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How to Live Stream on YouTube: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

How to Live Stream on YouTube A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Brands and businesses spend a tremendous amount of time on blog posts, social media videos, and gated content to build a community.

However, they often miss out on one of the most exciting content formats that serve the purpose well. It’s live streaming.

How to live stream on YouTube

Live streaming is a popular way to introduce new products, host virtual events, and share behind-the-scenes footage with the world in real-time. And YouTube is an excellent platform to do all this and more.

With YouTube Live, you can build a loyal audience by instantly connecting with the viewers and responding to their queries and comments. In addition, it’s a fantastic way to grow your YouTube channel by adding credibility to your video content.

In this guide, you’ll learn what exactly YouTube Live is, how to live stream on YouTube, and some tips to make your YouTube Live videos a crowd puller.

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What is YouTube Live?

YouTube Live is a feature that lets you interact with your target audience in real-time.

When you live stream on YouTube, your live videos go in the “Live” section, on the left-hand side of the YouTube homepage.

YouTube Live Streaming

Users navigate the Live section to check out live streams of their interests. While some can come across your live content under the live section, some can see that on their feed, especially if they have watched your videos or watched similar ones. Then, of course, your subscribers will also find your live stream on their homepage.

Wondering how to do live streaming on YouTube? You can go live on YouTube using a webcam, mobile, or an encoder.

While webcam and mobile are perfect for beginners who want to go live without any hassle, encoder streaming is a good choice for live streamers who wish to advance their streaming capabilities with features like screen sharing, broadcasting gameplay, external audio and video hardware connectivity, etc.

How to Go Live on YouTube: Enable Live Streaming

To begin YouTube live streaming, you need to have a channel on the platform. Creating a channel is free, and every user who has a YouTube account or logins via Google (to view YouTube) gets a channel.

Once your YouTube channel is set up, you need to verify it to enable live streaming. First, go to youtube.com/verify and enter the details (your phone number) into your account. You’ll then have to key in the verification code you’d receive through SMS.

After channel verification, you get access to YouTube Live as long as there have been no live streaming restrictions in the past 90 days.

Note: To live stream on YouTube, ensure that your live stream content abides by the community guidelines.

How to Go Live on YouTube: Choose a Stream Type

Before you go live on YouTube, choose a type of stream from the following options: mobile, webcam, and encoder:

Mobile

To live stream on YouTube from your mobile, you should have at least 50 subscribers and an Android 5.0+ device. If you have less than 1,000 subscribers, YouTube may impose a limitation on the number of your live stream viewers.

Steps to live stream on YouTube from a mobile

1. Download and open the YouTube mobile app on your mobile.

2. Click Create (camcorder icon) in the top-right and select “Go Live”.

3. Grant the required permissions (camera, microphone, storage, etc.)

4. Choose your device’s front or back-facing camera by tapping the camera icon in the top-right.

5. Now give a “Title” to your live stream and select “Privacy”.

6. Press “More options” to include a description. You can also schedule your YouTube live stream for later by tapping More options.

7. Tap “Show More” to set options for live chat, age restriction, etc. Click “Show Less” to exit and choose “Next”.

8. You can now take a picture or upload one as a thumbnail for your live stream.

9. Tap “Share” to share your live stream’s link on social.

10. Finally, click “Go Live”.

11. To end your live stream, click “Finish” and then press “Ok”.

Webcam

If you have a desktop or laptop and want to go live using a webcam, you can use this option. You’d need either Chrome 60+ or Firefox 53+ to live stream on YouTube using a webcam.

Steps to live stream on YouTube using a webcam

1. On your Chrome 60+ or Firefox 53+ browser, go to the YouTube dashboard.

2. Click Create in the top-right and choose “Go live” from the drop-down.

3. Next, choose “Right now” or “Later date” depending on when you want to go live.

How to go live on YouTube

4. Then, select “Built-in webcam” and start creating your YouTube live stream.

How to live stream on YouTube using a webcam

Alternatively, select “Webcam” on the left.

5. Now, enter a title and description and choose your preferred category. Also, select the audience by checking “Yes, it’s made for kids” or “No, it’s not made for kids”.

6. On the “Customization” tab, select your preferred settings related to “Live chat”, “Participant modes”, etc.

7. Choose the visibility option and enter the date and time if you want to schedule your YouTube live stream. Finally, tap “Done”.

8. You will now get a stream preview. Check the camera and mic settings and tap “Share” to share your live stream on social. Then, whenever you’re ready, hit “Go Live”.

9. To stop, click “End stream”.

Encoder

You can consider the encoder stream type to elevate your audience’s live experience by accessing features like screen sharing, gameplay, video hardware, etc.

Steps to live stream on YouTube using an encoder

1. Choose and download your preferred encoding software. Check the list of YouTube Live verified encoders before proceeding.

2. Go to the YouTube dashboard, click “Create” in the top-right and choose “Go live” from the drop-down.

3. Select “Stream” on the left if you want to go live immediately. If you’re going to schedule the stream for later, select “Manage” and click “Schedule stream” in the top-right.

4. Add your live stream’s title, description, and category. Also, choose your preferred privacy setting and upload a thumbnail.

5. Click “Create stream”.

6. Go to “Stream settings,” and copy the stream key and paste it into your encoder. If required, copy the YouTube stream URL and paste it into the encoder.

7. Finally, go to your encoder and start the stream from there. If you’ve scheduled your live stream, tap “Go live” in the top-right whenever you want to stream.

8. To end the broadcast, click “End stream”.

10 YouTube Live Streaming Tips

No matter what industry you belong to or which product or service you offer, live streaming on YouTube can help you build a community, connect with your audience and improve your bottom line.

Here are some fantastic YouTube live streaming tips you can incorporate to reach, engage and delight your live audience:

1. Plan and prepare

The old video marketing success playbook is no longer sufficient to keep those views coming. So now, as you bring live video content into the mix, make sure you focus on planning and preparation more than execution. Because, as they say: well begun is half done.

So, begin by defining the goal you want to achieve from your live video. For example, is it more signups for your newsletter? Or, more registrations for your upcoming workshop?

Based on the goal you want to accomplish, plan and prepare for the following:

  • Title and description of the stream
  • Relevant hashtags
  • Video thumbnail
  • Time and date of your live stream and whether you want to schedule the stream
  • Estimated duration
  • Script or an outline of the points you’d want to discuss during your live stream
  • Host and co-host (if any)
  • Chat moderator(s)
  • Call(s) to action

Pro Tip: If you’re not sure of your YouTube live stream’s topic, ask your audience. You can run an Instagram Story poll or share a teaser asking for suggestions about topics your viewers are interested to learn more about.

2. Have a proper live streaming setup

After you’ve learned how to live stream on YouTube and have prepared to go live, make sure you have a proper setup to move things in the correct flow. Here’s what’ll need your consideration at this stage:

  • Equipment. Whether you’re going live from a mobile, laptop, or desktop, have your gear ready and check all that you’d need before hitting that go live button.
  • Lighting. The subject should be well-lit with no distracting clothes.
  • Framing the shot. Learn how to properly frame a human face to create an impactful live stream.
  • Have a good upload speed. Focus on the upload speed to ensure your viewers can hear and see you well during your YouTube live session.
  • Remove distractions. Any distraction that may affect your live stream is a big no. Turn off ringers and other device notifications and choose a quiet, noise-free place for live streaming to maximize live video success.

3. Set up your channel page

Alright, so focusing on your live stream’s title and description isn’t enough. You need to give equal, if not more, attention to your YouTube channel page. You can win your audience with:

  • A channel trailer: Tell your target audience what your channel is all about with a killer channel trailer. Treat it as your shortcut to more subscribers, and so, make it catchy and powerful enough.
  • A featured video: Create a stunning featured video for those who have subscribed to your channel. It will be the first thing that your subscribers are likely to notice when they go to your channel homepage.
  • Featured sections: You can customize your channel page’s layout with up to 12 sections. As you do that, don’t forget to create a special section for your live streams to help your viewers access your saved live content quickly.

Here’s how Wave.video rocks with a fantastic YouTube channel page:

Wave.video channel page

4. Promote the live stream

As soon as you’ve figured out how to go live on YouTube, give enough thought to promoting your upcoming live event. Promotion, when done right, has the power to take your live stream in front of your viewers.

Luckily for you, we have curated a list of 35 Easy Ways to Promote Your Live Stream to Get More Viewers.

So, go on, prepare the right promotional assets for your YouTube live broadcast, and build buzz to gain traction before you go live.

5. Engage to keep them coming

Whether you’re creating your first live video or twentieth, applying tactics that further audience engagement is crucial. So, enable live chat to help your audience interact with you in real-time and give shout-outs to make them feel connected.

At the beginning of the stream, you can also announce special giveaways or a much-anticipated reward like a teaser of your upcoming product and keep your viewers hooked till the very end.

And don’t forget to reintroduce yourself or other hosts throughout the live stream when you see a significant jump in viewers. It will give the new viewers a sense of what your live stream is about and what’s in for them.

Finally, be upfront and ask for more shares, likes, comments, and subscriptions to improve your live video engagement rate.

6. Create a YouTube Premiere

Most people don’t enjoy sharing information in real-time. If you’re one of them, you can leverage YouTube Premiere and live stream a pre-recorded video. Similar to a movie or TV premiere, a YouTube Premiere lets you watch a video together with your audience in real-time.

Apart from being the best bet for those who feel uneasy in front of a live camera, a YouTube Premiere is an excellent choice for those who can’t do without unbeatable production quality.

Check out more about YouTube Premieres in this video:

YouTube Premieres

YouTube premieres is a feature that lets you and your viewers watch and experience a new video together, much like a movie or TV show premiere. Premiering your video allows you to schedule a video upload and to create buzz around the video with a shareable watch page.

7. Monetize your YouTube live streams

Let’s face it, not all brands and creators go live just to improve their audience engagement. Some want to make money through their live streams as well. And the good news is, it’s easy. Here’s what you can use to monetize your YouTube live broadcasts:

Ads

Eligible channels that have enabled monetization can use pre-roll ads, mid-roll ads, and display or overlay ads to make money during their live streams. While it’s not guaranteed that viewers will see ads during live streams, many still do – so, it’s worth a shot.

Super Chat

Super Chat is another YouTube feature you can use to monetize your live streams. With Super Chat, you let your viewers purchase a chat message that stands out from the rest.

Channel Memberships

If your channel has access to channel memberships, you can create memberships that let your viewers join your channel for monthly payments. The viewers, in turn, will get access to members-only perks like public badges, emoji, etc.

8. Create a live series

Creating a live series is one of the most long-lasting ways to build your YouTube live audience and gain more credibility. When your viewers know when to catch you live each week or month, they will build your live session into their schedule and will most likely tune in.

Just make sure to maintain consistency. Choose a time slot that’s perfect for most of your viewers and drive-up watch time.

Check out how StreamYard levels up YouTube live streaming with several live series:

StreamYard live series

9. Don’t miss out on analytics

Even the strongest video strategy won’t work if you ignore analytics. To ensure your live videos are what your audience needs, check real-time and post-live YouTube analytics.

Study the key elements like your subscriber growth and total watch time to understand which content drives more viewers. Better yet, keep track of the demographics to know who’s watching your live broadcasts the most. It will give you a clear picture of your niche, and, as a result, you can tweak your live strategy accordingly to win more viewers.

10. Be willing to repurpose

How you repurpose your live streams is just as important as how you create them. For example, you can convert them into podcasts, use quotes from your live streams and post them on social media as graphics, or even create blog posts.

Thus, once your live video sees success, go the extra mile and double down your brand’s content with repurposed live streams. Here are 12 Smart Ways To Repurpose Your Live Streams For More Content to get you started.

Grow Your Channel with YouTube Live Streaming

Brands and businesses should always be looking for ways to improve their live video strategy. And the tips mentioned above can help them do precisely that. Once you have understood how to live stream on YouTube, jumpstart your live streams by following these tips and stand out from the competition.

And don’t forget to tell us which one of these tips have you used earlier? Did you get the desired results? Leave a comment below and help us understand live streaming better.

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