Webcasts are a cost-effective way to augment your outreach while generating content for your site and social media channels. Webcasting increased in popularity with the proliferation of services that offer live stream options. If you want to know how much it costs to hire a pro to do a webcast for you, visit our video calculator. If you are considering a live webcast of your event, here are a few easy tips to make your next event a success.
1. Site Visit
Whenever possible, visit the site of the webcast. Specifically, take your laptop and some ethernet cable and test the specific internet jack you will be plugged into on the day of the event. If at all possible, don’t just meet with the event planner, but with someone in the IT department of the facility who can help you troubleshoot. Once connected, open your browser and go to www.speedtest.net. You should be getting, at a minimum, 1 MBs upload speed. And note that you should avoid using wireless, mainly because you’ll likely be sharing that connection with everyone else at the conference, so your bandwidth could suffer.
2. Good Audio
It may seem counter-intuitive, but good audio is more important than good video. For some videographers, however, it's an afterthought. Your videographer will want an audio signal, either mic or line level, on a cable that uses a professional ¼” or XLR jack. That usually means a “mult box” will be provided by the facility, or at least the audio tech can provide a line out from the mixing board. If there will not be an audio tech on hand during the event, then definitely check out the audio situation while you are there to test the Internet connection. Some facilities, especially ones that are heavily automated, might not be able to provide a feed of the house sound. So best to know this ahead of time and prepare for it.
Most of the events I tape are in huge, dark conference rooms. If it's dark, and the camera is far away from the podium, the picture will be very grainy. Adding lights can be an expensive prospect, but if you can afford it, it makes a huge difference. Lighting is perhaps the single best thing you can do to improve the quality of your video.
4. Promote and Ask
Organizations spend lots of time and energy planning events, but they often treat the webcast as an after thought. The webcast needs to be promoted. Add notices to the footer of your email. Put a notice in your next newsletter. Send out invitations through Eventbrite, or whatever platform you use to manage registrations. It’s important to ask people to register -- get them to commit. That will increase the chance that they watch and it allows you to remind them as the date approaches. Where possible, incorporate the call-to action in your promotional materials. You can use any addition impressions or traffic generated in your case study.
5. Content plan
The great thing about webcasts is they are recorded, so the event footage can be repurposed into short social media clips, b-roll for montage reels, or highlights for featured web content. One thing I always suggest is to send a short description and links to all your speakers, they are usually quite happy to spread the message of their presentation on Twitter and Facebook. Remember to work with other departments in your organization to find ways to use the footage with other marketing efforts.
Obviously, a lot goes into a great webcast, and this list is just an overview. Webcasting is a lot of fun, and by following a few best practices, your cast will be great and you'll have a happy client. And one final bonus tip:
Bonus Tip: Measure
Don’t forget to grab your analytics from the event and combine that with numbers you grab from Google, YouTube, Facebook, etc., if you had repurposed the footage for other content. Not only will it give you some insight into what worked and what didn’t, but it could help you justify the funds for the next time you want to do a webcast.