Streaming your conference lets you open up your event to a whole new audience that, for whatever reason, can’t be there in person. Whether they’re too far away, can’t travel or have other commitments – with streaming, being unable to attend in person doesn’t mean have to they miss out on your brilliant content.
Streaming allows your audience to tune in from wherever they happen to be, and gives your brand an image of inclusivity — making every effort to ensure your audience feels a part of the event even when they can’t physically be in the room.
To stream your conference to the watching world you’re going to need a platform to host it. Finding one of those won’t be a problem, there are plenty around. Finding a GOOD platform that meets all of your needs, however, is a bit trickier. Not all streaming platforms are created equal — some won’t have the specific features you’re looking for, while others simply won’t be up to the task.
A bad streaming platform can be worse than not webcasting your conference at all. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of five things to help you find the right home for your event.
Does the platform let you monetise your conference?
Hosting your conference costs money, so you’ll need to make it financially viable. Just as it’s fine to stream content for free over Facebook or YouTube, it’s fine to want to a monetary kickback. People that would have liked to be at your event but are hampered by location, dates or an inability to travel, will be more than happy to pay a fee that ensures they don’t miss out on any of the content. Look for a platform that allows you to put up a paywall — nothing complicated, just something that lets people log on, pay the viewing price and stream.
Ticket sales — online viewing or otherwise — make up only a portion of your revenue. A big chunk of it comes from sponsors and advertisers. A platform that lets you sell advertising space on streaming pages is going to be of huge benefit to you and your sponsors. You receive payment from the advertiser, they get to place their brand in front of a relevant audience.
Does the platform provider supply the audiovisual equipment?
Some, in fact most, platforms are just that: a platform that provides an online home for your conference — everything else is up to you. This means hiring or buying your own equipment and finding people trained to use it.
Look for a platform that offers an all-in-one service. Streaming an event requires equipment, an experienced team to film it as well as the streaming service.
A platform that offers nothing more than a place to project your footage is like a car that doesn’t come with wheels or an engine. For an event to go off without a hitch you need the best equipment and the best expertise. Getting all of this from a single provider saves a lot of hassle.
Can you add your own branding?
This is your event and viewers should in no doubt of that fact. They should be focussed on you and no one else (other than your carefully chosen sponsors). You don’t want to host your conference on a platform that has someone else’s branding all over it.
Find a platform that lets you embed your event on your own website, with your logo and brand colours.
Do you intend on using footage as promotional material?
A conference is packed full of marketing gems — evergreen knowledge and moments of inspiration that can be used long after the event. Taking the best bits of your conference and rolling out highlight packages is a great marketing tactic that can be used to promote future events, showcase your expertise and generate social engagement.
If you plan on using conference footage after the event, choose a platform that can record your event as well as streaming it (not just the latter). A live stream expires, a recording doesn’t.
Do you want to capture and analyse data?
Streaming your conference is one of the best things you can do for marketing as it gives you instant access to hundreds, if not thousands, of warm leads in a single day and a steady stream of new leads long afterwards from on-demand viewers.
As well as capturing custom registration data, it makes sense to track it to see who attends, for how long and what they click. This data can then be downloaded and used to nurture leads, as well as analyse what elements of the webcast worked and what can be improved.
Look for a platform that offers advanced metrics and simple dashboard-based reporting features. Also, make sure there’s an option to easily pull everything into a CSV file — you need that data in your CRM!