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You can diversify your channel offerings by planning big events around topics that appeal to a wide audience (aka tent-pole events) and potentially reach more viewers. Consider broadcasting live events so you can interact with your fans in real-time, let fans see you shine from a different perspective, and create immediate content for your fans around key cultural moments. Learn why it’s great to incorporate big events and live streaming into your channel.
Learn why hosting a live broadcast can boost interactions with your fans in real time, build community, and generate excitement over cultural events.
A big event, or what many call a tent-pole event, is an event that has broad appeal to your audience. Examples of big events can be holidays, large cultural events (like award shows or sporting matches), rallies around social causes, or even trending topics in popular media. Television networks and popular YouTube channels have even had success creating their own big events like Discovery Network’s Shark Week, or PewDiePie’s Charity Water campaign.
Aligning video content around big events allows you to build up your fan base and enhance the discoverability of your channel. For instance, a cooking channel may be able to reach more people by creating videos specifically around food-themed holidays.
Creating videos around a tent-pole event takes planning and promotion. The name you choose for your event can be critical to its success. Be sure to choose a memorable name that distinguishes it from other similar videos on YouTube so that viewers can easily associate it with your channel. Remember, other channels will most likely release content that addresses the same tent-pole event as you, so make your video stand out!
See it in action
Rhett and Link Christmas FaceA recent big event from Rhett and Link was titled “Christmas Face (a Song)” . The viewer knows it’s about the holiday Christmas, but the idea of a Christmas "face" adds mystery. (Video in English)
Welcome to How It Should Have EndedThe channel, How It Should Have Ended, is built around taking successful movies and creating animated parodies with alternate endings. Every upload is a big event since their content is based off of a large theatrical release. Check out their trailer to see more. (Video in English)
Kick-start a flurry of excitement
Be specific when announcing your event’s timing or schedule so that your viewers know exactly when they should tune in. Inform your audience well in advance to get them amped up. If they’re looking forward to it, they’ll be more likely to share it with their friends too.
- Consider creating a separate teaser or trailer video that informs viewers about your awesome tent-pole event
- Tell your fans about the big event at the end of a regularly scheduled episode
- Creators have had success designing custom channel graphics that give viewers a date when they should come back for the big event
- Give subscribers a sneak peek or a more detailed “insider preview” to your event
A live show is a great way to cover a big event and engage your viewers. That said, the best live events require planning, testing, and promotion. We highly recommend you familiarize yourself with the technical aspects of YouTube Live Events before scheduling an event and test it out several times. You want to eliminate the possibility of technical difficulties because you have planned well and know exactly what to do. Streaming video is an exciting way to appeal to your most engaged fans and YouTube has two ways to set them up: quick or custom.
The quick option utilizes Google+ Hangouts On-Air launched from YouTube. Google+ Hangouts On-Air is a more casual conversation experience and doesn't require much setup time or equipment.
The custom option allows you to produce a more professional broadcast, however, they typically require more setup time and a higher level of technical savvy. (Compare more features)
Live streams are only viewable for a limited time period, so make sure your audience knows exactly when to tune in! Also, your channel must be in good standing to stream or publish a Hangout On-Air.
- Stream live with YouTube
- Choose encoder settings
- Test before going live
- Monetize your stream
- Live event options checklist
See it in action
Fans Cheer On Riot Games’ CompetitionsRiot Games maximizes their reach by live streaming League of Legends gaming events. You can easily launch your own live stream from your computer and share the experience with your community. (Video in English)
Join others to level up your skills with the Pro seriesThe YouTube pro series streams a roundtable discussion on personal branding from the YouTube Space in LA. The series was promoted with a teaser video and during the stream, you can engage with your viewers in the interactive chat area. (Video in English)
Promote your live broadcast
Be sure that your fans know about your event.
- Your metadata (keywords) of your scheduled live event is important. Consider adding a great title, thumbnail, and an optimized description.
- Custom thumbnails and titles are especially important for live events due to their placement in search, on your channel, in channel sections, and in emails to your subscribers when the event is live.
- You might want to promote the event on Google+ by creating an event and making that event available “on air”. Show additional fields to insert a YouTube URL. Use a promo video before the event, then replace it with your live event when you're ready to go live.
- You can promote the live event with ‘featured content’ (more info).
Be prepared during the live event
Here are some things to keep in mind when going live:
- Build calls to action into the actual production of the event, as Live Events do not currently support annotations.
- Pay attention to the live comments and adjust accordingly during the event.
- Ask for subscribers and tease your channel’s content during the event.
- Let viewers know when the footage from the live event will be uploaded to the channel. You can do this in the video itself, in the video description, and in the comments of the video.
- Make sure that you have staff to keep the event on schedule, read and respond to social media, and who can serve as a connection between online reaction and the host
After the live event
In the days after a live event, consider uploading extra content: behind the scenes, the making of, or additional videos that complement the original one. This is especially important for live events where clipped content helps fans relive the most memorable parts, and drives viewership and watch time. Here are some ideas on how to follow up:
- Secure necessary content rights to rebroadcast clipped and edited versions of the live event.
- Edit the live event into separate videos that each touch on a unique theme or topic. Your video title should pique the interest of potential viewers; “Celebrity Says Something Crazy” is probably much more engaging than “Part 2 of Live Event.”
- Upload the archived content from music performances soon after the live event. Include the event venue, date, band and song info in the title.
- Set an upload schedule to publish the archived footage if the amount of live content might be overwhelming as one upload.
Host a live conversation
Going live allows you to create content your fans can be a part of. Hangouts On Air are an easy way to stream a live conversation including up to 10 participants. With your fans, and in collaboration with other creators, you could easily expand and create a talk show, a panel discussion, breaking news, expert interviews and more.
Live events like these can also be great acknowledgement for the support of your biggest fans. An easy starting point is to pick a topic you and your fans are passionate about, or one that your fans are already discussing in your comments, and inviting them to join you for a live conversation. It’s a great way to deepen engagement, by allowing your fans to share the stage with you and help shape the show.
To schedule or start a Hangout On Air, visit Live Events from your Video Manager.
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