event is just as important as before and during. You will want to have a plan in place to follow-up with new leads and contacts from the event, leading viewers down a conversion funnel.
Follow-up and debrief: Thank your vendors, speakers, sponsors and staff. Survey for important insights and take a look at your analytics for continuous improvement.
Post-production of live video: editing of high-resolution files to include sound and color correction, adding sponsor or event branding slates, incorporating presentation materials, and replacement of live capture video programs.
Continue to promote and repurpose your video content. Create collateral using videos and images from the event to keep the momentum going and reach new audiences. Follow up with your attendees and send them information about upcoming events and other relevant content.
Always plan for pre, during and post event. Make sure you test everything and plan for mishaps. Whether you are professionally live streaming your event for business or need a tv broadcast quality live stream for a special event - you don’t have to do it on your own or deal with managing multiple vendors. We are for event organizers and marketers, who already have enough to worry about. Download our live streaming essentials checklist below to dig even deeper into what is involved in live event planning.
FORA.tv specializes in professional video production, multi-channel live streaming and social marketing campaigns. Our mission is to help you integrate all things video and our specialties are helping event organizers create, distribute and monetize video. We serve more than 500 organizations, ranging from Oracle to Capital One to Condé Nast. From single-camera shoots to full-scale conference video production, we have the industry expertise, knowledge and technology to manage it all. Founded in 2006, we’ve earned a sterling reputation for high-quality services, responsiveness and results. With offices in California and New York, we serve customers both nationally and internationally. For more information, please visit fora.tv/services. Contact us for a quote or inquiry.