Building new audiences with online events starts with a few key strategies.
Livestreaming lets you engage with fans in new ways, increase familiarity with your brand, and reach previously unattainable — and potentially massive — new audiences around the globe.
But as familiarity with streaming events has grown, so has your audiences' expectations about content quality, interactivity, and accessibility.
Here's a few of the pitfalls associated with producing a streaming event — and how to avoid them:
Whether you’re setting up an intimate singer-songwriter showcase, a regional theatre production, or the next BTS global livestream, you should always make sure to allow enough time between getting an event up online and the actual stream to adequately market it.
Try to start promoting the event via your email list, your website, and across your social media channels approximately six to eight weeks before the event’s start date. And as you approach the event, the frequency of your communications should increase — from once or twice weekly to daily leading up to the event.
It’s important that the content you provide is tailored to each of your marketing channels and their unique audiences. An in-depth overview of the plot of a new drama may be a great fit for an email with your most engaged fans, but a series of dynamic images with copy that teases the event or a short, captivating trailer may be impactful on social channels.
And since online events are often experienced in more intimate, personal settings than in-person events (think: a big-screen TV in the living room or a laptop on the kitchen table), sharing behind-the-scenes production images or footage can also help personalize and humanize the process and team behind the upcoming event. In fact, a recent Livestream study found that 87% of viewers would prefer to watch online content versus traditional televised programming if it features more behind-the-scenes content.
Though they’ve got a reputation as a bit of a slog, technical dress rehearsals are essential for producing successful events. They’re a chance to make sure all of the necessary equipment like sound and lighting is functioning as expected and that all of the show’s tech crew members working tirelessly behind the scenes knows their cues, and they give the on-stage performers to familiarize themselves with how the show will look and feel at showtime. And they’re even more vital for online events.
The reason? It’s simple: Many online events have as many audio, lighting and other technical needs as an in-person show, but streaming an event live — which can include live editing, sound mixing, message board monitoring, and more — adds a layer of complexity to the equation that most in-person events are spared.
A word to the wise: Don’t leave your technical dress rehearsal to the last minute! You’ll want to identify any potential issues with enough time to resolve them, so we suggest running the tech rehearsal as early as possible (and at least 72 hours before the show date) to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible on show day.
These days, all you need is your smartphone, a social media app, and a stable connection to start livestreaming events. But to produce the kinds of high-quality events audiences will want to pay for and return to, you'll need to invest in high-quality equipment.
A recent survey from Markletic Event Research found that the biggest annoyance of online events is a bad connection, while the second-largest frustration comes from bad audio. And according to a Livestream study, 62% of consumers will have a negative image of a brand if the video they publish is bad quality.
And even if your audio and video set-up is up to snuff, you’ll need one more thing if you’re streaming your event live: great internet. Here’s what Stellar CEO Jim McCarthy recommends “to make sure your content leaves your building fast enough” in his new book, Beyond the Back Row:
When it comes to choosing a platform to host your livestream, we recommend partnering with a professional service that can help you produce professional, broadcast-quality content, market your events effectively, offer technical support, and provide a seamless viewing experience for your audience.
Here are some key items to look for when evaluating a platform:
Running an online event is an excellent way to reach a new audience but it does require some planning and preparation. With the 5 steps above in mind, you should be well on your way to successfully launching your next livestreaming show!
What do livestream audiences want? We conducted a nationwide survey and here's what we found.