We’ve gathered some of the best tips from our experiences over the past few months with Podbean Live. Whether you’re thinking about doing a live show or have already started live streaming, these can help you run successful live streams and build a larger, more engaged audience.
Set up your live stream for success
- Think of hot topics to cover in your live stream. What topics have you covered on your podcast that most interested listeners (highest # of downloads or most feedback)? What topics have listeners asked for? Is there a hot topic in your industry/niche right now, or a big event, product release, etc.? What’s everyone buzzing about? Is there a popular expert/guest you could have on the live stream? You can also use the live stream to make a big announcement or share some “behind the scenes” or more in-depth information.
- Come up with a catchy title. Once you come up with a topic that will be interesting, you need to grab listeners’ attention. Make sure the topic is clear (and easily searchable). Come up with something catchy, but not so clever that listeners won’t understand it or be able to find the live stream if they’re interested in the topic. Speaking of titles, make sure to make your nickname in Podbean Live something recognizable for your podcast, name or brand. On your home page in Podbean, you’ll see your nickname at the top left. Click the edit icon to change it.
- Two (or more) voices are better than one. Co-hosts or guests can make the live stream more interesting, and even encourage listeners to tune in. It’s easy for co-hosts, guests, and even listeners to call in using Podbean Live.
- Write an outline and prepare. Just because a live stream is a bit more spontaneous doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be well thought out. Don’t waste listeners’ time. Come up with a flow for the live show and come prepared with what you hope to cover. You might want to have extra material and ideas since you are live and things might not go as planned. Be prepared, but adaptable.
- Use a microphone and headphones or headset and test your audio equipment. To avoid echoing, ask all callers to use a headset as well. Here’s a video about how to use a USB mic or interface with Mac. Subscribe to the Podbean Youtube channelfor more video tutorials. Podbean also offers webinars to learn more.
- Be sure you have a good environment and internet connection. Try to live stream from a quiet environment where you won’t be interrupted. Test your internet connection.
Getting listeners to your live stream
- Schedule your live show in advance. Consider what time(s) will be best for listeners (you may even want to ask them/take a survey).
- Think about live streaming at a regularly scheduled time. This provides consistency and gets your listeners used to tuning in.
- Share your scheduled live stream on all your social media and communication channels. Under “actions” for the live show, you’ll find the share button so you can easily share to social media, via email, etc. And, don’t forget to promote your live shows in your podcast episodes! Ask listeners to follow you in the Podbean app so they will always be notified of new live shows.
- Encourage your followers to share too. Podbean’s live stream “engagement score” shows you a measure of how listeners are engaging with the show, and offers listeners ways to support you. One of the ways they can support you is by sharing your shows. Don’t forget to ask them to do so.
- Build excitement for your live streams. Don’t just share a link once and be done. Give potential listeners a hint about what will be happening or why they’d want to join. You can even build in suspense, by teasing a special announcement or guest. Ask questions and solicit listener feedback for the live stream in your social media posts.
Make your live stream awesome
- Consider integrating music. Podbean Live has built-in music you can use for background, intros, and interludes. Music adds atmosphere and can help with the flow of the live stream.
- Interact with your listeners. Thank new listeners for joining. Solicit listener comments and calls. Ask a specific question or for listeners to share an opinion on a topic you’re covering. Do a live listener “poll” or “vote”.
- Make it a conversation. Make sure you respond to listener comments (or assign a co-host to do so). Get a few callers on the live stream at once for a group call. Do a Q&A (respond to listener questions, ask listeners to submit questions for your guest).
- Minimize use of ads or promotional time in live streams. Especially while you’re building an audience, you may want to leave ads out of the live show. You can always edit ads in if you publish your live show as a podcast episode, or start adding them as you build a larger audience.
- Keep up a good pace. Don’t have dead air or bore listeners. This might take some time to hone, but have plenty of backup ideas and keep things moving along. Your live stream does not need to be a particular length, so if you find you don’t have enough content to keep it lively, shorten the time.
- Have fun with it. Podcasting is already an intimate medium. Live streaming adds another level to that intimacy and interaction. It’s a wonderful chance to have fun, try out new or more in-depth topics, experiment and create a community atmosphere. You’ll need to be adaptable, as things can change no matter how much you prepare. Have ideas in mind and don’t get stressed out. Listeners do not expect the same level of polish as they would from a podcast episode, but they like seeing your human side. Live shows can make a great blooper reel for a bonus podcast episode!
- Gamify it. You can even run contests or little competitions around live streams. Podbean shows listeners the level of support they’re giving to your show, including commenting, sharing, listening and sending gifts. From these actions, you see an engagement score. Take advantage of this gamification and encourage listeners to support you in the ways they prefer. This can make listening even more fun. And, you can also consider doing something such as sending top supporters podcast merch, like a sticker or pin. Or, just give them shout outs on the show.
After you’re done, analyze what worked and what didn’t. Use any listener feedback to improve. Even better, analyze results from a few live streams to test out different variables. Specifically ask listeners if they liked certain things, or if you should try something else.
Think about how you want to use live streaming in conjunction with what you’re doing with your podcast. Live streaming offers a great opportunity for listener engagement and doing new things. Think about how it might further your goals and fit into why you’re doing your podcast.
Learn more about Podbean Live and get started. It’s free and open to all podcasters!