Live streaming has been around for a while now, but it’s getting a resurgence as new players enter the market.
New technology and faster internet connections are allowing people to stream their lives, their work and their thoughts from their computers and mobile devices.
This opens up great possibilities for marketers to bolster their existing business or strike out in a new direction while making money.
What is Live Streaming?
In a nutshell, it’s you on camera, talking to the world. Think PBS on the go, with limited start up costs!
You can stream from your phone or laptop and you can be as basic or as professional as you want.
What Can You Stream?
Pretty much anything you want! You can stream your everyday life, conversations and thoughts.
You can show the world your music, singing, and jokes. You can stream the sports game you’re watching, with running commentary.
If you have a viewpoint on politics, religion or your cities nightlife, you can stream that too.
Love cooking? Stream it!
Love playing video games? There’s a huge market for people who just love watching people play!
The possibilities are almost endless, and it leaves a lot of room for marketers to get involved and take advantage of the live stream boom.
Sites to Live Stream From
There are numerous sites and apps available that can help you to live stream instantly.
The daddy of online video, YouTube now offers live streaming services to complement its video dominance. This makes it easy to have both live and pre-recorded videos in one spot and also reach an incredibly large audience.
Specifically for gamers and e-sports, Twitch has a huge user base. If you play a lot of games, then this is likely the service you need.
A mobile app based service, Periscope is up and coming and has users across the world. Perfect for more personal streams, or where streams need to be done on the go.
Aimed at a younger audience, You Now is an app and web based system.
Hangouts on Air
I wasn’t sure whether to include this one or not, but as a Google based system it makes sense to be aware of it. Unlike other services where you can drop in on random streams, Hangouts on Air needs to be accessed via a link, but it does have the advantage of group video chats.
There are likely many more sites out there that allow streaming, in one niche or another, but those are the big hitters currently.
Making Money with Live Streaming
The question then is how can you make money from these?
There are a variety of ways, but not all of them will work with each system, and to truly make decent money, you will need to make use of several revenue streams (ain’t that always the way!).
YouTube and Twitch show adverts during living streams, and as a partner to that network, you will gain a commission for each view/click.
Like with any advertising network, the earnings per view/click are usually pennies, but with a large enough audience you can easily pull in $1,000 or more a month purely from ads.
Most people think that asking for tips/donations isn’t going to earn much money, and you might be right. However, using it as a side revenue stream can help fill your coffers.
Depending on the platform you’re using you can link people to a PayPal account or use a $cashtag from Square which you can mention, tweet or link to. This $cashtag allows your followers to send you money.
Patreon allows people to sponsor you on a weekly or monthly basis, and in return you provide them with something: such as regular live streaming!
This is great as it can help you build up a recurring income, while being able to give people exactly what they want in return.
Just like with Instagram, if you get successful enough you can approach companies to offer sponsored live streams, either mentioning their products or reviewing or using them.
Depending on what you are streaming, you could send your visitors to an affiliate link for a product/service that you have mentioned in your stream.
Your Own Products or Services
One great way to make money is to promote your own products. Imagine you have been doing a work out stream, and people are really digging the different exercises you’re doing. You could send them to a website that sells your video course or e-book.
Teaching & Tutoring
The main way to earn money from live streaming is to teach. In each of your streams you can provide valuable advice, tips and guides on your given niche.
Let them know that you also offer tutoring in the specific subject, via Skype. It’s an easy way to make money, as they can already see what sort of a teacher you are and how they can benefit from your teachings.
You May Need Some Extras
Using any one of the live streaming services is great, but it’s likely that you will need to eventually use some other services or systems, in order to complement what you are doing with your live streams.
The most common thing you will need is your own website. You can send your followers there to find out more information on what you are doing, such as exercise diagrams.
You can also promote your own products there too, without fear of treading on any terms and conditions or having to sound like a salesman in your streams.
One great way to gain a regular income is to have your own membership system in place. Users pay for gaining access to things like unique member only content, direct contact with you, badges and trophies, a community discussion area, and so on.
If you are streaming on YouTube or not, it makes sense to have some recorded videos in addition to the live streams.
These allow you to reach a wider network, promote your live stream channel and gives access to people who may have missed your stream.
I recommend making some highlight reels rather than dumping the full stream, but your mileage may vary.
Useful for reminding people about, and promoting your streams. You can also interact with people via Twitter rather than (or as well as) the default commenting systems.
Downside for Using Live Streaming for Money
The main issue with live streaming is building a fan base. Some services like Periscope, won’t even consider you for their partner system (ad revenue sharing) unless you have a decent number of regular views on Periscope, or a substantial YouTube user base.
As such it pays to have both a YouTube and Live Streaming account concurrently, to help build up your follower count.
Of course, if you’re a lady you will likely get a larger following sooner, but with the added downside of more “difficult” followers.
As well as those issues, you will need to make sure you stream consistently, as people do not like being unsure when you are going to stream. Depending on your niche you may stream for an hour a day, or end up streaming for 10 hours every day (very common with gamers who stream).
The Bottom Line
There’s no quick and easy way to make money with live streaming, as you need to build up a user base. That being said, there’s a great potential for making thousands a month via live streaming, especially if you make sure you have various revenue options.
While the initial costs of this marketing angle are low (a smartphone and an internet connection), the time cost can mount up quite quickly.
Have you ever done live streaming? Did you make any money from it? Let me know in the comments.