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5 Hours of YouTube SEO and Marketing | YouTube Live Streaming Optimization & Best Practices




Luke: My name is Luke. I'm going to be the host of the second half and Bengu is going to be doing a presentation about live streaming optimization and best practices. 

I am the owner of the YouTube-Certified Digital Marketing Agency, Falkon Digital, based in the Northwest of England. We have always been involved in video production in some ways since we started in 2009. But from about 2016, we focused very much on video marketing. We've a real specific interest in the YouTube platform. Bengu, so where are you joining us from today?

Bengü: I'm joining from London, UK. I am the co-founder of BuzzMyVideos and I used to work at YouTube Google prior to Buzz My Videos. I've been working in and out at YouTube for almost over 10 years now. 

Our company focuses on all things YouTube, from content strategy to content optimization, to content distribution using our own technology. And we serve anyone who has a YouTube channel already.

Luke: Awesome. And then sitting very patiently, we have our expert panelists. We have Gaёl and Winnie. Winnie, I have to speak to you first just because your set up is so incredibly professional-looking, but where are you joining us from today?

Winnie: I'm joining you from Southern California here in the United States.

Luke: Amazing. I'm actually extremely jealous having been in Warrington in the UK, I can tell you it's not quite as impressive. And can you tell everybody a little bit about yourself, please?

Winnie: Sure. I am so happy to be here with all of you. I am Winnie, founding partner of Sun Group Wealth Partners. And you may have seen me on TV, I am on the CNBC digital council. I'm a long time Forbes contributor and I'm host of the Nasdaq show, “Level Up with Winnie”.

Luke: Amazing great stuff. And Gael, we've not actually spoken before. So hi, how are you? Where are you from today? 

Gaёl: I'm from France, but I live in Budapest, in Hungary. And I co-founded a company called Authority Hacker where we do a lot of online marketing training. 

Luke: Bengu, I think it's going to be over to you for your presentation.

Bengü: All right. Perfect. I'm just going to start sharing my screen. I am today going to be talking about some best practices and optimization tips for live streaming in general on YouTube. Which is obviously, as the name refers, a very interactive format on YouTube. 

Why Stream Live on YouTube?

YouTube is starting to favor this format more and more for various different reasons because it's more engaging to start with and you can get real-time feedback from your audience. And if you can nail it, it brings great feedback and great audiences back to the channel. 

The reason that we wanted to create these best practices is because during the lockdown since March, there has been a surge in terms of audience search or behavior when it comes to the content that they could watch and relate to in real-time. And YouTube live is actually the best kind of format that you could just make sure that your audience is engaging with the content. 

Why go live? Because there has been a 60% or 70% surge or uplift in terms of viewership demand on YouTube. It's one of the best times that you can actually leverage this format to engage with your audience if you have a channel. 

Integrating Live Streaming into Your Content Strategy

How do you proposition live into your existing content strategy? We have been covering content strategy since the beginning of this five-hour webinar session. 

As we all know, content is king and people can come to your channel for a specific reason because they love your content, because they relate to your content. Introducing a live format into that content might be a little bit tricky.

You need to first decide, okay, what is the goal of your live stream? What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to get out of your live stream format from the viewers? 

And the second question and I think everybody should be asking is, “okay, I now know my objectives around live streaming, then is this a format that doesn't necessarily potentially require live?”  You also need to understand, what is the differentiator? Why introducing this live format into your content would make a difference for your audience?

Another important factor, we've always talked about consistency. Because once you start live programming, you are introducing a new type of programming on your channel and you would like people to stick with it, if of course, they like it. 

It's important to understand, “okay, this format, I know my objectives and I know that I can make a difference, but can I stick to this format once people really, really like this format?”

Another important piece with live content, I think is its exclusivity, because it potentially disappears. Now we are on live stream, it's going to go on video on demand. But for people who are not joining into this live stream, they are potentially missing out. And we need to build upon that missing out factor. 

Meaning, what are the key elements that we could create that fear of missing out from this session so that we can make our next live stream more and more on-demand? 

Best Practices for More Engaging Live Streams

All of this presentation obviously is based on our own best practices and know-how, but some of it is also coming from YouTube's original live streaming best practices playbook. And what they recommend is, okay, once you're integrating live streaming into your content strategy, you need to be thinking of a couple of various different things to make that live stream more engaging, engaging to your core.

How do you do that? First of all, you can create some sort of suspense. Suspense, meaning that feeling of anticipation. Because it's live right now, anything could happen or is there hopefully good things happen? 

Obviously, as it's live, we are assuming that it's going to be interactive. One of the best ways of live streaming is hosting an interview or hosting a Q&A and making it a part of your community. 

Right now, in the second half of this live section, we will be having some questions and answers and potentially we will be picking some questions from the audience. That's going to make it more interactive because if you were to call a name out of the audience, we will then grasp their attention, obviously. 

When you are thinking about live, you need to be thinking, "Okay, how am I going to make it?" Creating that suspense: how am I going to create that interactivity? How am I going to create that shared experience among my audience and among my community?

Let's imagine that you've nailed your content strategy, you've nailed the different elements to your live stream, then one important thing that you need to be focusing on is anything and everything that you would do before your live stream. YouTube favors great content, but if you push your content on YouTube a little bit too early or a little bit too late, then you lose the potential of your content. Meaning, you lose its power. 

You need to know actually when you need to go live. What is going to make the most impact in terms of tuning in live? Knowing when to schedule your live stream is really key and you need to understand, okay, my content is really specific to X, Y, Z audience and X, Y, Z audience is really keen to go online on X, Y, Z dates. 

Effectively Promoting a YouTube Live Stream

Another important piece that you need to program or plan ahead before your live stream is, okay, how am I going to market my live stream to the audience? One good way of doing it is actually creating a trailer or a teaser to promote the event itself. And actually you can upload that trailer or teaser ahead of the time on YouTube and cross-promote it on your channel. If you have a good following, that's going to work like wonders. 

Also before your live stream, you need to think of, “okay, what is relevant right now in terms of the specific hashtags that are trending that you could put on your live stream?”

Again, before your live stream, another area, as I said, sometimes it's always forgetting that, yes, you have a YouTube channel, but on that YouTube channel, there are various different places that you could potentially edit and you could potentially shout out and cross-promote yourself. One of them is your channel trailer. 

You could set a video as your channel trailer and whoever is coming to your channel as a new subscriber or potentially an existing subscriber, you can just bring it to their attention as setting your promotional content on the channel as a channel trailer. 

On your channel page, there is a massive banner that you could put any message on. And if that message is actually cross-promoting your own live event, that's definitely going to bring your conversion or that's going to stick in the minds of those audiences saying that, "Okay, maybe next Tuesday, I'm going to tune into this channel back because there is potentially a live stream happening on next Tuesday."

It might be a little bit tricky, but imagine that your channel might be small or big, whatever the size of your channel, there are different other elements that you can program that are under your control. One of them is your end screens, one of them is video descriptions. 

Let's imagine that you have 100 videos sitting on your channel today and they are generating maybe 1 million views or maybe 1000 views, it doesn't matter. You could go back and you could cross-promote your existing live streaming trailer across your end screens, across your video descriptions, across your comments, across your video cards. These are all under your control.

I really love this new functionality on YouTube, which is the community tab. I'm not sure if anybody is using the community tab. I know it's only available for channels with 1000 subscribers or more. But I see there's YouTube answer to the Facebook feed potentially. 

Whatever you post on the community tab is also available on the YouTube homepage, which is the best place that you could be. And it's not limited because you can post on the community tab a plain text announcement. You could post links, you could post an image, as you can see here. You could post GIFs, you could post videos or polls. 

You have a variety of different topics and content formats that you could post on the community tab. And this is another place that you should definitely post about your upcoming live stream. And once you do it, before the live stream, obviously during the live stream, you should be posting as well.

Always after your live stream, this is one of the most crucial elements, because after your live stream, you also need to be thinking of, "Okay, am I going to make the full live stream available online? But do I want to re-clip it a little bit, re-edit it in order to create a fear of missing out?” 

If you have the capability to re-clip anything and everything and to show some of that content to some of the audience, but to keep some others to yourself for future potential use or to create that again, fear of missing out, that might actually work in your favor. But this depends on your channel, this depends on your content strategy, this depends on what you want to achieve on the content. 

With live, it's all about community and community engagement and you need to use it the most. I know we would be taking some questions from this stream. I can't see what you are posting right now, but I'm hoping you are posting something right now. 

YouTube Video Premiere Overview

Very recently you might have also seen on YouTube, there's this thing called YouTube Premiere. It's not a live stream, is actually a pre-recorded video but it acts like a live stream, but it also acts like video on-demand content, which is really, really interesting. Because imagine that this live stream is recorded finished and tomorrow we will just take this video and upload it on YouTube as a Premiere, which we could potentially.

The benefits of Premiere are interesting because the minute you set content as premiere, it creates a watch page and a watch page is really important because it's searchable. And if you were to title this content and put a nice description, very good optimized description; search friendly, especially, and a really good thumbnail, then you are potentially getting onto that search algorithm and tapping into that discoverability within a potential live experience. 

It is a semi-video on-demand content and semi-live streaming experience. And the beauty of it is you could actually set a reminder for a premiere. Meaning, you could actually set it as a premiere, get the attention, get the search traffic and ask people to click on the notifications or the set a reminder. And once the content goes live properly, then they could actually engage with the content. 

Notifications, Hashtags, and More

With that, I'm going to slightly touch upon notifications, which is becoming more and more prominent on YouTube. Obviously, one thing that you need to ask your audience is like, "Hey, please hit that subscription button.But then after the subscription button, please do hit that notification bell icon. Because if you do so you are going to get the notification whenever that channel uploads new content posts on the community tab potentially.” 

I highly recommend you to go and watch this video, if maybe SEMRush could post the link to this video: How to encourage your audience to enable those notifications. This is not only important for live streams, but this is important for any other uploads on the channel. 

I think with live streams in general, please do think of your content strategy, how do you introduce live into your channel. Before the live scene, what are the different things that you need to be doing to cross-promote your live stream? During the live stream, please if you can, cross-promote your live stream using your channel. After the live stream, okay, what do you give to the audience? What do you keep to yourself to make sure that they come back to the channel? 

And lastly, YouTube started promoting content that is tagged with using the hashtag, #withme. It could be listening to music with me, cooking with me, drawing with me, doing makeup with me, anything with me. And if you were to hashtag your content and create a live stream using this, then you might be tapping into the YouTube discoverability a little bit more. 

Another great way that I've found using live stream is actually bringing your archive content back online. Radiohead has done a great job with this and we are all thankful. They have been live streaming their previous concerts. If you happen to sit on great archive content, which you may, you may not, but if you do, please do bring it back as potentially like a live streaming program. 

Last but not the least, with live streams, you can also do some good. YouTube has some good functionalities where you could set a live streaming and partner up with a charity and create a donation for them. I think it's a great way of making use of live streams in general. I hope you enjoyed this session. 

Luke: That was an awesome session, Bengu. Thank you. As someone who doesn't do anywhere near enough live content, I've been making lots of notes from your presentation. It was extremely useful. 

Should You Live  Stream on Multiple Platforms?

We've got a few questions coming through on the chat. And we've got a question from Home Brew Audio. They ask, is there a benefit of live video on YouTube over Facebook? 

Gaёl: I want to add to that. I want to say, when you have the opportunity to promote your stream, there's essentially two opportunities you have, you can either stream as well on Facebook, LinkedIn, et cetera. Or you can promote your YouTube stream on Facebook, LinkedIn, et cetera. It's hard to do both when you do social promotion. And so I was wondering in which case you would recommend which specific?

Winnie: To answer that question, we actually stream on all channels at one time. We go YouTube, to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all at once. It's just a very efficient use of time. My biggest audience is on Twitter. And so I actually do a stock market recap after the market closes. I think it just depends on where your audience is. 

I think it's really important to include the area that you are most present at and you have the most engagement. And that way you can share audiences. And most important it's a great use of your time instead of just streaming at one place.

Luke: A question from Damo Neil. And he said, should all live videos have more of a behind the scenes look rather than a more highly polished look? 

Bengü: It depends on the audience, I would say. Let's say if you're talking about some musicians, I would love to see some behind the scenes because it's so exclusive. 

Is Live Streaming Only Suited to Certain Topics?

Luke: Definitely. And on that note, in terms of different audiences and things, are there certain topics or certain issues that probably lend themselves more to being relevant for a live stream? 

Winnie: I don't think so. Live stream content, as long as you have some value to share and you have something that is a value to your audience, every industry can benefit from live stream. We saw that with Roger Wakefield, who is a plumber out of Dallas, Texas. Live streaming is yet just another way to share your brand. There's no reason to think that anyone should not live stream unless really they're not comfortable being on camera then that's totally okay too.

Luke: Yeah. I think one of the big advantages of live video, from my perspective, is that a lot of production goes into our videos and we've been obviously, they spend a lot of time filming it, then we have to spend a lot of time editing it. And then when I get involved in events like this, we've produced the content and then that's it, it's done. There's no editing or anything, it just goes live straight away.

Gaёl: Right, it just feels like you can output so much more content so much faster. And people are much more okay with it being slightly rough or whatever provided you give fresh information. That's kind of the trade-off. It's like production quality against fresh information. And if people get fresh information, they're willing to try that out. 

Is Live Streaming Better for Discovery or Engagement?

I had actually had a question to people, which is, how many of the people that come to your live stream are discovering you because of the live stream? Like, is this a channel that you use for people to discover you? Or is this a channel you use to engage people who already follow you?

My personal opinion is that it's more something that you use to engage people who already follow you. And then you use your regular YouTube videos to rank for keywords, get subscribers and then these people watch when you go live. Would you agree to that or do you think I'm wrong?

Luke: I would agree with that in the most part. I think it's going to be different for everybody and every channel. But yeah, now I've seen I would definitely make sense.

I think from my personal perspective, I don't watch other live streams after they've been recorded. I like watching them live, like being involved in them live. But then if I see the video and it's got like a one hour timestamp within it on YouTube, it's a little bit off-putting. 

Gaёl: Yeah. I think it's also a technical point of view. Because if you think about the way YouTube makes you discover videos, the way they do it is they actually automatically transcribe what you say. And then they use these keywords to put videos that are relevant to what you're interested in, except they don't have the processing power to process what you're doing right now. 

Therefore, live stream discoverability on YouTube is not my favorite. Like when people ask me about this, I'm like, "Well, you should make videos that actually already get views, get subscribers." And then the live stream starts making sense when you can bring enough people around when you're doing this.

Repurposing Live Stream Content

Gaёl: In your presentation, Bengu, you actually mentioned that you create highlights from your live streams and then you take clips from it, et cetera, which I see it's like I have a dilemma with this. It's like using it unites your best followers because they see the same content twice. Or is this a great way to reach more people with the same content, anyway?

Bengü: Really good question. It's a tricky one, isn't it? Because I think you could actually take those highlights at the best moments and use it as your teaser or chatter for your next upcoming event to just get more attention. Because saying that this is what happened and this is what you've missed out.

Gaёl: Yeah. But that's the thing it's like when you do a live (stream), it's usually quite long. And let's say, you're talking for an hour and then you're talking about five, six, seven different topics. What happens is there's maybe individual topics that would actually be a great 10-minute video like that clip.

I'm trying to figure out like, is it worth essentially recycling these things. Do you want to recycle these things maybe on social media instead of sending people to your YouTube channel or something like that? Or what would be the best way to essentially extract these micro pieces of content within the live stream?

Bengü: Okay. I have a suggestion for that. You could actually recycle them for your external social media platforms because people watching live have already seen it. You could potentially use things like chapters, et cetera. 

Gaёl: You can do a timestamp on the link so you can do it in five minutes or something, yeah. 

Bengü: Exactly.

Luke: Yeah. And you can share the timestamp in the URL, as well. One of the things that I found quite interesting actually on that point is that a lot of bigger channels, like for example, Joe Rogan podcast. They will obviously change their entire content.

We've got one (channel) that produces at the three-hour, four-hour piece of content. And then you have a second channel, which is just highlights. If I'm honest, I only really watch the highlight channel. That's the one I watch the most because again, it's those 10, 15-minute bite-sized clips and I know they've picked up something that's really interesting. 

Gaёl: I know people who do that. It works if you have a big audience though. But the way it does, it's like you watch one clip and then you get suggested all the other clips. And you like that kind of person. And then there's the other completely different audience that watches the live or something like that. And so you get double and you rank for keywords. 

Prompting Viewers to Subscribe

Luke: I've got a question from Andy Simpson. Hi, Andy. How effective do you find telling users to subscribe works? Can you see on your stats when a user subscribes or hits the bell icon? 

Gaёl: Telling people to subscribe, yes, it works. I mean, when we do live, you just see subscribes just spike up and everything. And even if you do Premiere, actually say on the chat if people are in the chat and people will also thumb it up. If you get early thumbs up, you will rank higher and you get more suggestions to your subscribers. Actually you can even do that in your Premieres.

And we actually use that as a new channel and get a lot more exposure than we would normally. Because we'd beat the ratio of views against the thumbs up, we would actually get a lot more exposure.

Luke: That's a good example of what I feel about being live, having that live stream, that you've got that immediate feedback that you can see so you can test things. If you do have a cue to subscribe, you can actually see do you actually get any subscribers at that point? And that's quite interesting.

In terms of looking in stats, you can definitely see which videos have generated the most subscribers. I don't know if you can see if they've clicked the notification bar, I know you can see a percentage of how many have clicked the notification bar. 

How Often to Live Stream on YouTube?

Okay. Iceland has a question. It is, how often do you recommend doing a YouTube live video? 

Winnie: My answer would be that you live stream as much as you possibly can. We actually didn't live stream that much until we had to shelter in place. And so I had to bring our entire studio equipment home and it was really, we did more live streaming because, like you mentioned earlier, it's just too much time to produce videos when everybody was not in one place. 

And we've noticed that as soon as we started a live stream consistently, as much as possible, the numbers jump so significantly, not on just one platform, but on all platforms across the board. And so I think that because live streaming is so easy to do, you should just try and do it as much as you can. 

The other thing I would suggest you do is to hit record on your camera and that way you then you have the higher quality resolution as well so that your team can then take it back and create snippets and create additional content.

I'm all about efficiency because we're so busy. I try to do this as much as you can, make it practice so you get good at it. But most important, think about how this content can sit on other platforms in other ways and build bigger on your brand besides just live streaming. Because at the end of the day, many of us, live stream for new additional business. 

Gaёl: YouTube is making massive moves into acquiring streamers right now. Like in gaming as well, for example, Ninja started to just turn there, which is the biggest streamer in the world right now. They have licensed deals for live streaming, et cetera. 

And they have teased a redesign that will actually feature live streaming a lot more. I would suspect that live streaming will be featured a lot more in a native interface on YouTube, maybe a tab on mobile and maybe even a section on your homepage. 

Webinar Wrap-Up

Luke: Awesome, good stuff. Interestingly, Winnie, you and I are getting questions about our audio setups, apparently, people seem to quite like them. In terms of my setup, it’s really simple. I just have a Blue Yeti mic, which you can use for podcasting, it's just a condenser mic. A USB one plugged directly into my laptop. 

Winnie: The battery just died, so I exchanged microphones, but I am running a Lav. This is a Sennheiser mic that goes into the road pack. It's wireless to my camera. And then I just switched over to my trusty sure Condenser mic, which I love. 

Luke: I think we're probably going to wrap up at this point. Guys, very quickly, where can people find you online if they want to find you. Bengu, I'll start with you.

Bengü: On LinkedIn, on Twitter, and also through our websites. Maybe SEMRush could just put up the links on the line. 

Winnie: Okay. I'm really easy. I'm at winniesun.com. I'm very, very active on Twitter, which is @winniesun. You can follow me on LinkedIn as well. And yeah, I would love to chat with all of you and get to know you better.

Gaёl: If you're like going from content on this kind of content, you can just search for us on the podcast platform. We're on YouTube obviously as well. And we have a bunch of content on our site too. So “Authority Hacker”.

Luke: Awesome. Perfect. All right, well thank you very much. Listen guys, thank you very much for being involved in this today and thank you everyone in the chat for your questions.