10 Best Strategies for Creating an Engaging Live Video Content

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Livestreaming has become a parallel category for online content. Gaming streamers and commentators amass millions of followers every day. And with just a smartphone or a laptop, you have access to the same opportunity. To get your slice of the live video content pie, you have to be a master of engagement.

The best strategies for creating and engaging live video content include using hooks, telling stories, and interacting with your fans. Avoiding dull moments and silent pauses is also critical. The more densely you pack your stream with entertainment and value, the more engaged your audience will be.

In this article, you will learn more about specific strategies to improve livestream engagement alongside the five sins of streaming that will kill your audience retention. But before getting into examples and use cases, let's look at the top strategies for making live videos more engaging:

  1. Use The Curiosity Bias.

  2. Leverage The Power Of Stories

  3. Be Different

  4. Add An Element Of Surprise

  5. Make Yourself And Your Content Relatable

  6. Play To People's Voyeurism

  7. Deliver Entertainment And Value

  8. Interact With The Viewers

  9. Eliminate Engagement Dead-Spots

  10. Maximize The Barnum Effect

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Use The Curiosity Bias

Leveraging curiosity bias is one of the best ways to keep your viewers and listeners engaged. By adding not just one hook to the opening of your live stream but adding multiple hooks throughout your live content, you will accumulate more same-time live stream viewers. Since most social platforms show the number of people watching simultaneously, it can create social proof, which can make more people stick around.

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Leverage The Power Of Stories

One way to implement a hook could be to deliberate information gaps. "I am going to tell you how I got 500 followers with one post in just a few minutes" is an example of a hook that would work in a live broadcast. Viewers cannot fast-forward or skip to the part where you reveal the information.

It is important to deliver on the promise, though. If your audience becomes suspicious of your hooks, your engagement rate might not recover.

The human brain seeks to fill information gaps, but info gaps aren't the only way to make people curious. You can make a statement that seems weird on the surface and then explain the rationale. For example, "There are five reasons not to send your kids to school" can get any parent's attention.

That's because they are curious about the reasons that might make something productive bad. Other examples include, "In one condition, water can be colder than ice." Again, delivering on the promise established in the hook is extremely important, so do not make absurd hooks just for attention.

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Be Different

Looking from the perspective of what the human brain seeks out, difference occupies the biggest spot. What's common is invisible, as Seth Godin explains in his book The Purple Cow. So, one way to make your live stream more engaging is to be different from most livestream content creators.

You can consume one hour of live content from others' broadcasts, shifting to a different livestream every five minutes. Soon, you will realize that most creators have a lot in common. Find out the boring similarities and get rid of them and figure out the interesting similarities and exaggerate them.

Above all, bring something different to the table and make it unmissable. Ninja's iconic blue hair is a great example of this.

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Add An Element Of Surprise

A great way to make yourself stand out from the crowd is to use surprises in your stream. Not only will it satisfy your audience's need for novelty, but it will also help you stand out. Surprises can include content reveals, inviting audience members to join, and digital content giveaways.

These do not cost money and are feasible for the average creator. Aside from literal surprises, you can emphasize the element of surprise by adding it to your stories and content. When people walk into a theatre for a Tarantino or a Nolan movie, they do not know what to expect except a great experience.

If your viewers know where your story is going, they will come along for the ride. More importantly, they'll buckle up their seatbelts and hold tight every word you say.

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Make Yourself And Your Content Relatable

Relatability is one of the key components of engagement, especially when it comes to social media content. Some of the biggest Youtubers and Instagram Influencers have gotten too wealthy to be relatable.

This is an area where fresh content creators have a decent advantage. By addressing issues and concerns that your viewers have, you can make your live streams more relatable and, consequently, more engaging.

Relatability must not be left for the audience to discover. It should be projected by the streamer. You have to plan and organize the substance of your script to be grounded and relatable to your audience. If you help people start their life coaching journey, you can keep their attention longer by talking about the obstacles in getting your first client.

But if you start off with having a massive waiting list, they might lose trust in your ability to even recognize their problems.

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Play To People's Voyeurism

Voyeurism has an inherent excitement. You can make your streams more engaging by giving the impression that people are getting a glimpse into your life instead of getting a polished presentation.

How your background appears and the clothes you wear matter a lot in this context. Catering to people's subconscious attraction to voyeurism can help drive up your engagement, but it comes with side effects.

For example, if you build up a "man of the people" image and emphasize how much you are like everyone who watches you, your fans might expect you not to be too busy to talk to them if they encounter you on the street.

Others might even expect you to spend time talking to them. In extreme cases, especially with female streamers, people have gone further, hunting down their addresses and sending gifts.

It is wise not to make voyeurism the sum total value of your content. Peppering it on top to make your content hit better is a better call. The bulk of your content should be around one of two other aspects if you want to have any longevity as a content creator.

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Deliver Entertainment And Value

The substance of your content should always deliver value or entertainment. Ideally, it should deliver both. While cognitive biases towards curiosity-inspiring setups (hooks) and contrast (standing out) can draw attention, they can't hold it. You can deliver value and entertainment to keep viewers interested and engaged.

How you define value has to overlap with how your audience defines value. If you're a fitness influencer who suddenly starts dropping knowledge about stocks, your audience might not be interested. So, start by focusing on what your audience can use and the area in which they trust you. If you're on a live stream, you have a very good opportunity to find out the value that your audience seeks.

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Interact With The Viewers

Interaction improves a live stream's engagement. Unlike pre-recorded content, live streams offer a unique opportunity where the presenter can actually respond to the viewers. When a viewer poses a question, he sticks around, hoping that you would get to it.

You should invite your viewers to ask questions but don't make the mistake of sitting awkwardly until the first questions roll in. Fill every minute of your stream with value and entertainment, but let the viewers know that they can pose questions at any point. Initially, there will not be as many questions, but you'll be able to respond to everyone.

This will incentivize more people to ask questions. There's also another technique that allows you to interact even when no one's asking questions.

You can talk about the specific comments on your live stream. When people notice that you're noticing the comments, they will comment a lot more. This will improve general engagement and algorithmic engagement. Finally, you can ask questions from your audience. Soliciting answers from your viewers is an easy engagement win.

If you're a micro-celebrity or generally anyone they look up to, your response alone can be quite a reward for them. Aside from trying to respond to everyone, remember to embed value and entertainment into each one of your answers. That can be tough for some creators, but there are ways to get better at entertaining interaction.

Taking improv classes and creative writing courses can be an excellent way to drive up your on-the-spot entertainment value. Alternatively, consuming plenty of trivia and interesting facts can help you make your responses more engaging.

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Eliminate Engagement Dead-Spots

Visual engagement is one way to eliminate engagement dead spots. If you speak throughout the stream, your audience might get bored. But every pause can become a dead engagement spot. Using props and signboards, you can give your audience something to do while you take a breather.

You might be in the middle of a stream and could have used plenty of hooks initially. You might have dropped plenty of knowledge to earn the hang-around interest of your audience.

But at any point in your stream, someone new might join. To that person, the middle would be the beginning of your stream. In pre-recorded content, you can afford to slow down in the middle of your content. But in a live stream, you have to treat every minute as if it is the first minute.

One of the best things about optimizing your live stream for maximum engagement throughout its duration is that it makes a great offline video. Livestream reuploads can be repurposed and reuploaded with programs like ContentFries. And maintaining a consistent level of entertainment and value can help make a larger portion of the stream reusable.

Avoid getting so specific to the live viewers that playback viewers feel like the content isn't relevant to them. You can maintain live and reupload usability with the help of something called The Barnum Effect.

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Maximize The Barnum Effect

The Barnum Effect is named after P.T. Barnum, a circus promoter widely regarded as the "Greatest Showman." Barnum is alleged to have said that "a sucker is born every minute." The psychological phenomenon named after the circus promoter revolves around people's tendency to personalize the specific.

Carnival psychics and tarot card readers use broad generalizations to convince their customers of their supernatural abilities. The truth is that carnival psychics don't have access to hidden knowledge about any person. But when they make broad generalizations, the people who want to believe and seek out the details are true to them.

While psychics and tarot readers might use the Barnum effect in grey, if not downright negative ways, live streamers can use it more ethically. They can speak broadly about the value of their advice and let the viewers personalize it.

Specific examples help, but super-specific ones don't. If you're talking about how to get out of debt, you can talk about multiple income-generating and expense-lowering methods. If you pick one method only and go too deep into it, it might not be useful to all your viewers. When you talk about multiple methods, the Barnum Effect takes hold, and individual audience members focus on individual examples that are most personally valid for them.

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Top 5 Live Streaming Mistakes

Now that you know the ten strategies that will help you improve your live video content's engagement, let's explore the mistakes that might hold you back. In addition to adopting the streaming strategies covered earlier, you should also try to avoid each of the following livestream engagement killers.

Not Going Into A Live Stream With Sufficient Preparation

Not having any preparation is the greatest mistake most content creators make when going online. They assume that because they can go online, they probably should.

But you should actually not go online if you don't have enough value to provide. Instead, you should do your homework and gather material for your live stream. Pointless live streams can be boring, and even the most curious and loyal viewers tune out after a while.

Without enough preparation, they walk into a wall of zero prompts/questions. It is relatively easier to have a two-way conversation. But if you have to essentially talk to yourself, your rants will not be valuable. Even people famous for their one-man streams, like Bill Burr, have to map out their content in advance.

Preparing some questions in advance helps you overcome the obstacle of not getting enough questions from viewers. Having bullet points for what you want to talk about can help you deliver value right from the start. So at a minimum, you should have at least 5 bullet points and 5 questions before you go live on any platform.

Having Idle And Mundane Periods

The "waiting for others to join" aspect of live streams is an amateur mistake. It is prevalent among micro-influencers. When you go live, you should start presenting as if you have an audience of a hundred. Waiting isn't fun, and if you have two to three viewers, you will love them too while you wait for a dozen more to join.

Even with zero viewers, you should deliver value because the offline playback will be more engaging.

One of the best ways to frame your stream is as a live premiere for a playback video. When you conceptualize your stream as an offline video, you understand that there is no room for mundane moments regardless of how many people are live at any point of the stream.

Not Repurposing Livestream Content

Your time is important, and dividing it between live streams and offline content can lead to a drop in quality. If you are strategic about your streams, you can use them for short-form content, which has a much wider reach than a typical extended stream. This can also motivate you to put more effort into your live broadcasts.

Repurposing strategies for live streams include chopping up the video for our stream into short clips. Programs like ContentFries are great at turning individual long-form uploads into 36+ context-specific pieces of content in less than a minute. You can also turn short moments from your stream into quote cards and extended bits into audio podcasts.

Going Live On One Platform

Now that apps exist to allow cross-platform streaming, it is a waste of time to go live exclusively on one platform unless the point of going live is to force your audience from other apps to migrate to the one where you're looking to grow your profile. In other words, do not go live exclusively on Youtube unless the point of your stream is to make your Instagram audience visit your youtube channel.

For 90%+ of your streams, you should broadcast on multiple platforms, and apps like Streamyard, Streamlabs, and Dacast can help you pull this off. One benefit of being live in multiple places is that no one knows how many people are following the stream.

Even if there's only one person on your Facebook Live, he might think a dozen are following the stream on Instagram. But the main advantage of multiplatform streaming is that you can focus on value and make the most of your time.

Not Promoting Your Stream In Advance

Mega influences can get away with surprise lives. But pre-stream promotion is necessary for almost every content creator with less than a million followers. To make sure that enough people show up to your live broadcast, set up a form to accept questions in advance.

Email your database and post on your stories and feed regarding the upcoming live. Even work with channels and pages in your niche to promote the live stream 15 minutes before it begins.

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Final Thoughts

The best strategies for engaging live video are to add value and be entertaining. There are hundreds of ways to entertain and incorporate value, so you don't have to let your streams stagnate. For maximum engagement, make sure to follow the 10 tactics covered in the post above. And to get the most value out of your live stream videos, use ContentFries to chop them up into snackable clips.