5 Tips to Launching a Successful Live Stream

Four weeks ago, our team drove to Chicago to film our latest What’s Your Craft episode. We didn’t know it at the time, but it would end up being our last time filming in-person for quite a while.

On Monday, March 16, our team began working remotely from home. We kicked off the week as we always do. In our weekly team meeting, we bounced ideas around pivoting our in-person production to a completely-virtual, high-quality, and engaging experience…and The Flow Show was born.

Over the past few years, we’ve coached our clients on how to use video to reach their audiences and tell their story on social media, a website, or in-person at events. Now, we coach our clients on how to use Zoom, Google Hangouts, live-streaming, and other solutions to reach their audiences in an era of social distancing.

With The Flow Show, we aim to share stories of positivity and change through a show that takes the level of quality and engagement far beyond what is possible with Zoom.

Within 20 hours of the idea, HD cameras, audio, and lighting equipment were delivered to our team member’s porches, along with instructions for contact-free setup over video chat. We converted our basements, living rooms, and (sometimes) bedrooms into home studios. We designed a show intro, graphics, website landing page, email updates. And then we went live!

For the past three weeks, we’ve been live-streaming a new 30-60 minute episode each Monday-Thursday with two Flow Video hosts and two guests. Below, I’ll share five tips that have helped our show run smoothly.


5 Tips for a Successful Live Stream

(1) Do a practice run

Before we go live each day, we run through the plan for the show so that the hosts and guests know the order. This gives us a chance to practice transitions.

(2) Get Connected

The Internet feed is probably the number one thing that is out of your control, but there are a couple things you can do to help prevent issues. If possible, run an ethernet cable from your router into your computer. If that’s not possible, move your computer as close as you can to your router. Besides internet, make sure your device is charged (preferably plugged into the charger!) and wear headphones.

(3) Have a backup plan

Since it’s a live show, you can’t just “fix it in post.” Prepare for technical difficulties such as someone’s feed freezing or cutting out. Having a plan (and practicing for this) is important and will ensure someone is always ready to jump in and seamlessly continue the show.

(4) Use videos and pictures

We’ve seen a significant increase in engagement in our live streams when showing pictures or videos on-screen. With everyone spending many hours in Zoom meetings, differentiate your stream by including related media whenever possible.

Note: If you’re using Zoom, you can use the screen sharing feature. When initiating a screen share while a streaming a Zoom meeting (with 3 or more users) to Facebook Live/YouTube, the “spotlighted” user’s camera will appear.

If you’re interested in further customizing your live stream and incorporating videos or photos into your live stream, let’s chat — we can help.

(5) The first few seconds

…of your stream may not seem important, but the beginning is actually the most important part. After your Facebook live stream is done, it is archived and re-watchable as a normal video. Since Facebook auto-plays videos in people’s feeds from the beginning, the first few seconds is what everyone will see and Facebook does not currently allow you to trim live streams afterwards. Use the first few seconds as your chance to speak to future viewers. Make sure to start every stream with energy and act as if you are presenting to a big group of viewers.


Starting a livestream or virtual show is a great way to stay connected to your clients, customers, staff, volunteers, and broader community through the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, these helpful tips will give you confidence to make the leap "from stream to show" and impress your audience until we can all meet in-person again. Best of luck!

-About the author-

Justin Wedes

Justin Wedes is a social entrepreneur and digital storyteller with more than a decade of experience managing fast-paced teams that execute innovative marketing and branding campaigns. He has appeared on The Colbert Report and CNN with Wolf Blitzer.