Live video has arrived! New technology and tools have opened up what used to be a niche activity reserved for tech specialists to everyone. No longer the domain of huge corporations, small business owners are also finding huge wins using live video to engage their customers. It’s evident from social sites such as Facebook and Twitch experiencing unprecedented traffic for live content – visitors don’t just want to watch videos; they want videos in real time. There is no other way to put it – live streaming has become one of the best ways to engage your customers and enhance your brand.
If you’re still undecided, the following are some of the ways your company would benefit from live streaming;
Expand your audience: Recent studies show that 80% of brand audiences prefer watching live video as compared to watching pre-recorded content. Consumers love the content. The moment you begin providing live video, you’re generating attention not only to your content but also to your brand.
Elevate your brand authenticity: Aside from tapping into new audiences and market, streaming is also invaluable for brand authenticity. The market out there is very competitive and one of the things that can help you win more hearts is standing out as being authentic and original.
Grow your traffic and revenue: Live streaming isn’t just about video engagement statistics. If used well, live video has the potential to grow your traffic and increase revenue. According to a Social Bakers study, live videos generate more organic reach than still photos. On social media, live content delivers better value compared to just posting pictures.
So, now that you understand the importance of streaming live video for your audience, let’s get to the real work. How do you create and deliver live content? To make it easy, the process can be broken down into three steps.
As a business you’ll want to have distinct goals for your videos. Whether that’s to raise brand awareness, help customers find success with your product, or increase sales, you need to take steps to get as much as possible from your stream. The following preparation tips can help;
Decide what to stream: There are many types of content that you can stream – a product launch, Q&A session, behind-the-scenes tour, live interview, and so on. Each has its own format and performs better depending on your goals. What are you looking to share?
Prepare your talking points: It doesn’t have to be a long or detailed script, but you should have a rough framework to help you stay on track during the streaming. A key part of livestreaming is interacting with your viewers in the comments, we always recommend reserving some time at the end to answer questions and engage participants in your chat.
Get the word out: You can begin by creating a special pre-event page for the live stream to inform your audience when and where the event will be held. Then, follow that up with an email and social media campaign to get as much attention as possible. Frequency can also be helpful here, plan a weekly or monthly stream at a regular time so your customers know when you’ll be live.
Get your equipment ready:A computer, webcam, microphone, streaming software (like Lightstream), and a quiet location will cover the basics. You can always expand to multiple cameras or add lights to improve the quality once you get the basics down. Here are some useful lighting and audio guides to get you started.
Connectivity: A strong internet connection is a must – remember upload speed is important here. Ideally a stable connection with more than 5 Mbps upload. Try to have a wired ethernet connection as wifi can sometimes be unstable.
Test early and often: If possible, test your setup by streaming to a test page or account a day or two beforehand so you have time to troubleshoot any issues that popup. Is the computer working? Is the software running correctly? Is the microphone picking up your voice ok? Test all the equipment so there are no mishaps when you go live for real.
Step 3: Go Live
On the day of your broadcast, the first thing to keep in mind is that you have an audience waiting and they already have a time and place. The following are a few quick tips that will help you have a successful stream;
Show up early: Get setup and do a last-minute test before you’re scheduled to start. Make sure everything is working and you’re prepped and ready to go!
Let your audience know when you plan to begin: You might have informed them about this earlier, but confirmation is necessary for reassurance. The message can be sent by email, via social, and/or within the live video itself. We recommend going live with a “Starting soon” message, or better yet a countdown to the start of the broadcast. This way anyone arriving early will know that everything is ready to go. Also, any followers receiving a notification that you’ve gone live have time to get to your page before you start the show.
Relax and don’t worry about mistakes: It’s always good to be prepared, but don’t stress over little mistakes. Spontaneity is one of the appeals of livestreaming and your audience will appreciate your ability to go with the flow and adapt to any mishaps that may come up.
Acknowledge your viewers: If possible, make sure your viewers feel welcomed by acknowledging their comments in the chat. Using alert services to automatically display thank you messages to followers can also go a long way to improving viewer engagement with your videos. If your show format allows it, answer questions on the fly. If that’s not possible, leave time for Q&A at the end of your session.
Encourage viewers to like, share, and follow/subscribe: A little bit goes a long way – don’t overdo it, but you definitely want to let viewers know that you appreciate their support. If they’re enjoying the video – those are all ways to help spread the word.
Congrats on a successful stream! You’ve spent the time to create this great video content, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. You can re-purpose the content for maximum reach. Most streaming platforms save your live video so it can be watched again later. Share the recorded video on YouTube, social media, and your blog or website. Also, don’t forget to document the whole process so you can learn and become better in the future.
Looking for more tips, tricks, and advice for live streaming? Check out Lightstream’s Streamer Handbook to find more articles to help you level up your live streams.
Creating a great looking stream shouldn’t require a high end gaming PC or capture card. With Mixer’s Lightstream integration, you can do all the things that pro streamers do to increase audience engagement like add text, branded overlays, and alerts. Lightstream works with any FTL enabled stream to Mixer and is ideal for Xbox streamers who want to add more polish to their stream. The beauty of this integration is that you can go as simple or as complex as you want – and once it’s all setup, you don’t need to open Lightstream for it to work.
Turn on the Integration
Mixer Partners and Pros will have access to the Lightstream Integration beta. To start, head over to Mixer.com and turn on the integration in the “Manage Channel” section of your account. Make sure click to “Save” after flipping the switch or it won’t take effect. When the integration is turned on, anything broadcast to your Mixer channel will route through Lightstream. From there, enter Lightstream Studio and authorize your Mixer account.
Logging in at mixer.golightstream.com will create a single unique Mixer Project for your account. If you’re familiar with Lightstream already, then it’s worth noting that your Mixer Project is special and behaves a bit different than our standard Studio projects.
It automatically starts whenever it receives your Mixer feed, so there’s no manual start/stop button, it only streams to Mixer, and there’s no early access layer types from Lightstream Labs.
If you’re not familiar with Lightstream, let’s do a quick rundown on the interface.
This is the canvas – which is a preview of what you’re sending out to your stream. By default, we’ve added your Mixer Feed, which will be whatever you’re streaming to your Mixer channel from your Xbox or computer.
The top bar will tell you if our integration is enabled as well as if you’re live or offline. The dropdown menu in the upper left lets you get back to your other Lightstream projects or log out.
The left panel contains all the layers you can add to personalize your stream. Hit the green + button to add some. Most of the options are self explanatory – text, images, image slideshows – for example adding a rotating list of sponsors, camera, microphone, and then there are 3rd party integrations. 3rd Party integrations allow you to add dynamic alerts on your stream that are triggered when someone follows, subscribes, and more. Once added, they appear in a list in this Layers panel. If you’re familiar with Photoshop then you’ll understand the layer system pretty quickly. The upper most layer is above everything else while the lowest layer is on the bottom.
The lower portion of the left panel contains all of your audio. If you were to place a microphone or something from your media layers, it would appear here.
Down on the bottom, you have all of your different scenes. You can create a “BRB” screen, Starting Soon, and so forth. Just click a scene to change it on your broadcast.
If you expand the panel to the right, you’ll find a live preview of what’s being sent to your channel as well as your Mixer chat. This panel automatically expands when you go live.
Last but certainly not least – got a question? Need help? Head on over to our live chat support and hit us up.
Branding and personalizing your streams is easier than ever – especially for native Xbox and Windows 10 streamers without a capture card. We look forward to seeing what you create with the Mixer + Lightstream Integration. As always, if you have questions, please hit us up in the live chat or on our Discord server.
Extra Life Game Day is just around the corner! For those not in the know, that means thousands of gamers all over the world will be streaming around the clock this Saturday, raising money to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. While Extra Life fundraising campaigns are happening year-round, Game Day is a special 1-day annual event focused on getting gamers together for charity.
Extra Life has done a great job providing fundraising tools and stream integrations to the community to help brand and show fundraising progress on streams. We want to help streamers using Lightstream engage with their viewers, so we’re happy to announce today that we’ll be supporting the official Extra Life graphic overlay as one of our 3rd Party Integrations!
The Extra Life graphic overlay dynamically updates to show your viewers the progress you’re making towards your fundraising goal, as well as shouts out some of your top and most recent donations.
If you’re fundraising for Extra Life this year, here’s how it works:
Under the Settings Tab, check “Add a stream to your page”, then copy the URL under “Add a graphic overlay to your stream!”
In Lightstream, add a 3rd Party Integration layer and choose Extra Life
Paste the overlay URL from your Extra Life profile.
Prism + Extra Life Game Day
While not required, many streamers choose to do marathon streams (in some cases 24 hours) on Game Day. There are best practices for these types of streams, but another great alternative, is to stream in shifts with a team. This way you get all the benefits of having a marathon stream, without the downsides of potential health complications.
Lightstream Prism is a great tool for streaming with friends – which provides a number of benefits for these types of streams. Not only can you get multiple people on stream at the same time – which is great for viewer engagement, you can also “Solo” streamers which allows one person to take over for awhile until someone else is able to join. By scheduling shifts, you can seamlessly keep the stream going with a steady rotation of participants!
In addition to what we’ve supplied above, Extra Life provides additional stream graphics and instructions for donation services.
About Extra Life
Extra Life unites thousands of gamers around the world to play games in support of their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Since its inception in 2008, Extra Life has raised more than $40 million for sick and injured kids.
October was a busy month – we represented at the Brazil Game Show, Streamlabs Summit, NAB NY, Techstars Foundercon, and Twitchcon. We learned a ton and met a lot of great people. Our booth at Twitchcon was packed all weekend – and we wanted to take a moment to share the fun!
#Bongocat took over Twitchcon
We worked with @StrayRouge, the original artist of the little blob that became #bongocat, to create a unique pin just for Twitchcon. As usual, he stole the show! Word quickly spread that you could pick these up at our booth and we ran out of our stock by Sunday afternoon.
$2,880 Raised for AbleGamers
AbleGamers creates custom gaming setups and assistive controllers for people with disabilities – using the power of video games to improve quality of life with recreation and rehabilitation.
We’re excited to announce that we successfully raised $2,880 for AbleGamers at Twitchcon this year! Thank you to everyone who came by the booth and participated!
How it worked:
Lightstream donated $1.50 for every #bongocat pin that was picked up at our booth (free for attendees) and doubled that donation to $3 for every tweet from the show floor using the hashtag #LightstreamAble. There was a GIF photobooth on site to help attendees make their own fun animation for their tweets.
With the help of our amazing partners – we had another successful raffle this year. Shout outs to Steelseries, EVGA, Madrinas Coffee, and Webaround Gaming for everything you do for the community! The booth was packed and we sent some lucky attendees home with some sweet new gear each day.
Here’s some other fun photos from the weekend!
We had a blast at Twitchcon and hope to see you all again next year!
Not long ago, if you wanted to stream from your console, you’d need serious technical skills or else you’d be out of luck. From finding and buying the right capture card to learning new streaming software on your PC, there were several steps that you had to take before you could get your gameplay from your TV to the internet. Thankfully for console gamers, Xbox has made streaming much easier by building native live streaming to Mixer into the console, which completely eliminates the need for a capture card.
So how does a capture card work exactly? When streaming console gameplay with a capture card, you’re essentially connecting your console to a PC and then streaming from your PC. To put it simply, streaming from a PC = one piece of hardware. Streaming from a console means console + capture card + PC = three pieces of a hardware. That that takes up space and effort. Take a look:
There is a tradeoff with that, of course. Using a capture card gives you better control over your stream settings, options for higher quality visuals, and use of a PC to manage the stream while playing the game. So if you’re either a pro streamer or simply someone who wants the highest quality stream possible, a capture card might be right for you.
If you’re more concerned about cost, ease, and space, Xbox has built native streaming into its consoles for simple streaming on-demand without any hassle of a complicated setup or need for a capture card.
Great, right? Yes! But while Xbox’s native streaming did make console streaming easier, it still lacked the ability to personalize or brand your stream. It was difficult to stand out and grow your following and your audience.
Use Lightstream for Personalized Native Streaming
By integrating Lightstream with Mixer on Xbox, console gamers have the ability to add their own overlays, graphics, slideshows, and text to their stream as well as benefit from engaging viewers with stream alerts which provide the ability to shout out to subscribers, highlight donations, set goals, and more.
How do you get these features in Xbox’s native streaming? All you need to do is enable the Lightstream Studio integration in your Manage Channel section on Mixer.com. The integration is currently in beta, so requires Mixer Partnership or a Pro account which you can get here: mixer.com/pro.
Once you have Mixer and Lightstream Studio set up, it’s easy to stream your gameplay without a capture card or PC software. Your personalizations will be added to your stream automatically every time you go live. As long as you have an Xbox One and an internet connection, you’re ready to begin!
3rd Party Integrations such as Tipeeestream, Stream Labs, and more are a great way to showcase recent subscribers, donations, stats from your game, and even what your chat is talking about, right on the stream. Dynamic alerts like these make it easier to engage with your viewers while streaming, and keep them coming back for more since they feel much more involved. In this tutorial, we’ll be going over just how easy these integrations are to setup and use.
Adding to Editor
Every stream integration works similarly in Lightstream. Each of them outputs stream graphics to a URL link that you’ll copy and paste into Lightstream. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll use Tipeeestream as an example. Start by adding a new layer and select 3rd party integrations. Next, select Tipeeestream from the long list of integrations you’ll see. A rectangular box will appear on the canvas. Please note that the logo and lines that you see here will not appear on stream, it’s merely to demonstrate where the alert will appear. If you deselect it, you can see how it will appear on stream.
Once placed, you can choose to Resize the area or Scale the alert. Dragging while Resize area is selected changes the size of the box that the widget will adjust to. Scaling will keep the proportions of the widget intact.
Finally, you’ll need to head over to Tipeeestream’s website, login, and grab the appropriate URL for the widget you want to show.
Configuring your preferred Integration
Tipeeestream has a lot of options from simple alerts to goals to chat boxes. For this tutorial, let’s setup a simple “Follow Alert” so whenever a viewer follows your channel, it will appear on screen. Once you’re logged into Tipeeestream, you’ll want to go to “Alert Box” on the left side here and then select “Add New”.
In the “Follows” subsection of “Alert Box”, you can set things like layout, animations, image, sound, and more. There are a lot of options here so feel free to play with them until you get the look you want. Make sure the switch is on for “Activate Follow Alerts”. Once you’re done, save your widget, then head to the bottom and copy the “Embed Link”.
Back to Lightstream
Let’s head back to Lightstream. Now, paste the link into your Tipeeestream integration. You can use the test function in Tipeeestream to make sure it’s connected and placed where you want.
And there you have it, you’re all ready to showcase your follower goals and automatically shout out your new followers.
This is just one example of how to use a 3rd party Integration. There are a bunch of options to add dynamic content to your stream. You should definitely play around and explore each of them and see what best fits your needs.
LIVE STREAMING TECHNOLOGY STARTUP, LIGHTSTREAM, INTRODUCES NEW CTO, JENNY FARVER
CHICAGO, January 30, 2019 – Today, the Lightstream team is proud to introduce its newest executive leader and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Jenny Farver. Bringing an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience to the role, Farver is a respected leader in the Chicago tech community with both an MS and PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She will play an essential role in expanding and diversifying the Lightstream engineering team and offerings in 2019.
Farver comes to Lightstream from the marketing influencer platform, PopularPays, another creator-focused company, where she led their engineering department in building a new generation of features that used and generated data. Prior to her role at Popular Pays, Farver was the VP of Engineering at Civis Analytics where she and her team built the company’s flagship data science platform.
“Lightstream is a passionate team filled with engineers who have built and continue to evolve our incredible platform,” said Stu Grubbs, CEO of Lightstream. “That meant in order to find the right CTO we needed a person who would fit and flourish into the culture that we have thoughtfully built, but also provide a fresh new perspective to the leadership team. Jenny shares the same values that we believe are the most important in the success of our business: humble leadership, continual learning, team-wide transparency, good vibes, and empowering our talented engineers as decision makers. She will be integral to our growth for 2019.”
“Lightstream is solving difficult technical problems with tremendous potential reach,” Farver said. “I want to bring a focus to efficiency, technical operations and broadcast metrics — all those pesky numbers that make your users love you when you get them right. Sharpening that focus sounds analytical, but it’s also incredibly cultural. It’s about the behaviors and habits of our team.
“This is a company with incredible heart. I joined because I saw the opportunity to drive breakout technical excellence through the alchemy of team-building. I always want to be advancing the Chicago tech community from two sides: building successful companies and growing our pool of world-class talent.“
Since graduating Techstars and kicking open its doors in Chicago’s River North, the Lightstream crew has delivered a powerful and intuitive live streaming studio to thousands of content creators. In 2018, Lightstream partnered with Microsoft’s streaming platform, Mixer, integrating Lightstream Studio into the native broadcasting experience of Xbox and Windows.
Lightstream is always searching for the right talent and is currently hiring engineers to join the team. With more exciting news to come in 2019, be sure to follow Lightstream on Twitter and at golightstream.com.
About Lightstream Lightstream is a Chicago-based startup built with a true passion for live video production, gaming and supporting the explosive growth of creators and their communities. Its cloud-based technology and products transform difficult technical hurdles into streamlined workflows. Lightstream empowers creators to effortlessly share their passion, talent, and creativity on live streaming platforms like Mixer, Twitch, Facebook, YouTube and more.
The Sean and Thomas Show podcast focuses on conversations with Chicago Tech leaders. This week, our CTO Jenny Farver sat down to talk about her career path, what to consider when growing a team, what drew her to Lightstream, and where our engineering culture is heading.
From Sean and Thomas: We had a great conversation with Jenny Farver, the newly named CTO of Lightstream. Jenny is on her second CTO position and has lots of great advice about life as a Chicago tech leader. We talk about what it’s like to go from developer to technology leader and the challenges associated with it.
About the Show: Welcome to The Sean and Thomas Show! Being involved in the Chicago Tech community the past 4 years, we’ve met some really amazing people. This show brings those stories and conversations to you. We’ll be chatting with Chicago tech founders, freelancers, developers, marketers, and friends. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or feedback