What equipment do I need to do a successful Facebook Live or Periscope broadcast?

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A camera (aka your phone) and maybe an external mic will do for most broadcasts.

There are always technology tools that can help us make our stories better. Some make a huge difference – especially when they make the process more efficient – and some have incremental impact. Most tools in addition to the camera have little impact in the quality (read: relevance) of live video content. Even audio sounds good from just the phone – assuming it’s within arm’s length.

It’s much more important to actually show something people want to see or discuss something people want to hear you talk about. Make sure to have a plan – even if it’s just in your head.

Getting your live videos in front of the right people of course is important as well. Make sure to promote your upcoming live hit. 

Order on Amazon: My guide to live social media video 

Think of every live stream as a story with a beginning, middle and end. Often that can look like this: 

  • Intro – discuss what’s going on today and share who you are, especially for new viewers. Preview what will be discussed.
  • Middle – discuss the topic at hand. Spend some time here. Minutes, not seconds. 
  • Wrap up. Summarize. Open up to final questions. (Don’t be upset or disappointed if there are none.) Remind people who you are and where else they can find you. Thank them for attending. 

Having good content is actually the most important piece and I’ve done live streams in the moment and only had my phone with me and those worked just great. Nothing else needed, though, other tools could have helped. (PS: I’m writing this on my phone while walking at the gym on the treadmill.)

But about those tools. Here are some of the tools that can help and that I have bought and used:

  • A lavalier microphone for better audio. 
  • A selfie stick that can also be used as a tripod. Really, holding the phone can get old, though, sometimes it’s the only way to get a shot. 
  • Extra batteries if you are going live for a while. Live  video strains the battery. 
  • Phone case. Make sure your phone is in a case because you might  drop it – which can happen. 

I use these tools myself but usually just end up shooting with the phone on its own. I spend most of my brain power on actually coming up with the content. 

I love trying new tools though and adding what truly is helpful and easy to use. 

Bonus tip: Shoot horizontal (sideways) for a better user experience. That’s harder when you are talking to the camera, though, for the broadcaster because it looks like you aren’t looking at the camera in many cases.