How to Live Stream Successfully: A Preparation Checklist for Marketers

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Amir Shahzeidi
Amir Shahzeidi



Raise your hand if you’d rather watch a video to learn something new than read about it.

on air sign during a live stream

Go ahead — you’re not alone. 59% of executives say they’d rather watch a video than read text, too. And really, that number makes sense — we are a society of video streamers. (I mean, hello, Netflix.)

But if you’re not sure how to run a live stream event on social media, fear not. We’re here to make sure you don’t just hit the “Live” button on Facebook and stare at the camera like a deer in headlights. Instead, we’ve come up with a comprehensive checklist to help you plan your first — or next — live stream.

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How to Live Stream Successfully 

1. First, Get Clear on Your Audience

There are several ways to figure out who your audience includes, and what they want. For the simplest and most direct path, consider using the jobs-to-be-done approach.

Popularized by Clay Christensen, Karen Dillon, Taddy Hall, and David Duncan in Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer, it’s based on the idea that customers don’t buy products — they buy completed jobs that products help bring about.

For example, if you need to hang a picture on a wall, you could buy a hammer, hand-held drill, or use a brick to do the job.

Either tool could help you get a nail into the wall, but a hand-held drill will be the easiest, quickest, and most effective way to get the job done. And once done, there’s a greater probability that the nail or screw will stay in place forever.

The jobs-to-be-done approach also challenges you to zero in on what your audience really wants by focusing on what problems they are trying to solve.

Think about the kind of information you can present to them in a live stream to address those problems. Once you have a list, stress test or validate each job-to-be-done with these questions:

  • Is this job critical to my audience living out an improved experience (e.g., hanging a picture on a wall)?
  • If I presented a live stream with helpful information on solving this problem, would it move my audience one step closer to solving the problem?

Answering “yes” to these questions mean that you’re good to develop what will be an impactful live stream.

In this example, a live stream about the importance of using the right tools would make sense. It should address how using the wrong nails can damage a wall, create more work than necessary, take more time, and cost homeowners more money than it should.

Note: A critical job can be based on a secondary job-to-be-done. Looking at our primary job, the need to hang a picture on a wall, your audience will need to know how to pick the right kind of nail or screw for the job.

2. Focus on One Big Idea

The most impactful live streams are built around one big idea. A single idea is easier to relate to because it serves as a theme with which your audience can associate. As you consider what yours will be, make sure it stays within the scope of the topic.

Make it as narrow as possible. Narrowing your focus showcases thought leadership, expertise, and real value — qualities your audience will appreciate.

Choose a Type of Live Stream

There are different types of live streams for different brand goals. Here’s a breakdown of seven, each with examples:

1. Launch a Product

Use your live stream as an opportunity to get in front of a captive audience and show them what makes your product worth the investment. Dormakaba’s Switch Tech live stream shows just how comprehensive a product launch can be.

Switch Tech is a new access system that uses Bluetooth technology to eliminate the need for physical keys. Their stream dives into the history of the product and includes an insightful product demo.

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2. Review a Product

Share a review of a product and highlight the pros and cons of investing in it. Joseph “PhotoJoseph” Linaschke delivered a comprehensive review of the new Mevo Event Camera.

He covers everything from audio accessories to how easy it is to connect the camera to a tripod — the perfect balance of depth and insight for camera enthusiasts.

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3. Host a Q&A Sessions

Host a Q&A session about a topic that your audience is interested in. Aaron Parecki hosted a live Q&A and demo of the YoloBox Ultra, an all-in-one smart live streaming encoder and monitor. He goes into detail about functionality, answers viewer questions, and demos the product, too.

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4. Educate Your Audience on Trends

Live stream a trends update, showcasing what’s happening in your industry, and share your thoughts. Neil Patel is likely one of the most prominent voices in the digital marketing sphere. He’s well-known for sharing tips and insights on digital marketing. He also hosts live events, like The Future of Marketing, where he explores which trends are developing and why.

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5. Share Brand Updates

Give your audience an update on developments around your brand and product. During OpenAI’s update on ChatGPT, Sam Altman shared advancements in ChatGPT’s capabilities, diving into why they were introduced and how they work and benefit users.

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6. Share Tutorials

Run your audience through steps on how to perform a specific task or achieve a goal. ThinkMedia’s tutorial is a deep dive with practical steps to help YouTubers net their first 1,000 subscribers.

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7. Host Live Competitions or Quizzes

Live streams don’t always have to be about sales and product. Instead, they can be opportunities to connect with your audience. Doggo Live hosts Kahoot-based trivia quizzes that audience members can participate in live.

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Create a Storyboard

Creating a storyboard for a live stream involves planning and visualizing the sequence of events, scenes, or main points you want to cover. Here's how to create one:

1. Choose a Format

Decide whether you want to create your storyboard online using tools like Canva or Creately or opt for a traditional paper format. Online tools offer templates and easy editing features, but remember that your storyboard doesn’t have to be fancy; it just needs to cover what will happen during your live stream.

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2. Create Frames

Draw or use placeholders to visualize each scene or segment of your livestream. This doesn‘t have to be artistic but should give a clear idea of each part of the stream’s layout and main focus points.

3. Script and Scenes

If you have a script or key talking points, add them to your storyboard for each frame. This helps align the visuals with your live stream content.

4. Include Engagement Cues

As manufactured as this may sound, planning engagement cues is not only smart, it’s important. Audience engagement makes your viewers feel involved, like a part of the experience, and not just there to see what you have to say. And with more engagement, there’s a better chance of developing a strong degree of brand affinity. You could pull more people into your community for a positive impact on your business.

Engagement cues are best delivered as questions or statements. At specific points in your stream, pause to ask your viewers questions. But don’t ask just any question or make any statement; focus on closed questions and statements that elicit one-word answers. This hack keeps viewers engaged and helps you maintain the momentum of your event.

Examples of closed questions and statements include:

  • “If you agree, type a Y in the chat box”
  • “From one to 10, one being poor and 10 being great, how well do you think you did on [insert anything here]”?
  • “Choose an answer from the following: A, B, or C”

5. List Shots and Angles

Plan and list all the shots and camera angles you intend to use. This is particularly important for multi-camera setups to ensure a smooth transition between different views. Most live streams focus on a single angle, but you can include multiple if you have the equipment to make that happen.

6. Add Camera Movements and Transitions

Note any specific camera movements or transitions between scenes to ensure a dynamic and engaging live stream.

7. Review and Revise

Once your storyboard is drafted, review it for flow and coherence. Make sure it aligns with your goals and effectively conveys your message.

Pick Your Platform

Where should you livestream your event? Good question. There's a long list of platforms you could choose, however, it’s all about finding one that’s right for your brand and your goals.

1. Uscreen: Best for Launching Your Own Live Streams

Uscreen is a membership platform built to give video creators control over their content. Its creator-focused features let you set your own prices, offer promotions, and package your content in ways that best suit your audience. You also get complete access to your audience, with the ability to collect email subscribers, and more.

Key Features:

  • Native live streaming to any device across web, mobile, or OTT in full HD
  • Fully branded, immersive viewing experience
  • Easy to sell subscriptions and memberships
  • Low latency, high-quality streaming across social channels
  • A pre-registration page to make registration simple for viewers
  • Live chat to interact with your audience during a stream
  • Live event donations to collect donations from viewers during a stream
  • Image showing the Live Events tab in the Uscreen dashboard
  • Built-in native payment facilities to accept membership and one-time payments
  • Complete access to video performance
  • Access to audience information for continued direct marketing opportunities

Pricing: $499/month for Pro

2. YouTube: Best for Social Media Influencers, Brands, and Mass Appeal

YouTube has over 2.7 billion monthly active users, making it the largest video streaming platform today. It’s filled with content from almost every niche, making it one of the most popular live streaming platforms.

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While YouTube pulls a large crowd, there are some compromises for using it as your primary video and live streaming platform. For starters, it’s a highly competitive ecosystem driven by algorithm updates. What works today may not help you get views tomorrow.

It offers limited monetization and branding options and is known for enforcing content restrictions.You’ll be able to see stats on videos, however, you don't get access to information about who has subscribed to your channel, watched your videos, or how to reach them via email for post event engagement.

Key Features:

  • Wide audience reach
  • Super Chat and Super Stickers
  • Access to Creator Studio to manage video content
  • Integrates with Google services like Google AdSense and Google Analytics
  • DVR functionality
  • Automatic recording
  • Stream scheduling
  • Copyright infringement protection
  • Integration with Google Ecosystem
  • Image showing a YouTube live stream

Pricing: Free

3. Instagram: Best for Social Influencers and Brands

As the world's foremost photo-based social app, Instagram’s perfect as a quick, low-commitment live steaming option. Using just your mobile device, you can go live in seconds and engage with your viewers. As a platform, Instagram caters to influencers and brands, making it possible to share static and video content with ease.

Image Source: Oprah and Jaime Oliver

Because Instagram requires low-commitment, it also offers limited functionality. You get stats on content performance and follow counts and demographics, however, not direct access to viewer contact information like an email address for post event engagement.

Key Features:

  • Easily broadcast from your mobile device
  • Save live stream and share them in your feed or as highlights
  • Enable live polls and Q&A session
  • Instagram badge allow you to monetize your live stream
  • Enable third-party moderation
  • Chat with viewers and use emojis

Pricing: Free

Other Tips for Successfully Live Streaming

1. Ready Your Equipment

As equipment goes, you can go barebones or advanced. Here’s a look at what each set up includes.

A Basic Set Up

  • An Internet Connection: A stable and fast internet connection is crucial to prevent buffering and ensure high-quality streaming.
  • Video Cameras: Essential for capturing high-quality video. Options range from webcams for beginners to professional-grade cameras for higher-quality streams. Consider the camera's resolution, frame rate, and low-light performance.
  • Microphones: Crucial for clear audio. Choices include lavalier mics for portability, shotgun mics for directional audio, and studio mics for professional-quality sound. If you plan to stream from your smartphone, it can take care of both video and audio, however, you can still use a lavalier microphone for improved audio quality.
  • Lighting: Proper lighting is key to ensuring good video quality. LED panels or ring lights are popular choices for even and flattering lighting.
  • Tripods/Stabilizers: For steady shots, especially important if using a handheld camera.

An Advanced Set Up

In addition to a camera, microphone and lighting, advanced sets can include the following:

  • Mixing Equipment: Audio mixers or soundboards allow for controlling and mixing audio inputs, essential for streams with multiple audio sources.
  • Video Switcher: If using multiple cameras, a video switcher lets you switch between different video sources live, adding dynamism to your stream.
  • Encoders: These convert your video to a digital format to be streamed online. Hardware encoders offer more reliability and quality, while software encoders are more flexible and budget-friendly.
  • Streaming Software: Software like OBS Studio or Wirecast is used to manage the live stream's visual layout, transitions, and to broadcast to the streaming platform.
  • Tripods/Stabilizers: For steady shots, especially important if using a handheld camera.
  • Accessories: Includes cables, memory cards, and batteries. Ensure you have all necessary accessories for your equipment to function smoothly.

Next, add Source to Your Scenes. Sources include images, text, video, your webcam, game play, and your desktop. Select your camera and click on the OK button.

2. Design Your Set

An aesthetically pleasing background helps set the scene for your audience. And to create the perfect environment for your event, here are tips on how to handle equipment and your space.

Find a Quiet and Distraction-Free Space

Distractions shouldn’t be a factor when you’re live. Find a space where the likelihood of a noise or a sudden interruption is close to zero. Distractions can sway the attention of your audience, something that can hurt your message and ultimately lead to less impact that you set out to have.

Make It Clean and Tidy

Distractions aren’t limited to sound, they can be visual too. Make sure your space is clean and ordered. Being surrounded by lots of stuff presents your audience with many elements to focus on. And according to the practice of Feng Shui, it can signal that your mind is cluttered and ‘not in control’ -- both of which are not positive representations you want an audience to experience.

If you’re shooting in a space where you can’t lessen the number of background elements, create structure. Order items, creating straight lines with books on shelves, and create clear spaces on tables and other platforms where possible.

3. Promote Your Live Stream

Congratulations! You’ve now completed a lot of the major planning and setup for your live stream. Now, how do you get people to watch it?

Using a landing page is a good way to get enrollment on an upcoming live stream. 

Once someone fills out the form on your landing page, it should lead them to a thank-you page, where you can share some promotional information about the live stream.

HubSpot’s Co-Marketing Demand Generation Manager, Christine White, suggests creating a “Next Steps” section here with actionable items like "add this event to your calendar” and "check back here on [the date of your event]” to remind viewers that’s where they’ll go to view the live stream.

And once you have contact information for your registrants, Conley reminds us, “you can email the people on that list on the day of, and remind them when it’s going to go live.”

Don’t rule out using social media to promote live streams on other platforms, too. Some of them, like YouTube, allow you to link your social accounts and push content in multiple places. And if your guests are active on social media, leverage that by including links to their handles in any related content, and ask them to promote the event with their own networks.

4. Do A Dry Run

In the world of live streaming, we do dry runs to avoid technical missteps. Improv can be hilarious, but not when it means you’re verbally unprepared or your equipment stops working and you don’t have a backup plan.

5. Prep Any Guest Speakers

Is there anything worse than a moment of awkward, dumbfounded silence?

As part of your dry run, make sure your guests are prepared for any questions they might be asked. Don’t over-rehearse, but do what you can to prevent catching them off-guard.

6. Test Your Audio and Internet Connection

You might want people to talk about your live stream, but not if all they’re going to say is, “We can’t hear you.” Make sure all of your audio equipment is working both during your dry run and on the day of the stream. Having an extra microphone and batteries on hand probably won’t hurt, either.

Make sure your network can handle a live stream, too. If you’re streaming high-quality video, for example, you'll want to test your WiFi connection ahead of time. 

7. Set Up Social Media Monitoring

If you’ve watched any Facebook Live feed, you've seen that the comments roll in fast. So while it’s awesome to invite and answer viewer questions, it can be overwhelming, especially if you personalize your responses.

That’s why it’s a great idea to dedicate someone to monitoring social media, comments, and questions during the live feed.

That task can be made a bit easier with something like a branded hashtag created specifically for this live stream. For platforms with built-in comment feeds, for example, you can ask your viewers to preface any questions with it — that can help qualify what needs to be answered.

You could even take that a step further and use the hashtag throughout the planning process, making sure to include it on your landing page, thank-you page, and promotional messages leading up to the event. That helps to create buzz around the live stream. And if you use HubSpot's Social Inbox, here’s a great place to take advantage of its monitoring feature, which lets you prioritize and reply to social messages based on things like keywords or hashtags.

Keep Streaming

Embracing live streaming as a key component of your digital strategy can unlock tremendous opportunities for engagement and growth. Regular practice and thorough planning are not just recommended but essential, guaranteeing continuous improvements in both delivery and overall success.

As you embark on or continue your live streaming journey, remember to always place your audience at the center of every decision. Understand their needs, preferences, and the unique value you can provide. By doing so, you not only foster a stronger connection with your viewers but also elevate the impact of your live streams, making them an indispensable tool in your arsenal for effective communication and marketing, and brand growth.

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Topics: Live Streaming

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