Live streaming in schools has become a staple for engaging students, parents and the community the school resides in.
But many schools are facing the hurdle of low viewership counts, which can be discouraging considering all the prep and costs that go into broadcasting. So how do you improve engagement in your school’s live streams?
Check out our 5 tips to getting more viewers for your school:
1. Announce Your Broadcasts
In fact, make a schedule if possible! One issue many schools face is live streaming without warning, and at obscure hours that can be inconvenient for viewers. I get it; sometimes it can’t be helped since most school events happen during school and work hours. But live streaming unannounced means no one will be online waiting for the program to start. Can you imagine if TV shows began whenever they wanted?
So there are two ways to tackle this challenge:
The first is to make announcements on the school’s website and social media pages. Especially for larger events like football games, band recitals and graduation ceremonies, advertising the live stream a week before - and once again the day of - will let people know when to tune in, helping to generate more viewership on the video. Better yet, give viewers a broadcasting schedule for the month! This allows them to plan ahead for the video and increases their chances of watching.
The second is to be consistent. Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Tennessee live streams sports games several times a week, complete with commentator audio looped into the live video. Because they post & broadcast so often, each of their streams garners thousands of views. That’s because the more you broadcast at a recurring time, the easier it is for viewers to incorporate it into their routine.
2. Add Production Value (Graphics, Scoreboards, etc.)
Teradek’s Live:Air Action (r) is a free iPad app for live switching and editing.
No one enjoys tuning in to a broadcast without knowing what’s going on. That’s why it’s so important for sports games, breaking news and other live TV programs to include titles, scoreboards, text updates and a plethora of other graphics to give it that professional, linear feel. While live streaming is an entirely new form of live multimedia, it still requires many elements of traditional programming for people to enjoy.
But at the same time, we understand that live switching is on the costlier side and can be out of your school’s budget. Luckily, there are options available. Teradek’s Live:Air Action is a free live switcher app on iPads designed for small-scale live stream productions. The app offers a host of professional tools that let you add graphics, texts and transitions to your video feed while you’re broadcasting, as well as the ability to use other iOS devices as remote cameras for a free multi-cam production. If you like the app, you can purchase additional features in the store that give you more options to enhance the broadcast.
3. Quality vs Outreach
Facebook might seem like a no-brainer for live streaming. After all, according to a study conducted by Livestream.com & New York Magazine, 78% of online audiences are already watching live video on Facebook. But consider this: Facebook caps its live video resolution at 720p 30fps, meaning that for the outreach Facebook offers, you’d be sacrificing a lot of quality.
In the same study by Livestream.com, 67% of viewers say that quality is the most important factor when it comes to watching a live stream. That’s why many content creators are opting to stream to YouTube Live. With a cap of 2160p 60fps, YouTube is king when it comes to major live streaming platforms, and should be an easy way to deliver an HD 1080p stream to viewers. Of course, you’d be giving up the platform where most people are already on. Both destinations have their pros and cons, and it’s up to you where you want to broadcast the school event.
4. Post-Broadcast Video on Demand
Not everyone can make it to a school event, just as how not everyone is able to tune in to watch the live stream. The best way to keep those audiences engaged is to post the stream to your school’s social platform for on-demand viewing.
According to a study conducted by Nielsen, the leading company on consumer research, 65% of people around the world utilize video on demand in some form every day, with that number rising year after year. Because those videos are online and accessible at any time, your audiences who couldn’t tune in to the live stream could watch it at any time. And pro tip: Facebook Live automatically archives live videos after the broadcast, saving you the pain of having to record the stream yourself.
5. Engage Your Viewers
One of the biggest advantages live streaming has over traditional TV and VOD content - and undoubtedly a major factor that’s driving its success - is the ability for creators to directly engage with viewers. When viewers tune in to watch a stream, they want to be part of a community that can chat and engage with each other, including the host.
Every time you live stream is an excellent opportunity to chat with and respond to your audience. Companies and content creators do this all the time for their live marketing strategies, and there’s no reason why schools shouldn’t do the same! To build that trust within the school’s online community and ensure people tune in for future live streams, take some time to answer questions in chat. Your viewers will thank you.
Live streaming can be discouraging when going in unprepared, but like all things in schools, building a community will take some time and effort. Where many school broadcasters make mistakes is broadcasting without warning nor context, which result in minimal views on the live stream. Don’t make those mistakes. Stay consistent, add some production value, advertise ahead and your stream is sure to get more views at the next event.