8 tips from Google for using YouTube Live

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Google's YouTube Live is one of several live-streaming platforms and apps journalists can use to reach and interact with their audience.

Nicholas Whitaker, Google training and development manager, spoke about YouTube Live during the recent Walter B. Potter Conference at the Reynolds Journalism Institute. YouTube channels must be verified and have at least 1,000 subscribers before channel owners can stream from a mobile device, says Whitaker.

Here are eight tips he gave for live streaming:

  1. Post videos on a regular basis so your audience learns to expect video content from you. This is one way to build a following.
  2. Invite viewers to subscribe to and receive notifications from your channel. (Once a viewer subscribes to your channel, a bell symbol will appear next to the subscribe button. Clicking the bell will generate a prompt to receive notifications from your channel.)
  3. Promote upcoming live streams on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Plan ahead for a user-friendly experience. For example, should you shoot in landscape mode or portrait? Do you need to use a microphone to help boost the quality of the audio? "People will forgive bad video. They won't forgive bad audio," Whitaker says.
  5. Check your device's Wi-Fi or cell signal before launching your live broadcast. If a signal is weak, move away from interfering objects such as a building.
  6. Join online groups like MoJoCon to learn more about shooting mobile video.
  7. Title your video properly so archived video will be easier to find. Use Google Search or Google Trends to see what words others are using to describe similar videos.
  8. Edit a video into smaller clips with YouTube's editor and continue to promote it so it doesn't get buried in the archives.

Check out Google's other tools for journalists. RJI also offers the following resources for shooting mobile video:

Jennifer Nelson is the senior information specialist at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Previously, she was the news editor of the Osceola (Iowa) Sentinel-Tribune.

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