Digital marketing is an essential tool for reaching people and building your brand, and digital content is a key component of digital marketing. To create content and/or help your customers, you can also use livestreaming. For this, you’ll need a streaming setup to create high-quality livestreams that attract views.
Why your business should be livestreaming
According to FindStack, 80% of livestream viewers prefer to watch a livestream rather than reading a company’s blog. Livestreaming is different from video content because, in livestreaming, videos are broadcast live over the internet. Your company can use livestreaming to speak directly to customers.
Livestreaming is becoming more popular with customers, and many of them are watching longer than before. Many consumers prefer video to other forms of content, and livestreaming lets you interact with these clients. It serves as another tool in a robust digital marketing toolkit, offering your company a way to engage with customers who don’t know you.
Many livestreaming platforms offer a chat or comment function, letting you monitor viewers’ reactions in real-time. You can answer questions as they come in rather than monitoring your social media feed and other avenues for relevant questions.
Your live webcasts present new ways for customers to engage with your brand, building your credibility and solidifying your brand image. If you think you might be ready to start livestreaming, you’ll need a few tools to help you.
What you need to start livestreaming
Before you consider your streaming setup, you’ll need an account with one or more popular streaming platforms. Some of these platforms are more user-friendly than others. A few examples of platforms you can use include:
Facebook Live and YouTube let you broadcast using your own webcam and microphone, which is preferable if you want to create webcasts that look professional with high-quality audio and video.
Instagram Live only lets users broadcast from its mobile app. If you choose to stream with Instagram Live, your video quality is limited to what you can shoot with your smartphone. While Instagram Live makes it easy for customers to interact with you, your videos won’t be as good as if you produce them with supplemental equipment.
Consider your goals for livestreaming before choosing your platform. You might be able to host your streams on a mobile-only platform. You might be interested in creating higher quality content or hosting a livestream with multiple guests. Look into each platform’s capabilities before you start livestreaming.
If you already operate Facebook and Instagram accounts for your business, you can easily livestream on your existing page.
Connect your tools
Before you go live, make sure your audio and video sources are set up and connected to your computer or smartphone.
Make sure your internet connection is stable
Don’t forget to check your internet connection before going live. A bad connection will cause your stream to freeze. It can also make your audio cut in and out. If your test reveals an unstable internet connection, try restarting your modem.
If your business plans on hosting regular webcasts, you should consider upgrading your internet speed to ensure a stable connection for each and every webcast.
Choose your destination
When you begin streaming, you will need to enter your streaming destination. Whether you’re hosting on Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook Live, Twitch, or another platform, set up the URL and make sure all your audio and video tools are connected.
Shoot a test video
Creating video content gives you the benefit of shooting retakes and editing your videos before you post them, but livestream videos are presented to the public in real-time. Before going live, shoot a test video so you can see how your streaming setup appears on camera.
Place your lights and your webcam exactly as they will be set up when you do your broadcast, and sit or stand in front of the camera.
When you’re done, watch your test video, and make note of all lighting, audio, and visual issues. You might find out that you’re sitting too close to a large window that offsets your lighting and blocks out your face. Or you could discover that your head disappears from the frame if you stand up.
Once you’ve noted all issues in your test video, correct them, and shoot a couple more. When you are confident about your setup, you are ready to go live. For the best quality, make a list of audio and visual tools that will enhance your livestream.
Audio equipment for your streaming setup
If you’re not sure whether your livestream will be ongoing, you can stick with the microphone on your computer or camera, but these tools can lead to low or medium-quality audio. For best results, buy a microphone as part of your streaming setup.
Imagine the sound quality on a podcast in which the host is recording on their phone in a large room. The sound often echoes, and it can be difficult to hear the story. These shows leave you adjusting your volume. On the other hand, when podcast hosts use external microphones, the sound is clearer, and the sound quality is consistent with each show.
There are many USB microphones available at prices ranging from as little as $30 to over $150. A USB microphone plugs into your computer, and many are made to filter out background noise.
Some of these microphones eliminate the need for an audio mixer, but you could still use one if your stream includes multiple sound elements.
While your USB microphone covers voice audio for general use, if you’re conducting a live interview, you might consider a lapel microphone. Available in USB or wireless models, these mics clip to your clothing, allowing you to be within range of the mic at all times.
As well as being good for interviews, lapel microphones are perfect for livestreamers who are moving around a location. If you’re doing a livestream tour of your facilities, walking through one of your onsite projects, or conducting a livestream meeting in which you need to move around, a lapel mic keeps your sound quality consistent. Just make sure it doesn’t scrape your clothing, which causes static.
An audio mixer lets you control the sound from multiple audio sources, which is important for your streaming setup. If your webcast consists of a simple Q&A or chat with your audience, an audio mixer isn’t really necessary. When you start adding multiple participants, background music, or other sound elements, an audio mixer lets you control them all.
Use a digital mixer as part of your streaming setup, and create sound profiles for each audio device. This way, you can adjust each audio component as needed. Perhaps your livestream includes two people, one of whom naturally talks louder than the other. A digital audio mixer lets you identify who is attached to each microphone, and you can adjust the input for better parity and improved audio quality.
Voicemeeter makes audio mixing software that is simple to install on your computer and makes it easy to create videos with good sound. If you’re new to mixing audio, use online software, and use the online training tools as a guide.
Your videos can be enhanced with music, but simply tapping into your favorite Spotify playlist can lead to an abundance of fines. Online platforms like Pretzel make it easy for you to find upbeat music for your videos without worrying about royalty fees.
Pretzel adds new music and artists all the time, and each track is safe for livestreaming. You don’t have to worry about an angry artist sending you a cease and desist or trying to collect money from your video. Pretzel is easily integrated with livestreaming platforms, so you don’t have to download MP3s and upload them into your feed.
Once you’ve taken care of your audio needs, focus on video tools.
Video equipment for your streaming setup
Quality video equipment lets you shoot more compelling videos that turn the focus to your content rather than your production quality. These tools include the following:
If you’re streaming directly from your computer, use a webcam to capture the video.
To start, your streaming setup might be limited to the webcam built into your computer or smartphone but, for higher quality, consider getting a webcam that is made specifically for livestreaming.
New webcams come equipped with lighting and built-in microphones. If you don’t have a USB microphone or a separate microphone, a webcam with a built-in mic can enhance your video’s sound quality.
Create videos that rival any television station’s with a high-quality wired or wireless camera. As livestreaming has become more popular, companies like Canon, Panasonic, and others have started making webcams, wireless cameras, and wired cameras designed to enhance livestreams.
Choose a handheld model if you’re shooting at multiple locations or need to walk around your location. A larger camcorder can be outfitted with accessories like attached lights and lens filters that improve your video quality.
When looking at video equipment, you should be certain to choose a model you can connect to your computer so that it will work with your livestream platform.
You’ve likely sat through multiple Zoom meetings in the past year, so you know the limitations of your computer’s camera and your in-office lighting. Adding an external lighting source improves your video quality.
Using a tool like a ring light with multiple ring options as part of your streaming setup softens harsh angles caused by bad lighting and helps you to look your best. Other lighting kits come with diffusing screens that keep your face lit without creating hard shadows.
If you don’t like the lighting in your test video, consider a reflective screen to use with or without a light diffuser. Shoot your test video with different lighting setups and accessories until you find the one that works best for your livestreams.
When you’re webcasting on location, consider a lighting attachment. There are many small ring lights and other portable light sources that attach to mobile phones, letting you achieve perfect lighting on the go.
Your streaming setup will include various types of software. We’ve covered audio software tools, including music streaming and audio mixers. For certain streaming platforms, you might need additional software to enhance your production quality.
Vimeo not only lets you host your livestream videos and events but also includes video production software. This means that you don’t have to use an encoder. An encoder is a tool that breaks your videos down into smaller pieces and compresses them. Without this tool, your videos would take a long time to load, and they would likely buffer multiple times.
Vimeo’s software eliminates the need for an encoder while providing HD quality and letting you share screens more easily.
If you’re not using Vimeo or a similar livestreaming platform with its own production software, you will need an encoder to speed up your livestream. Check with your livestreaming platform provider to see which software is compatible before you choose an encoder. Look for one in your price range that offers the features you need.
Wirecast Studio is compatible with a wide range of livestreaming platforms, and it’s easy to use. It lets you create high-quality videos that look professional yet load quickly.
Screen sharing software and splitters
One of the most popular ways in which livestreamers share screens is video game livestreaming. Although your company will not likely be broadcasting a livestream of the latest games, you might need to share a presentation or other visual aids.
Using a splitter or a similar tool lets you easily switch between your livestream and your computer screen without sacrificing video quality.
You might also add visual components to your livestreams, including animation or text. Broadcasting software, including Wirecast, often lets you add animations, captions, scoreboards, and other enhancements to your videos.
Broadcasting software also makes it easier to shift between multiple cameras, letting you interview remote guests with seamless cuts. Your viewers won’t be distracted by video delays. Instead, they can focus on your content.
Options for mobile streaming
Although mobile streaming can limit your video quality, it’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to host a livestream. To host a mobile stream, you can download your preferred app to your phone and use the platform itself to livestream.
If you want to create better quality mobile streams, consider using portable lighting sources and microphones that plug directly into your phone. Test your mobile streaming setup, and then begin livestreaming from your phone.
Instagram Live and Facebook Live make it easy to go live from your phone. You simply need to choose the “go live” option in your stories and start talking to your audience. Film with the front-facing camera to connect with your audience, or film your scene and narrate off-screen with the regular camera setting.
Apps like Larix Broadcaster and Wirecast Go bring the production studio to your phone. If you plan on using a phone or other mobile device to host livestreams, these apps let you create higher resolution videos without the audio and visual limitations of your mobile device.
Production quality can impact your viewers’ reception of your videos, so choose tools that enhance audio and visual quality.
What to stream
If video content is part of your digital marketing strategy, you may already have a marketing calendar filled with content ideas on your video marketing strategy. Complicated, complex ideas should be left to videos so that you can edit them and reshoot if needed.
Livestreams are best for connecting with your clients. You can use them to host live Q&A sessions or “Ask Me Anything” videos in which customers can come to you with questions not pertaining to your business. Ask me anything videos can be a fun way to showcase your personality.
Use your livestreams to host behind-the-scenes footage of your business and its operations. Take customers through your daily operations, or interview employees live on the air.
Your social media and other client interactions might showcase aspects of your product that customers find confusing. Create a livestream to display your product or create tips and how-tos that help your customers to get better use out of your product.
Generate buzz around your company by interviewing influencers in your industry live. Build interest by promoting the interview ahead of time and providing instructions on how to join the livestream.
Start your livestream today
Building off your social media presence and interacting with your customers through a livestream helps you build credibility, and it brings personality to your brand. And now you know about some of the tools and techniques you will need to connect with customers through your own webcasts. To get started, check out some of the most popular livestreaming platforms online, and pick one that best suits your needs to begin livestreaming today.