Getting Started with Live Streaming and Multistreaming

Getting Started with Live Streaming and Multistreaming

Multiple people on devices with text "Streaming" for livestreaming and multistreaming concept

Creating video courses or recording seminars is a great way for experts and creators to build a library of content that can be packaged and repurposed to build your audience, bolster your reputation, and drive income.

Of course, the technical requirements of creating video lessons — from building a studio to editing, sound mixing, and polishing the raw footage — can be daunting. What if there was an easier way to create and distribute video content that delivered value without requiring a studio of experts to create and deploy?

Thanks to live streaming and multistreaming – and easy-to-use live streaming platforms – there is.

What is live streaming?

In the broadest terms, live streaming is recording and broadcasting simultaneously. While live streaming has been around for 10-15 years, it really came into its own with the rise of smartphones and social media. Periscope, an app that enabled any user to broadcast live on Twitter, registered 10 million accounts in its first four months, and today every social media site includes functionality for users to immediately publish live video.

Some of the most popular live streaming channels at the moment include:

  • Facebook Watch
  • Instagram Live
  • Twitter Live
  • YouTube Live
  • LinkedIn Live
  • Twitch
  • TikTok
  • Discord Go Live

Livestreaming has a wide range of uses, including sharing major events in real time, holding online auctions, broadcasting video games, and — yes — providing educational content.

And because the videos are live, the audience is far more forgiving of technical hiccups, lower audio or video quality, unrehearsed delivery, and overall less polished products than pre-recorded video.

That makes live streaming a great way for subject matter experts to cut their teeth and learn how to produce videos without alienating their audience. It’s also big business — the live streaming market is anticipated to be worth $224 billion by 2028 and – as we’ll cover below – a range of new livestreaming software platforms have entered the market to make it an easier content model than ever before.

Live Streaming vs Multistreaming

It used to be that live streaming had to be done natively through a single site live Facebook or YouTube (or, as in the case of Periscope, by using an application that was locked into sharing on a single network). Multistreaming (also called simulcasting) is live streaming across multiple channels simultaneously. Today with multistreaming technology, online experts can share the same live stream with audiences on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, and more, all at the same time.

Multistreaming requires using hardware or a third-party application to push the live stream to each individual platform, but allows streamers to reach a far wider audience with a single broadcast. It also saves content creators valuable time. Instead of hosting the same Q&A or seminar half a dozen times across different networks (or risking losing a large segment of your audience if you only choose one or two), multistreaming provides a solution that’s right for everyone.

Multistreaming with hardware requires a video mixer such as the Epiphan Pearl-2.

The mixer plugs into your video recording devices and distributes the stream to multiple CDNs. This is the pro solution to live broadcasting and costs several thousand dollars. Most mixers enable streamers to use multiple video and audio input devices in a variety of formats and adjust the layout of the stream in real time. However, the mixer is just one part of the gear needed to make this setup work — streamers also need compatible video and audio input devices, running the potential cost of a small home studio well into five figures.

For online subject matter experts who want to test out multistreaming without committing a significant sum, using multistreaming software is an obvious solution. Stream broadcasting platforms have a low barrier to entry (some are free for basic accounts) and effortlessly distribute your stream to all major social media platforms. We’ll take a look at some of the top platforms, but first, let’s consider the benefits of live streaming and multistreaming for edupreneurs and other expertise-based businesses.

The benefits of live streaming and multistreaming

Across every social platform, video consistently outperforms every other type of post in almost every measurable metric. Video gets double the engagement rate of an average Facebook post, almost twice as many views as photo posts on Instagram, 10 times the Twitter engagement of other tweets, and even LinkedIn generated 300m+ video impressions in 2018.

For subject matter experts, the popularity of online videos, and the low barrier to entry for live streaming and multistreaming, in particular, present even more benefits.

Reach your audience in real time

The primary benefit of live streaming is the ability to reach a wide audience in an instant. Pre-recorded video lacks the immediacy of live streaming,and knowing the content creator is live is itself incentive to log in and watch. Pre-recorded video is always available, but a live stream is a one-time event, and that adds a sense of exclusivity and immediacy that compels followers to act. And if you multistream your broadcast, you can reach an even wider audience because everyone can join from the platform they feel most comfortable accessing. (Of course, you can – and should – also record and re-use your live stream content. We’ll cover that shortly.)

Generate real engagement and active participation

Live streaming also gives you an opportunity to generate real engagement with your audience by inviting questions, chat features, live polls, and more. While any blog, social post, or pre-recorded video can invite engagement, the immediacy of live stream encourages interaction. Facebook Live, for example, features reaction icons that float beside live video in real time, showing users how others are responding and prompting them to click their own reaction button.

Example Streaming video from Mama's Comfort Cooking LLC.

This kind of active participation is powerful for building interest in your stream by triggering algorithms to promote your video to new users, not just your existing followers.

Make adjustments on the fly

Another benefit of real-time feedback is the ability to make adjustments to your livestream content during the broadcast. If commenters say you’re speaking too quickly, the camera angle or lighting isn’t great, or they’re not following your lesson, you have time to amend and improve the viewer’s experience, without devoting a lot of time to creating a video that doesn’t cut it with a real audience. This is particularly valuable for subject matter experts who are new to video creation and distribution.

Speedy and accessible setup

Anyone can live stream from anywhere, simply by pressing a button on their smartphone. At the most basic level, that’s all it takes to go live and start interacting with other people. Even streamers who invest in a home video studio and multistreaming hardware or software can still go live much faster using this medium, because they’ve cut out the time spent recording, re-recording, sound mixing, dubbing, and editing that is often necessary to make a pre-recorded video look professional.

As a rule, livestream audiences don’t demand the same quality standards that they’d expect from other types of video. Broadcasting to a much more forgiving audience lowers the entry barriers to livestreaming and makes it easier to experiment with teaching through video.

Budget-friendly options

Another result of the democratized nature of livestreaming, and low audience expectations, is that online teachers don’t need to invest a fortune upfront in video equipment. This isn’t to say your livestream won’t benefit from a professional touch, especially if it becomes something you do regularly, but while you’re deciding if livestreaming is for you, you don’t have to break the bank.

Record and repurpose later

Finally, just because a broadcast goes out live, doesn’t mean it’s gone forever once you end the stream. Livestreams can also be recorded and repackaged to add to your overall content library.

At the most basic level, add the recording to your YouTube channel or membership site for new learners to view. Or invest in editing the video to make a more professional video from the stream. Add it to an online course, distribute it with a pay-per-view or over-the-top provider, or embed it in your blog or newsletter. The options are endless.

The even greater advantages of multistreaming

Livestreaming confers plenty of advantages to subject matter experts who want to teach online, but multistreaming increases those advantages exponentially. Here are just a few of the extra benefits that multistreaming offers.

Wider audience reach

The most obvious advantage is the larger audience you can reach with multistreaming. It’s likely that you have one dominant platform where you connect with the majority of your followers, either because it’s your preferred platform so they followed you there, or you tapped into an existing subject-specific community. Most people have a preferred platform and are less likely to move away from it to access new content elsewhere. That means unless 99% of your followers come from a single site, you’re cutting people out if you don’t multistream.

Reaching a wider audience can also help keep your livestream interactive. Just because your Facebook chat is silent, doesn’t mean nobody is tweeting at you. More viewers means more chances to build engagement and interact with your learners.

Learners can watch however they want

Multistreaming enables every learner to choose how they watch your broadcast and increases the likelihood that everyone will be familiar with at least one of your channels. That reduces the barrier to entry for your learners because they don’t have to spend time making an account on a new site and figuring out how to navigate it. And anything that makes watching your livestream easier is always a great idea!

Save time by only doing one broadcast

The alternative to multistreaming, if you want to reach people on different content networks, is to hold multiple livestreams. That means instead of spending an hour or two on your broadcast, you could end up spending 10-20, depending on how many separate streams you decide to make. And, ultimately, you’ll be left with material that is very similar, and won’t provide much additional repackaging value over a single broadcast. With a multistream, you maximize viewers immediately, in the most time-effective way possible.

Stream to niche and major platforms without compromising

Many streamers face a dilemma when choosing a single platform to host a livestream. Do you pick the platform with the highest user base, the one where the majority of your learners are established, or the niche site that hosts a small but dedicated audience? With multistreaming, you don’t have to choose. One broadcast can reach every platform simultaneously, making sure all your learners feel included.

Different platforms provide different analytics

Analytics reports are critical to understanding how your content is performing, and one of the big benefits of multistreaming is being able to access a variety of analytics reports. Here are just some of the analytics provided by four major platforms:

LINKEDINFACEBOOKYOUTUBETWITTER
Peak concurrent viewersPeak live viewersPeak concurrent viewersTotal views
Total minutes watchedTotal minutes watchedChat rateOrganic views
Total viewsTotal unique viewersPlaybacks countPromoted views
Live vs. replay viewer numbersTotal 10+ second viewsAverage watch timeCompletion rate
Engagement countAll views totalTotal minutes watchedAverage watch time
Incoming views sourceAverage % completionTotal viewsViewer location
Viewer locationLive vs. replay viewer numbersNew subscribersViewer watch platform

It isn’t just the unique analytics that make each platform’s metrics important. By comparing the same metrics across different sites, you can get a more accurate picture of your video’s performance. You might think you’re performing best on Facebook because that’s where you have the highest number of unique views, but if each view on that platform is <10 seconds, whereas your smaller LinkedIn audience is watching the video to completion, then you’re focusing on the wrong network.

Get more results from one investment

Every post you write, every online course you teach, every seminar you host is an investment. From the time you spend creating the content, to the cost of software and equipment to distribute it, and the effort you put into marketing your product, you need to see a return. Multistreaming allows you to maximize results by broadcasting to the widest possible audience in the most efficient manner. Unless you have a specific reason to want to stream broadcasts to each platform independently, multistreaming is a valuable resource for capitalizing on your time and effort.

6 disadvantages of live streaming

While you can guess I’m a fan of live streaming as a way to share – and monetizeyour expertise, it isn’t the right solution for every expertise-based business or situation. Here are a few of the downsides to consider.

1.   Live streaming is less professional than pre-recorded video

While this does have to be true, it usually is.  It can definitely an advantage for subject experts who want to practice video recording in a more forgiving medium, but it can also be a disadvantage. This is especially true if you intend to reuse the video later, where the informality of live streaming may devalue your product. Still, with appropriate planning and rehearsal, you can definitely up the professionalism of your livestream content and ensure it will be as reusable as possible.

2.   Livestreamers have to think on the fly

However well you plan your live stream, not everything will go perfectly. Maintaining your composure when you fluff a line, mix up your notes, or your toddler or cat interrupts the broadcast, is critical for live streamers. If you’re the type like to color within the line and may get flustered if something goes wrong, live streaming might not be for you.

3.   It’s obvious when a livestreamer has a small or unengaged audience

The presence of a live audience is critical to live streaming success, and its absence will be quickly noted. Most live streaming platforms include considerable engagement tools such as live chat, reactions, and visible viewer counts. If you’re only live streaming to a handful of people, your audience will notice, and that can ultimately harm your reputation.

4.   Live streaming is open to disruption

Another concern when you’re doing a live broadcast is potential disruption from the audience. It only takes one troll to hijack a chat, so moderating your audience is important to prevent anything going wrong. My advice it not to livestream solo – have someone who can moderate and manage audience communication. (If you are a solopreneur, you can find someone to help with this on a site like Fiverr.

5.   Live streaming requires careful planning

When creating a pre-recorded video for an online course, YouTube channel, or PPV broadcast, you have numerous opportunities to get it right. With live streaming, you only get one shot. Not only does your speech have to be practiced and timed to fit your broadcast seamlessly (or you need to be very good at improvising), you also need to consider how you’ll market your livestream and attract viewers to watch in real time. That means picking the right date and time for your broadcast. So, be sure to consider where you expect the majority of your watchers to be located. The ideal time for you might be in the middle of your target viewers’ workday, or late at night.

6.   Live streaming can suffer from technical errors

One of the most appealing factors about live streaming is the low technical barriers to entry, but livestreaming with just a smartphone or webcam could cost you if your broadcast isn’t clear. A poor connection or low-quality sound will quickly turn viewers off, so test your equipment before you go live to a large audience. Also, make sure you are fully familiar with how any live streaming or multistreaming software you use works and what the options are for getting real-time support, if needed.

How to get started with live streaming and multistreaming

Planning a successful live stream involves three critical factors — equipment, expertise, and platform. Here’s what you need to consider before you start.

Live streaming equipment

While you don’t need any specialist equipment to get started live streaming, it does help to make a small investment in order to ensure your viewers get the best quality broadcast. My post on how to create a simple home studio outlines the basics. If you intend to create other video content, either live or pre-recorded, setting up a studio is a sensible business decision anyway.

Before making any equipment purchases, do some research on the setup you want and ensure your chosen products are all compatible. That includes software as well as hardware. Your equipment should also address an actual need. If, for example, the videos you create for your online courses are mostly voiceover, you don’t need to invest a lot of money in a great camera, but you should upgrade to a good quality mic and accessories. Consider the content you intend to create, and the gear you truly need.

There’s nothing wrong with starting out using your smartphone as a video recording device. Smartphone cameras are improving all the time, and smartphones come with native live streaming ability. Entry-level professional cameras rarely offer enough image improvement to justify the price tag, at least for a subject matter expert who is only occasionally creating video content.

If video is (or will be) the backbone of sharing your expertise online, a Mevo Start is my recommendation. This camera shoots in 1920×1080 HD with a 20x zoom, and you can livestream from it using SlingStudio.

Whatever camera you choose, a high-quality microphone is a must, in my opinion. That’s not to say you can use your phone or internal laptop mic – many streamers do – but those mics usually don’t produce great quality on video, and even the cheapest pro mic will noticeably improve your livestream. For streamers, there are multiple types of mics to choose from, depending on your preferences and your situations. These include headsets, lavailers (“lavs”), and shotgun mics. Headsets, of course, fit over your head and include both a microphone and one or two earphones. For ensuring that your sound does fluctuate as you move around and that most background noise is filtered out, they really can’t be beat. That said, many streamers just don’t like the aesthetic of having a piece of equipment on their head while streaming. If that doesn’t bother you, have a look at the Jabra Evolve 40 or the wireless Jabra Evolve 65.

If you want to move away from equipment on your head, lavs are the small mics that clip onto your lapel, and you can pick up a very high-quality lavalier microphone

for less than $100. There are two types of lavs, wired and wireless. Wired mics ensure uninterrupted sound, but they can restrict movement. Consider how you intend to present your video before making a purchase. If you like to move around, a wireless microphone is the better choice. If you intend to record your livestream from a stationary position, a shotgun mic will deliver better sound quality for about the same price. Entry model shotgun mics connect directly to your phone and instantly give your livestream a boost. If you’re doing a lot of audio recording, you can’t go wrong with the Rode NTG4+ condenser shotgun mic.

Video and audio gear are the primary concerns for any livestreamer, but think about the rest of your setup as well. Do you need a studio backdrop,a lighting kit, or a soundproofing microphone shield? A small investment in additional equipment can pay dividends in your overall video quality.

Your expertise

It doesn’t take much to start live streaming, but you should plan ahead to ensure your broadcast goes off without a hitch. As a subject matter expert, you already know the topic you’ll be discussing. But are you familiar with managing a livestream, editing in real time, and navigating your equipment and software? Nobody wants to watch an expert fumbling around trying to share their screen or figuring out how to unmute their mic.

Whatever hardware, software, or streaming platform you use, you should be completely familiar with all aspects before going live to an audience. Record yourself delivering the content you intend to use and watch for drops in quality, long pauses, and fumbles. When you adjust position, does your chair creak? Does your mic pick up the rustle of your sleeve when you move your mouse? You can enhance the overall quality of your broadcast by addressing these issues in advance.

Creating a script or lesson plan will also improve your livestream, however well you already know your subject. A plan will give your broadcast structure, ensure it stays within its time constraints, and provides a framework you can fall back on if you get distracted during the delivery. Remember in a livestream your audience will (hopefully!) be talking in the comments section and reacting to your video in real time. Ideally, practice a live broadcast with a couple of friends or learners who can try to disrupt the stream by distracting you.

Learning how to keep going and bring your audience back on track when the comments get out of hand is also an important skill to master. Unlike a virtual classroom or in-person audience, livestreams are often open to a wider user base, and not all of them will be respectful of you or your expertise. (That said, don’t let a fear of disrespectful audience members stop you – it’s a very rare problem.)

Live streaming platforms and software

The final criteria for success is the platform and software you choose to share your stream. Do you go live directly on one social platform via your cell phone, or use multistreaming software to capture, edit, and distribute your broadcast to multiple platforms simultaneously? We’ve already explored many of the pros and cons of using one platform over another, or several vs. one, but the right decision for you will depend on your target audience and your goals for the livestream.

If you want to reach the largest audience possible, more platforms makes sense. However, if you want to keep the livestream limited to specific audience members, such as the Facebook group your course members have joined, then broadcasting directly via that platform is the logical choice.

It’s worth polling your learners to establish which platforms they prefer, but don’t let the majority decide everything. If most of your audience members say they prefer to watch on YouTube, but 10% would rather watch on Facebook, consider multistreaming instead of cutting off a tenth of your audience. This makes everybody feel included, and that makes them more receptive to you as an expert and host.

10 top live streaming and multistreaming software options

Using third-party software to broadcast your livestream to multiple platforms not only gives you the freedom to host your stream in several locations, but often includes video editing software to adjust your livestream in real time. Here are 10 of the best software services available for livestreamers and multistreamers.

1. Restream

Restream offers multistreaming up to 30+ social platforms simultaneously (who knew there were so many?!), including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, VK, Dailymotion, Steam, and more, as well as enabling custom RTMP. The browser-based studio enables you to brand and edit your video in real time, display comments and calls-to-action, and overlay graphics during the broadcast. Restream also natively integrates with major streaming software applications such as OBS Studio, SLOBS, Elgato, and XSplit. Pricing starts from zero and includes streaming to all platforms and access to the full Studio features. Priced plans are required for streaming to Facebook groups or pages, or for recording your broadcasts.

See our full Restream review here >>

2. Streamyard

Streamyard bills itself as “the easiest way to create professional live streams.” You can host up to 10 participants in your livestream, and broadcast to Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitch simultaneously. You can also incorporate social media comments directly into your stream if you want to engage your audience and get them involved. The program runs in your browser, meaning it’s compatible with all operating systems, and it offers a generous free package that includes up to 6 on-screen participants, social commenting, custom branding, and up to 20 hours streaming time each month.

3. Castr

Castr was designed as an “all-in-one toolkit” for livestreaming. Multistream to 30+channels and embed your broadcast on your website or over-the-top platforms. However to use Castr you do need an encoder that allows custom RTMP setup. You can also pre-record streams and broadcast them at scheduled times. Castr is designed for professional streaming setups and doesn’t offer a free plan, although it does offer a 7-day free trial of the lowest tier plans in their multistreaming and all-in-one pricing models ($14.99/mo and $50/mo, respectively).

4. Streamlabs

Streamlabs promises you can “go live in hours minutes” with their software, which distributes to Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch, and streams can be monetized via tips, which display on the screen whenever somebody makes a contribution. Social chats are also aggregated in the Streamlabs app so you only need to look in one place to see what your audience is saying. Streamlabs is a free, open source software designed to be fast and easy to set up. However that does mean a lot of features are bolted on as paid extras through Streamlabs Prime, including theme libraries, mobile apps, a custom cloudbot and more. If you’ve got time to experiment with the software and explore what’s available, Streamlabs offers excellent features, but customizing your livestream might not be as intuitive due to its open source nature.

5. Vimeo Livestream

Vimeo is a known and trusted video distribution platform, and it offers native live streaming capabilities on its platform, as well as multistreaming to social media. Vimeo’s standard studio enables screen sharing, lower thirds, and full-screen graphics, while Premium and Enterprise members can download Livestream Studio, a full suite of video editing software that include audio mixing, layered graphics, and even segmenting in pre-recorded footage. Livestreaming capabilities are currently only available for Vimeo Premium ($75/mo) plans and higher.

6. Be.Live

Be.Live says it is “the easiest streaming platform ever.” It offers streaming to Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn (multistreaming is only available on paid plans) using a simple web-based studio that enables you to add guests and review comments. Be.Live does have some drawbacks compared with other streaming platforms however. There’s no way to connect from your phone or tablet unless you call into your stream as a guest, and the web application is only compatible with Chrome and Safari browsers. However the Basic plan is free and allows three shows per month with up to two guests, making it a great option for subject experts looking to test the waters.

7. Videolinq

Videolinq starts at $19/month after a 30-day, limited-feature free trial, and can multistream to up to 25 different destinations simultaneously, including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Twitch. It also offers several features that other streaming applications lack, including real-time closed captioning, scheduled streaming, and monetization options such as the ability to embed ads into your livestream. Note, however, that some of the features marked as included with membership tiers come with an additional price tag if you go over the plan limits. Streaming to extra destinations costs an additional $1/hour, more file storage costs $0.50/GB, and closed captions will run an eye-watering $125/hour when enabled. Most disappointingly, the social media studio is only available for Premium plans and higher.

8. Dacast

Dacast offers livestreaming and OTT broadcasting, but lacks multistreaming features. Designed for corporate, entertainment, and educational users, Dacast is ideal if you want your viewers to come to you. Plans start at $39/month after a free trial, and all include the same standard features, including an unlimited number of streams and viewers, scheduled streams, video hosting, and live and VOD playlists. Monthly plans require a minimum 3-month commitment, so do make good use of the free trial before deciding if Dacast is right for you.

9. Resi

Resi provides live streaming and multistreaming to up to 16 different locations, and says it can do so without the buffering issues that cause viewers to switch off by incorporating a short delay into the stream. Pricing is based per-client on your specific needs, so is most suitable to professional streamers and large organizations, but it means you can build your service based around your specific needs. If you’ve decided that livestreaming is right for your online business, it’s worth giving Resi a call.

10. StreamingVideoProvider

StreamingVideoProvider is an all-in-one solution that offers video monetization, deep analytics, custom integrations, and also promises to eliminate buffering. SVP’s EzeCaster Mobile app allows you to host your stream directly from your iOS phone or tablet, or more professional studio setups can use an integrated encoder to broadcast at the push of a button.

StreamingVideoProvider enables multistreaming to any platform, including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, and more. You can even set up custom channels to broadcast simultaneously to several different Facebook pages and groups. And despite offering their own hardware, StreamingVideoProvider is designed to work with any setup and equipment. Plans start at $39/month after a free trial, and all include the same video broadcasting and editing features.

PLATFORMMULTISTREAMINGPRICINGRECORDING
StreamyardFacebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, RTMPFree to $39/moWith highest tier plan
Restream30+ including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, RTMPFree to $41/moWith paid plans
Castr30+ including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, RTMP$14.99/mo to $150/moAll plans
StreamlabsFacebook, YouTube, Twitch, RTMPFree to $19/moLocal recording only
Vimeo LivestreamFacebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, Vimeo, RTMPFrom $75/moAll plans
BeLive.tvFacebook, YouTube, LinkedInFree to $37.50/moPro plan only
VideolinqFacebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, Vimeo, RTMP$19/mo to $499/mo, plus additional feesUnspecified
DacastNo$39/mo and upAll plans
ResiYes, custom plansCustom plansCustom plans
StreamingVideoProviderCustom, including Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitch, RTMP$39/mo to $399/moUnspecified

How to market your livestream

Unless you broadcast pre-recorded video, you only get one shot to get a livestream right, so be prepared to market it aggressively in advance. If an online course has a slow launch, you can always boost your promotional efforts and experiment until you hit on the right messaging to attract learners. There’s no such chance to experiment with live streaming — either your stream has viewers, or it doesn’t.

Before you begin to promote your broadcast, you should first determine the right date, day, and time to publish. Make sure it’s as convenient as possible for the highest number of learners to attend. If the platform(s) you select enable you to create the broadcast in advance, take advantage of that feature to give learners a link to bookmark. Alternatively, include the link to the profile or group page where the livestream will be hosted. Start by announcing the upcoming live stream to your existing audience through your website, mailing list, and social media. Create shareable graphics (Canva is an excellent free/low-cost option for this) and make sure your posts are public and you encourage readers to share.

Build a schedule to remind people about the upcoming stream, and consider using a dedicated email list for interested learners to sign up for reminders about the broadcast. Not only does this give you a good way of distributing the link at the time of the livestream, it also gives you an idea of the number of attendees you’re likely to attract.

As well as mining your connections, and their contacts, reach out to relevant publications in your field and ask them to help promote your livestream. A post on a large, industry-based social account could attract a large number of new learners.

Finally, prepare your livestream for a large organic reach by exploring the algorithms of the platform(s) you intend to use for the broadcast. Does the platform allow hashtags or keywords? If so, research the most relevant and competitive for your niche. Include detailed information about the livestream in the title and description to boost its SEO. And schedule social posts, including relevant keywords and hashtags, to post during the livestream. These can help bring in extra viewers who are online at the same time you’re streaming.

How to monetize a livestream

The final consideration for your livestream is how to monetize the broadcast. While viewers on social media expect livestreams to be free to access, that doesn’t mean you can’t profit from your time, either through sponsorship or upselling other products. Here’s just a few ways that you can turn your livestream into cash.

Charge for access

The most obvious way of profiting from a livestream is to charge viewers to watch. You can use a pay-per-view or subscription model or incorporate the livestream into your wider business model. Charging viewers can make livestreaming extremely lucrative, but it does reduce your options for hosting locations, and makes it unlikely that you’ll attract brand new learners with your broadcast. You’ll also need to consider how professional the finished livestream needs to appear. If somebody is paying money to watch the broadcast, they may expect a more polished product, and that can harm the reputation of subject matter experts who aren’t technically savvy.

Host ads

Several live streaming and multistreaming channels, including YouTube and Facebook, allow content creators to display ads during the stream. You’ll need an account in good standing, which probably means ad monetization won’t be available for your first livestream, but if you’ve already established a video audience on a platform then you can switch on ads for your broadcast. Alternatively, several of the livestreaming and multistreaming software platforms above can facilitate embedding ads from a third-party network into your livestream.

Sponsorships

If you aren’t eligible for display ads, or don’t want to interrupt your livestream, sponsorship is a viable alternative that can pay a higher sum for exclusive promotional rights during your livestream. Approach companies from your field, or who share your target audience. When negotiating a sponsorship deal the sky’s the limit in terms of revenue it can bring in, but you will have to demonstrate the value of your proposition to your sponsor.

Affiliate referrals

Edupreneurs and subject matter experts can benefit from affiliate income when they recommend products and services to their learners. I always caution to only join the highest paying affiliate programs, and carefully consider the companies you stake your reputation on, but sharing a referral link or two for products mentioned during your livestream is a good way of making a little extra income from the broadcast without interrupting it with intrusive ads.

Donations and tip jars

A simple way of monetizing your livestream is to solicit donations with a tip jar. The majority of watchers will ignore it, of course, but it’s becoming increasingly common for online users to reward good content. Hosting a tip jar certainly doesn’t hurt your livestream, and it might buy you a cup of coffee, or even pay for your time.

Upsell your other products

The monetization method that will work before for the majority of subject matter experts is to upsell their books, courses, seminars, and other products. Using an indirect method of profiting from your livestream frees you to multistream across the highest number of platforms and attract as many viewers as possible. This helps to grow your reputation as an expert in your field by reaching many more people and making them aware of your brand.

Final thoughts

Live streaming (or multistreaming) isn’t for every subject matter expert. Your comfort level and technical ability in front of a camera can influence whether live broadcasting is right for you. However, this type of video production has a low barrier to entry and is a great way to practice your delivery in front of a forgiving audience, all while growing your reputation as an expert and educator and potentially generating additional revenue as well.

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Learning Revolution founder Jeff Cobb is an expert in online education and the business of adult lifelong learning. Over the past 20+ years he has built a thriving career based on that expertise – as an entrepreneur, a consultant, an author, and a speaker. Learning Revolution is a place where Jeff curates tips, insights, and resources to help you build a thriving expertise-based business. Learn more about Jeff Cobb here.

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