Podcasts are a great marketing option to get you or your company’s name out there and establish a brand. Podcasts are convenient in that they offer the opportunity to record and then edit any mistakes or awkward parts before releasing the episode so it sounds perfect.
However, an audio podcast can sound robotic or non-genuine if it’s too perfect. A great way to prevent that is to set up a live video stream when you record – so that some natural human errors are left in. This gives the episode a much more conversational tone and allows you to develop a far deeper connection with your listeners.
If you’re looking into live streaming your podcasts, here are some tips and tricks to help you make it amazing.
1. MAKE THE TOPIC SOMETHING YOU LOVE
Identified a niche in the market to fill but don’t know much about it? It’s probably best to stay away unless you’re prepared to become an expert.
Obviously, it’s much easier to talk about a topic you’re passionate about. The words seem to roll off your tongue and it’ll come naturally. If you can fill 30-60 minutes talking about this subject without faltering or forcing it, it’ll come off sounding much better in a live stream. There may still be mistakes made, but recovery will be easier than with a topic you’re not 100% sure about. What’s more, is that your passion for the topic will be much better conveyed via live stream. People can see your expression and energy – and this can be infectious.
Before recording, make sure the topic something you can talk about for a long time. If you’re feeling indifferent about a topic, make connections to things you are passionate about. What made you start this podcast? How does it relate to something you love?
2. MAKE YOUR PODCAST/LIVESTREAM SITE ACCESSIBLE
This tip works best if your podcast has its own website, rather than if you’re live streaming on a platform like YouTube or Facebook. It’s important to make your live stream accessible and easy to use – which is easier to do on a dedicated site. Some audience members to take into consideration include:
- Mobile users
- Those who are not tech-savvy
- People with disabilities (hard-of-hearing and vision-impaired)
For mobile users, ensure that the site hosting your podcast/livestream does not require Flash or any mandatory downloads to stream the content. The site must be easy to use with no complicated or confusing navigations.
Your site should also take into consideration those with disabilities. Captions on a live stream, unfortunately, aren’t commonplace, but providing them on the video recording after the stream ends is a good idea. This allows people with hearing impairments to enjoy your video content. For those who are vision-impaired, make the audio as crisp and clear as possible by using a high-quality microphone.
There are likely already options in place for accessibility on third-party live streaming sites like YouTube. Some sites offer live captions, and others will automatically add captions while the video is processing post-stream. Some sites will automatically orient the video horizontally, but this may have to be specified with others. Take advantage of these options, and always consider your audience and how they watch and listen to your show.
3. CONSIDER PURCHASING HIGH-QUALITY EQUIPMENT
To garner a large fan base, high-quality microphones and video cameras are a must. The camera you use to record live streams needs to have a video setting that’s at least 1080p. It doesn’t need to specifically be a video camera – for example, it’s common to find DSLR photography cameras that can record in 1080p – but it must have a high-resolution to make your videos appear professional.
Most mobile phones nowadays come with at least 1080p video resolution as standard, and some newer phones have recording capabilities of up to 4K. However, it’s not recommended to use a cell phone for live streaming. When recording a live stream, a camera is constantly recording and sending data. The risks of push notifications making your phone vibrate, receiving a call, or running out of battery aren’t worth the convenience of using your phone. For high-quality live podcasting, purchase a dedicated video-capable camera.
Besides this, a podcast is primarily about audio. Make sure to purchase high-quality audio equipment to record with. A simple search for “podcasting microphones” can lead you to reviews of hundreds of different microphones at different price points. There’s no need to purchase the most expensive professional microphone out there: find one that produces the crispest sound while staying within a reasonable budget.
4. MAKE YOUR SHOW UNIQUE
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to know your niche in the market. There are thousands of podcast shows out there – so there must be something different about yours.
Maybe it’s an interview podcast with well-known guests within your industry. Maybe it’s a narrative podcast that tells a true story, interspersed with pre-existing interview content and news clips. In any case, the more unique your podcast, the more people are likely to tune in and listen.
With a unique show comes the potential to hold interesting video livestreams. Anyone can live stream themselves interviewing other people, but not everyone will do it in an unexpected location or while doing an activity – which is much more engaging than sitting in a room.
Similarly, anyone can retell a story, but not everyone does it while recreating the scenes, or bringing in people who were there for a video interview. Adding unexpected or fun elements to a podcast livestream is certain to grow your listener base. People are more likely to tune into a stream if it contains extras they can’t access just by listening.
5. PROMOTE AND STREAM ON DIFFERENT PLATFORMS
Promotion is key when it comes to podcasts and live streams – marketing is the best way for people to find your show.
Sure, the podcast can show up in a search engine or might get featured on the host platform’s homepage if you’re lucky. However, it’s much more likely that people will see your podcast/livestream if it’s advertised across social media. By making the video available on sites such as Facebook or YouTube, you’re more likely to get hits. And the more hits you get on social media, the more people your posts will reach.
Live streaming on different platforms was once a dream – but now is possible. Simulcasting is streaming to multiple channels from one platform. Reach far more people and grow your audience by diving into simulcasting.
6. CONSIDER A LIVE CHAT FEATURE
Make your podcast live stream interactive with a chat feature. This allows the audience to converse with each other and with the podcasting team in real-time, which can provide valuable opportunities for content during the stream. A live chat feature lets you engage with the audience and add a personal touch.
However, live chat features don’t always promote positive discussion. Consider having a moderator or “bot” in the chat to filter out harmful content. Third-party sites often have an automated bot that detects abusive language and immediately blocks it, but your own site may not come ready with this feature. If hosting a live stream with a chat feature on a dedicated website, consider getting a moderator or programming a bot to flag certain words and phrases before you start recording. This shields you and your audience from abuse and trolling.
7. EMPLOY EDITORS
If you’re a beginner in live streaming and podcasting – but have an idea for a show you’re confident enough to invest in – hire people who specialize in audio and video. It seems simple to film yourself while recording a podcast, but there are many technical considerations to make besides pressing record.
For example: using an equalizer, taking into account the acoustics of the room, how far to be from the microphone, bandwidth availability, mitigating any errors, polishing the audio recording for publishing, etc.
Hiring a sound engineer – or at least someone proficient in producing audio – ensures you won’t be worrying about how you sound or if the audio quality is any good.
Similarly, hiring a videographer reduces the need to focus on if you’re in-frame of the camera, or which camera you’re filming from if you have multiple. This takes the worry away from all the technicalities of the podcast/livestream, so you can focus on creating excellent content.
If you can’t hire dedicated technicians for your show, don’t worry. Familiarize yourself with all the equipment, watch YouTube tutorials, and give yourself enough time to prepare and set up before the show. Learning how to use the equipment yourself is important even if you have dedicated technicians, in case one day you find yourself needing to record in a pinch.
8. GIVE YOURSELF PLENTY OF PREPARATION TIME
Being prepared is crucial. It is embarrassing to get caught on a live stream or podcast fumbling over your words or awkwardly transitioning into the next segment. Give yourself enough time pre-stream to prepare, organize your content, and be mentally ready. Relax – and you’ll provide your audience with a great show.
In the beginning, it can help to list subjects or topics for the conversation to keep yourself on track. Minimize any distractions and be sure that your equipment works by testing it beforehand.
It’s also wise to budget extra time for configuring audio and video equipment. If you have a team on it, there’s not much to worry about. If you produce the whole show on your own, give yourself time to minimize background noise and test the acoustics. It’s a good idea to configure audio and video before starting the stream to minimize potential issues during the show.
9. BE CONSISTENT
Going live at a regular time builds your audience and helps them develop a level of trust. Inconsistent and irregular live streams are frustrating and confusing for the audience, and it’s unlikely that they will continue watching if the schedule is irregular. Humans are creatures of habit, and if they know your show is released each Tuesday evening, they’ll be there waiting for your upload. If you stick to your routine religiously, your audience will know they can rely on you and even come to look forward to your content.
If there are any scheduling issues that come up, be sure to let your audience know via a social media post that the show will be delayed or canceled so they don’t waste their time waiting for something to happen.
Bear in mind that consistency in your show’s broadcasting schedule also makes it much easier to promote. If you go live every Friday at 6 pm PST without fail, then you can advertise on social media rather than randomly uploading posts whenever you’re finished recording.
Running a podcast/livestream can definitely be stressful – so it’s important to relax! Stress comes across more dominantly in audio than in the video. You can put on a relaxed face, but your voice will sound strained no matter how hard you try to minimize it if you’re anxious.
Drink some tea, take some deep breaths, and relax. Don’t get hung up on stumbling over words during the show, and don’t get frustrated over mistakes. If you laugh, the audience will very likely laugh with you. Give yourself time to prepare before the show and everything will run smoothly.
Essentially, making your show look and sound as professional as possible is vital. By responding to live chats and comments, having moderators and editors, and recording with professional equipment, you’re showing your audience you believe in your show – and they’ll automatically believe in it more too.
Whether you’re a beginner just starting a live streaming/podcasting gig, or you’re a seasoned professional looking for some ways to improve your established show, implement some of these tips to take your brand above and beyond the stiff competition in the podcasting world.