Live Streaming Your Virtual Event: 9 Questions to Ask Before Committing

Blog, Virtual Events, Virtual Experiences

Live streaming video has exploded during these times much like it did in 2014 but what is it’s role in virtual events and how do we know when to use it versus pre-recorded video.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Live streaming took the world by storm in 2015, and I for one was a major fan! I helped deploy live streaming initiatives for companies like IBM, the Superbowl and SAP. For a while, live streaming was my go-to strategy.

In the video above Brian uses Prezi Video to go live on Facebook Live. Brian answers the 9 most popular questions being asked around live streaming video and its role in virtual events in 2020.

As conferences move from offline to online they are looking for ways to create true virtual experiences and Brian believes live video is essential. But you might be surprised by some of these answers as there are many use cases where Brian doesn’t believe live video should be utilized.

Looking to create a successful virtual experience beyond just live video read “How to create a successful virtual event in 2020!”

The top 9 questions I get asked about live streaming for virtual events:

  1. Should all virtual events be on live video?
  2. Why should we #PressTheDamnButton with live video?
  3. When should we not use live video?
  4. Which platform is best for live video?
  5. When should a virtual event include: live video vs produced vs pre-recorded?
  6. How do I combine produced video with live video to maintain audience attention?
  7. How can we use live video to promote a virtual event before and after?
  8. How do we get the audience to interact and ask questions during the live stream?
  9. What should we do to limit the risk involved with live streaming on the day of the event?

1. Should all virtual events be on live video?

No, the entire event should never be fully live video. But yes, all virtual events should include live video segments before, during and after the event!

2. Why should we #PressTheDamnButton with live video?

  • Live video is participatory content
  • It shrinks the distance between the event and audience
  • There’s no better way to build trust or convey authenticity
  • Empowers the audience to help shape the direction of content and feel a part of the event
Home Studio Online Summit Keynote Speaker

3. When should we NOT use live video?

  • Live video will never replace production video and the power of editing can transform an average presentation into a great one.
  • If there isn’t a plan for active engagement or the presenter won’t see or adapt to the live conversation, live only adds complications. All of the moving pieces aren’t worth it if you are not going to live to its greatest ability.
  • When you want to have a unified look or controlled audio and video settings, live is not the way to go.
  • If you need more than one take or you’re doing a demo or you’re going aspects beyond the presentation might malfunction.

4. Which platform is best for live video?

  • There’s no one platform that is better than any other.
  • You must first determine what success looks like for your live video. Ask, who you are trying to reach? What format & style do you plan on creating? (Interview or mobile or vertical)
  • Understand the benefits and risks of streaming to multiple platforms at once
  • Have a plan to manage comments, questions and the live audience on the channels you are streaming.

5. When should a virtual event include: Live Video vs produced vs pre-recorded

  • Live Video: Providing access and leveraging the participatory component of the video!
  • Produced: Telling a story that must go beyond the presenter’s words and slides through things like b-roll, sound effects and story format.
  • Pre-Recorded: When you want to control and manage the audio, video and length of the video while doing multiple takes. Also if you want to add closed captions and mitigate risks involved with live video.

6: How do I combine produced video with live video to maintain audience attention?

  • Manage expectations at the start
  • Be Transparent with what aspects of the virtual event will be recorded vs live
  • If the speaker will be doing Q&A after a produced video tease that before and during the produced video session
  • Leverage live video before a produced video to add context and take questions teasing what is to come in the produced video
  • Balance the desire to have evergreen videos with live to provide the FOMO and excitement available beyond the produced videos you can watch later!

7. How can we use live video to promote a virtual event before and after?

  • AMA
  • Launch party
  • Q&A  with speakers 
  • Behind the scenes planning
  • Giveaways and contests
  • Influencer collaborations
  • Preview of the day
  • Daily Recap
  • Key takeaways to create FOMO for those that didn’t attend
  • Updates and changes to schedule or expectations 
  • Speaker access
  • Episodic shows

8: How do we get the audience to interact and ask questions during the live stream?

  • Teach & provide examples
  • Reminders and recommendations 
  • Seeded questions to influencers and ambassadors
  • Giveaways 
  • On video acknowledgment 
  • Ask direct questions with multiple types of answers
  • Focus on open-ended & personal over choices or true & false 
  • Empathetic connections more WE than Me
  • Crowdsource ideas and direction of content
  • Celebrate those that do comment 

9. What should we do to limit the risk involved with live streaming on the day of the event?

  • Create backup plans but don’t plan to fail
  • Create swim lanes & live video expectations rather than rules
  • Create pre-recorded filler videos as a backup
  • Allow the host freedom to stretch things out with direct communication with the host
  • Test, Test and Test and know that something will go wrong
  • Bandwidth, lighting and audio will be top priorities create best practices 
  • Use kit or standard equipment to limit variables
  • Leverage remote producers beyond the live video talent
  • Teach presenter to roll with the punches rather than expecting it to go as tested
  • Tweak, Test, Tweak again, Repeat

As we continue to push the boundaries of what we can do with virtual experiences I’ve enjoyed testing new solutions for presenting and interacting with the audience.

As you see in this video I used PreziVideo which is a new tool that allows you to create a template for your video then either record it or live stream it to Zoom replacing stale slides.

I enjoy disrupting and testing new tools and as I do I will be sharing all of the insights, links and use cases on my Virtual Event Resources page.

Looking for more on live streaming and how it should be leveraged with virtual events? Watch this video!

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