Episode 306: Livestreaming in 2023 with Ross Brand
Rob Cairns sits down with Ross Brand and talks all thigs Livestreaming!
- Why Livestream?
- Trends in livestreaming.
- Podcasting and Livestreaming are crossing paths.
- Tools to use in Livestreaming.
Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here and today I’m here with my good friend Ross Brand of Livestream Universe. How are you today, Ross?
I’m great. Thanks so much for having me, Robert.
Yeah, it’s such a pleasure. This is a return appearance for you because you’ve been on the show once before, about a year and a half ago. And it’s good to have you back.
Always a pleasure. Well, thanks and congratulations on 300 episodes.
Yeah, it’s been that has been a labor of love and and then some. There’s been days where it’s like, do you do I have to get one out? And then there’s weeks when they just flow really nicely and you know, all that that in the light stream game, I’m sure.
Of course, and it’s nice to look back on on your catalog now and see. All the episodes and all the work that you put in and very impressive. So congratulations again. I’m really excited for you.
I think the the power in doing all this stuff, whether it’s live streaming or podcasting, and we were talking in pre show chat how they kind of all overlap now is that it’s the people you meet in your journey and you know people like you.
I get to talk with for an hour and catch up with and those friendships and relationships they just build. From there, and I think that’s the whole power of it.
I think so. I mean, when I when I started on blab in late 2015, during that time I it’s like my network entirely changed in terms of the people that I’m in touch with, the people that I talk to regularly, the people that I see in events. It just opened a whole different world to me. People who I might have followed on. But until you really hear their voice and you know you talk to them and see them on camera or listen to them live or or recorded, it changes everything. And I think it’s it’s brought a lot of us closer together in in ways where otherwise. I would look at your blog or I might look at your website or your tweets, but the ability to talk to each other and have these conversations. And online also, I mean it’s online, but we might call it offline like in a a zoom or a chat like that where it might just be a couple of people either way it it really does allow you to have you need kind of relationships with people around the world that. That might not be probably wouldn’t have been possible in the past time.
So true. I I can remember, and I’ve shared this story with you before and probably with my listeners before, but. One of the things I’m most proud of is the work we did with kids when I used to do a lot of partnerships with Toronto police and a lot of that was in the BMX community, BMX bikes. And Canadian Hat Canada has a BMX writer by name Andrew Bezanson. He’s one. And BMX park events all over the world, including Estonia. And every time he hit the track in Toronto, the live stream views when drew hit that track, we’d watch the numbers go through the roof. And in those days, what we livestreamed with Ross was a MacBook Pro sitting on a stool on the top of a 10 foot ramp with a good web camera. Isn’t that something to show you the power of light streaming?
Yeah, really. I mean you can do a lot with. A little bit of technology. You can go a long way and you know the technology just keeps getting better and better, of course and. You know, I I can’t imagine having gone through the pandemic without live streaming without live video. And again, whether that’s live streaming your what you’re doing or your show to social media, or whether that’s, you know, couple of people hopping or a group of people hopping on a live video chat that they’re not broadcasting. Out to the world, that’s just their conversation. Could you imagine? Had we been locked down for? What a year and a half, two years and. We’re not able to see each other on video and have these conversations in the same way. It really I mean it saved people’s businesses. For one thing, some people who were completely deprived of foot traffic to their stores, you know, they were able to. Come up with ways to communicate with their customers through live shows, through entertaining shows, through podcasts, through other types of shorts and reels, and and all different types of digital media communication that. Allowed them to stay in business and in fact some of them built the bigger customer base than they might have had before because now they’re reaching people all over the world.
And and it also, if you’re teaching and have a good friend of mine who’s in Nova Scotia, his name is Jeff Brown. He teaches what’s called the. Workplace education. And they do it all on zoom and to this day they have not transitioned back into a live classroom and it enabled people to learn. Computer Skills, WordPress skills, digital marketing skills, online skills without losing, leaving the comfort of their home. And that is like powerful. And then you didn’t even have to worry about the hour to get to class and the hour back to class. But what I’ll also say is I don’t think teaching fly stream. Younger students is actually a good idea. I think truthfully, they need that in person interaction.
No, I I.
Agree with you totally I. But I think for adults in particularly in corporate environments, the ability for them to either. Do it on their own time, on demand or in short form. Just getting the information they need or an intern listening to an internal podcast when they have a few minutes all those things. Or ways where you don’t necessarily have to send somebody across half the country to a training center where they go for three days and you know they get up to speed on supposedly what they need to know for their job. They’re now ways you can incorporate. Using digital media tools that education into. Both into their kind of daily work life through short lessons and things like that, and then resources that they can call on when a question comes up or they need to delve in a little deeper to something that they might not have a ton of experience with. It’s really changed the way you know, companies do education.
So true. And even you look at the big boys like Microsoft. Google, Apple, their dev conferences and their launch events have all been live stream now, so you can anybody, you don’t have to be in the arena can get access to that stuff and that’s pretty amazing too.
Yeah, they become. They become really big events and then they become. I mean material for for discussion online for days, you know.
No kidding. Before we jump into. Your latest book, one of the questions I always throw out there. The people in live streaming is I know nothing. I’m going to start live streaming tomorrow. Where do we start?
You start by picking up your cell phone. Assuming you know, unless you have gear already and you have a set up, you just pick up your cell phone. You have a personal profile on Facebook. I would think about your first line and your last line. And then go live and talk about something that you’re passionate about, not necessarily related to your work or your business, but maybe a movie you saw that you loved a sporting event that was particularly good. Whatever it moves you and do that and you’ll find. Price usually people when they’re start. Going out, getting getting their first line going in. Not completely uncomfortable, awkward way and wrapping up in in a way that isn’t totally awkward are are two of the toughest things, and if you find that you’re just talking about something in between, having a written out first line and a written out. Last nut line when you first start, you’re gonna find that, UM, it probably goes better than you think it will and understand it. It takes time, so you’ll do some of those. You maybe you do 3, maybe you do 5, maybe you do. 10 keep them short in the beginning, just three to five minutes, and over time you’ll you’ll get to a point where you’re like, yeah, this isn’t so unnatural talking to a a camera and and talking well, nobody’s face to face with you. And then you think about moving over to. Perhaps your your business page. Some of the other platforms. Maybe you think about going live on, but I always say start with your Facebook personal profile because. It’s it’s low, lower risk. You know, maybe some friends and family show up, people will be there, they’ll be happy to see you if you haven’t gotten life before, they’ll be curious and they’ll be supportive and you’ll have some people probably show up just based on the the Facebook algorithm because it’s your personal profile and your first time.
Yeah, that’s a really good piece of advice now in terms of platforms. And we’ll jump in. You’ve just written a book called 100 Live streaming and digital media Predictions, volume 3. So this is your third one and we were sort of talking book writing’s hard work. So I give you a lot of credit for doing it. I would tell anybody who’s interested in live stream and go get the book now.
I I have both to Kindle Book and the hardcover the not to hard cover the soft cover book beside me, so that book.
Yeah. You’re welcome. I think the 100 experts that you got quotes from bring a lot to the table and one of the discussions in the book seems to be a recurring theme. Instagram shorts, YouTube shorts. But there’s not a lot of discussion about TikTok for some reason and. I personally think. TikTok. Has its issues being 50% owned by the Chinese Government to start with and a few other censorship issues. Do you have any thoughts on that one?
Yeah. I mean, I think there’s a couple of reasons why maybe, TikTok. Was mentioned here and there, but it wasn’t talked about to the extent that the others were talked about. Number one, people already have established accounts on Instagram and on YouTube. Some of the people in the book are what we would call Youtubers, people whose primary destination, primary fan base, even their primary source of modernizr. Nation is YouTube, yes. And then there are other people who’ve been doing Instagram for nearly a decade. And so these are spaces that they’ve already built up and have a a built in audience and so. The fact that they can go and create that content on those platforms versus. Having to start from scratch on TikTok. Means that they may be more focused on it. They also may know that even if they’re doing TikTok and having success on it for people who’ve never done that short form style of video, TikTok might be a little intimidating, confusing, but. People think, OK, there’s the issue of. The Chinese Government and how that’s being handled. And then there’s the issue of old Tik toks for kids. But when you tell people they can do it on YouTube and drive traffic to their videos or even monetize, or you tell them that they can do it on Instagram, where they’re already scrolling through a feed. And used to doing short stories and video posts. It’s a little more comfortable for people, particularly those who. 40 + 50 plus uh. Who are who are creators and might be leery of going to TikTok and what it means for their brand. I’m kind of. I guess I I don’t have a strong opinion on it. Uh, I I’m doing a little bit of tech talk, but not a lot. Uh, I understand the concerns that people have about it, and one of those concerns that I think everybody should factor in if they’re thinking they’re going to go exclusively after. TikTok and just focus that content there is there may come a time when you know our governments ban. TikTok depending on. Popular sentiment, depending on issues with spying and different things and uh, different laws and regulations and government, I don’t want to get into the whole political aspect of it, but Needless to say, I don’t think you could be confident that TikTok is. Should be your your one platform or your long term solution for getting your message out there. If if creating that short form content is something you think is good for you for you and your business and your brand and right now it is what the platforms are prioritizing, YouTube shorts is one option. Instagram reels. Facebook has reels. Pinterest has its own sort of short form video content with idea pins, which are largely video, so there’s there’s plenty of places where you can share that material without going on TikTok. But no judgement here. If you decide to try out TikTok as well, I certainly did to see what it’s about and to learn. A little bit what’s going on there because it is TikTok that’s motivating all these other platforms to get into the short form video. The short form vertical video game.
So true short or long form video content which.
It’s I think both are part of a really good strategy, but I think it’s what you’re good at, what your audience wants. If my strength is long form talk. So that’s what I’m always going to do some of, but. I’m trying to incorporate some shorts and reels because the audience is craving that and the platforms are. Really prioritizing it, that’s where the attention is right now, so. Uh, but I I would never stop doing long form. I I just think that that’s that’s what I like to listen to and I think a lot of people do and. It’s it’s. It’s something that’s been here for a long time and we’ll be here long after. The the tick toxification of of our digital media dies down some, like all new features that come along social integrates them, they push them for a while and then. After some time, they’re they’re not the the number. One way to get attention or get get connected to your to your audience, but it’s changed things, understand it’s changed things a lot. And these short form videos are entertainment, they’re not community building. Or really social. In in the way of of interaction so much, I mean there are comments and people reply to comments, but this is really like people pick up their phone and they binge watch this stuff. It’s it’s * **** thing and it’s not the same as going on social and. Having conversations in the chat with people in the same way you would during a live video or a blog post and that type of content.
So 2 tips that I like to throw out there is if you’re doing video as one worry about your lighting and we know what lighting causes and two and this is something people seem not to get is the audio is more important than the video itself.
What do you think?
Well, thank you. I mean, I. I think lighting is very difficult to do it really well. Fortunately we have the sun which is free and comes out most days and provides some nice natural light. If you keep it in front of you rather than behind you, you’re doing pretty well. Obviously, lighting is can can be complicated. But it’s very important it’ll make any. Regular camera look look like an expensive camera. If you light it correctly and it’ll make an expensive camera look just OK if it’s in very poor lighting, but that having been said, there’s nothing more important than the audio on the technical side because. Whether or not we were doing video right now or just doing this podcast in audio, the value, the information, the thing that that people are focused. One is the conversation, and that’s being delivered in the audio. The picture is a supplement to it, but if the picture goes out, there’s still a show. There’s still content if the audio is on. If the audio goes out, then it’s talking heads with nothing to say, and that gets old. They’re about 10 seconds. There’s nothing new coming along. So, uh, particularly for this type of talk content, but for almost any type of video content right now. Uh, I I can’t put a stronger emphasis on the value of the audio if the audio is unpleasant, people will tune out. If the Audio’s hard to understand, they can’t get the message. They can’t get the value they’re going to go. If the video flickers, they look away. If you know half the people may be working in another browser. Anyway, and just listening to the audio kind of radio style. So I I would say you’re you’re spot on with uh with your your two your 2 tips. I think video quality in terms of you know getting the perfect camera and and all that is is way down the list of the key things to having a successful live. Video show I know that sounds counterintuitive, but it really is true.
Yeah, the point in check is when the pandemic started, a lot of news anchors started broadcasting out of their basements, their home offices. They didn’t come into the studio, so their their video quality on some of those broadcasts was not what it should have been, but the audio audio quality was very good with a lot of them and the lighting. Wasn’t even always always the best. And you know, people are kind of looking at it saying why and it was, well, the audio was good and that’s what people are paying attention to.
I mean, there were some where the audio wasn’t that good and the video was good and. Umm to me, it was unforgivable. Like there there’s no way that people who are being paid a lot of money and have a an organization behind them with engineers and all different types of technical people should be using the wrong microphone and be in the wrong. Wrong situation with their audio. I mean that should be priority number one. If somebody’s doing a news report from their their home and you’re having trouble hearing them or their audio’s coming in and out. You’ve lost all the value of it and it’s good that the people that you saw put that focus right away on the audio because again. That’s where the content really is. The content that we need, the video tells some of the story with the news, but without the audio. There, there’s no context for what you’re looking at.
So true. We in your book you have 100 amazing predictions from 100 amazing experts. I will tell you one of the. Experts one year early edition to book me put me on to was the nimmons. I love those guys. They’re amazing. We’ve learned so much from you too. From them. As I’ve learned from you over the years. Are your three big predictions for 2023 for live stream?
Well, when I look at live streaming in in 2023. Number one, perhaps? Don’t rely on social media. You have to find other ways to use live streaming. And that means forming. A community amongst your most passionate. Supporters, followers, fans and then providing them with a space off social where we can gather and you can offer some premium content and some other types of monetization for yourself and exclusive additional. Beneficial content for your your audience it if you just rely on. OK, I’m going to go live on the major socials and I’m going to grow. Of course it happens for people, but it’s much harder than it was years ago, and so the goal shouldn’t be to have. The biggest audience, the goal should be to have an audience where you have a core group of people who are very supportive and very into what you can provide and want more access, more information, more time. More content that goes above and beyond what you’re doing for free on the socials or on your website, and that’s where you’re your number one modernization option is, I think, and that could be a course. It could be a membership, it could be a subscription, it could be a variety of different types of mastermind. Types of programs. It could be some pay-per-view content or bonus episodes that subscribers. Get access to so you’re using live streaming, but you’re you’re using it, not necessarily in this case, to go wide to the public, you’re using it to go toward your core audience and be a part of your. Your offers #2. And maybe this should have been number one is uh live shopping is the future of live streaming, the place where where you will get attention, the place where you can grow, where there’s opportunity. In public forums is on the shopping platforms, starts with Amazon live, but I believe it’s going to grow and many more platforms will add it. Some social platforms, but also other retailers and big box stores will will have their own. Shoppable videos that creators will make and their own live streaming on their platform where you can talk about the products that they sell and you can earn commissions. And right now the commissions aren’t great on Amazon and I don’t know that you’ll. Get Rich going live and and talking about products. But it’s important to do it if you can to learn the skill set and by all means you don’t have to get Amazon live to do it. You can create your own show on any platform and get comfortable talking about some products and services starting. With your own and too many people don’t want to don’t don’t want to do any kind of selling and they don’t really realize that they’re already selling. Because you’re trying to get people to listen to your podcast, you’re trying to get them to rate and review. You want them to show up when you go live. You want them to head on over to your website. We’ll start talking about that in the same way that you would talk about a product or a service online that you’re interested in and whether you can attract the sponsor or you have affiliate products that you can talk about. Integrate that into your content without your content necessarily having to become a pitch fest. If you’re doing talk show content. Take a break at some point and just talk a little bit about a product and come back or work it into the conversation. Do it at the beginning. Do it at the end, but that’s where the opportunity is and I think it starts with learning the skill set and then hopefully when more companies beyond Amazon. Start offering live streaming to influencers and to create. Commissions will get better based on the competition and there’ll be more opportunity and the other thing is these platforms are good for distribution like Amazon Live, I think has 3000 creators on it. Compare that to the number of people on YouTube or Facebook or any of these other platforms. So even if you’re. You’re just looking for a a lane where you can stand out because you’re you. You have some content that is worthy of attention. It’s easier to get it on a platform where. Not everybody’s live 24/7, right? But there’s a smaller group of people, and with that smaller group, there’s a smaller group of people who are really good at it. And so there’s plenty of space to make a name for yourself, as some of the people in the book have done using Amazon live.
Good point. What before we kind of wrapped this up, what do you think of LinkedIn live streaming? The jury’s kind of still out on that one, isn’t it?
Yeah, I mean that’s that’s one I’ve had. Hot and cold relationship with when LinkedIn live first came on, I didn’t get it right away.
I waited about. Four or five months and I I couldn’t wait to get it. And once I got it, I was so thrilled I created shows around LinkedIn live. I went live a lot on LinkedIn. They were sharing it to a wide swath of my following. My following grew and the numbers were terrific in terms of the views. And the engagement? And then it started to decline. After about six months to a year to the point of where it almost wasn’t worth it for me to go live on LinkedIn anymore. And that really can’t be because of anything with the quality of my content. And I don’t mean that arrogantly. It’s I was doing the same show and I was doing the same show on Facebook live where views were exploding. So like. During that time, why was LinkedIn live tailing off so much? Uh, and then even YouTube live, which can be more challenging for live streaming if you don’t have a massive channel. Even that was getting much better results than LinkedIn live. Uh, so that my experience is mixed, I I don’t know. Are they still in beta? I have trouble kind of figuring out what their. Their goal is what they’re trying to accomplish, what they want to do with it, what they want creators to do with it, what content they like on the platform or don’t like I I find there’s a lot of, there’s been a lot of sort of mixed signals and inconsistency. It’s hard to understand why one person gets accepted and another person doesn’t. Or why it hasn’t opened up to a larger number of people. All that having been said, the thing that got me interested in the beginning is still a factor, and that is, you know, you’re you’re on a platform where if you’re in business, people are looking to do business. And if you can do professional content and. Business content. There’s an opportunity just like Amazon Live doesn’t have the whole world doing Amazon. In life, the whole world that goes live isn’t on LinkedIn, some because they haven’t gotten access to it and others because it’s not a good fit for their content, or they just don’t think it’s it’s doing anything for their creator brand or the creator business. So I mean, I think LinkedIn is still an opportunity. I’m starting up going live to LinkedIn. Whether they show it to you know. 10 people or 10,000 uh, I think by being on there and creating content on there, eventually it will. It will be beneficial in some ways and you have to look. I think you have to look at it as you’re judging it through the lens of business metrics, not social media metrics. So it’s not important if I get a ton of engagement or a ton of views. What matters is do I get a few people that book a call with me or a few people that become clients? And if I do, then it’s worth it.
So true, Ross. So true.
So excuse me.
I would encourage I I would encourage anybody who wants to learn more. Go get Ross’ book 100 Live Streaming and Digital Media Predictions volume three. And while you’re at it, if you don’t have volume to and volume one, I’d get those two because they’re both very much relevant and I think it’s a great. Great way to learn from some experts and it’s an easy read. They’re broken down into chapters. Each tip is a chapter so you know it’s the kind of thing you can almost read like short stories if you choose to. It’s available on Amazon, in the Kindle Books. If somebody wants to get a hold of you, Ross, how’s the best way?
Well, thanks so much for the endorsement for all, all the books. I really appreciate and I appreciate your enthusiasm for talking about it. My website is https://livestreamuniverse.com/ you can head on over there. You can contact me through the website. I’m pretty active on Twitter at I. The letter I, Ross. Brand and on Instagram, Ross brand one. So feel free to DM me on either of those platforms as well if you want to get in touch with me and I’m on LinkedIn so you know, just Ross Brand on LinkedIn so that I’m there too. I might not always be thrilled with everything about length. On live but I am active on on LinkedIn and plan to be. Even more so.
Thanks for us. Thanks for your time as always. And your insights into this amazing field and you have a wonderful day.
Thank you, Robert.