Tips & Tutorials

Get the latest streaming video tips and read in-depth tutorials on broadcasting, live streaming, VODs, asset security and video content delivery strategies.

Live Video Meets Public Relations and Advertising: How to Extend Your Reach and Win New Customers

Last week Ustream’s SVP of Marketing, David Thompson, and the Vice President of Digital & TV Entertainment at Emmis NY, Lin Dai, hosted a workshop at PRSA’s 2013 International Conference in Philadelphia titledLive Video Meets PR and Advertising: How to Extend Your Reach and Win New Customers.”  It became clear during the workshop that publicists are interested in integrating live video into their publicity plans, but many of them either didn’t know where to start, or they already had a plan, but weren’t sure how to get the best ROI.  Integrating video into your B2B and B2C plans has been such a hot topic lately; we’re fielding inquiries like these more and more lately. And because we get questions like these so often, I decided to write an article highlighting David and Lin’s five points for how to seamlessly integrate live video into your publicity plan.


I Stream, Do You Stream? Here’s How to Ustream Pt.1

 I stream, do you stream?

Better yet, do you know how to Ustream?

Knowledge IS power, and today is your lucky day to bulk up on some broadcast know-how. Welcome to my weekly How-to blog series, nicely packaged in a Cliff-Note format – for those whose heads immediately begin to throb when the conversation gets too technical.

Let’s start with the basics shall we?

Ustream Meme


Ustream Like a BOSS: 5 Tips to Take Your Broadcast from Lukewarm to Legendary

HIghlightsByLakeshia

What is the most memorable thing you have seen on Ustream in four years?

Having covered all different aspects of curation at Ustream for such a long period of time, this is a question I am constantly asked, and I am always ready with the same response:

I remember sitting down at my desk in the morning, turning on my computer, and one of the first channels to catch my eye was a black screen that for some reason had 20,000 simultaneous views. I checked the profile for a location and it was located in Egypt. We were witnessing in live time a whole nation’s cry in the dark for help. The power of Egypt’s chants for freedom resonated loud and clear, and we soon realized we were witnessing a nation’s history being written. That morning we watched the birth of Egypt’s Arab Spring.


Streaming Weddings As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Streaming Weddings As Easy As 1, 2, 3

Summer has officially started, and with that comes the likes of beaches, barbecues, and our topic of the day: wedding season. At Ustream, we’ve seen a huge uptick in wedding webcasts, as an increasing number of couples nowadays are weaving technology into their wedding planning. In fact, nearly 20 thousand streaming weddings have been broadcast on the Ustream live platform over the last 12 months. Not only that, but we expect the numbers to keep climbing as well.

Check out the infograph below for more numbers. Wedding planners and videographers are well aware of the growing trend, as they realize the opportunity to further expand their offerings. If you are a first time broadcasters, though, and want some generally applicable advice please read our 5 Pro Tips for Live Video Production before your first live stream.


The Anatomy of a Successful Music Broadcast Event

Guiding countless artists and musicians through the live broadcast experience, you learn a tip or two regarding the science of a successful broadcast. There are a few elements involved that really contribute to a successful music broadcast: content, interactivity, promotion, and most importantly, distribution (aka embed syndication). Half of my job entails that our featured broadcasters hit on as many of those criteria as possible.

Enter Amalgam Digital. The indie online record label with a penchant for innovative online initiatives put together a pitch perfect broadcast event for their newly acquired star talent, rapper Joe Budden. Once upon a time, Joe Budden was a Grammy-nominated, major-label artist with a monster single in heavy rotation.

Half a decade later, Joe Budden and the Amalgam Digital team organized a broadcast event that far outperformed most of the bigger name, currently “hot” artists that have passed through the broadband walls of Ustream.TV.

Here’s how they did it…

Content:
The concept was simple but effective: Joe Budden would start the broadcast with a Q-and-A webchat, then segway into the final studio session as he worked on the finishing touches of his upcoming “Padded Room” album. This works on several levels:

1.) Interactivity: Live video allows for real-time interactions — take advantage of it. Viewers can watch recorded content anytime they want and leave one-off comments, but there’s only one chance to BE a part of the content. Give your fans that in-the-moment excuse to show up on time.

2.) Exclusive peak at the creative process: Watching two hours of someone’s workday can be boring if it’s pre-recorded. But there’s a certain magic to hearing snippets of an anticipated album for the first time, especially AS it’s being created. Give your fans a chance to say “I was there when…”

3.) Stamina: Broadcast events are like real-world music events; sometimes folks show up late. Joe Budden planned on going 3+ hours, giving his fans plenty of time to gather around and build viewership momentum. Too often, artists shut off a broadcast after chatting for 30 minutes, leaving their fans hanging at the peak of their interest. Give your broadcast a breathing chance to go viral… go for the distance!

While the Budden event was clearly a one-off, I should also mention that regularly scheduled programming also plays well over live video.

And that’s content for ‘ya… let that marinate as you cook up some creative inspiration.

Promotion:

If a tree falls in an empty forest, does it make a sound?

Amalgam Digital did a great job making sure that forest was full of people. Two days before the broadcast, Amalgam sent out a press release announcement to their network of bloggers and online pubs. Pitching it as an innovative live broadcast event that it was, several online publications bit:

Myspace, Myspace, Myspace…

… and Purevolume and Facebook and Virb and blogs and websites and label sites. Make blasts, embed onto your profile.

Get creative. Ask your fans to take embeds and throw it up wherever they can. Give out an autographed CD to the fan that embeds and blasts on the most amount of websites, blogs and landing pages.

Embed Syndication:

But more than just getting the word out, Amalgam took the next critical leap and hooked uber hip-hop blog Nahright.com to syndicate/embed the entire experience from it’s own eyeball-heavy domain:

Once it hit Nahright.com, a trail of copycat blogs picked up the syndication embeds, effectively creating an instantaneous viral trail on a LIVE event! Check out some of the stops on the trail:

Tapedown.com
DigitialUnderground.com
YoRapper.com
Realtalkny.Uproxx.com

Sometimes broadcasters get protective over their content and their own destination sites. Indeed, 90% of the Budden studiocast was viewed via embeds outside of the Amalgam/Ustream domain.

Ask team Budden yourself, and they’ll tell you that embedded distribution via Nahright was directly responsible for their record-smashing traffic on AmalgamDigital.com. Taking advantage of Ustream’s hyperlinkable text overlays (see below), Amalgam brought Joe Budden front and center to where the eyeballs were already glued. The in-video hyperlink overlay effectively converted those viewers who were already hooked:

Lesson being, be very open about your content. Don’t have access to uber-bloggers? Start with the sites you have control of. Post and embed on your Myspace and Purevolume accounts, your blogs, your sites, etc. Give your fanclub or street team the embed codes, and let them go wild tagging up the clean white walls of the internets. Send out text message blasts to your friends.

Point being, go directly to where the eyeballs are at. Attenion spans are short these days, so fid ways to reduce the amoun of clicks it takes to get to your show, and you’re golden.

The Aftermath:

Digital Amalgam smashed their previous single-day traffic numbers, translating into a spike in pre-order sales for their digital music storefront. With an ounce of creative vision and a dash of inspired execution, Jay and Felix over at Amalgam Digital took advantage of Ustream’s gratis platform to the fullest, garnering the type of Buzz and PR normally reserved for big budget marketing campaign.

Do you have the next killer idea for your artist or music event? I’d love to hear it out and help you execute. Shoot your idea and contact on over to music ustream dot TV. Let’s make it happen!

Stream videos at Ustream


Your Daily Music Lesson With Walt

Recently I’ve seen an increase in out of the box thinking on Ustream – Comics drawing new strips on camera, cooking shows, screen casts of new video games, the list is endless…

Now we have music lessons. The teacher, singer-guitar-player- extraordinaire, goes by “Walt”.

walt_screenshot.pngEvery weekday Walt goes in front of his camera and gives music lessons to 200-300 people. Using our co-host feature he encourages willing viewers come on and perform their various musical talents – giving them a chance to have some one of one time. His show is well produced, consistent, and he posts on Twitter whenever he goes live – Walt gets it.

According to his bio Walt started playing guitar at the age of 16. He has an associates degree in Jazz Performance and a Bachelor’s in Music Composition. Over 50,000 total Ustream viewers and 750+ YouTube subscribers. Walt’s audience is growing rapidly and shows no signs of slowing down – at this speed he’s going to teach the entire world to sing and then he’ll have nothing left to teach!

Walt – Ustream commends you on your expertise in music and your ability to captivate an audience and handle a class of over 200. Keep it up.

P.S. – We usually post on Twitter when he goes live, so follow us here and subscribe to our blog here.


Get It Embedded: How to Attract Viewers to Your Live Shows, Part 2

Inspired as I was by Matt’s Social Marketing entry, I wanted to add my 2 cents worth on the topic: embedded syndication.

By the way, we are completely open to your tips and tactics on how successful ways of promoting live online shows. Leave them in the comments, or write an entry about it in your own blog for us to link to.

Syndication: Get It Embedded

Sometimes it’s hard to get people to watch a show at a prescribed time. Instead of getting viewers to come to you, try going to where the eyeballs are already at.

Whenever possible, embed your stream on web properties that already have inborn traffic. Get stakeholders involved in promoting the show, and while you’re at it, give them your embed code to throw up alongside any online promotion they might do. Think strategically about all the stakeholders involved in your content, if/where they have an online presence, if any other web properties might be interested in these stakeholders, and how to get your stream up so that it makes sense for everyone involved.

toriamos_screenshot.jpg

For example, if you have a guest musician on your show, have them throw up an embed to the video right on the destination page they might be promoting their appearance, whether it be a Myspace, a blog, or any other online social media presence. Perhaps this artist has an online fan club that might be interested in the content – shoot ‘em an embed code along with the URL. Perhaps the artist himself can put out a call in the beginning of the show to have his fans throw up the embedded video on their pages. And so on and so forth until the point of diminishing return.

It’s a way to hypnotize convert entice eyeballs that happen to be on any given stakeholder site during the actual live stream. The embed code is short, easy, and innately promiscuous; don’t be shy about sharing it far and wide!

embed-screencap2.jpg


Social Marketing: How to Attract Viewers to Your Live Show

As opposed to a blog post or a YouTube video, which are static and people can view at their leisure, your Ustream show is live and you must undertake the difficult task of grouping your viewers together concurrently and at a specified time. Through a combination of long and short term announcements you can use Social Marketing to capture their attention.

socialnetworking.jpg

Your Blog:
The important thing about your blog is that your subscribers will read it at some point. It might not be now, or in an hour, but chances are they will see the post before the day is over. You won’t be able to use your blog to get instant viewers, but it is a great place to notify them of future shows. Think of it as planting a seed… some will remember and some will forget, but either way they definitely hear about your show (this helps because when you post about it later on Twitter they will remember the blog post). (Tip – Announce your upcoming show three days before – then mention it again the day of)

Twitter:twitter_bird.gif
If Twitter wasn’t your best friend, it is now. Become intimate with this beautiful tool because it is the best way to get instant viewers. Post a message to Twitter ten to twenty minutes before you go live – this way your followers can put aside time and they know its coming up. Post again once you go live. Truth be told a lot of people will forget that you’re going to do a show, especially if its your first time. Twitter is the perfect way to remind them. (Tip – Don’t just spam a link to your show, make sure to keep it friendly and human, maybe ask a question. Then be sneaky and inconspicuously put the link in.)

Newsletters, Social Network Messages:
Use sparingly! I know it, you know it, everyone knows it – Spam sucks. Do not spam. Newsletters and other ways of messaging are good ways to notify potential viewers, however you must do it with tact. Once in a while is fine just don’t use a lot of exclamation points and keep it simple. If they get annoyed then stop immediately – you’re doing something wrong and continuing will only hurt you.

Thats today’s short Social Marketing lesson.

I’ll be posting a series of these so you should probably subscribe to the blog. If you have any questions, or different ideas leave a comment and I’ll respond. Even better – if you have different ideas – go write your own blog post and then send me the link!

(Follow/talk to us on Twitter)


Penny Arcade Draws Comics Live – Creativity to the MAX!

Penny Arcade, the epic top dog of all internet comics, has started using Ustream! In an amazing example of creativity the creators of Penny Arcade have been drawing the comics live!Penny Arcade - “Cookie BRB”

It takes a creative forward thinker to fully take advantage of live video. Unlike television shows, or even live television, Ustream allows you to interact with your viewers. Now with television in mind you wouldn’t know what to do with this – you’d sit there doing your show but fail to acknowledge your viewers. Penny Arcade isn’t even thinking of TV. They’re thinking internets and only internets. The show is awesome.

Not only do they draw the new comics in front of a thousand fans – they talk to the chat by scribbling words across the comic! “getting a cookie BRB” or “hi user3434” isn’t a rare sight on the Penny Arcade live stream.

Its so exciting to see the many ways people think up to use Ustream. Classrooms, eclipses, speeches, tech shows, voice lessons, and now comics drawn in front of yours eyes. I wonder what will be on tomorrow…


Dead Air – The Live Stream Killer

akaufman1.jpgBack in the 1950’s and 60’s, much (if not most) early broadcast radio and television programming was produced and broadcasted live.

The skills of producing a live broadcast were refined and improved through the years. Early radio broadcasters like Alan Freed and Dick Clark, TV soap operas like As The World Turns and The Edge Of Night, most US News coverage, sporting events like the Superbowl and of course shows such as Saturday Night Live all have also used live television as a device to gain viewers by making their programs more (or atleast appear) exciting.

But the skills these producers used, whether for the 1969 Landing on the Moon, the ’96 Dallas Cowboys Superbowl victory or the live episode of ER in ’97, are no different than for a live Ustream show or event. Since we launched the company in March, the most successful broadcasts on Ustream utilize these somewhat forgotten techniques of broadcasting.

So what in the world am I getting at? There are basic production skills Ustreamers can follow to make their live shows and events more appealing and ultimately more successful.

1. Dead Air is a live stream killer. A live broadcast needs to keep flowing, stay interesting, and keep moving. Failure to do so will cause people to stop watching. We are all busier than ever in our lives and don’t have time for dead air.

2. Start The Broadcast Before The Show Starts. Some call it pre-show, others loop music, but letting people know a show will start soon increases the number of people who wait around for it to start. If you are streaming a conference, turn the camera on and stream the audience, even if it hasn’t started yet. If you do a talk show, use Camtwist to loop some music and put text on the feed that says “Starting at 9pm”. If you are streaming your local high school football game, stream the athletes warming up. In my experience, allowing people to start “gathering” to watch the live event dramatically increases your viewership.

3. Take advantage of the chat. We have found that people tend to stick around for a live show about 5 times longer if you have the chat. The reason is simple: engagement. Engagement is both attention AND interaction. Giving people the ability to interact with others during your broadcast will keep them there longer.

4. When Possible, Stream At Sametime Every Week. Obviously this is not possible if you are streaming a one time event, but for episodic content, begin at the same time each week. The predictability of a show helps people plan and makes it easier for them to remember you are on.

This isn’t the full list of techniques, however, they are a few basic things broadcasters can do to increase their viewership. Feel free to post any other ideas to help improve shows.

For a broader and more detailed list, see my blog post on 10 Tips For Microbroadcasting.


Subscribe to updates