September 21, 2016

Have you been wanting to start hosting (or host more) live videos to develop your brand? Great! Then you're ready to embrace the trend that is dominating social media. But first you want to know how you can create better live videos.

Like everything else on social media, just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean they're doing it well... And I don't want you to look bad either! So I've put together my list of top 13, super actionable tips that you can use to make sure your next (or first) live video looks like you're already a real pro!

Practice Talking to Yourself

If you've never hosted a live video, a webinar, a podcast, or other one-way conversation, you NEED to practice this skill. It's easy to talk to someone else on a screen, but when you're just staring at yourself and laughing at your own jokes, it can be hard to keep the conversation going.

Get comfortable talking to yourself in front of the mirror or on camera. Record yourself doing short videos and play them back to see how you sound and look. Would you be entertained by that video? If not, keep practicing!

Know Your End Goal

Why are you doing this video? What do you want to get out of it? Are you looking to drive traffic to your site or opt-in? Maybe you're teasing a new product or promotion.

What do you want your audience to get out of it? Are there actionable takeaways they can apply to their business? Is there a tool or resource or tip that could make them more efficient? Are you going to motivate them?

Knowing these details can ensure you aren't wasting anyone's time and make sure you get real results when it's done.

Have a Plan for the Video Flow

You don't necessarily need to have a bulletized, line-by-line outline of the video content, but you should have a comfortable grasp on the direction of the conversation and the key points you want to cover.

Know how you plan to kick off and introduce the live video, what points you'll cover throughout, and how you'll wrap it up.

PRO TIP: Plan a couple minutes of open dialogue to start the video. A lot people won't jump on the second you start so delaying the "meat" of the call for a couple minutes allows people to tune in. BUT, don't ramble erratically or for too long - then you'll lose people.

Talk For At Least 10 Minutes

In reality, you should aim for at least 20 minutes if you want better live videos. The longer you stay on live, the more people have the chance to tune in and join you. Short 5 minute videos won't get many live views.

Reiterate Your CTA Throughout the Video

Understanding that people are joining in at various times throughout the video, you want to make sure they don't miss your message or call-to-action.

Make sure to point out at various points throughout the video what it is you want them to do. In a 10-minute video, you should do this about 3 times. For a 20-minute video, you could do 4 or 5 mentions.

PRO TIP: Mix them in at natural and logical points in the conversation. When the CTA flows as part of the conversation, it doesn't look salesy.

Have a Good Video Title

Your video title should speak to your audience and the core message/value of the video. Vague, confusing, and click-bait style titles are not effective.

"How To" or best practice type videos and titles show value and resonate with audiences. If you're at an event or talking about an event, include that event name in your video title. If you have a tool or product you're showcasing, list that in the title so people know what to expect.

Find Good Lighting and Clear Audio

Good lighting should be a no-brainer. We want to see you on camera - not a shaded face. Ensure the light is in front of you and ideally a soft light. Big windows make for good lighting!

But remember, this is video, and audio is key. Being somewhere windy or with lots of background noise will ruin a live video quickly. Instead, find a sheltered or quiet area where you can record.

You can also invest in a relatively inexpensive microphone for best audio. Whether a standing microphone like a Yeti or Snowball for your desk or a clip-on microphone for interviews and video "in the field", there are plenty of options to meet your needs.

Use a Tripod

If you're recording a 20 minute video, I guarantee you won't be able to hold up your smartphone for that whole time! And even if you do, you'll be shaking and it gets distracting. Instead, invest in a tripod to support your video broadcasts. I have a couple different options from Arkon Mounts and they are serious life savers when I'm recording any video on my phone.

Stay Close Enough to Read the Comments

If you're using a tripod especially, it can be tempting to move back from the phone. But don't get more than an arm's length away. You want to be close enough to see any comments and questions scrolling into your video feed.

PRO TIP: If possible, have someone moderate the conversation for you, answering questions or dropping links you mention in the video. This helps you focus on the video without having to worry about typing or adding comments into the feed.

Respond to Comments & Acknowledge Viewers

You want to see new comments and be able to read them clearly enough to respond and engage. If people have taken the time to watch you live or, even more so, comment, you absolutely want to address them. If you have lots of viewers, it may be hard to acknowledge them all, but definitely acknowledge those who leave comments.

Expect Lags

Here's something you probably don't realize, but what you're saying and what they're seeing are not in unison. So, when you ask a question or say something, they're getting it a few seconds later. And then, if they have to type a response, that will take even longer.

Plan for lags by asking a question and then talking a little more, maybe even add more context to the question or topic as you wait for your audience to respond.

Embrace Real Life

One of the great things about live video, is that it's, well, live. And life happens when you're on live. Dogs bark, kids cry, neighbors mow their yards, doorbells ring, people walk by or want to talk to you, and whatever else could go wrong, probably will.

That's ok! People know this and as long as you embrace it and make it work for you, you and your video will be ok.

Be Genuinely You

Whatever "you" means, be that! Let your personality shine through on your videos. Don't feel like you have to be a certain personality, or talk a certain way, or look or dress a certain way. Be you and your audience will respect you a lot more.

Embrace your quirks. Laugh at yourself. Talk the way you do with friends and family. Make funny faces. Say weird things. Have an opinion. Share your viewpoints.

Be. YOU.

If you do all these things, you'll be all set to create better live videos! But no matter what, practice makes perfect! I've been hosting webinars, doing training videos, and hosting live videos for years and I still know I can improve. But that's what makes it fun! Growing and learning with each opportunity 🙂

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Jenn, your article is really motivating! Especially enjoyed the tip to practice talking to yourself, check your result and keep practicing.

    Live video is something I’ve wanted to get started for a long time, and when I first rehearsed my first video ever, it was awful! But after a number of tries, I’m getting better. Definitely adding your post to my tips & inspiration collection!

    I think one of the greatest hurdles for most people to overcome is the fear of being on camera. For this, I like watching Gary Vaynerchuk’s first ever Wine Library video (YouTube search “Episode 1 Verite”) because it reminds me that you don’t have to have video quality and everything else perfect at first in order to become a success later.

    Plus, the tips on Evan Carmichael’s video (YouTube search “evan carmichael stop being a perfectionist”) specifically talks about how to overcome this fear, and it helped a few of my social media clients overcome their fear and get their first video out there.

    No question, there’s nothing like video for helping you boost your audience and getting them to know, like and trust you.

    Thanks again for this super helpful article, Jenn!

    1. I’m so glad this inspired you, John. Rest assured, I think everyone sucked on their first attempt too 😉
      It can be really scary to be on camera and have to see/hear yourself. But with practice and having fun, we get better, and get over that fear. Thanks for sharing that resource for overcoming the fear, I’ll have to look into that one. And, you’re right, Gary V wasn’t always what you see now. That has definitely evolved over time.
      I wish you success in your live videos!

  2. Hey Jenn,

    It’s hard to understand the concept of creating videos. I have never tried that. But I am sure that the tips you have provided can help a lot of people.

    Talking to ourselves is the best thing to boost the confidence. I always talk to myself before going to any conference.

    Thanks for sharing this informative post.
    Have a great day.

    1. Thanks Ravi. I’m glad you enjoyed this one and it got you thinking about videos. It is definitely a lot like preparing a great presentation 🙂

  3. Hi Jenn,
    Many a times it sounds so easy to create videos and use it for marketing but the process of video making is tedious as well. What’s your suggestion if you are managing multiple clients and you have to create many videos for all of them? Any quick way?

    1. Videos are very tedious work. It’s part of the reason why I avoid them 😉 But honestly, I recommend doing as many at one time as possible. Set aside a half day to only do videos for multiple people. Once you’re in the video groove and have everything set up, it’s easy to keep going. If you have to film one, stop, start again another day, it’s a more time consuming process.
      Also, consider doing shorter form videos. Remember, a lot of people only watch video replays of 2 minutes or less. So focus on short form content to keep your production work down but ensure your audience is more likely to watch too.

  4. Hi Jenn,

    I am going to start a podcast on my blog and I am already practicing for it.

    You’re absolutely correct that It’s easy to talk to someone else on a screen, but it is really difficult when you’re doing a one way conversation.

    When I read your article, I feel that you’ve written this article exclusively for me because it answer all the questions that are running in my mind right now.


    1. Hi Tauseef! Congrats on your new podcast! That’s so exciting 🙂 I wish you success and hope that these tips help you be more comfortable.

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