Trick to Successfully Live-Streaming an Event?

Hire professionals!

No kidding.  For a while, my previous startup ran a few live-streamed events and can tell you it’s hard stuff to get right.

A few months ago, my team was asked to capture HD video and live-stream the entire day for an “Access to Capital” event in Downtown LA.  Theoretically, my team could have tried to take this on, but we were super busy with the event and didn’t have the experience to do it right.

I reached out to some video folks who reached out to some folks who connected me up with the Livestream team.  I have been using the Livestream for a long time to host our live video streams, but didn’t know they had the ability to handle the production side of things.

Anyway, they rocked the boat.  While they’re may be cheaper options out there, I’ve never dealt with a live-streaming team that was so professional and on top of all the details.  When they asked, I was more than happy to throw a positive testimonial their way… which a friend just pointed out to me in an email is now live on their site: Livestream Plans.

Livestream testimonial

If you’re curious to see the quality level they we got from the Livestream production team, we chopped up the video to highlight the various panels from the day and posted them here: Want Funding? Let The Experts Guide You!

What’s Behind a Successful Interactive Video Event?

I’ve had a blast over the past year putting together the CredibilityLIVE events with our team at DandB team. We’ve been able to bring some great guests to our small business community including:

As I prepare for this Thursday’s event with Brian Tracy (How to Overcome Professional Obstacles and Grow your Business), I’ve been thinking (and documenting) the different pieces that go into creating a successful interactive video event…  and thought it might be interesting to share some marketing and production tips that go into making a successful event. .

 

Marketing/Promotion

Of course, getting people to show up for an event is not as easy as you might think, even for free events with great guests.  So what have we been doing that works? 

With each event, we always look for our strengths.  Does the guests bring a natural audience?   Is it something that would appeal to the DandB email database?  Is this something we can get people excited about through social outreach and/or social ads?   Is there anything unique we can bring to the marketing?

For example, for this upcoming event, Brain Tracy recorded an intro video.  Because he has a great studio at his offices, this was a no-brainer for his team to create and I think makes a great case for joining us:

This was a great “extra” piece of marketing we did for this last event and something I know we’ll do more of in the future!   Of course, developing the marketing/promotion plan is not all that hard… It’s all about executing to get people to show up and that’s something that should never be discounted!

Productions

The production behind these events isn’t trivial either… especially as our events have grown we’ve increased the quality of each event as we’ve progressed.   While early events were recorded over Skype, our last round have all been done in studios… most done with multiple cameras, teleprompters, green screens and often streamed on location!

The real trick with the production of a live-streaming event is to test, test and test some more. Test (and retest) the upload speed of the internet connection.  If you’re running multiple cameras, test that your “hub” can handle it during event settings.  If there’s natural lighting involved, make sure to test the lighting at the time when you’ll be streaming. If you’re in running a green screen, test what everyone is going to be wearing. During a live event, you can’t always know what’s going to go wrong, but at least you can minimize the chances of technical problems if you test, test and test some more!

While running a live video event isn’t trivial, it also isn’t nearly as complex as you might expect.  I’ve got some great software (Wirecast) that runs on my Macbook Pro and can create quality video shots (including shots from multiple cameras, screen grabs and more) and push them directly to our streaming service providers (some popular ones are LiveStream, uStream and Justin.tv).   Throw in a tool like Facebook’s Live Stream that lets people chat in real time while watching the video and you’ve got yourself a very compelling set up!

The best part of these events really is the interaction with prominent educators, thought leaders and business executives.   It’s always fun to see where the audience is going to take a conversation!

Hope that gives just a taste of some of the marketing and production work that goes into creating our events.   If you haven’t seen one of our live events, then definitely sign up to attend our next event with Brian Tracy.  He’s a great speaker and we’ll be running it out of his studios near San Diego, so there’s sure to be tons  of great value (and did I mention it’s free?)…

Photos from my CredLIVE trip to DC

I’m just finishing up a great trip to Washington DC where I came out to manage the production of a CredibiltyLIVE event with the President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau.

Since I mentioned how much I enjoy taking and editing photos with my iPhone 4S in my last blog post, I thought I’d share some of my favorites from this trip.

U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
"In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever"
Lincoln's Stare
Lincoln
Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
Behind the Scenes with the AP Video Production team
Behind the Scenes with the AP Video Production team
Hutch Hutchison & Steve Cox on CredLIVE
Hutch Hutchison & Steve Cox on CredLIVE
Washington Monument
Washington Monument #1
Washington Monument #2
Washington Monument #2
Smithsonian Castle
Smithsonian Castle
White House
White House

What to do BEFORE you make your Facebook Timeline Public

Earlier today, I gave a talk to DandB employees where I shared what they should know about Facebook Timeline.

I got some great questions (and feedback) from the folks who showed up and the talk inspired my latest blog post on the Credibility Insights:  5 Things to Check Before Making Your Facebook Timeline Public.

(and thanks to Jess for taking the photo!)

Can you safely jump off a moving freight train?

In college I had a friend who was very much into hopping freight trains. So much so that he wrote his thesis for his Cultural Anthropology major on the hobo lifestyle… (and if I remember it right, he was the editor of a popular ‘zine for hobos.)

I learned one really valuable lesson from this friend on my first “ride” down the California coast: He showed me how to get off a moving train. You have to wait until it slows down to about 20 mph or slower and then slowly navigate down one of the ladders on the side of a grainer (or any or freight car) until you can “run” along the ground flintstone-style. If you try to just jump off a moving freight train, bad things can happen! But if you first run along the train, then you can get some grip on the ground and run along the train until you can safely let go of the ladder.

I start my 2012 blogging off with this story because for much of 2011, I felt like I was on one hell of a fast moving freight train and there was no chance to safely jump off. Now that 2012 is here, I’m thinking it’s time to take a deep breath, climb down that ladder, get some grip on the ground and welcome in a new year.

With that said, some great things happened in 2011… I traveled more than any other time in my life, starting dating an amazing woman, moved into a new place only blocks from the beach in Santa Monica, started a full-time gig with the most interesting startup in Southern California, and created some crazy good memories with my kids.

Suffice to say 2011 will not be forgotten any time soon.

[Also, thanks to thecoug for the great creative commons photo. It brought back some great memories of catching the trains up to Davenport!]

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Your Smart Phone

Just walked out of the first Fusion event put on by the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate crew… So much fun!

I had a great time on stage yesterday with Jeff Turner, Gahlord Dewald and Wendy Forsythe talking internet marketing, building online influence, tracking and measuring results and the real value of conversations.

Also got a chance to hear some very inspiring speakers… I had never heard Tom Ferry speak, so that was a real treat… And the final keynote speaker, Keith Ferrazzi, gave an incredible talk on steps to improving business relationships.   (Did I mentioned I also got to hang with so many cool people like Andy Kaufman and Herman of Hermanity! AND that my grandma came out to watch one of my presentations! Again, so much fun!)

My involvement was to give two presentations.  The first on Building Online Influence and the second on 10 Things You didn’t Know You Could do with Your Smartphone.  Both were a lot of fun to give and since I promised the audience I’d share linkes to each of the apps I mentioned in the latter presentation, I thought I’d share them in this post. Enjoy!

Evernote
1. Take voice notes while driving
2. Scan text out of photos
3. Find your parked car

Beluga
4. Use group chat to keep up with your team

CardMunch
5. Accurately scan business cards

Amazon Price Check
6. Comparison shop

Starbucks
7. Pay for coffee

Square
8. Get paid for coffee

BoxCar
9. Get push notification for important emails

MadMimi
10. Build your email list

And I’m always looking to deliver super-informative (and fun!) internet marketing presentations, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you hear of an interesting opportunity!

[updated] NAR Presentations on WordPress and Social Media Optimization

*** UPDATED ***

Even better than the slideshare presentations, NAR just published the video recording of my Getting Started with WordPress presentation. If you’re interested in learning about why and how to get involved in using WordPress for your business website, I did my best to explain here:

**********

It’s been a busy few weeks since returning from New Orleans and I’m just now getting around to posting my presentations on Slideshare.

I was pleasantly surprised at the interest in my talk on social media optimization…  It was one of my simpler presentations as I focused on only two concepts:

  1. How you can get more value out of Facebook once you understand Networking Engine Optimization (NEO) and
  2. How you can get value out of tools like Gist by focusing on building and enhancing the relationships that are most important to your business.

Here’s the presentation in full:

The second presentation was the opening session for the Real Estate WordPress Camp that I helped organize with NAR… and what a great event that turned out to be.   Some great speakers and I heard nothing but great feedback from the audience.   My presentation for this event was really just meant to describe how professionals can use WordPress as their online marketing hub… and in particular how it can fit into the various elements of an agent’s business cycle.  Here it is:

Interestingly, in the last few days, I’ve started to nail down more than a few speaking engagements for this upcoming spring. I’m always interested in educating professionals on how to get the most value out of their online marketing, so if you know of someone looking for a speaker, don’t hesitate to reach out!

[by the way, the header image is from Reggie and NikNik’s great presentation during Real Estate WordCamp on Leveraging WordPress Plugins and Themes]

Real Estate WordCamp is Coming to NARdiGras!

I’ve been working with the NAR team to put together a WordPress event at NARdiGras, and couldn’t be more excited that we’re ready to start announcing details!

In a nutshell, we’ve broken the half-day event into two tracks — one for beginners and one for more advanced WordPress users — and the folks we’ve agreed to present are some of the most knowledgeable WordPress people in real estate.  All the sessions will be be on the morning of Monday, November 8th.

Below is a summery of the schedule, although this page on the NARdiGras site will quickly become the definitive source of all session information soon!

Track 1: An Introduction to WordPress

Track 2: Maximizing WordPress

The idea is that if you’re relatively new to WordPress (and even if you don’t have a wordpress site yet!), you should be able to leave the first track with enough knowledge to feel comfortable setting up a site and have an idea for what a successful website marketing strategy would look like.

For those who are comfortable blogging, Todd Carpenter is going to be hosting the Maximizing WordPress track. With Kelley, Steve and Gahlord as presenters, you’re sure to get tons of tools and strategies to take your online marketing to the next level.

I couldn’t be more excited to be heading to New Orleans again and look forward to seeing you there!

A WordPress High at Real Estate Connect!

I know I’m a bit biased because the Inman team has been good to me, but I really love the Real Estate Connect events.  So much fun!  And a day after hosting the WordPress Workshop I’m just now coming down off the high.

Here’s a few of the photos I took of the session!   So much fun!

The entire workshop was recorded and I’m pretty sure will be available to Inman News subscribers in the near future…  Such an awesome group of presenters.  Thanks to all!

Here was the workshop schedule along with links to learn more about the various speakers:

8:30am – 9:10 am
Waaaaay Beyond the Blog:
Kickass Theme Development

Speakers:

  • Chris Pearson, Founder, Pearsonified & DIYThemes.com, @pearsonified.
  • Peter Ricci, Co-Founder, AgentPoint, @peter_ricci

9:15am – 9:40am
Plug Ins You Must Have to Rock a Real Estate Web Site

Presenter:

  • Reggie Nicolay, Director of Social Media for Realtors Property Resource, @ReggieRPR. MyTechOpinion

9:45am – 10:10am
Listings Liberation – How to Display Listings on Your WordPress Site For Maximum SEO Value

Presenter:

10:15am – 10:40am
Using WordPress As Your Online Hub

Presenter:

  • Chad Parizman, Director, Emerging Ventures at Scripps Networks Interactive, @cparizman. TooManyCaps

10:45am – 11:30am
Going Beyond the Blog – Advanced WordPress Installations

Speakers:

11:35am – 12:00pm
Future of WordPress

Presenter:

  • Jane WellsUX Lead, WordPress & Automattic, @janeforshort

Hacked at Twenty Ten to Revamp 4realz. Check it out!

Feels like it’s been “WordPress-all-day, Every-day” lately! One of the things I’m most excited about is hosting the WordPress WorkShop at Real Estate Connect in a few weeks!

The Inman team did a fantastic job lining up speakers (Check ’em out: Chris Pearson, Peter Ricci, Reggie Nicolay, Justin LaJoie, Chad Parizman,Todd Carpenter, Niall Kennedy, and Jane Wells! Wow! )… and it made me realize how much I needed to play with WordPress again!

The result: I completely new 4realz.net!

Just some of the things I wanted to accomplish with this new theme include:

  • Really wanted a much cleaner look that didn’t feel overwhelming.   It’s not in my personality to get too simple, but I knew I could do a much better job!
  • I wanted to play with the concept of a WordPress child theme… so I started with Twenty Ten as my “base” so I’d have built in access to some of the more interesting new features!
  • I thought I would focus the homepage on a few key areas that drive the most of my business… i.e. my speaking and consulting.

The result is that after more than a few hours, everything is “working” well enough to write this post (although I’m far from done with what I plan to do!).

Some of the changes I made:

  • The homepage is now a “static” page that uses the Smooth Slider plugin to highlight “featured posts”.  I figure these are probably more relevant to someone who is new to my site.
  • I added a bit about myself to the homepage and filled out a bunch more on a page I call My Story.  This is the part of the page I’m least “sure” of, but I think I like it and I’ll just have to look at the stats to see if others who land on 4realz find it interesting to learn a bit more about me… and the story itself is far from “complete”. I’m hoping to add some more photos and details over the next few days, weeks, and years!  🙂
  • I changed with the operation of the default “header” graphic on the theme. By default, there is no header graphic!  However, it’s really easy for me to use the “set featured image” to add one, although the only place I’ve done that so far is on my speakers page.
  • I added a few things to the footer that I thought people might find interesting… like the Google Voice “call me” button, a twitter feed of @tyr mentions and my latest blog posts.

While I like I’m at a spot where the current theme is an improvement over the last, there are still a few things I’m hoping to do in the near future:

  • Revising the page on Agent Marketing Tools to better reflect my current approach… and in particular, my thoughts on the Agent Business Cycle.
  • Add more header graphics to specific pages
  • Improve how I track conversions on the page… I’ve worked with more than a few clients to use Google Analytics to track conversions, but I’ve never done much beyond adding the GA code to 4realz.  I’m going to change that and play a bit more going forward!
  • (not 100% sure about this one)… I’m thinking of using the new MU-style hosting that’s available with the standard WordPress to host some of the “other” wordpress sites that are currently on my server.  I’m not sure I want to take the time, but Boone Georges sure does make the multisite option look tempting.

In terms of what I learned by hacking away at a WordPress theme…   I was super-impressed with just how easy the entire process was… and, in particular, how easy it was to build a child theme off of twenty ten.  The WordPress team has done an awesome job with the child theme functionality!

If you made it this far in the post, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new theme!  🙂