Webcasts are a great format to connect with your potential audience, learn new skills, and share your message to the world. My webcast #RiseInUnity which promotes the power and resilience of communities was born out of creative necessity.
While we were stuck at home during the Covid-19 quarantine, I wanted to find a channel to connect with brilliant minds all over the world and share a message of hope and remind us all of the power of the communities we live in, create and cherish.
In this article, I will share the seven steps I learned on how to set up a webcast, get viewers & engagement, and how to invite interesting speakers. If you consider running your own webcast or an interview series, this text is for you.
Why do webcasts & live video?
My inspiration to run a webcast was the wish to connect with my audience while we were physically separated and had to adapt to the reality of remote working and living. But there is a variety of reasons to run a webcast and often they overlap.
Let’s talk numbers first: people are watching billions of hours of video daily on platforms like Facebook and Youtube. Most of the videos there are pre-recorded but live videos are slowly catching up. For a good reason, people spend more time watching live videos than pre-recorded ones. Facebook Lives get great organic reach and lots of engagement. According to Facebook, Live videos can drive ten times more comments because users feel the real connection via video.
If you’re running your own business, doing live videos & webcasts can be a great way to stay relevant to your potential buyers while growing your following. You show your customer base that you care about them and want to follow through on your mission. You get to create a public image and create an open & inclusive brand. When you go live with your show, you instantly connect with potential buyers.
For young students and talents, it’s a great way to hone in on your English and presentation skills. At the same time, you can get noticed by potential employers for your passion project. No matter if you are interested in creating a biodynamic farm or want to support more gender-equal work cultures, your passion will show in your videos and you already got the perfect topic for your webcast.
This brings us to the most important reason to create a webcast: to share your inspirational message. We all have something we are passionate about. Webcasts are a great way to not only share your story but also connect with people all over the world who fight for the same cause.
Ultimately, you are a volunteer for a greater cause, getting to promote not only yourself but even more so your agenda. Your voice and your thoughts deserve to be heard. This leads us right to step one in creating your own webcast.
Step 1: Pick a topic you are passionate about
As Simon Sinek put it — always start with why. Ask yourself: What is your why — your reason to share your message? Think about what you are passionate about and bring your personal perspective to the topic.
If you’re studying sustainability, you might want to share about ways to live sustainably, how to avoid using plastic or how to travel with little CO² emissions. The inspiration for my webcast #RiseInUnity was to share about the power of community and volunteering. I believe so strongly in communities and volunteering that I even did a TEDx talk on how volunteering can empower us and help us grow as a collective.
Step 2: Get the Tech in Place
Depending on your level of “techiness”, this step might seem easier or harder. There is no need to be overwhelmed by tech when creating a web show — there are easy-to-use platforms out there.
Personally, I would recommend StreamYard since it easily integrates with Facebook and Youtube. You can go live from your laptop, phone, or tablet. You can invite your guest speakers into your StreamYard and you have a little “background studio” where you can brief your guest before you go live. You can easily use the free version of StreamYard, the only downside is that the Streamyard logo will be included in your broadcast.
Microphone & Camera
There is no instant need to buy an external camera or microphone. If you use an iPhone eight or newer, the quality is more than good enough. If you want to invest into better equipment, I recommend to always go with a better microphone first. Most people can live with a mediocre video as long as the audio is crisp and easy to listen to.
Try out your video
To find out if purchases for your audio/video are necessary and to ensure that everything is integrated and working smoothly, you can set up a secret Facebook group. In this group, you can try out your tech, see what you look like on video, and if the background you sit in front of is fine or if you want to adjust it.
Test runs give you safety and do save you from unnecessary mistakes like forgetting to go live or not putting the guests into the video screen when using StreamYard.
Step 3: Invite guest speakers & Schedule in advance
I’d personally recommend having guests on your show because it can get monotonous to listen to only one person. The beauty of having guest speakers on your webcast is that they can offer a unique and enriching perspective to your audience. To choose your guest speakers, think about which areas your audience is interested in and who can bring in that expertise.
If you want to have guest speakers in your Webcast, remember to schedule them in well in advance. Life is a lot easier if you already know who will speak in your show in the next month instead of having to find someone last minute each week.
To keep yourself accountable with reaching out to the guests & having a webcast on the regular, set up a weekly schedule. Block a couple of hours every week where you will either work on your webcast or have an episode of your webcast.
I’d also recommend choosing a regular time for your webcast to both keep yourself accountable and to make it easy for your audience to tune in. You get to choose what rhythm feels good to you and how many shows you want to do in a month. For me, it meant having a weekly webcast each Wednesday at 17.00.
Step 4: Prepare for your Speaker & Topic
When you are deciding on a speaker, you will already do some preliminary research. After all, you decided on them being an expert for your webcast. Before your episode, think about which questions would lead to inspiring discussions. What would you want to know both as a moderator and as a viewer?
While it helps to be prepared and know what you want to ask, I recommend staying open to whatever comes up in the conversation and to let the discussion flow. One of the major benefits of live video is that your discussion is authentic and not “choreographed” and your audience will appreciate it.
Step 5: Marketing, marketing, marketing
Let’s be honest here: in a sea of content, it’s hard to stand out. It’s near to impossible though if you don’t schedule any time to market your webcast. You put in all this work to come up with a great show, you want people to tune in after all.
Share on your social media in advance that you are doing a webcast episode and make sure to include the time and where your audience can watch it (both live and afterward). You can even invite people that you think would love to watch this show or who are passionate about the topic. If you have a mindset block around marketing: remember, you are not “spamming” people, you are sharing about a topic that is important and that your audience is excited to learn about.
Once you’ve done the live episode, remember to reuse the content and market your webcast with it (see more under Reusing Content).
Step 6: Interact with Your Audience
As I mentioned, the huge advantage of live video is that you get to interact with your audience. You can ask for questions they have, how they liked the content or what inspired them. It’s a great way to also learn what your audience cares about and to get inspired on what kind of topics you want to talk about in another episode.
When you are starting out, it can feel overwhelming to interact with the audience while being live. One simple solution is to have another person, a friend of yours, or an assistant, who can respond to questions. Once you feel more comfortable with running your webcast, you can interact with the audience yourself.
Step 7: Repurpose Your Content
After all of this work, it might feel a little disappointing to only have one video on one platform to show for. To be smart with your own workload, I highly recommend reusing your content. First of all, you want to download the video and share it on different video channels such as Youtube and IGTV.
The opportunities for repurposing content are vast and you get to decide what makes sense for you. Here are some ideas on how to share your ideas:
- Podcast: Turn your video into a podcast. You can put that podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Pandora, SoundCloud, and anywhere else that people subscribe and listen to audio content. If you want to take your video content for a podcast, I’d recommend investing in a microphone to ensure good audio quality.
- Quotables: Write down your favorite quotes from the episode and turn them into Quotables for Instagram, Facebook, and/or Pinterest.
- Blog Posts: Transcribe your video and turn it into a blog post. You can do this yourself or hire it out to an assistant or on Fiverr. You can even embed your video into the blog post.
- Cut and Trim your Video for other Platforms: For LinkedIn, Twitter, or TikTok, you can choose your golden nuggets and share them with your audience in a short video. Make sure to check the ideal length for each platform.
I really hope this article inspires you to try out your own webcast or FB Live show. The world deserves to hear your insights and perspective. It’s lots of fun and you get to decide how to run this.