Live video content is quickly becoming more prominent across all social media platforms. As a creator, it’s important that you understand just how useful the streaming tools on YouTube can be.
Some creators have even shifted to a point where livestreaming is essential to their YouTube strategy. With all the buzz, you may be asking; Should I livestream? For many, the answer is yes. No matter what your release strategy, livestreaming is a valuable tool that you shouldn’t pass over.
There’s plenty of talk about what to stream and how to stream across the community, but it’s important to bear in mind why you should stream as well. For creators only familiar with on-demand content, livestreaming may seem like a strange world. However, it offers some valuable benefits that aren’t as easy to come by anywhere else.
Live content is a great way for creators to engage with their audiences in a direct, intimate setting. Being in a chat room with their favorite creators, knowing that they’re seeing what they have to say — and maybe even replying — is incredibly appealing to viewers who want to feel closer to their favorite personalities. That being said, live content doesn’t only offer connections between the creator and the individual audience members. Live content also allows viewers to meet and interact with each other. An active chat leads to familiarity, friendships and a stronger sense of community overall. A tight-knit community is invaluable for any creator.
Then, of course, live content can also be monetized. Livestreams, specifically those hosted by YouTube, offer a wide array of revenue streams. Similar to standard content, creators can run advertisements against their live videos. These can appear both as banners and as pre-roll ads. While hosting a livestream, you have the ability to drop mid-roll ads in as well. YouTube, though, makes no guarantees that all viewers will receive these.
Outside of display ads, YouTube also offers a super chat feature. This lets viewers purchase special chat messages that are highlighted and pinned to the top of the chat window. The more the viewer spends, the longer the message is pinned. Similarly, channel memberships let you offer special perks to your live viewers. These can include membership badges to emphasize their chat messages or even access to private members-only streams. These bonuses encourage viewers to join the channel’s membership program, driving revenue on a recurring basis rather than as a one-time payment.
How to fit a livestream into your existing content schedule
Creators have several solid options for incorporating live content into their preexisting releases. This means creators can tailor the live experience to the needs of the channel. One common option is to simply add streams onto existing release schedules. For example, say a creator normally releases two videos a week. They can up their content output without increasing backend production labor by releasing two videos and holding a livestream.
Alternatively, live video can be used to actively supplement and support the creation of regular content. Think about creators who release highlight reels from their streams. However you utilize your live content, it’s almost always a good idea to upload your livestreams as video on demand as well. Most streaming platforms have native features for this, letting your content work for you even after the stream has ended. This strategy makes the most out of a live video, letting creators capitalize on that content both in the moment and in perpetuity.
Should I livestream?
Whether it’s playing games, premiering new content or just spending time with your audience, live video is a powerful tool that creators should take seriously. Streams can be added onto your normal schedule to give viewers more content, or you can repurpose your stream for even more content. It’s an invaluable way to develop bonds in your audience, both between you and your viewers as well as among the community itself. You can even monetize it in more varied and flexible ways than you can video on demand, so the abstract benefits of audience enrichment are far from the only payoffs.
Live streaming can be a scary new field for creators only used to posting pre-recorded content, but if you’re interested in enriching your content, your community, and yourself, there’s no reason to wait.