How to Start Live Streaming
(Episode 1 of 2 with Christoph Trappe)
Christoph Trappe is a global top 14 content marketer, a top 40 B2B marketer, a top 100 CX thought leader, and a top 24 digital marketer. His fourth book, Going Live, recently came out. It discusses how to get more out of your podcast and content strategy, particularly through live streaming.
In today’s episode, we’re going to dive deep into leveraging live streaming. We’ll also discuss Christoph’s career, technology, and how to know if we’re producing “CRAP”.
What is Live Streaming?
At the basic level, live streaming means broadcasting on the internet, typically to social media. Most social media platforms have a way for users to live stream on them. What do people do while live streaming? It could be a podcast, interview, event, unboxing, or the streamer might be playing a video game, talking about products, answering questions, etc. There are many options for what to do while live streaming; it all depends on who the streamer is, what they are an expert in, and what their audience wants.
What Platform Should We Use for Live Streams?
Christoph typically uses Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon Live, and he used Twitch a few times. The platform we use depends on where our audience is. That’s why Christoph stopped using Twitch; the platform is usually for streamers playing video games, so he didn’t have an audience there.
Many companies have spent years building Facebook audiences, so Facebook would be a great option for them. If someone already has a large Instagram following, that might be the best option for them. The platform Restream allows users to stream to multiple platforms.
What Technology Do We Need?
If we already have a podcast or a YouTube channel, we likely already have the technology we need. When we start, we don’t necessarily need the most expensive camera or microphone or a green screen behind us for a virtual background. We can start with a smartphone on a tripod and headphones as our microphone if we need to, and then upgrade when we can.
What Do We Need to Know to Get Started with Live Streaming?
One of the biggest things, when we’re starting out, is to be comfortable on video. Christoph explained that he’s set up his office as a studio, and he has everything set up so he can be comfortable and focus on the stream. Wherever we are, we should be comfortable so that we can focus on the stream and not act awkward as we engage with our audience or guests.
We also want to make a plan for what we’re going to do on the stream. If we’re interviewing someone, we’ll need questions to get us started. We’ll want to treat the interview as a normal conversation, let it progress naturally, and guide it with more questions if necessary.
If we’re streaming an unboxing, we’ll need products to unbox. We may want to test out the products on the stream for our audience to see how they work. We’ll need enough products to steam for a while since most streams last for a couple of hours.
How Do We Tell Our Audience About the Live Stream?
Christoph is a big fan of scheduling live streams. In many tools such as restream, we can schedule the post for the live stream to appear. It will show followers when we schedule it, and then the same post will pop up again when we go live.
This is a good option because our followers won’t have to look through all of our posts to find the one that we’re streaming from. It is also great for guests because if they share the post, their followers also won’t have to search to find it.
How Do We Structure and Schedule Live Streams?
As I was interviewing Christoph, I started to wonder how someone who streams every week can take breaks or go on vacation. With live streaming, we can’t do things in advance.
Christoph explained that with live streaming, we can’t structure it as we do with other things. For example, if he’s interviewing a guest on his live stream, he’ll tell the guest to come at 2 p.m. and they may not go live until 2:08 p.m.
We don’t need to be as structured with live streaming. One week we may stream four times and the next only once. Our followers likely won’t mind. If they enjoy our content, they probably won’t stop watching our streams because we took a week off.
How Do We Know if We’re Producing “CRAP”?
Christoph is passionate about good content. He believes there is too much CRAP (content really annoying to people) out there. We don’t want our content to be CRAP; we want it to be valuable to our audience, and we want them to care about the content we’re producing.
How do we know if we’re producing CRAP? One way to know is if no one reads or watches our content. However, we should be careful with using this way to assess our content. When we are just starting, likely, we won’t have many people following us. It takes time to build a content program. If no one reads the first blog we publish, we shouldn’t give up.
If we have been producing content for a while and we haven’t gained followers or engagement, we may want to reassess the kind of content we are producing. We can ask for feedback from others on what we can improve or we can look to similar creators to get ideas for how we can change our content.
Maximize and Move Quickly
Christoph has had a lot of success recently on Amazon Live, a new streaming platform, because he moved quickly and put his live streams on that channel. He said his best monetization strategy was to maximize all of the different channels and move quickly.
When we maximize every channel, we can reach more people and grow our audience. We need to be clear on how we make money though. Many often think that content makes money, but usually content is what gets us in the door and then we make money on whatever we sell.
We need to stay relevant with whatever our content is because it will help us connect with our customers. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust, so our content should help them know, like, and trust us. “Hit them hard and offer value,” Christoph said.
Using Technology to Accomplish Our Goals
Christoph believes that the biggest tectonic shift is technology. In the past, to record something we would have to go to a studio. Now, many of us have the equivalent of a studio in our houses.
“Technology, when you use it well, can really help you. Now the problem is some companies don’t use it very well,” he said. To use technology well, we should understand what we are trying to accomplish.
This is an age-old problem. When Christoph went into marketing, people came to him and said, “We need a trifold brochure.” When Christoph asked why, they said, “Because we need one to give it to these people.” What they actually needed was to reach people that didn’t have computers.
If we are overwhelmed with the technology options, we can ask these questions: What are we trying to accomplish? What are we trying to do? What technology can help us get there? This can help us know what technology we need to achieve our goals.
Christoph started as a journalist. He became a content strategist, and as the industry evolved so did he. He used to only write blogs but moved to short-form videos when they became popular. Now he’s moved to producing live videos. He’s always trying to stay relevant with new formats and technologies.
His most recent home run is his book Going Live. He realized that he could write a book by repurposing his blog content. He had already had success changing the format of his podcast to live, so he figured he should try changing the format of the content in his blog. Christoph said repurposing content “is the way to do it because stuff changes all the time.” Algorithms, platforms, and formats all change, and we can adapt our content to change with them.
Christoph has had failures in his career, but he doesn’t think of failure as failure because, especially in live streaming, mistakes happen. Someone’s video lags, or their camera is blurry, or the sound cuts out, etc. We’ve all seen these things before, and most people have accepted them as things that just happen that we don’t need to worry about.
We should have a next play mentality. When football quarterback Patrick Mahomes lost 30 yards, he didn’t despair. He went back out there and had a fantastic play.
“It’s the same thing,” Christoph said. “Don’t [let] failures bring you down. Don’t even think about them. Learn from them, move on quickly, . . . fix it, and run the next play.”
We should take our failures and use them as opportunities to learn, grow, and improve. We can think of them as experiments that help us gather data so we know what to implement to improve ourselves.
Thank you so much Christoph for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- When we start livestreaming, we don’t necessarily need the most expensive equipment. We can start with a smartphone on a tripod and headphones as our microphone if we need to, and then upgrade when we can.
- We should set up our streaming area so we can be comfortable on camera.
- Before we start streaming, we need a plan for what we’re going to do on the stream.
- We can schedule live streams to let our audience know when we’ll be streaming.
- Live streaming doesn’t need to be super structured. Our audience will understand if we need to take a week off.
- If we have been producing content for a while and we haven’t gained followers or engagement, we may want to reassess the kind of content we are producing.
- When we maximize every channel, we can reach more people and grow our audience.
Connect with Christoph
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