Ready, Set, Go Live: How To Live Stream a Hybrid or Virtual Event

Learn how to live stream an event: 7 steps to planning your event, choosing the right technology, and engaging the audience to set your next event up for success.

There’s no question that the live streaming industry has experienced exponential growth during the past few years, and will continue to expand in the foreseeable future. 

According to Grand View Research, the global live video streaming market will reach $330.51 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.3% between 2022 and 2030.

No matter what industry you’re in, live streaming can provide an effective channel for you to reach a wider audience and interact with your followers. You can learn about your customers, increase brand recognition, build relationships, and drive conversions. Plus, the U.S. live streaming market is expected to account for $35 billion in sales by 2014.

But you can’t just turn on the camera and hope for the best. Various components must work together seamlessly to deliver a memorable live streaming experience. 

If it’s your first time hosting a live stream event, don’t fret! Here’s a step-by-step guide to delivering a successful live streaming event to meet your business objectives.

hours spend on mobile live streaming apps

How To Livestream an Event

From making a plan to engaging your audience, here’s how to get everything dialed in to ensure a successful live streaming event:

Step 1: Create a Plan

Just like any event, you must first identify your business objectives and understand the who, what, and where:

  • Who is your target audience, and what are they interested in? 
  • Where are the participants located, and do you need to consider time zone differences?
  • Who will be responsible for developing the content and producing the event?
  • What topics will you cover, and who are the speakers?
  • What format works best for your target audience?
  • What are the business objectives, and what KPIs will you use to measure success?
  • What is your budget, and will you monetize the event?
  • What channels will you use to live stream the event? 
  • Will it be an online-only event or a hybrid event

Step 2: Select a Streaming Solution

You need a live streaming service with the right features to deliver on your vision and meet your business objectives. For example, if you’re using a live stream event to promote your brand or products, choose a solution that’s easy to use, enables you to create an on-brand experience, and allows you to get in front of your ideal customers.

The most straightforward platforms are social media sites (e.g., YouTube Live, Facebook Live, LinkedIn, Instagram Live, Twitter Live, TikTok, Twitch, etc.) Although they’re easy to set up and have a built-in social component, you won’t have much control over the audience experience. Also, viewers can easily get distracted by other things happening on their feeds. 

Additionally, these platforms only show viewers’ on-screen names and don’t allow you to collect detailed first-party data to inform future marketing campaigns — making it much harder to follow up, track their interactions with your brand, and move the audience down your funnel.  

28% of live social viewers streamed from multiple platforms

A live streaming platform, such as Sequel, gives you an embed code to add the video player and other features (e.g., chat, polls, etc.) to your website and mobile app. The white label solution helps you keep the audience on your online properties and deliver a seamless brand experience.

Also, choose a solution with features that align with your business objectives. For instance, if you plan to sell products or services during the event, look for one with which you can place calls-to-action (CTAs) on the user interface. If you want to add value by creating networking opportunities, use a solution that enables you to set up a dedicated networking hub.

Step 3: Set Up Your Venue and Equipment

This step is more involved for hybrid live streams but don’t skimp on it even if you’re running a virtual-only event. Even small technical hiccups can create a frustrating experience that may cause viewers to leave your event altogether.

Run an internet speed test to verify that your venue has reliable WiFi and internet connections with sufficient upload bandwidth. Also, consider the physical limitation of the space (e.g., power supply locations) and decide on the number of camera and video sources.

required upload bandwidth

Research your recording equipment options. Depending on the nature of the event and the objectives, a computer webcam or digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera may do the job. Or you may need a full-feature live streaming camera and external mics to achieve the desired video quality.

Experiment with the camera setup to find the right angle and crop. The camera should be level with or slightly below a speaker’s face. Use a tighter angle for a talking-head shot and leave some distance between the subject and the background to create depth of field.

Spend time getting the lighting right and consider how it affects the brightness, contrast, and color temperature of the resulting video. You should have a key light, fill light, and background light to help you achieve the best results.

Set Up Your Venue and Equipment

Finally, check your encoder setting. A video encoder compresses and converts raw video files into the appropriate digital formats so they can be played on the target platforms or devices. The process also incorporates the audio into the final file.

Configure the encoder to ensure the audio sources sync with the respective video sources to avoid a frustrating viewing experience. If the audio is out of sync, you can troubleshoot by checking the frame rate of the original file or comparing the length of the video and audio files.

Step 4: Configure the User Interface

Put yourself in the viewers’ shoes when designing the screen on which you broadcast the event. Consider the elements and interactions you need to deliver a seamless, on-brand audience experience while achieving your business objectives.

Get more control over the page layout, audience interactions, and overall streaming experience with a customizable solution. For instance, you can embed additional information (e.g., CTA and links) or your logo onto the original content to enrich the experience and reinforce your brand image.

With Sequel, you don’t need technical skills to add streaming videos and other features to your website or app. You can easily embed Sequel live stages on a website builder, an event management platform, or an existing site to deliver a dynamic experience.

Configure the User Interface

Fill out details such as page title, description, metadata, etc., for your streaming page. Adding closed captions and transcripts helps you reach deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers while increasing the page’s keyword density to boost your SEO for future archive viewing.

closed captions statistics

Step 5: Conduct a Test Run

Live streaming involves many moving parts. While you can’t predict the unpredictable, you can eliminate potential issues as best as you can by conducting a thorough test. Even if everything goes swimmingly, you should have a plan B (and C and D) in place to cover the bases. 

Your test run should cover audio, video, transition, and interactive components such as chat and CTAs. Run through the entire stream—speakers can use it as an opportunity to rehearse their content—and make sure you’re sending the video to the correct streaming page.

Schedule your test during the same time as the event to ensure that the lighting setup works (if you use natural light). Doing so also allows you to gauge the internet bandwidth — which may work fine during the day but not so well when everyone is streaming Netflix at night.

Consider how you'd monitor the live stream during the event. Have a team member keep an eye on the shots and streaming page and ensure the audio is synching with the video. Also, create a dedicated communication channel (e.g., messaging app) for your team to coordinate with each other during the broadcast. 

Step 6: Engage the Audience

The great thing about live streaming is that it’s easy for people to join the event. But the flip side is that it’s also easy for the audience to leave if you fail to keep them interested in and engaged with the content.

The latest live streaming software allows you to foster two-way conversations to engage the audience. Use the opportunity to understand what participants want (e.g., via live poll and chat) and pivot to address their needs.

When you conduct a live poll, keep your questions simple and show one at a time to avoid confusion. A “does not apply” answer option can help you keep participants engaged even if a question isn't relevant to them. Also, craft questions to gear the conversation toward a direction that’ll help achieve your business objectives.

If live chat is part of the live streaming experience, assign a team member to monitor the chat, answer inquiries, and pass on relevant questions and comments to the speaker. You can gauge the audience’s reactions and sentiments in real-time to deliver an engaging experience.

You can also enhance the audience experience through peer-to-peer interactions. Sequel’s Networking Hub allows you to introduce the social elements of in-person events in networking circles, private chats, or group discussions to your event.

Engage the Audience

Step 7: Promote the Event

A well-coordinated marketing effort helps you get more ideal customers to attend the event and maximize your ROI, all while increasing your brand awareness and reaching new audiences.

To deliver a consistent brand experience and build brand recognition, set a solid foundation by creating a set of assets for your promotional campaign. These should include thumbnails, social images, intro and outro clips, teaser videos, marketing copy, overlays, backdrop images, etc., that align with your brand image.

Announce the event to your email list and social media following. Apply the appropriate hashtags and tag the right people to build buzz and increase exposure. Use paid online ads to reach highly targeted audience segments with high purchase intent. You can also publish a press release on industry websites, new outlets, and local resources to expand your reach.

Don’t forget to keep the event registrants excited about the event—after all, you can only achieve your business objectives if people attend the live stream! Send reminder emails and teaser content to build anticipation. You can also ask them to share the event with their contacts and set up networking groups to keep them engaged.

the popularity of online networking

Lastly, make the content keep on giving. For instance, you can use Sequel to turn the live stream recording into an on-demand webinar and embed it on your website for playback with just a few clicks. You can also leverage the content to create video snippets for social media posts or appropriate the information into multiple blog posts.

Maximize the Impact Of Your Hybrid or Virtual Events

Live streaming can help you reach a wider audience and amplify the impact of your virtual or hybrid events. With the right live streaming solution, you can deliver a seamless experience and increase audience engagement before and after the event to build brand affinity and drive conversions.

Sequel has all the features you need to stream high-quality events and deliver an on-brand experience. You can engage with participants via reactions, Q&A, live polls, etc., and create a Networking Hub to add a social component. You can also use the Pre-Registration and Access Mode to promote the event and create a community to build buzz.

Schedule a demo to see how you can easily live stream your virtual or hybrid event and create an engaging experience that keeps on giving.

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