Creating Engaging Live Streams, One Step at a Time
How many steps does it take to create an engaging live stream?
Similar to the proverbial elephant in the fridge question, it takes three steps: make enough preparation, build your livestreaming showroom, and broadcast it.
I’m not joking. At least not 100% joking.
Essentially, it does take these three steps to have a successful show. But within each step lies a myriad of other micro-steps and intricacies. In this article, I will try to break the macro-steps apart and reconstruct it from the group up to show you some of the main mini-steps you need to take to inch closer to a virtual visual feast.
Set the Stage With A Video Intro
There are two things that remain irretrievable: Time and first impression. And when it comes to live stream, your “first impression” can be an attention-grabbing video intro that reels in viewers instantly.
A good video intro instantly tells your audience who you are, and sets you apart from other channels by injecting a strong dose of individuality and brand identity. This can range from an aesthetically designed countdown, to behind-the-scene banters between the hosts.
Make Yourself More Visible
People are at the center of a good live stream. Here are some pro tips for making you (whether you are the host or the guest) stand out more.
- Practice makes perfect. Facial and body expressions are a powerful way to convey your point, that’s why you should spend more time practicing using facial and body expressions to amplify your points.
- Enlist external help. Sometimes your expressions are hard to see, especially if your audience is watching from their mobile device. In this case, it’s useful to seek some external help, such as:
- Use physical props to deliver your message and your personality.
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2. Use special effects/widgets to magnify your micro-expressions. There are some widgets that allow you to achieve a magnifying glass effect to enlarge your expression during livestreaming. And how can one forget the uber-engaging app mmhmm that allows you to turn your hand signs into giant emojis?
3. Don’t forget those who don’t turn on their cameras. How do you make a speaker who doesn’t turn on their camera more visible as they are speaking? Well, you can use sound waves as a visual indication. Alternatively, you can also use an avatar to add a layer of mystery of who you are, which could become a hallmark of your show.
Three, Two, One, (inter)ACTION
A great live stream is more like a conversation than a presentation, and your audience is more like active participants than passive viewers. Therefore, it’s important to keep interaction up consistently. Here are some practices that you can use to spice up the interaction.
- Putting comments on the screen as recognition to your audience. Livestreaming tools like StreamYard allow you to display a comment on screen, which is a great way to shout out to your audience and give them due acknowledgement.
- Utilize polls and quizzes to include everyone, capture their views, and make everyone feel connected. Polls and quizzes are easy to set up and pull up during your live stream, and can let you mix up your event while staying on topic. You can use Slido to easily set them up and engage with your audience.
- Gamification and rewards. You can add fun to your live stream experience with trivia, treasure hunt, emoji reactions, leaderboard and many more. These tools will keep your audience attentive to your content in a playful way.
Prepare Appealing Visuals
Humans are visual animals, and one way of grabbing and holding the attention of your audience is through appealing and creative visuals. Here are just some of the myriad ways that you can experiment to spice up your visuals.
- Create engaging overlays. Overlays are graphics with the aim of demonstrating your brand identity and delivering important information. You can put a logo to show your brand, use lower-thirds graphics to introduce your speakers, or apply various frames to make the show visually appealing. For knowledge-heavy livestreaming shows, creating “key takeaways” overlay images using tools like Prezi is a great way to emphasize and summarize key points for your audience so that they won’t feel overwhelmed by the sheer density of knowledge.
- Leverage interactive elements. One of the reasons why gaming live streams are so engaging is the use of stream alerts, and you can easily adopt this to your live stream. Stream alerts are visual indicators that you see when viewers interact with the stream in ways like making a comment, donation, or polls. This is a fantastic way to build a strong sense of community with your viewers. You can easily create your stream alerts using tools like StreamElements.
- Make good use of transition. If we think about movies and how they manage to keep viewers focused for an hour or two, the answer is movement, amongst other things. They grab our attention with the action, the cuts, and the transition to different scenes and camera angles. A great transition is like the magical wardrobe that leads one to Narnia for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Make sure you invest in great transitions to have your audience be in for a treat.
- Dip your toes into metaverse. Putting aside whether metaverse is overrated or not, there is an unmistakable uptick in the use of metaverse/3D virtual elements during live streams to give the audience a dazzling visual feast. You can hire an agency to help you construct your metaverse experience, or use tools like Brandlive to kickstart your journey.
Now, Over to You…
Creating valuable live video content that converts doesn’t have to be difficult. With these tips, you’re on your way to creating a livestream experience your viewers love. On top of that, you’ll be able to improve user engagement, grow your audience and boost conversions. Follow our page to keep yourself update to more useful livestreaming practices.
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About the Author
Rebecca Xu is the Product Marketing Manager at Opus, and a professional simultaneous interpreter. She is a story teller, food lover, globe trotter, and sarcasm connoisseur. She loves learning new things through reading, traveling, and exploring. Most of the time, you can find her either in an ice-cream shop, or on her way to an ice-cream shop.