close menu

How to Stream Like a Pro: The Essential Guide to Live Streaming

Live videos have become a staple for many brands and content creators today. And if you too want to make an impact in a crowded newsfeed, you can’t dismiss live streams as a vanity metric.

As you plan to embrace the live experience, this guide is all you need to build a deeper connection with your audience and gain more influence in your niche through live streams. Let’s get going.

how to stream

What is Live Streaming?

Live streaming is creating videos live – somewhat similar to live TV. It lets you share content and engage your audience in real-time.

Live video lets you share content and engage your audience in real-time.

While you can’t edit live videos, their raw, uncensored footage is what makes them pretty popular on social.

Why live stream?

Creating live broadcasts is the right move when it comes to connecting with your audience at a more personal level. However, if you need more conviction, here are the key benefits of going live:

1. It grows your audience

Live streaming may very well be your best route to growing your audience fast. The ability to go live across the globe gives you access to a vast audience base that may otherwise not be possible.

2. It’s virtually free

Going live on social media platforms is almost free. For example, you can stream on YouTube or Facebook without spending a penny. Plus, it doesn’t need any fancy equipment or hardware/software to live stream. All you’d need is a phone or computer device with a camera and an account on your chosen live streaming platform.

3. It enables real-time audience interaction

Interacting live with your audience is a boon no other content asset delivers. When you live stream, you connect with your audience at that very moment. This lets you understand your consumers better and build a special connection by answering their questions live.

4. It helps create a content engine

A rookie mistake live steamers often commit is not using the saved live session. There are several ways to use your live recordings and build a content engine out of them through repurposing. For example, you can repurpose your YouTube live stream into a podcast and grow your brand’s presence.

5. It improves your bottom line

By increasing the overall engagement of your brand on the web, you significantly improve your bottom line. In fact, there are several ways to monetize your live streams, which, when used effectively, can generate additional profits.

6. It builds a community of people interested in consuming your content

When you connect with viewers in real-time, those who show up are the ones who want to consume your content. These are warm leads and are highly likely to convert. And even if they don’t convert, the fact that they consume the content when you want them to indicates that they comprise some of the most loyal followers your brand can have.

7. It takes less time to produce

While we all know that videos matter, creating them isn’t so easy. With live videos, things are a lot different. You may need little to no preparation to go live and save hours in pre-production, production, and even post-production phases.

8. It’s fun

Besides offering the many benefits listed above, live streaming is fun and exciting for everyone. As a live streamer, going live gives you a sense of excitement and your viewers a sense of inclusivity that’s hard to beat.

The Live Streaming Must-Haves

Streaming platform

Choosing a streaming platform is a critical competitive benchmark as creators and brands want to maximize the number of eyeballs they get on a live stream. A streaming platform is where you will go live. Also known as a content delivery network (CDN), a streaming platform could be free or paid. Most of the paid CDNs offer a variety of plans that you can choose from — based on your requirements. Some platforms, like Wave.video, even allow you to multistream — that is, be live on multiple live streaming destinations at once.

Meet Wave.video Live Streaming

Robust and easy-to-use multi-streaming platform for streamers of any level.Try now

Video and audio sources

A video source is a piece of equipment that sends video to the live broadcast, and an audio source sends audio into the live stream. While a simple live streaming setup may have one video and one audio source, a multi-camera setup may require several video and audio sources.

Video source examples: Webcam, DSLR, camcorder, PTZ camera, phone or tablet camera, etc.

Audio source examples: USB mics, lavalier mics, handheld mics, audio files, etc.

Lighting

Having the right lighting setup may sound simple but can be a challenge for live streamers. Too much light over your head can cast shadows on your face, and little light or light from a source behind you can create a silhouette that may make viewers cringe. That’s why creating a lighting setup is a must to live stream like a pro. Here’s how you can create it:

a. Use sunlight

Sunlight is the perfect lighting source, and you can use it to your advantage. Just make sure you don’t sit right in front of a window or door with sunlight as it might lead to overexposure, and no one might be able to see you. Instead, sit in the middle of the room, facing the light. Also, create a good balance between the natural and artificial lighting in the room for those perfect-looking live streams.

b. Opt for a ring light

Ring lights are one of the most effective ways to illuminate the room when it comes to going live. Apart from being pretty cost-effective, these are easy to use as well.

c. Get a three-point lighting kit

If you want to advance your lighting setup, consider investing in a three-point lighting kit. It consists of a key light, fill light, and a backlight. Here, the key light is the primary light that shines upon the subject directly, and the fill light does it from a side angle. And the backlight, as the name suggests, puts light on the subject from behind.

Be careful, though. If you are using a three-point lighting kit, remove overhead lights in the room as together the key light and the overhead lights could reflect too much direct light on the subject.

d. Use reflectors

For those live streamers who don’t want to invest in a three-point lighting kit, using reflectors can help. Let’s say you have a light source on one side. You can then use a reflector on the other side as a fill light to reflect and redirect the light back on the subject. This not only fills the light but creates a softer effect than what you get by using artificial light.

Video encoder

Over to some technical stuff here. An encoder is a necessity for live streamers as it translates an audio-video signal into a digital signal for the web. As most video sources like cameras aren’t manufactured for live streaming, you need an encoder to convert the video signals into digital signals for streaming in real-time. That said, you can use a mobile phone or tablet as it doesn’t require an additional encoding device. But a phone or tablet isn’t really a feature-rich encoder.

Suppose you are looking for a dedicated encoder to create professional live streams. In that case, you can use a hardware encoder that doesn’t require a capture card (e.g., Epiphan Pearl-2) or go for a software encoder that may require a capture card (e.g., OBS Studio).

Internet connection

If there’s one thing that you really need to take care of while going live, it’s to have a steady internet connection. While Ethernet is often a good choice, you can also go for a Wi-Fi or cellular (4G/LTE) connection.

To prevent potential lags during your live streams, check the recommended upload speeds for live streaming based on different platforms and ensure you have the minimum upload bandwidth to avoid falling behind on video quality.

Additional equipment

There are a few other accessories that may help you when you go live. Conventional wisdom tells us that investing in the additional stuff can assist in producing studio-quality live streams. So, go on and check these out to see if they can be helpful:

  • Cable ties to organize cables and wires
  • Green screen (chroma key) to change the backdrop
  • Tripod to set up the camera right
  • Boom arm to hold the mic

How to Stream: A Quick Step-By-Step Guide

Read on to learn how to stream right to unlock live stream’s true potential and drive your brand forward:

Step 1 – Set up your phone/computer

Before going live, make sure you have the latest operating system to avoid system lags. You must also reboot the device to keep it running smoothly during the live stream.

Step 2 – Connect audio and video sources

Once the computer or phone is ready, connect your audio and video sources to the device.

Step 3 – Set up the encoder

Next, set up the external or software encoder. In the case of a hardware encoder, configure the settings on the product’s website or use an app. If you are using a software encoder, log into the platform and change the settings as per your requirements.

Step 4 – Connect to the streaming platform

Now go to your chosen streaming platform and log in. If you want to multistream or use a live streaming studio, begin by adding your streaming destinations to the platform. For example, using Wave.video, you can multistream to YouTube, Facebook groups, and Facebook pages.

Step 5 – Check your internet connection

As a live streamer whose goal is to connect with their audiences, you’d need to focus on your internet connection. That’s because, in big ways and small ways, the stability and speed of your internet keep your live stream ‘alive’. Slow or unstable internet connectivity can lead to slow, laggy broadcasts with choppy audio.

To avoid people dropping off from your live stream, perform a dry run on your device and see if everything is working smoothly. It’s also advisable to run a speed test on Speedtest.net before going live. If you feel a lag, consider upgrading your internet bandwidth. You can even keep your mobile phone’s hotspot ready as a last resort.

Step 6 – Create visual elements

The best live streamers know why and what kinds of visual elements can help boost brand recognition through live broadcasts. So, before you hit the live button, prepare custom stream overlays, lower-thirds, banners, frames, and more using Wave.video’s live stream overlay maker. You can also use brand colors, fonts, watermarks, and other graphics to refine your live streaming persona.

How to stream like a pro - Wave.video streaming templates

Live streaming overlay templates by Wave.video

Step 7 – Start streaming

After you have touched all the bases necessary, begin your live stream with a bang! Tell your audience you’re live by posting on social. Tune in to the voice of your followers and produce content that results in relevance and impacts your brand positively.

And give yourself more credit than your live views. Live streaming takes a lot of effort, and you indeed did a great job to build relationships with your audience — more power to you.

10 Cool Examples of Brands using Live Streams

Whether you’re hosting a guest interview live or teasing your viewers to behind-the-scenes footage of an event, you can rock your live streams with a bit of practice and a lot of motivation.

To keep you inspired, here are our top picks of brands that are currently acing the world of live streams:

Apple

If you’re familiar with Apple’s reach and engagement, you should have no trouble fathoming the tech giant’s live streaming expertise. The brand’s USP is hosting live events like no other tech company. Millions of people watch these live streams, and we can’t help but say that we’re a fan too!

Apple Event — September 14

Watch the special Apple Event to learn about the new iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7, iPad mini, iPad, and more.

Kohl’s

With an increasingly growing audience base, Kohl’s certainly knows what it takes to build a loyal community online. This department-store chain does a great job at using the right blend of education and promotion to keep the audience engaged during their live streams. For example, check out this Facebook live stream where influencer Brittany Balyn shares products perfect for last-minute gifts.

Kohl's Live Stream

Callaway Golf

Want to go for live announcements with pre-recorded videos? Well, take a leaf from Callaway Golf’s live broadcasts and ride the wave of live streaming like a pro!

Aloha! ICYMI we have some Big News from Hawaii this week!

Check out a recording of our live stream from Kapalua in Maui. Until then ALOHA!

Mashable

Mashable is the perfect example of how to align live streaming with your brand style. The company has been boosting its social media presence with flawless live broadcasts for quite some time now and has cultivated massive brand loyalty along the way.

Making Viral TikTok Pasta Chips With the Magic Bullet Air Fryer | What's The Deal?

Pasta chips have been all over TikTok and now we're going to show YOU how to make them.

MTV

After rocking the world of television, MTV realized live streams could be fun too. The cable channel has been driving viewership on the small screen by giving viewers a live peek into some of the hottest events!

LIVE from the 2021 VMA Red Carpet!

The 2021 Video Music Awards are here and MTV is live from the red carpet! Let us know in the chat who you are most excited to see.

BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed never fails to show how big of an impact you can make through live streams by capturing your audience’s attention. Take this live broadcast, for example, where they connect with the audience over ideas on making the most of the winter season and have garnered tens of thousands of views within just a couple of hours of going live:

BuzzFeed live stream

Target

Target plays the live streaming game right by digging deeper into conversations that their audience resonates with. Check out how they brought nostalgia, interactive gaming, and comedy into the mix through this live broadcast:

Target Live: Gaming Then & Now

Take a trip down memory lane with us as we go LIVE with LankyBox and Michelle Khare for a fun mix of nostalgia, comedy, and interactive games.

Social Media Week

Social Media Week (SMW) is an excellent example of how conferences and workshops can be hosted and marketed live. Owned and operated by Adweek, SMW does live streaming right by inviting guests, sharing industry insights, and discussing future trends.

Future Trends in Music Marketing with Beats & Bytes and Triller

Join Social Media Week, Beats & Bytes, and Triller for a discussion about trends and predictions in music marketing.

Molbak’s Garden + Home

Heard of the live tutorials trend? Molbak’s Garden + Home knows how to capitalize on this trend and draw impressive views. The brand conducts live tutorials addressing common gardening issues and interacts with its followers in real-time. Besides fostering brand affinity, this example also tells us how live streams can establish you as an industry authority – only if done well!Learn how to stream

Bold Commerce

With live broadcasts, staying relevant is everything. Bold Commerce hits the bullseye with live streams that give viewers the foresight to leverage industry dynamics, such as this insightful one on subscriptions and retention:

Subscriptions 2021: Reduce churn and foster lasting relationships

We're LIVE with Patrick Campbell, CEO @ ProfitWell on everything #Subscription & #Retention! Discover what the top subscriptions brands are doing to reduce churn and drive retention through the roof!

Let’s live stream!

This guide is the perfect starting point for brands and content creators to build a new audience.

For in-depth tips on promoting your live streams, check out our free and comprehensive guide on 35 Easy Ways to Promote Your Live Stream to Get More Viewers.

We’ll keep you in the loop!

Join 5,000 marketers who read our articles first