Earlier this week, John Carlton, a legend in the copywriting industry had what I believe was his first Ustream show. A few VERY loyal fans say that it went well, but what I watched was a marketing catastrophe.
John’s booboo inspired me to write this post to help others not make the same mistakes.
There are 7 things I try to keep in mind whenever I’m planning a Ustream show. You can also see most of these elements in other successful Ustream shows. They aren’t laws, but they are some guide lines to help make sure you don’t run a show that sucks and leaves people with negative thoughts about you.
Keep It Short Like Danny Devito
We used to run an hour long show and what would happen is we’d run out of things to talk about on our topic for that show. It’s not like writing a blog post where you can stop, do some quick research, and resume your conversation without anyone knowing.
When you’re on live video the worst thing you can have is dead air… 30 seconds of dead air can feel like 5 minutes of intense boredom for your viewers. This is why we try to keep our shows confined to 20 minutes now.
Not all shows have to be short though, you just have to be entertaining or engaging to your audience for the whole time period that your visitors expected to watch. If you have to tell everyone you are stopping early because you’re out of things to say, you’re letting down your audience.
There are popular shows that run for hours though, most of them have hot spots of high entertainment though. When it’s a longer show people come and go, after all they have lives to live. That’s why I prefer to let my audience expect a 20 minute show and then if things are going great I’ll stretch it out until it starts to drop off.
When you have to extend your show because it was just sooo good, it leaves your viewers with a sense of “over delivery.” Which if you know anything about marketing is exactly the type of thoughts that you want your audience to be thinking when they think of you.
Be As Consistent As The Sunrise
The biggest question most people have is how do I get a lot of viewers to my show. Now obviously you could advertise your show just like you would a product. However, if you want to grow a natural following for free then all you have to do is pick a time when your market will most likely be able to watch and then have a consistent schedule.
We break the first rule with our show as it’s at a time when the majority of our audience is working. We’re ok with this though since we record the shows and send them out to our subscribers. We sacrifice a little on the live viewers in order to make sure we can follow the second rule of consistency.
For us it’s very inconvienent to run our shows at night when most people are off work. That’s the time when we want to relax and enjoy family time. But since it’s at a good time for us it helps us stay consistent with always having a show at the same time every week.
The best scenario is to balance both good timing and consistency. In our eyes consistency has been much more important since it creates anticipation in our subscribers.
On Tuesday nights a lot of our subscribers are just waiting for us to send them a message telling them where to watch our recorded episode. There is so much anticipation from our consistency that some viewers have told us that they are watching from work and looking over their shoulder to make sure no one finds out! haha
When you are consistent with your show your audience starts to realize that they can count on you. If they think they can count on you they will start adapting their schedules to make sure they can catch your show. They do want to make sure they aren’t wasting their time though.
The next two elements of a good ustream show are the most important to making sure the show goes well while airing. These are in my eyes what went wrong with John Carlton’s show earlier this week.
Be Interested In Your Viewers
Ustream shows are a lot like TV in many ways, however, where it’s different is in the interactivity that Ustream provides. Your viewers are able to chat in the chat box, leave comments, send messages, and even private message you during the show.
It’s very important that your viewers don’t feel like you aren’t interacting with them. Nothing will kill a live Ustream faster then your viewers feeling like you might as well have just used a recorded video. That’s just not why they show up to Ustream events.
Keep your chat box visible to you, possibly even have someone sitting next to you helping you keep up with the chat. It can get hard to keep up with the chat while talking so it does help alot to have a partner with you. Your viewers are absolutely going to want to see that interaction though.
On John’s show he wasn’t watching the chat room, instead his assistants in another part of the room (off camera) wer watching it and handing him written questions that were being asked. Yes, it was interaction but it just felt a little impersonal.
My good buddy, Alejandro, told me a quote he once hear that says “You have to stop trying to be interesting and instead be interested.” If you can allow your Ustream show to be flexible and adapt to whats going on in the chat room then things should go fine.
Bring A Bodyguard To Deal With The Trolls
The great part about Ustream is that it’s free to the public, but that’s also one of the worst parts. You will without a doubt have assholes show up to your show at one time or another. There are just people out there on the Internet who find it entertaining to piss off other people, for them it’s like a video game.
Don’t play into it though as that is exactly what they want to see. If they can’t get a rise out of you then they get bored and go find someone else. Depending on how popular your show is determines how many of these trolls will find your show. If it’s really popular and you hit the front page you’ll get a rash of these mongrels.
It’s best to have a partner or a couple loyal fans as moderators in your shows chat room. You can do this easily by right clicking on their name in the chat room and then selecting “Mod.” Then that person has the ability of right clicking on other peoples names in the chat room and selecting things like “kick” and “ban.”
Kicking a person is really ust like a warning, it will bump them off the show but they can come right back. IF you want them to not be able to come back then you have to ban them. Banning blocks that username from coming back on.
Moderating a show can actually be kinda fun and stress relieving as it feels a little like playing “Whackamole” as you kick and ban people out of the chat room for being mischievious.
Another good tip that is up to your personal preference is whether you allow people who don’t have a Ustream account to watch your show or not (as well as those not logged in). If someone is not logged into Ustream or doesn’t have a [free] account then they will show up as ustreamer-12345 or some other random number combination.
If you leave the default settings on these “ustreamers” can participate in your show. Most often trolls are usually found as ustreamers, so it can be helpful to flip the setting that only allows logged in users to chat. This also helps you see who is in the chat room and build relationships, because if they are logged in you’ll start noticing usernames that show up frequently.
People Like Parties More Then Funerals
There’s not a whole lot to say about this one so I’m not gunna fluff it up. Basically, just let the passion come out. Be yourself and be aware of how your voice or facial expressions are coming across to the viewers.
Two things people don’t want to watch is something boring and something with fake enthusiasm.
Some People Will Never Read A Book Twice
I would think it’s pretty obvious but I have seen some shows where the host just talks about the same two or three things over and over again.
Pull out a calendar and plan out the next months worth of shows. This will make sure that you don’t end up talking about the same things over and over or worse NOT have something to talk about on your show. Also theres more then just one type of show.
For example you can have an educational show where you just lecture about a topic, you can have a resources show where you talk about different tools or websites your viewers might like, you can have a trivia show where you interact with the audience asking them questions and calling out winners, and many other types of shows… Get creative and spice things up.
One thing I do to find hot topics for my show is to look at popular blogs in my niche and then look for popular blog posts within that blog. This is usually a pretty good indicator that the topic will be recieved well.
Another great way for you to change up the type of shows you are having is to do a co-hosted show. You can do this with the built in co-host tool in Ustream (kind of clunky) as long as the other person has a webcam. Or you can use a software called CamTwist along with skype video. Camtwist will let you show any other source of video feed, even your desktop if you wanted to do like a powerpoint presentation.
But Does It Make Money???
Honestly, if all you are going into Ustream with is to make more money then you just won’t last. People are not wanting to show up to an entertainment based website to watch a sales pitch. That doesn’t mean there is no money in it though.
We’ve found a couple different ways to monetize our shows…
1.) In show advertisements and endorsements:
If you get enough traction with your show you can charge others to have their product or website advertised in the background of your video frame while streaming. Or you can charge others to say a brief message about their product… or you can do both!
2.) Charge for access to the shows:
You can password protect your shows and then place them behind a membership site software. This will let you have private shows that you can then charge people for access too.
3.) Paid forum:
This is our favorite way because it comes across the least intrusive. You basically just end every show with “If you want to continue this conversation just go… here” and then let that “here” place be in a paid forum.
There is still so much to cover about Ustream, but if you follow these 7 guidelines you will have very successful Ustream episodes. Don’t forget to record them as they make great content for use later on and they are embedable anywhere like your social media profiles!
Do you have any questions? If so ask them in the comments below or just say hi. And flattery by compliment works well on us too!
P.S. Here’s a question for you… How should I end these blog posts? Can you help me think of a good one or two lines that I can use at the end of my posts to say goodbye, leave a comment, and I hope you enjoyed this post??? Love to hear your suggestions!