Plan your live stream content and discovery
Set up your live stream for success with tips on your programming strategy, creative approaches, and promotional tools.
Prepare for your live stream
Live streaming on YouTube is an exciting opportunity to engage with your viewers in a new way and grow your channel. Fans often find it thrilling to see and interact with creators in real time. Before you go live, consider:
- What is the goal of the live stream? Decide what you want to accomplish, such as answering questions from viewers or taking them behind the scenes.
- Why does this idea have to be live? Identify how a live stream enhances the topic.
- Is this a format you can repeat? Figure out if this would be part of your regular programming or a one-time event.
- Will viewers enjoy watching it later? Think about viewers who may miss your live stream and watch the video on demand later.
When preparing for your live stream, strike a balance between planning ahead and being improvisational—viewers want to see your authentic personality.
- Outline a plan. This can include key messages or calls to action for your audience. Having a plan helps your live stream feel organized and structured.
- Invite a co-host. Ask a friend or fellow creator to join your live stream to keep up the energy. Your co-host can interact with the audience and read chats (on or off camera).
- Get help. Assign someone to moderate the chat and remove inappropriate messages. Or get a “producer” to call out chats and help you move on from a segment.
- Before your first live stream, check your account standing.
- Set goals and consider which ideas are best to go live.
- Determine your creative format (repeat or one-time).
- Design your live stream for watching live and on-demand
See it in action
Planning Q&ATom Scott built a format that asks a new question every few minutes. This keeps the show moving and allows for new viewers to quickly catch up.
Lively co-hosts keep the stream dynamicHaving a co-host (or two) can help maintain energy and flow. Hannah, Grace, and Mamrie bounce off each other to keep the live stream unpredictable.
Chapter your streamsRebecca Zamolo uses three discrete segments of interactivity, demonstration, and surprise to keep her audience in anticipation of what’s up next.
Try these creative approaches
Live streams are typically centered around a moment that compels viewers to watch now. Below are a few creative approaches to keep your audience engaged.
Approach What viewers like Things you can try Suspense Anticipating what may happen next
- Generate suspense through an unpredictable outcome
- Set up fun games, challenges, or giveaways
Interactivity Feeling like a vital part of your community
- Give a shout out to your top contributors
- Encourage conversation through Q&A or polls
Dynamic Having the live stream hold their attention
- Create a semi-structured outline so you can pace yourself
- Ask your team to help you by co-hosting or selecting chat messages for you to address
Shared experience Experiencing something new as a group
- Take your audience to a new location or on a behind-the-scenes tour
- Bring viewers into a unique moment or special performance
See it in action
SuspenseOlympic diver Tom Daley works out with his audience, challenging them to keep up with him as he exercises.
InteractivityIrish vloggers SACCONEJOLYs do a Q&A live stream to answer questions such as their typical daily routine.
Shared experienceBy watching her documentary with her fans and sharing her thoughts, Lily adds a whole new dimension to the film.
Help viewers discover your live stream
Promotion is key to get the word out and generate a buzz. Think about promotional levers before, during, and after your live stream.
First, when you give your fans a heads up about your live stream, there’s a higher likelihood they’ll watch. You can:
- Use your channel description to promote the date, time, and topic or add the promo to your channel banner.
- Create your title, description, and thumbnail so your live stream can be easily discovered once you go live.
- On social media, build teasers with highlights, and count down toward your live stream.
Note: You can schedule a live stream in advance, then share the date, time, and URL on social media to build excitement.
Your fans who subscribe to your channel can opt to get notifications when you go live. They can choose to receive mobile (push) and/or email notifications for some or all of your live streams. Also, your stream may get surfaced to potential viewers on search results, the YouTube homepage, and suggested videos.
YouTube will automatically archive your live stream so that people can find and watch it later. Give your fans the opportunity to see this video on demand version and get them excited about your next live stream. You can also share this video on your other social media platforms.
See it in action