Live Stream Without Having a Heart Attack

Live streaming is an effective tactic to engage those who cannot attend your event in person and to distribute your messages to broader audiences. Some other examples of government organizations who live stream are: The White House, The Minnesota Senate, and NYC Council Committee on Technology.

But live streaming can be stressful enough to induce a heart attack. Over the last four years, I have utilized live streaming to build public support to advance National Service (with some help from Super Man), making it possible for law enforcement officers to spread out all over the country to virtually participate in a memorial service, and most recently, to help spread the word about Challenge.gov.

I hope that by sharing these best practices I will save you from making some of the mistakes I’ve made and help you more effectively reach and engage your stakeholders — without the stress!

While many organizations choose to outsource the technical production, these best practices are aimed at organizations that have have internal resources or  individuals who wish to do it themselves using a laptop with a webcam (or smart phone) and have access to a broadband connection.

Top 5 interview best practices:
  1. Do your research about the person and topic beforehand.
  2. Prepare your questions beforehand.
  3. Encourage your interviewee(s) to start their replies by repeating your question.
  4. Keep your own movement to a minimum. This can be distracting to viewers.
  5. Have someone else take and relay questions to you from viewers via chat and Twitter.
Top 5 promotion best practices:
  1. A multiple channel approach works best. Email, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are key.
  2. Create and stick to a content promotion calendar.
  3. Enroll partners to help amplify your message.
  4. Involve your audience to help craft questions if you are doing an interview.
  5. Thank those who help you spread the word.

Top 5 Technical best practices:

  1. Document everything and collect information beforehand and brief your entire team.
  2. Fully vet the internet connectivity yourself and do so onsite by measuring the up and down speeds. You can easily test speeds with this website:  http://speakeasy.net/speedtest. You’ll need at least 600K for your stream.
  3. Speak to the IT staff of the streaming location beforehand. Ask them about their network bandwidth and if they monitor network connectivity. Get a cell phone number for your point of contact to call if you need help.
  4. When possible use an Ethernet cable or secured wireless network so your bandwidth does not get eaten up and your signal remains strong.
  5. Do a test run at the location with the equipment and internet connection method (wired or wireless) you are going to use. Record the test and see how it looks.

The following is my live streaming preparation best practice process:

Night before:
  1. Pack everything and have it ready to go.
  2. Double check for power cords, batteries, and connection cables.
  3. Bring extensions cords and backup connection cables if you have them.
  4. Bring this guide.
Day of set up testing:
  1. Get there an hour before live broadcast to give yourself time to trouble shoot.
  2. Set up and connect your camera and laptop.
  3. Run a test: Test video and audio on secondary laptop to confirm it’s working.
Have a great live stream!

Here is the information I collect prior to the live stream to ensure I have everything we need. Feel free to print it out and use it!

WHAT:
  • Event Name:

WHEN:

  • Event Date:
  • Setup Time:
  • Program Begin:
  • Speaking Begin:
  • Speaking End:
  • Program End:

WHERE:

  • Organization:
  • Full Address:
  • Room Name:
  • Entrance Address:
  • Security Clearance Needed:

CONTACT:

  • Logistical Contact Name:
  • Logistical Contact Email:
  • Logistical Contact Cell:
  • Technical Contact Name:
  • Technical Contact Contact Email:
  • Technical Contact Contact Cell:

DETAILS:

  • Camera Setup Location:
  • Raiser:
  • Multibox:
  • Internet Connection Type:
  • Camera Type:
TESTING:
  • Video test date:
  • Audio test date:
  • Speedtest: MB up and down

I hope you find this information helpful. If you got other tips or had other experiences please share them as a comment. Also feel free to ask me any questions!

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