YouTube: Broadcast Yourself
Want to go live on YouTube without using expensive third-party apps and software? Wondering how to use your computer to stream live on YouTube easily?
In this guide, you'll learn how to set up, schedule, and broadcast live from your computer using YouTube Studio. You will also find helpful features for engaging with your live audience.
During COVID-19 containment methods, more use has made of video conferencing apps, such as Google Meet and Zoom. These tools allow for many people to see, talk, and share screens at a time during the lack of in-person meetings. With just a device, internet access, and an app, you can communicate.
Live streaming is reliant on the same core structure—a device, internet, and apps—but can broadcast your message to the entire world. With the power of live streaming, your potential reach can be extended much further than the number of people in your meeting. Users can view your video on the web, on mobile devices, or in apps.
Live streaming can be beneficial for a businessperson, an educator, or even a nonprofit leader. A live stream allows you to convey your personality and tell people that you are open for business today.
Live streaming doesn't require complex equipment. You can start a live stream with nothing more than a laptop with a working webcam and microphone in most cases. You can use a smartphone or a tablet if you don't have a computer at hand. Each of the four solutions below lets you broadcast to anyone with internet access.
#1: Activate the Live Streaming Feature for Your YouTube Channel
There are no limits or eligibilities as to who can go live on YouTube. Even though streaming from your mobile device requires 1,000 subscribers, anyone can stream from their laptop or computer.
Third-party apps may give you more features and more professional live streams, but here's the secret: You do not need it. You can simply go live on YouTube with just your computer and a YouTube account!
Before you can go live on YouTube, though, you will need to make sure live streaming is activated on your channel. To check this, click on the video camera icon at the top-right corner of the page and select 'Go Live.'
Once that's done, it will take up to 24 hours for live streaming to start on your channel, so plan accordingly.
#2: Set Up a Live Broadcast From Your Computer
After live-streaming started on your channel, you're ready to create your first YouTube Live broadcast.
Again, go to the top-right corner of the page and click on the video camera icon and choose 'Go Live.' It will direct you to YouTube's live-streaming dashboard has all of the integrated tools.
In the Webcam Stream Info space, fill in all the details about the YouTube Live video. Start by entering your title. Make sure perfect and to the point.
Doing keyword research on your live stream's title is just as vital as for any recorded videos to create searchable content. YouTube will prioritize your live stream while you're live if you make the title easy to search and find.
Now, choose if you want your live stream to be Public or Unlisted. If you want the audience to see it, select Public.
Pro Tip: I recommend testing your stream before you go live publicly on YouTube, which you can do by making it Unlisted.
You will also see an option to schedule your live stream.
The benefit of scheduling a live stream is that YouTube will give you a link that you can use to promote it. Don't just expect people will come when you go live. Instead of leaving it to the algorithm, take control of your viewership.
Take hold of your social media platforms, email list, and any other mediums to promote your live stream before going live. This way, you will not be relying only on the YouTube notifications to get people to watch.
Continuing with the stream setup, choose your audience next. Is your video made for kids or adults?
You can click More Options at the bottom of the window to get view even more settings. You can also choose your category and your preferred camera and microphone (if you have those USB devices plugged in).
After you did it, click Next.
YouTube now asks you for a thumbnail. I will recommend that you prepare your thumbnails in advance, or you can just take one right then and there. If you want to retake the image or upload your thumbnail, click on the pencil icon.
This window will also show your title, category, and privacy settings, so you can verify all that information before you go live. If everything looks perfect, click Go Live to start your live stream.
Pro Tip: When you are live-streaming, make sure you prepare and plan for the ideal performance from your device. Live streaming is, well, live. It's not about if something is going to go wrong.
It's when. Close any background apps like Google Drive or Dropbox and any other applications you're not using during your stream. Also, a fresh reboot before you go live will help you have a smoother, better stream.
#3: Manage YouTube Live Stream From Your Computer
Once the broadcast has begun and you're live, start conversing with your viewers. You will be able to see a red button on the screen informing you that you're currently live. The page will show you how long you've been live and the number of views and likes you may have received.
On the right-hand side of the page is the chatbox, where you can see comments from the viewers and converse with them.
As far as the YouTube Studio interface goes, there are a couple of things to pay attention to when managing your live stream.
If you have not selected a moderator for your comments and someone leaves a mean comment, you can click the three dots beside that comment. Once here, you can choose to report or remove the user, but the user in a timeout, or hide the user on your channel.
With this, they will still be able to leave a comment, but no one will see it. You can also directly add a person as a moderator from the chatbox. If you prefer having a second screen for the comments, click on the three dots next to live chat, and you can pop out the chatbox.
At the bottom of the interface, you'll find some more valuable features, including an audiometer.
When you're ready to end the stream, just click End Stream at the bottom of the screen.
#4: Other Live Streaming Options
In addition to the above services, there are many other options as well. Social media platforms now have live streaming services, such as Facebook Live or LinkedIn Live, which may make the most sense if your target audience uses either of these platforms. Of course, Amazon-owned Twitch. tv remains famous for live streaming of gaming and music, among many other things.
I know you want to put your business's best foot forward, and to do that, you need to understand the limitations of live streaming from YouTube's integrated software. It will not be the highest-quality live stream, but it's an easy way to get started.
To understand the quality difference better, let me describe this as the four levels of live streaming:
- Level one is your mobile. Going live is easy and quick because you have everything you need.
- Level two is the browser or cloud-based services, just we discussed on YouTube.com.
- Level three is going live using third-party tools downloaded to your computer, whether you're on a Mac or Windows desktop. It gives you a lot more control over the quality of the live broadcast.
- Level four is adding gear to your studio so going live is as simple as pushing a button.