YouTube Live is the a way to share your content with your target audience on the world’s most popular video-based site. Unfortunately, even many top marketers break out into a cold sweat at the idea of presenting live video. But the truth is that if you know how to film videos and have a YouTube channel set up, you can live stream easily on YouTube. Here’s how to get started.

Enable Your Channel

Before you begin a live stream for the first time, you have to enable your channel. Go to Creator Studio > Channel. Confirm that your channel is verified, and that you are eligible for live streaming. A small gray box will list the feature and say either Eligible or Ineligible.

Also make sure you have not had any strikes or restrictions against your account in the last 90 days. Then go to the Live Streaming tab.

Set Up Your Encoder

Before you can start streaming on YouTube, you need to download encoding software, and then set it up using the data on the Live Streaming page, the encoder set-up server URL and the stream name/key. Keep your key secret and do not edit it in the YouTube interface in any way.

The instructions for setting up encoding are here:

You have three easy choices:

  • The YouTube gaming app
  • The YouTube app
  • Your own webcam

There is a long list of other options, but if you have a smartphone or a webcam already set up, these will be the least complicated.

Enter an Interesting Title and Description

On the Live Streaming page, Basic Info tab, add a description of what your streams are going to be about. Include the niche and some keywords. Make it sound exciting.

Add a Thumbnail Image

Add a thumbnail you think will attract attention and make your stream look interesting and professional. The default is the background image for your channel.

Choose Your Category

This might be education, how to, and so on.

6. Set Your Privacy Level

This might be public or unlisted.

Set Your Stream Options

On the Stream Options tab, choose DVR if you want people to be able to start from anywhere they like in the stream even though you are live.

Also choose to unlist the archived video that will be created from your live stream if you don’t wish lot of people to be able to access it after your live broadcast is over. It won’t show up in search results. This will keep it exclusive and you could even sell the recordings as part of an information product.

Set Stream Optimization

Latency has to do with speed. Normal is slow; while Low and Ultra Low mean your comments will appear quickly, almost in real time. This can be very distracting, so choose Normal.

Add a Marketing Card

Cards add interactivity to your videos. They can include your URL (you need to get permission for this first — go to your Channel tab for more information). You can also show images, titles, and calls to action depending on the type of card you choose.

Go to Advanced Settings

On the bottom right corner of the Basic Info tab, click the link for Advanced Settings. There is a lot to choose from here. Read through each option and decide if it will be something that will help you market the video to the correct audience, without it leaving your page open to the sometimes bad behavior of YouTube users, such as comments on the pages.

Go Live

When you are ready to start streaming, start your encoder. The status bar will show you are live. To stop streaming, stop the encoder. You can record live for up to four hours.

Follow these steps and you will soon feel confident about making videos.

Getting Started with YouTube Live
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