Livestreaming is one of the most effective ways to connect with your followers and promote your book. On average, viewers watch live broadcasts for 10 to 20 times longer than pre-recorded videos. Research has also shown that 80% of people would rather watch a livestream than read a blog or social media post, making it a powerful marketing tool.
Livestreaming can help you build rapport with your followers by allowing you to interact with them in real-time. Making live video content that people enjoy watching may also increase your engagement and attract new readers, leading to increased book sales.
However, the idea of getting in front of a camera and broadcasting yourself to a live audience can feel intimidating. After all, you’re a writer, not an entertainer! If you’re worried that you won’t be able to hold your audience’s attention, here are some tips to help you host a successful, engaging livestream.
Choose a Livestreaming Platform
Almost every social media platform has a livestreaming feature, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn. There are also platforms solely dedicated to livestreaming such as Twitch. With so many choices, it can be difficult to decide where to host your first broadcast. Here are some important factors to consider when choosing a livestreaming platform.
Determining your target audience can help you choose the right livestreaming platform. Ask yourself who your book’s message is most likely to resonate with. Are they a man or a woman? How old are they, and what kind of interests and problems do they have?
Once you’ve created an ideal reader persona, do some research to figure out where they hang out online. Generally, TikTok and Instagram are the best places to livestream if you’re hoping to reach young women. Young men prefer YouTube and Twitch, while people aged 40 and older usually gather on Facebook and LinkedIn. Livestreaming on the platform your target audience uses the most will help ensure your broadcast reaches them.
Keep in mind that some social media platforms limit who can go live. To livestream on LinkedIn, for example, you must have at least 150 connections and apply to become a broadcaster. On TikTok, only users with more than 1,000 followers can go live. YouTube creators who have less than 1,000 subscribers can’t livestream from their smartphones and must use a computer. So make sure you meet the eligibility requirements for your chosen platform before you schedule your livestream.
Still can’t decide where to host your first broadcast? Luckily you can go live on several different platforms simultaneously by using a multistreaming software like Restream. It allows you to multistream on two platforms for free, enabling you to reach a wider audience and gain more exposure for your book.
Create a Plan for Your Livestream
Now that you’ve chosen one or more livestreaming platforms, it’s time to plan out what you’re going to do during your broadcast. It’s important to choose a topic or activity you think your audience will enjoy that also fits the platform you’re streaming on.
For example, Twitch has an active art community, so a cover design reveal will likely perform well there. But if you’re giving a presentation on how to increase employee productivity, it would probably get more traction on LinkedIn. To give you some inspiration and help you plan your broadcast, here are a few fun livestream ideas for authors.
Book Cover Reveal
Seeing the final cover design for your book is an exciting moment! Share the joy with your fans and drum up interest in your book by hosting a cover reveal livestream. At the beginning of the broadcast, ask viewers to guess what the cover will look like to encourage audience engagement. Don’t forget to share the link to preorder your book during the broadcast to boost sales.
Virtual Launch Party
A virtual book launch party is typically cheaper and easier to plan than an in-person event. Hosting your book launch online also allows fans and guests who live far away to be part of your special day. To entertain attendees, you can give a toast, read an excerpt of your book, raffle off fun prizes, and play games such as trivia related to your book’s topic.
Another popular live stream idea for authors is an audience Q&A. Instagram Live has a helpful feature that enables you to gather questions from your followers ahead of time and display them onscreen during your broadcast. Alternatively, you could compile a list of the most common questions you receive and answer them live.
Giving an educational presentation and sharing your expertise is a great way to promote your nonfiction book. Multistreaming services like Restream allow you to add PowerPoint slides to your livestream to serve as a visual aid. You can also invite another expert from your field to join the discussion to make your lecture more engaging.
Set a Date and Time
Another important piece of logistics to work out is when you’re going to host your livestream. The ideal date and time for your broadcast depends on when your target audience is usually online. If you’re giving a virtual presentation on work-life balance, you may get more viewers if you broadcast after the workday is over.
If you’re planning to livestream on one of your existing social media accounts, you can review your analytics to figure out the best time to broadcast. Look at your account insights to see when your posts usually get the most engagement. Scheduling your livestream during one of those peak times will help ensure you get a steady stream of viewers.
Promote Your Livestream
Many livestreaming platforms automatically notify your followers when you go live, which helps draw in viewers. But you’ll still have to spend some time promoting your broadcast if you want it to be as successful as possible. Ideally, you should start advertising your livestream at least two weeks before the event to help build anticipation.
If you have an email list, send a message to your subscribers to let them know about the broadcast. Announce the livestream on all of your social media accounts and post a few reminders leading up to the event. You can also make a listing for your livestream on event websites like Eventbrite and Facebook Events to spread the word. Don’t forget to share the link to the stream whenever you post about it to make it easy for viewers to tune in!
It’s also a good idea to create a hashtag for your livestream to generate buzz. Make sure it’s something short and simple like #BookProfessorLive so your audience will remember it. Encourage your followers and friends to use the hashtag whenever they post about your broadcast online.
Choose Your Video Equipment
One of the last things you’ll need to do to prepare for your livestream is choose your video equipment. For your first broadcast, you don’t have to go all out and buy a professional camcorder. Most smartphones and computers have built-in cameras that provide sufficient video quality for livestreaming.
If you already own a video camera, feel free to use it to increase the clarity of your broadcast. But keep in mind that you’ll have to invest in a hardware or software encoder to convert the video footage from your camera into a streamable format.
Whether you decide to livestream with a camera or smartphone, it’s a good idea to purchase a tripod so you don’t have to hold up your device. If the room you’re planning to broadcast from doesn’t have a lot of windows, you may also need a ring light. Remember to position whatever light source you’re using in front of you so you don’t look backlit or overexposed.
Another item that’s nice to have is a lapel microphone that you can attach to your shirt. Smartphones and computers usually have good cameras, but don’t always produce the best sound quality. Wearing a body mic will help ensure everything you say is broadcasted to your audience loud and clear even if there’s background noise in your environment.
Do a Trial Run
A week or two before your livestream, do a quick trial run to make sure all of your equipment is functioning properly. Many livestreaming platforms including Facebook and Twitch allow you to make a private broadcast to test out your internet speed and video quality ahead of time. If your stream buffers a lot, you may want to purchase an Ethernet cable and switch to a hard-wired connection. Ethernet is usually faster and more reliable than WiFi and can help improve the quality of your broadcast.
Doing a test run also gives you an opportunity to practice what you’re going to say. You’ll be able to get more comfortable in front of the camera without the added pressure of a live audience watching you.
Engage with Your Audience
One of the main benefits of livestreaming is that it helps you connect with your readers, so don’t forget to engage with viewers during your broadcast. Most livestreaming platforms have a built-in chat feature that allows you to see comments from your audience. Glance at it every few minutes to make sure you’re acknowledging commenters and answering their questions.
You’ll also need to moderate the chat and delete any inappropriate messages that appear. To make moderation easier, many livestreaming platforms block profanities from entering the chat automatically. However, these filtering tools aren’t perfect. So if you’re expecting a high volume of comments, it may be a good idea to hire a moderator or ask a friend to manage the chat for you. That way you can focus on creating an entertaining broadcast without worrying about negative comments.
Get the Support You Need
Writing and marketing a book all on your own as a first-time author is a huge challenge. Without expert guidance, the process could take years and involve a lot of trial and error.
If you want to ensure your book is poised to succeed from the start, contact The Book Professor. Our coaching programs will walk you through your entire book writing journey from planning to editing, helping you become an accomplished author in just one year.