Live streaming is all the hype these days. Businesses see benefits in live streaming because it’s the cheapest and easiest way to use video to approach a large group of viewers simultaneously. It’s definitely more engaging than an on-demand video and helps you connect with your audience in real-time.
Owing to its popularity with the youth, live streams and webcasts are an excellent way to demonstrate that you’re a modern organization that keeps up with the times.
Additionally, there is no denying the multitudes of benefits live streaming provides you. Especially in the present times, with the COVID-19 outbreak forcing people to work from home, webcasts and webinars are a particularly effective way to communicate with your employees.
In fact, you can take it a step further and engage with an external audience through webcasts. Apart from corporate communications, internal training and virtual town hall meetings, you can utilize webinars for external training, marketing and sales as well. And the list doesn’t end there.
Now would be an excellent time to jump onto the live streaming bandwagon. And don’t worry if you don’t have much experience with webcasts. It’s not as hard as it seems. If you follow the tips we have for you, you’ll not only know how to host an engaging webinar, but also you will see that there’s not that much to it. Here are a few tips to help you harness the true potential of webinars & webcasts to make them as engaging as possible.
1. “Script it” till you make it
Webcasts can be very tempting to just wing. But that is a skill that most people lack. It is much harder than you think, and it can be detrimental to the smooth flow of the stream. An unscripted webinar would be frequently interjected with ‘umms’ and ‘uhhs’ and other filler words, which are not only distracting but also off-putting. A script would also make sure that you stick to the topic at hand and don’t go off on a tangent. That’s a good way to lose some viewers.
2. Maintain eye contact with the camera lens
For webcasts of a one-to-many nature like a live training session, where you directly address your audience, it helps a great deal to maintain eye contact with the camera lens. If the viewers can believe that you are indeed talking to them, it can effectively build a personal relationship with them. They will feel more valued and give you value in return by engaging and providing their input.
3. Understand your audience and where they come from
Webinars host a large and, best-case scenario, a growing audience. It is essential for you to understand your target audience and where in the world they might be joining from to accommodate them comfortably. You must ensure that you have sufficient eCDN nodes activated in the right geographical locations to welcome new viewers. If more people start watching your webcast and you can’t accommodate them, that’ll overwhelm your servers and introduce issues like latency and buffering, which would ruin the experience for everyone. Worst case, you would lose more viewers than you gained but couldn’t accommodate. Therefore, it’s in your interest to plan ahead and make sure that your live stream is sufficiently scalable for your target audience, as well as unexpected viewers, before you start. Choosing one of the top webcast software is key to avoiding problems like these. Otherwise, it might leave a bad impression on your viewers, doing more harm than good.
4. Arrange backup equipment
It’s good sense to have some backup equipment, just in case something stops working. Let’s face it, technological equipment is only so reliable. Although you would probably not need an extra computer, encoder (if you’re using a hardware encoder) or a camera, you never know when you might need an additional microphone or a secondary internet connection. So, keep one spare, just in case.
5. Interact with the audience
By far, the biggest advantage of live video that makes it such an effective communication tool is that you can engage your audience in real-time interactions. It really helps when your audience can interact with you and amongst themselves through live chat to ask questions or share their opinions. Addressing their inputs in real-time makes the viewers feel like they are an integral part of the programming, motivating them to stick around and participate in (yes, participate in, not just watch) the next webinar you host.
6. Schedule the webinar in advance and build anticipation
If your webcast’s purpose is marketing or promotion, you might want to build a ‘hype’ around your webinar to attract as many viewers as possible. If the webinar is of a marketing nature, you would want to promote it to drive up engagement, just as you would promote a product or your website.
It is particularly useful when your webinar is on an interesting topic and gets a lot of attention. No one would really be excited about a webinar on corporate policies no matter how much you promote it. Understanding which webinars are worth promoting and which aren’t is just as important.
If you plan to broadcast a webinar within your organization, you should schedule it beforehand to make sure that all your employees lock it into their calendars. This ensures no one misses the stream.
7. Choose A Relevant and Interesting Topic
It is critical that you analyze the goal of your webcast and who exactly you are addressing. Choose an appropriate topic accordingly to ensure that the audience will be able to comprehend it and, above all else, will be motivated to listen to it.
8. Throw some personal stories and anecdotes into the mix
If you have some interesting stories to tell that are relevant to the topic, don’t be shy. Share! They may present a valuable learning opportunity or just liven up the mood and refresh the viewers’ engagement. There are no rules about how boring or uptight a webinar must be. Feel free to loosen up and share your stories.
Just make sure they’re interesting!
9. Have a little fun
Adding on to the last point, webinars don’t have to be all serious and dull. Typically, a webinar goes on for about half the length of an average feature film. It is imperative that you liven it up with a little fun, regardless of the topic. You have to understand that in the duration of your webinar, your audience could very well be watching something much more interesting and entertaining. So, make sure you give them a reason to stick around.
Also, don’t worry about mistakes. Because of their live nature, webinars are prone to a few errors here and there. It’s not a big deal. Just keep going and enjoy!
These are a few tips we have to offer to ensure a smooth and engaging live streaming experience for you and your audience.