The streaming industry has grown since it began in the 1990s as a niche webcast that few people watched, but it is now one of the most popular forms of online content. As such, it makes for everyone to try out an obvious choice. All you need is the best streaming setup, and you’ll be off to a good start.
It can be intimidating to start live streaming on your own, even if you have some favorite streamers that you regularly watch. That’s why we created this ultimate live-stream guide for total beginners.
In this article, we’ll discuss everything related to streaming, and by the end, you’ll be able to learn more about the best streaming setup to use and the strategies that can help you succeed.
What Makes Live Streaming So Important In 2022?
Stats have shown that traditional media (TV and radio) have lost their audiences whereas the number of people watching live streams on the internet has increased multiple folds.
Here are some stats to convince you that live streaming is a good idea:
- In a typical week, people watch 18 hours of online videos.
- 80% of people prefer watching a live brand video instead of reading a blog.
- TV viewing time has decreased by 13% among adults 18 and older. People no longer think TV is that important.
However, live streaming isn’t just useful for entertainment; it is also an effective way to market your business.
You can sell even something as targeted as medical alert solutions and still have an audience for it. For example, you can display the benefits of using medical alert devices and educate viewers on how these devices can actually save lives.
Live broadcasting is a great way to make money, discover new hobbies, or market your business. You can stream a mental word scrambler game and wait as people start watching you solve the puzzles while occasionally asking the audience how they’d spell things for better engagement. Many people are into word games since they challenge cognitive abilities. You can even invite another player to have a match with you, live.
Streaming is powerful; now let’s talk about the details of live streaming and the best streaming setup for you to get started.
Live Streaming: What You Need To Know
You may think that because it’s a live stream, you can just push the “go live” button without a plan because it’s a live stream. However, even gamers do not improvise. The best way to make your live streaming a revenue-generating venture is to prepare ahead of time.
Make sure you schedule your live stream for the right time if you want people to watch it. For working adults as the audience, the right streaming time can be after 7 PM.
Moreover, your audience prefers social media marketing visuals. Develop enticing social media posts to inform your viewers about your live streaming and post regularly to keep them engaged.
- Choosing your niche: What will you stream about? There are already many niches in that you can fit your content. Gaming, music, sports, IRL, eCommerce, and other general topics are just a few examples.
- Define your audience: You need to know your audience to know what to stream about. You can stream online to sell lingerie collections as well. A great example of this is if you’re selling these products online, defining your audience would mean you cater your approach to females in the 20-40 age group.
- Set goals: Setting goals is essential to measure success. If you’re a new streamer, it’s helpful to broadcast every week simultaneously, then increase the frequency of your broadcasts to daily streams.
- Promote: If you’re selling face masks, having regular live streams can be a way to heighten desire for your products like learning more about the benefits of using face masks, their quality, and why it is a necessity.
The Best Streaming Setup: Checklist
Live streaming is easier than it sounds. You need a decent internet connection, a camera, a microphone, and streaming software. You can also add accessories that will drastically improve the quality.
I. Desktop Or Laptop
This is the most apparent streaming equipment. Streaming from a computer is still the preferred setup for most streamers, although there are now some mobile apps that allow streaming directly from your phone or tablet.
To make initial savings on a streaming camera, choose a camera with a high-quality inbuilt webcam that can provide a full HD display. Streaming PCs need a graphics card (AMD, Geforce RTX, or Radeon).
How To Choose A Streaming Computer
- Budget: You can have a good desktop for $500 whereas a good laptop will cost around $700.
- Desktop Or Laptop: It depends on your personal preferences. You’ll want a laptop for its portability and flexibility if you stream live from different locations. Desktop is usually best for superior quality however laptop provides easy travel thanks to its compact size.
- Operating System: Your choice will depend on whether you prefer Apple or Windows. Apple is considered best when it comes to aesthetics, high performance, and security. A Windows OS will cost less and it is also easier to operate.
- Minimum Specs: Look closely at the CPU and storage of the computer you’re considering to ensure it meets the minimum requirements for the software you plan to use.
- CPU: There are dual-core, quad-core, and six-core processors: the more cores, the faster the computer. For optimum performance, you can select a CPU with quad-core processors.
- Graphics Card (GPU): Your display relies on a powerful GPU, ideally an NVIDIA GeForce GPU, for smooth visuals.
- RAM (Random Access Memory): Your computer’s RAM determines how quickly programs and apps load and run. You should aim for up to 16GB of RAM.
- Storage: In general, SSDs are faster, more efficient, and perform better, but HDDs are more affordable and offer a bigger capacity.
- Inputs & Outputs: A computer with enough USB ports should be able to accommodate a microphone, camera, and headphones you will be connecting. You also need an audio mixer, XLR microphone, shock mount, mirrorless camera with the ability to zoom, headset, and PC gaming.
- Battery Life: Consider a laptop if you find yourself without an electrical outlet during your live stream.
II. Streaming Software
In any live streaming setup, streaming software like an encoder helps convert your audio, video, and other content into the digital format necessary to stream.
What To Look For In Streaming Software
- Price: Free streaming software is an excellent choice if you’re on a budget, but even if you only have a limited budget, you can access high-quality streaming software like Restream or OBS Studio.
- HD Recording: You should record your live stream in HD so that you can edit, repurpose, and re-upload your stream in case someone missed it or if they haven’t watched it yet.
- Live Mixing: The live stream should allow you to mix audio with other media and share your screen.
Live streams require a camera of a certain quality. Depending on your budget and the video quality you want, you can also choose to invest in an external webcam or a DSLR camera. Whether game streaming on Xbox or a laptop, you can use Razer Kiyo to get the best camera results.
Checklist For Streaming Cameras
- Price: You can find a low-budget webcam for $25. A mid-range webcam will cost you around $100 and finally, a high-end webcam will cost more than $200.
- Video Capture Resolution: The output resolution of your live stream should be a minimum of 720p for the best HD quality.
- Frame Rate: Ensure that your camera can capture good fps, at least 30fps or 60fps.
- Connectivity: Consider how the camera connects to the device. If it’s HDMI, pay attention to the size: micro, mini, or full-size HDMI. If you decide on a webcam, check whether it’s USB compatible.
- Auto-focus: An autofocus feature can save your life. Even if you move around, good autofocus will ensure your visuals are sharp.
- Power Supply & Battery Life: Ensure your camera has an AC power adapter option and check your camera’s battery life.
You’ll need a decent microphone to shoot well and remove background noise from audio, even if your camera isn’t super high-quality. If you’re sitting at your desk and moving around, you might want a standing or shotgun mic. However, you might want a lav USB microphone if you get up and move around a lot.
For instance, if you’re teaching courses to your viewers, say MySQL guide or link-building services, you’ll need a mic that can reduce background noise and enhance the voice so that your viewers can understand everything you’re saying. Since a MySQL guide is highly technical, you need a better live-streaming setup to get your message across quickly.
What To Look For In A Streaming Mic
- Price: The budget is significant in determining which live-streaming mic will work best for you. You can get a quality mic from anywhere between $50 to $200.
- Connectivity: You may need to invest in a mixer if you choose an XLR mic. You should also know the connectivity you’re after, whether USB or XLR.
- Polar Pattern: You’ll find microphones with cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional polar patterns. Polar patterns indicate where the mic will pick up the most audio. As a rule of thumb, the most effective polar pattern for live streaming is cardioid, as these are most sensitive to sounds coming from directly in front of the microphone.
- Frequency Response: A mic’s frequency response will range from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
- Type: A dynamic mic and a condenser mic will require some consideration. However, understanding the fundamental differences can help. Condenser mics use an electrically-charged diaphragm that vibrates in response to sound waves, while dynamic mics use a diaphragm, voice coil, and magnet.
Your live stream will look fantastic if you use some simple lighting equipment. Lighting doesn’t need to be expensive, but a few simple things can make a huge difference.
- Price: Consider what kind of lighting equipment you can afford. This will determine what type of equipment you can purchase. For a low budget lighting setup, you can expect a $50 price however a high-budget one will set you $300 back.
- Light Type: Lights are different. A halogen, tungsten, or RGB LED light will give you a choice of color temperatures. LEDs are the most flexible, offering a wide selection of warm and cold lighting. You can also buy a ring light, Elgato key light, and a green screen.
- Size & Fit: If you’re in a compact space, consider using a desktop LED rather than overcrowding your environment with lighting.
A comfortable and sturdy pair of headphones can help you distinguish between in-game sounds and chat notifications more easily.
What To Look For In Streaming Headphones
- Comfort: Consider your headphones’ padding, adjustability, and weight since you’ll be wearing them for a long time.
- Connectivity: Wireless headphones may be the best choice if you’re constantly on the move or do not want to be constrained by wires. However, this could result in latency issues.
- Latency: Bluetooth headphones often have more significant latency than wired headphones, so be aware of that.
- Type: Mostly, this is a matter of personal preference.
For headphones, Logitech, Razer, and Sony have pretty good products for you to check out.
Choosing The Right Platform
Having planned and set up your stream, you can now go live. To do that, you need to choose a platform to make your stream appearance.
YouTube Live, Facebook Live, or Twitter Live are all excellent options if you don’t have a niche and want a platform with a slight learning curve and good exposure.
- YouTube Live: YouTube Live offers a wide range of streaming options like streaming from a phone or a desktop/laptop.
- Facebook Live: The best way to get people to watch your live streams is to have a decent following on Facebook.
- Twitter Live: You can find a home on Twitter Live if you stream breaking news and updates.
Fortunately, several platforms are dedicated to gaming and e-sports today. These are the most popular live-streaming genres.
- Twitch: Twitch can also be a good platform for hosting casual talks (“just chatting”).
- YouTube Gaming: There is a modest but loyal gaming community on YouTube Gaming. It also has better monetization features.
- Facebook Gaming: Facebook gaming is another famous medium. It is best used for being cost-effective.
Creative streams dominate market share. You can find platforms that cater to artists and creators of all kinds. Live streaming includes many genres, including gaming.
- Mixcloud: Mixcloud is an excellent place for people who want to live stream music and DJ mixes and start a radio show or podcast.
- Picarto: If you’re looking for a network to broadcast, then Picarto may be a perfect choice. You can live stream your work while creating it for supporters to watch.
- Behance: Adobe’s Behance social network allows you to share your artwork, design, and photography. It is mainly used by graphic designers or people looking to outsource graphic design. However, live streaming lets you tell the world how you create artwork, connect with other creatives, and even host workshops and classes.
You need a good editing tool to sell eCommerce tools like Amazon repricers on live streams. Before you stream, you can tactically introduce your product (repricing tool) as a solution to a problem on social media platforms to get some traction. Quality editing for online products is always important.
Live streaming has become an increasingly popular way to promote brands and grow networks over the last few years.
- LinkedIn Live: To do professional live streams, you should visit a professional networking website. LinkedIn Live has been around only a few years, but live videos here already receive much more views and engagement than non-live videos.
Demonstrations, contests, and giveaways are great ways to promote your online store if you sell products online.
- Amazon Live: You can broadcast live promotional content as an Amazon seller if you are registered and have an Amazon account.
6. Stream To Your Website
Alternatively, you can live stream to your website if a platform has content creation rules you disagree with. However, the downside is that it takes a lot of work to build a following on your website. Also, you need to look at WordPress website development costs before you commit to starting your website.
On the flip side, if you have decent traffic and considerable brand loyalty especially for interest-based industries like a software review site for programmers, an image preset site for photographers, or a layout ideas guide for interior designers, why not use that to teach people how to start a blog? Educational content is always a traffic magnet. All you need to do is learn how to monetize it.
It’s okay to choose more than one platform when there are so many to choose from. Multistreaming apps make it easy to broadcast from multiple channels. You can use the amount of effort to live stream to Facebook Live and LinkedIn Live simultaneously if you already have a Facebook fan base.
6 Best Practices For Successful Live Video Streaming
Of course, you should learn how to create a website and use lead generation software. To be sustainable, you need quality leads that you can turn to customers. However, the whole business ordeal is too complicated and not suitable for everyone. Live streaming is a good alternative if monetization is your goal.
On the other hand, live streaming takes away the pain of learning tech courses. All you need to do is have a good streaming setup and you can make any kind of content in order to monetize it. You can earn money doing what you love while streaming it live.
Here are some best practices on how to live stream successfully, which can be helpful to beginners, novices, and professionals.
A. Appear Professional
A professional-looking stream features high-quality graphics that make you appear knowledgeable. However, your graphics must be appropriate for your audience.
B. Camera Confidence
If you don’t have a physical audience behind you, it can be difficult to talk into a camera and keep your audience engaged.
C. Streaming Myths
You might have heard popular myths that keep you from starting: live streaming is too expensive, no one will care about what you have to say, or you will sacrifice your privacy.
D. Watch The Quality Of Your Live Stream
80% of viewers will stop watching your stream after the first four minutes if they have a poor viewing experience. A high-quality viewing experience depends on monitoring performance indicators like bitrate, keyframe interval, frame rate, dropped frames, video codec, and more.
A live stream requires good audio and video equipment. If the equipment isn’t right, viewers won’t stick around.
For many, 90 seconds is the longest a viewer will tolerate a spotty stream. That means you only have one and a half minutes to capture a viewer. That’s how crucial quality audio and video are.
Now that you have read this article, you know what equipment you need for a killer live-streaming setup. Consider each piece of equipment carefully and scale when appropriate.
Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. Follow Burkhard on his journey from $0 to $100,000 per month. He’s sharing everything he learned in his income reports on Novum™ so you can pick up on his mistakes and wins.