At some point in the lifecycle of an event, organizers will ask themselves, “should we stream this?” Maybe they’ve seen other similar events streamed – some successfully, others not. Maybe they have audience members or organization stakeholders asking about it.
So how do they evaluate whether to stream their event or not?
Answering that question is no different than evaluating whether to proceed with any new communications effort – the three key elements are goals and objectives, a strong content plan, and the ability to execute with excellence.
Goals and objectives
One of the first questions we ask a client about streaming an event is about the goals for streaming. We want to help them think through what they are trying to accomplish, both so they understand the value the stream may bring to their event but also so we can define what success looks like, and measure it.
First, what is the goal of the event? How does adding a streaming component help achieve that goal? Or could it potentially conflict with the goals of the event?
Also, evaluate how the stream would fit within your organization’s larger strategic communications goals. If you’re looking for ways to engage a broader range of people – both in sheer numbers and also geographically – then streaming is a great way to increase your exposure.
Strong content plan
Streaming is no different than other forms of digital story-telling, in that it all comes down to a strong content plan. Evaluate your content and see if it is well-suited for distribution to an audience outside the walls of your venue. A concert or sports event would certainly be a natural fit to stream, as might a corporate presentation. But a hands-on training exercise or an event closely connected to audience participation might not translate as well to a remote viewing experience.
Also consider the personalities involved in your event. If you’ve contracted for speakers or other performers, they may have contract restrictions that prohibit streaming – or even recording – of their participation. If your event includes significant music performance, consider the legal issues with broadcasting that online – they are much more complicated than the venue license you need to play or perform music locally.
Execute with excellence
Finally, never embark on a new communications effort unless you are prepared to execute with the same level of excellence that you do in other areas. As you reach out to a wider audience and engage people who may not otherwise have attended, make sure you are presenting a professional broadcast that extends your brand – one that will reflect well on your organization.
Your production plan needs to be excellent as well. Yes, you can stream with a consumer camcorder, in-room audio and in-room lighting. But is that the story you want to tell people watching online? Discussing your needs with a professional video producer and streaming engineer (yes, we’re talking shamelessly about ourselves here) is critical in making sure your online audience will see you in the best light possible (what pun?).
If you’re planning to use a “free” streaming service, consider the true costs of that approach: allowing a company with their own goals to sell ads or brand your content in ways you may not approve. This is where a relationship with a partner like Clever Guys Media really shines. We can provide a great quality streaming player that you embed directly on your own web site, with your branding and no unwanted ads.
To stream or not to stream?
If you’re considering adding a streaming component to a live event, we’re happy to talk things over. You might be surprised at how affordable a professional quality high-definition broadcast is, and you might find that the value it brings to your event and your overall brand is well worth the effort.