12 lessons from the best live webinars and streaming video in 2020

Live video is nothing new. But it had never been embraced before in the way it is now, as the pressure of social restrictions has intensified our need to find inventive ways to stay connected.

If you saw Global Citizen’s Together At Home live stream in April you’ll understand what we mean.

The concert was a powerful example of creativity and innovation combining to reaffirm our feeling of being in this together, led by goodwill and not the pursuit of profit.

80% of audiences would rather watch live content than read your blog

There are many important reasons that people are embracing the opportunity to broadcast in the moment, among them the fact Together At Home only felt less like a music video and more like something you took part in because it was happening live.

Live performances, even at a distance, have so much more impact than recordings.

They’re raw, literally unedited and, even when meticulously planned, still buzz with the possibility that anything could happen next. Performing live connects us emotionally.

So when thinking about running your own live video event, give yourself the best chance of success by learning from this list of lessons taken from the best examples of streaming webinars, online workshops and in-the-moment media.

Some examples are recordings of live video events. But there’s also live webcams, scheduled streams and neat illustrations of how people are using the interactivity and engagement of going live online to overcome all the challenges we’re facing today.

To really understand the difference between a live webinar and a recorded lecture you have to experience it – so once you’ve read through our lessons from the best live webinars and streaming video examples, start joining other live events to see what works in practice.

1. A live video brings people together

We’ve already mentioned Global Citizen’s special concert, One World: Together at Home which was designed to raise money for the World Health Organisation’s fund to help tackle Covid-19 and breath some optimism into humanity around the world.

It was so much more powerful than a typical fundraising event. It connected us through musical talent with honest emotion and empathy, making us all embrace each other and think as one.

Live video lesson

This was Live Aid for a new generation, and although you can now rewatch recorded clips from the show, you’ll never be able to recreate the experience.

It’s extremely hard to recreate the same feeling as a live concert online, but everyone who was there when it happened will always share the memory.

2. A live video connects you to your audience

Webinars aren’t just for businesses. Innerspace is a personal development centre that uses scheduled live video events to broadcast guided meditation sessions.

There might be thousands of similar recordings online, but experiencing something at the same moment as your tutor and having them guide you in real time is an invaluable service.

Live video lesson

Live video makes you and your audience feel more present. It creates a sense of doing something together that simply isn’t possible with pre-recorded content.

3. A live video is more of an event

At nearly 150 years old, The Royal Albert Hall is a figurehead in the world of events. But even this stalwart venue has had to close for the first time since World War Two. 

But like so many venues, The Royal Albert Hall has kept its schedule of events and moved them online – with musicians, poets and performers all contributing from their own homes.

Live video lesson

All performances will take place in real time. You can watch a recording afterwards but the magic of live video is that it makes an experience into a real event.

YouTube Live is the most popular live video broadcast platform, closely followed by Facebook Live

4. A live video appeals more to people’s emotions

The incredible Captain Tom Moore isn’t the only one raising money remotely for good causes. A teacher in Sedgley raised over £1,500 for the NHS by running live video raffles on Facebook.

Meanwhile Peter Kay and the BBC have come together for a live video event.

Campaigns that take place live will always connect and appeal far more to the emotions of your audience, encouraging them to take action while the event goes on.

Image credit: Express & Star

Live video lesson

Of course the real lesson is that you won’t get if you don’t give – embracing live video means being more open, both emotionally and mentally, to the possibilities.

You have to get comfortable with dropping the formality of ‘normal’ times to really connect with people.

5. A live video is more of an event

Just like a concert, watching something amazing happening live leaves an impact on us whether we see it through live video or with our own eyes.

Explore.org is a fantastic collection of live webcams from around the world. But perhaps the one we’d recommend the most is the live stream of the Northern Lights.

What’s brilliant is that if you log on at the ‘wrong’ time you just see the sky!

Live video lesson

Make it clear to your audience that you have to actually be there live in order to experience the magic and have the real experience.

6. A live video enables interaction with your audience

Being kept apart means we need to interact more than ever. In Wiltshire one MP is using Facebook Live to hold remote surgeries for her constituents.

Live video lesson

Webinars, workshops and streams all give the opportunity to run quizzes, Q&As, breakout-sessions and two-way (or many-way!) conversations, preventing us from losing contact with our audiences and keeping people engaged.

82% of consumers online prefer live video over social messages

7. A live video can reflect what’s happening now

The Clap for Carers movement happened so naturally but became so widespread that even the big TV broadcasters had to take notice.

But rather than simply report on it, they interrupted their TV schedules to get involved.

Live video lesson

When ITV stepped outside of its usual programming at 8pm on 16 April, it was demonstrating how live broadcasts shouldn’t be afraid to respond to what’s happening outside the studio.

8. A live video creates a supportive environment

The Spread A Little Sunshine C19 Entertainment & Support Group on Facebook now has over 1,000 members.

It was formed by a community called Happy Friends that has been organising social meetups since last year.

The new group creates a support network for everyone who needs it, for conversations or links to live broadcasts organised or recommended by members covering everything from Exercise to Entertainment, Personal Development to Poetry.

Live video lesson

So many platforms offer free and easy ways to go live, making it possible for support and community to be built at a grassroots level.

You don’t need a profile, you don’t need a budget. You just need an honest desire to help people – and there are plenty of people who would value your efforts. 

9. A live video brings your topic to life

Travel companies have unsurprisingly faced huge challenges.

But Travel Curious is just one of the many inventive firms that has responded with live events to reveal their fabulous and fascinating destinations.

You can join a live tour of Oxford and discover the city’s history, take a masterclass in Irish Whiskey, go on a Dinosaur Safari or marvel at the illuminated interior of the Vatican – all happening just the once, live and before your eyes.

Live video lesson

Travel Curious reconnected with their core purpose. It’s more than just booking holidays – they keep people curious.

Going live meant they could still achieve this but in a new and engaging way.

Live audiences multitask: they’re writing comments, searching online and sharing with friends during the event

10. A live video reflects the unpredictability of life!

We probably all now understand the irreplaceable value of a lockable office door.

Working from home and caring for children not at school is a balancing act that doesn’t always work out – just ask Labour MP Jon Ashworth.

Live video lesson

By embracing these collisions of home and work (rather than being embarrassed) we’re showing that we’re all human and we’re all living unpredictable lives.

11. A live video idea might mean more than just going live

Entertainment service Sling TV gave away free access to viewers across the US.

More than 50 popular channels were available  without a Sling TV membership every night from 5pm as part of a Happy Hour promotion that lasted a whole month.

This isn’t a live video, but it’s a perfect demonstration that you need to think ‘live’ in order to make the best impact.

Live video lesson

When is your audience most engaged? What’s most relevant about their lives at the time that you broadcast? Don’t forget to think about the context of when you go live.

12. A live video is easier to promote

Limiting the time that your video is available is a useful way to prompt engagement.

So when we collaborated with long-time friend of Colab, Andy Gallimore, the date and time of his Working From Home webinar was the core of our promotion.

Being live is necessarily time limited – people either get in or miss out.

Live video lesson

By using the language of a live event (“happening soon”, “last chance”, “in an hour”) you can create an immediacy and encourage people to engage straight away.

A deadline will always form a more compelling message.

All these examples give an insight into what’s possible with live video – from thinking about when you’re broadcasting to using the emotive and engaging properties of live events to connect with audiences.

The benefits of going live can be as simple as kicking off a workshop by playing a ukelele, or lighthearted entertainment from a live-streamed party (like our final event for the WebinArt professional development programme).

We’ve been helping our clients to think differently about video for years, providing technical support and expertise for live workshops, webinar events and online e-learning platforms. 

Use our calendar app below to request a free Video Discovery Session and see how live video could create opportunities for you.

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join the Colab network.

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