Partner Velocity has been keeping me busy! In the midst of attending sessions, interviewing speakers, capturing video clips, and catching a few quick bites, I managed to carve out some time to host my own session, “Leveraging the Power of Video with Live Streaming.” During my talk, which was also broadcast live over Ustream, I discussed and demonstrated how to setup your own live Ustream session from start to finish.
Didn’t get a chance to watch the broadcast? Here’s a replay:
And here’s a recap of what I discussed.
I started my talk by showing a few examples of different takes on live streaming video (such as a Victoria’s Secret fashion show, or World Cup Soccer games.) So why is streaming video so vital right now? Live streaming video use jumped 600 percent last year. 1.5 billion minutes of live video was streamed last year, as well.
As for the benefits for your marketing efforts, live video creates a captive audience, it builds your brand, it’s immediate, and interactive. Among the sites available: Justin.tv, Livestream, Ustream, Show and Share, and a pilot version of YouTube.
For the purposes of today’s session, I chose Ustream, the site that we use at Cisco Channels. Ustream is like YouTube, mixed with a live broadcast, with social media added in. Viewers can engage via Twitter or Facebook, and the audience is anyone with a computer and a high-speed Internet connection. Ustream is free, with the caveat that ads are served during the broadcast. If you pay for a subscription, the ads will not be displayed.
I used our Ustream sessions from Partner Summit as an example of how we at Cisco Channels have leveraged Ustream’s power: Attendees and viewers could engage with everyone from Cisco CEO John Chambers to CTO Padmasree Warrior. So what can you do with a broadcast? You can host a press conference, or you can broadcast from a conference. You can also do how to’s, demonstrations, expert chats, and executive chats.
I then offered a tour of the Ustream page. The main window on the page shows either your live broadcast, or a replay of your last broadcast. The social stream sits on the right side of the page: This is where real-time Twitter and Facebook updates appear. If you create a hastag unique to your broadcast, then anytime anyone tweets with that hashtag a link back to your Ustream page, they are growing the potential audience for your broadcast. Ustream also has chat functionality.
Embed code lies below the fold. This capability makes your broadcast completely portable—you can plug the code into your website, so viewers can watch there, as well. You can embed the live video, chat, or social stream, or all three, if you’d like.
An archive of past broadcast sits below the embed code. Every time you run a broadcast, you get a video on demand. Visitors can come and watch any of your previous live broadcasts. Below these replays is the calendar: You can create an invitation for people to come to your broadcast, enabling them to RSVP.
Once you’ve created an account, you have access to a dashboard, which lets you set your preferences, create a profile, and so on. You can also create individual shows. We just have Channels Chat, but if you cover a variety of different topics on a regular basis, then you can create different shows to address those different topics.
When you’re broadcasting, you should use Producer software. (I don’t recommend using the “Broadcast Now” button on the Ustream site. ) Producer software, a free download, supports only one camera, lets you input movies, and allows picture-in- picture. If you want more advanced features, I recommend investing in ProducerPro, which allows unlimited cameras, broadcasts in HD, has a mobile application, and allows you to use graphics.
Here are my recommended eight steps for running a successful broadcast:
Create Good Content: Good content is the cornerstone to creating your broadcast. Why are you broadcasting? What does your audience want to hear? What are your customers’ pain points? How can you engage?
Prepare a Script: You don’t want a script to be verbatim, but instead can just jot down the basic points that you’ll cover. Create a basic outline of what everyone will be saying. In my scripts, I welcome the audience and engage early by asking a question. I then introduce the speaker in a short interview and discuss the topic at hand. At the end, remember to leave enough time for a question and answer session.
Get the Right Equipment: The basic equipment I like to use for my broadcasts are an HD camera with Firewire, a tripod, fast internet connection (use a hardwired Ethernet instead of wireless if possible), laptop with Firewire, and a quiet room with good lighting (preferably not fluorescent lighting). Added bonus items that you can purchase are lapel microphones and professional lighting, if you can afford it. Remember to test everything beforehand and troubleshoot. The best advice I can give you is don’t panic if things aren’t running smoothly.
Promote It: To promote, I usually create a blog post with basic information about the broadcast. I also like to film a video commercial with the speaker-usually about a 30 second elevator pitch with what he/she is going to talk about. I’ll start promoting about 2 weeks before the broadcast via Twitter, and I also have followers who will re-tweet to help to amplify the broadcast. It’s always smart to tweet out again right before the broadcast. Another way I promote is creating events in Facebook. There is also an option to embed the Ustream session on Facebook if you’d like.
Engage Early: Promoting and engaging go hand-in-hand. I find that asking questions is the best way to engage with your audience, both when promoting the broadcast (blogs, Twitter, Facebook), as well as at the beginning of the broadcast.
Build a Staff: I recommend having a few people to assist during the broadcast. If you are talking about a controversial topic, it is smart to have a PR person available to prepare your guest for any tough questions. You’ll also want to prepare the host and the talent by having prep calls and holding a dry run so everyone knows and is prepared for their role.
Give Good Video: Remember the basic tenets of good video, such as having an aesthetically pleasing backdrop/background, good lighting, limited background noise, limited panning (zooming in and out), and good placement of the host and guest (they should face slightly toward each other). I try to keep a broadcast to thirty minutes, because people tend to zone out if it’s any longer. Keep the tone casual (don’t read directly from a script), have good posture (I know I sound like your mom!), and speak clearly and slowly.
Create a Recap: Ustream will have a Video on Demand (VoD) pretty quickly once the broadcast is over. You can then take the video, embed it on your blog, and write up a quick recap of the broadcast. If you were asked a lot of questions via the feed but didn’t have time to answer them during the broadcast, take the time to answer them in the recap.
Questions from the Audience:
Can you use Flip video cameras to broadcast on Ustream?
No you cannot, because Flips do not have a firewire which is needed to run a live Ustream broadcast.
Can you use video conferencing if your guest can’t be onsite?
It’s best to have both the host and talent on site, but if it’s not possible, you can utilize the picture-in-picture feature. You could also use TelePresence as a way to interview a guest that is not onsite.
I am terrified of hosting a Ustream broadcast. What are some ways to calm my nerves?
My best piece of advice is practice: Know your content really well so you’re comfortable talking about it on camera. You can also keep a cheat sheet with bullet points in front of you.
How should I handle a curve ball question during the broadcast?
You can prepare for the tough questions beforehand, and just do your best to answer them diplomatically. Since you have a computer in front of you, you can also have a PR person on-hand who can Instant Message you with answers.
How can I respond to negative questions or comments during the broadcast?
Again, handle them head on and diplomatically, and do your best to be gracious to the person asking the question. Since social media is public, you do not want to engage in a fight…I always say “kill ‘em with kindness.”
What are your thoughts on having more than one guest?
I like to keep it to one guest, because multitasking (asking questions, monitoring the twitter feed, etc) can get tricky with more than one guest.
Will Producer work without Ethernet?
It can, but I do not recommend it. Wi-Fi does work, but it’s risky since it can cut out at any time. If Ethernet is available, always opt for that over wireless.
Lights are not in my budget-have any lighting tips?
Use natural light to your advantage-don’t put the guests in front of a window, but instead position them so light is shining directly on them. You can also use lights from around your house/office and point them directly at the people on camera.
I know there is a free version of Producer, but is it worth upgrading to ProducerPro?
It depends on how fancy you want to get with your broadcast-if you want to use graphics, multiple cameras, and have the ability to broadcast in HD, then go for the upgrade.
You mentioned Q&A-how much time should I leave for this?
For a thirty minute broadcast, I usually leave about ten minutes for questions. If you get a lot of questions, you can extend the broadcast a little longer to fit them in. Remember to answer all of the questions you couldn’t get to in your recap.
With my presentation finished, it’s time for me to head back on out and capture more Partner Velocity interviews and tips and tricks for you. Keep checking back here on the blog for the latest news and information on Partner Velocity, and also, follow the #partnervelocity hashtag on Twitter to get the latest up-to-the-minute updates.