Aloha! Tom Gaddis, here. In my years of creating online content to help entrepreneurs, I’ve run hundreds of live streams. I didn’t have many viewers in the beginning, but now I’ve built a successful live stream that hundreds of people tune in to watch every week.
The “experts” tell you livestreaming is an easy way to make a quick cash grab. Don’t fall for that! It’s a work of endurance, but it will pay off when you keep going and try new tactics.
I’ve got strategies to share that will help you build a successful live stream show for your own audience, whether you use Facebook, YouTube, or another platform.
By the way, if you want to hear this in podcast form, simply follow this link.
Why Live Stream a Show?
Maybe you’ve never considered a live stream but you do want to build your social media engagement. Live streams accomplish several goals at once. Yes, they drive sales, but they also grow your audience and build a community of invested participants. You give valuable content to viewers by discussing particular subjects while also drawing in new participants for conversational interaction.
A successful stream allows you to understand the questions your market has on their mind, and thus develop an idea for a better product.
Going live also gives you the opportunity to directly engage with the audience as they ask questions and comment. It builds loyalty to your brand when you directly answer a person’s question in a live setting.
Online video content establishes a visible connection, and it’s shareable. It gets your business name out there and builds your brand’s reputation. Make sure you put out quality content, because these shows could be someone’s first introduction to your business.
Quality doesn’t have to mean expert-level production. Dream about your show’s possibilities, but don’t get too overwhelmed. You don’t have to start with all the answers about how to run a successful live stream. I’m going to give you some basic tips about how to get started and progress when building an online show.
If you want guidance to help you develop a show that delivers value and fun, my FREE guide for business-building strategies applies to almost anything in an online business, including live streaming.
4 Tips to Start and Grow a Live Stream Show
Here are 4 strategies I’ve learned about how to run a successful live stream:
1. Be Consistent
The “gurus” won’t tell you that a live stream is a long game play. Consistency is the key, even if you don’t have an audience yet. Plan your show for a regular time on a specific day. If you can’t make a commitment to consistency, it’s better to not even do a live stream because it will waste your time and resources.
When I started my live stream, I had an audience through a mailing list, but the live stream started with really low attendance. It gradually grew as I consistently showed up week after week at the same time.
Expect small numbers at first. However, if you treat it like a big group is watching, soon more will join. Present as though more folks are watching than your view count betrays, because it will boost your presentation value. Remember, too, that some people will later watch recordings wherever you post them.
2. Have a Plan for Each Show
While you build your online engagement and connect with an audience, you can implement so many creative ideas. Think about it like your own talk show geared toward giving the inside scoop on your business—you can interview guests, talk about relevant topics, and even stage a game show segment where you invite viewers to chime in through the comments.
Make a plan for each show so that, during the broadcast, the script flows automatically. You might think you’ll remember everything you want to say, but when the cameras roll, your mind will go blank, especially when you’re inexperienced. You don’t want dead air, and you don’t want to fumble over your topics while you try to figure out what comes next. Whether you use a Google Doc with bullet points or a printed-out manuscript, create show notes and constantly refer to them.
Establish a format with consistent segments for your live show. The format I’ve developed for my show looks like this: introduction, shout-outs, value section, a “What’s Tom Reading” section, giveaways, and a conclusion. Sometimes, I bring in a special guest. The point is to make it engaging and fun. When you start out, your format doesn’t have to be long or complicated, but it should have consistency.
Manage the length of the broadcast and keep the show tight. If you don’t have much to share, don’t try to fill up a large amount of time. Start with 15 minutes. As segments grow, and you gain more of an audience, maybe you can work up to 30 minutes. Later, consider expanding it further, if needed.
Longer isn’t necessarily better, though. A 15-minute show that packs a punch may draw in viewers because of its brevity. Busy people have time on their minds!
3. Outsource Special Elements
Some show elements, like intros and outros, repeat every broadcast. Outsource a professional to create a standard slide and recording for these regular segments. The outro for my show thanks people for attending and directs them to other resources, like my podcast.
Use a service like Stream Yard to simplify the process of running a show. It allows you to brand your livestream, show slides, and play sound effects. For instance, I had my brother create custom Sharpie drawings to flash on the screen, and those slides introduce regular segments of the show. These elements build the production value and make it feel like an event for viewers.
4. Improve as You Go
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, know that I built up to the inclusion of all these steps. I didn’t start with all of these elements. You can gradually add more to your show and improve it as you learn how to manage live streams and grow your audience. In the beginning, just get started. You will improve over time.
Some of your ideas might flop. That’s ok. You can learn and adjust what you need to, every week. If you fail, try another idea.
Even if your stream idea flops one week, you've still won, because failure always has a lesson to teach you.
As your business evolves, so should your live stream. Look across niches at what others do for events, and figure out how you can apply their techniques. Think about how you can better engage viewers. Find ways to keep creativity flowing so your show never gets stuck in a rut.
Stick with it. It might feel awkward. You may not gain traction for a while. But I guarantee that consistency will win the day. Keep in mind that when you provide value to viewers, people start to show up—like it’s the Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”
For more secrets the so-called “gurus” won’t tell you about making money online, check out my podcast: