Livestreaming is this year’s hottest trend to connect brands and customers. Conference organizers livestream as a way to share selected sessions, Google Hangouts provide a built-in audience for product demos, and Facebook Live has propelled everyday people to instant fame. For many entrepreneurs and marketing professionals looking to keep up with emerging tools, the next logical step will take them back to a familiar platform: YouTube.
YouTube is the granddaddy of all video-sharing sites. It claims more than 1 billion users — roughly one out of every three people logging on the internet. And the subject matter is endless. Users upload millions of hours of videos, with content ranging from home movies to commercially produced indie films.
Despite all this, YouTube Live remains a surprisingly underused broadcast channel. That’s a shame, because YT Live offers the promise of driving more people to your YouTube channel. In turn, this builds your brand and inspires viewers to act upon the information you share there. You can tap into this incredible marketing potential by seeking YT Live approval for your YouTube channel or partnering with a preapproved user.
Before you launch an effort to amplify your reach with YT Live, take a moment to ensure your YouTube channel is spruced up. Review your channel header and revise it as needed. Check, update or complete your profile.
Think of your YouTube channel as your house and the upcoming live event as a party you’re going to throw for friends you want to impress. Well before you greeted the first arrival at your door, you’d make certain your home was clean and stocked with everything your guests might need. Your YouTube channel is no different. It should be sparkling and ready to welcome returning and new viewers alike. Here are 20 ways to make them feel at home.
Get ready for company.
- Create a teaser video. Upload a teaser video to your YouTube channel days or weeks prior to your live event. It should function as a short “commercial” for your event, leveraging your existing subscribers and promoting upcoming features. Be sure to include more information about the substance you’ll cover during the live event as well as the nuts and bolts: date, time and any other details people will need to tune in. Encourage people to share the teaser via social media.
- Reveal the teaser gradually. Teasers are great. Extending them to reveal bits and pieces over time is even better. Two or three weeks is a solid lead-up phase to build interest.
- Optimize for SEO. Your YT Live channel should be optimized for search engines. A few days ahead of the event, add keywords and keyword phrases to your channel’s setup. This affords time for search engines to index your event while keeping your key terms highly current.
- Share the streaming link early. People often make the big mistake of waiting until just before the event to share the streaming link. Releasing it 24 to 48 hours in advance will generate interest and help serve as a reminder.
- Publish the teaser as an add-on. Add the teaser or a short excerpt from a previous event to existing videos on your YouTube channel. This notifies even casual watchers of your upcoming livestream event.
- Create a custom announcement. Use your social-media platforms to share a custom post about your live event. Automate this task with the social scheduler of your choice so you can set up the notice to go live and announce the event’s unveiling as your broadcast begins.
- Embed the link. Using YouTube’s embed tool, embed the link on your blog. Encourage other bloggers to share the embed link.
- Send personal emails. Reach out to bloggers from your own email account. Invite them to participate, cover the event or share the embed link. Remember to follow up with a thank-you note for any positive response you receive.
- Get a little help from friends. Enlist friends and family to spread the news about your live event on their social-media pages, too. Make it easier on them by ghostwriting a selection of prewritten teasers, including links.
- Create highlight clips. While your event is live, create highlight clips you can use to promote future YT Live events.
- Offer an incentive. A free downloadable e-book or another type of lead-generation magnet can entice prospective viewers to tune in live.
- Add live “office hours.” Set aside time for live Q&A as a protected block of your productive work schedule. You can promote these as full-fledged live events or standalone bonus content, separate from the programmed events themselves. This format invites participation and helps viewers learn more about you, your company and why you do what you do.
- Create cool thumbnails. Upload an intriguing, funny or eye-catching thumbnail to grab attention and generate clicks. Make sure your promotional images will stand out visually when they’re shrunk in size.
- Set up a special subscriber list. Promote this insider list almost as if it’s an event in its own right. Talk it up during your live event, across your YouTube channel, on your website, via social media and in personal email messages. Invite people to subscribe so they won’t miss any notifications of upcoming events that might be highly relevant to their needs. Compile a list-within-a-list of people who are interested only in live events and send them a notification before your next livestream.
Be a thoughtful host.
- Consider time zones. Whenever you promote your event, tag it with a common time zone designator. You want to assure that anyone, anywhere, will know exactly when you’re going live. Make sure that time-zone changes won’t throw off audience members, especially if you tend to attract many viewers beyond your home zone.
- Partner with others. Partnering with an individual or company that already has an established audience can be a great way to quickly build your viewership. Potential partners should be closely related to your brand so you can benefit from cross-audience interest. As you’d do for any venture that associates your company name and brand reputation with another, perform a bit of due diligence to assure alignment of values and business practices.
- Build a pre-event landing page. Create a static page on your website or blog that’s reserved only for this event. Include a subscription box so visitors can subscribe to your list for updates. Add your lead magnet to boost response rates.
- Promise (and deliver) a big reveal. Let your prospective audience members know you’ll reveal some special secret, useful information or material that is exclusive to the live event. Plan in advance what you’ll offer as the payoff for this build-up. Promote the promise like crazy in all your pre-event publicity. A word of caution: Make sure the reveal adds real value for your audience and is right-sized for the amount of hype you’ve whipped up beforehand. Otherwise, you risk disappointing viewers and turning them off from future events.
Follow up with guests.
- Create a live series. Don’t make your live event a one-off. Use your first YouTube Live event to build a video, event or “to-be-continued” series. Each subsequent video continues the conversation and grows your audience as more people tune in.
Be consistent. Your live-event series will thrive on consistency. Hold your events the same day of the week and time of the day. This makes it easy for people to anticipate an ongoing connection and plan around your upcoming YT Live events. Even if they don’t know precisely what you’ll be covering two months from now, they can reserve time in their schedule for must-see livestreaming.