There are good reasons for broadcasting live on YouTube as opposed to simply posting a pre-recorded video. Read on to find out more.

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The following excerpt is from Jason R. Rich’s book Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

One approach to sharing YouTube content with your audience is to stream live broadcasts. As the name implies, a live broadcast happens in real time — there’s no delay, editing, or redos, so anything you say or do on camera is transmitted via the internet and is seen by your audience as it happens.

Hosting a live broadcast has several potential advantages:

  • A live broadcast can be any length.
  • You can have real-time interaction with audience members.
  • There’s no post-production (editing) unless you opt to record the live broadcast and then edit it before you publish it on your YouTube channel for people to watch later on an on-demand basis.

More and more companies are utilizing live broadcasts to share special events, press conferences, seminars, live question-and-answer sessions or product launches, for example, with an audience.

Until relatively recently, hosting a live broadcast via the internet was a costly endeavor. Today, you need little more than a computer or mobile device that’s equipped with a camera and a high-speed internet connection.

Pre-broadcast considerations

Consider your live broadcasts to be like giving a live presentation or public speaking in front of a large group. Preparation is essential. Unless you’re skilled at using a teleprompter and reading a speech word for word in a manner that seems natural, develop an outline for what you want to cover during the broadcast, as well as a timeline.

At the beginning of your broadcast, be sure to explain:

  • What exactly will be covered. Set expectations, but make sure you can live up to them.
  • Why your audience should not miss the live broadcast. What’s in it for them? Focus on the benefits to your audience.
  • How long the broadcast is scheduled to last.
  • How your audience can interact during and after the broadcast.

Also plan to include a call to action several times during your live broadcast based on what you want your audience to do while either watching it or immediately after the broadcast. If you want them to place an order for your new product, give them an incentive to do this immediately (such as a discount and/or free shipping on orders placed within one hour of the broadcast).

Provide your audience with specific, yet easy to follow, directions on how to place their order. For example, state, “To receive a 20 percent discount on your order, within the next 60 minutes, be sure to call our toll-free number at (800) 555-5555, or visit our website at www.[YourCompanyName].com, and use promotion code: [insert code] at checkout.”

Consider live interaction with the audience

Depending on which service you’ll use to host your live broadcasts, there will likely be opportunities for your audience members to interact with the hosts. This might be via a live, text-based chat room that’s hosted in conjunction with the broadcast. In this case, the host can read questions or messages from audience members in real time, and respond to those questions or comments.

If interaction is being done using this method, consider assigning someone from your company who is off-camera to moderate the chat room, and select which questions or comments the host will address and in what order. When using YouTube Live, this person can also remove or flag comments, plus put users in a “time-out” or block them altogether from the broadcast. Having a separate moderator allows the host to focus on their broadcast, yet still include interaction from the audience without this process becoming a distraction or slowing down the flow.

Interacting live with your audience makes your viewers feel more involved, plus it gives them the opportunity to interact with your host(s) and get their questions answered or their concerns addressed in real time. Chances are, if one of your viewers has a question, at least a handful of other viewers will have that same question, and it might not be something you thought to address on your own.

Be prepared to answer questions and address concerns in the most accurate and concise way possible. Address the person asking each question by name, and thank them for their participation. Make each person feel like a valuable contributor to the broadcast, but be mindful that you have an entire audience watching, so don’t overly personalize your answers.

Promote your live broadcasts in advance

Even if your YouTube subscribers and viewers want you to host a live broadcast, it’s essential that you tell them about it well in advance. You’ll need to choose the most convenient date and time for your audience to participate, then start promoting the live broadcast at least a week or two in advance.

In addition to promoting the live broadcast within your YouTube videos and their respective descriptions, and in the About section and/or the channel artwork related to your YouTube channel, also rely on social media to help you get the word out about each live broadcast.

In a nutshell, share the following details when promoting a live broadcast:

  • What the broadcast is all about
  • Who should watch it
  • How each viewer will benefit by watching (i.e., why someone should watch it)
  • When the broadcast will take place (provide the date and time, as well as the time zone, since you may be appealing to a national or worldwide audience)
  • How someone can access the broadcast
  • How someone can submit their question if you’ll be soliciting questions in advance

Focus on who the broadcast will appeal to and what it will offer to attendees. Promote the benefits and incentives you’re offering to attendees and explain how someone can watch (and potentially participate) in a live broadcast.

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