Lessons from Our First Month of Kickstarter Live

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Last month, Kickstarter Live became available to all creators that have launched a project on Kickstarter. Since then, we’ve seen creators use it to broadcast dance rehearsals, their drawing skills, cooking tutorials, and more. We also hosted a few live streams to share more about how the tool works and how creators can use it to connect with their communities. Here’s some of what we learned.

Run a test before you go live. Really.

Once you’ve decided to run a Kickstarter live stream, it’s essential to run a test live stream to ensure success. From our tests we quickly learned that Wi-Fi, lighting, and getting your camera to the right angle can take a few minutes of adjusting. And different webcams can deliver different levels of quality. For example, the built-in camera on our MacBook Air provided a clearer image than the one on our Macbook.

Monika's live stream setup
Monika's live stream setup

 Monika Kanokova, an Outreach Consultant at Kickstarter and two-time project creator, shared a photo of her preferred setup. A desk lamp and a stack of books can do wonders for improving lighting (which will improve your video quality) and angling your camera correctly.

How to run a test live stream:

1. Select “Kickstarter Live” from the creator tools menu on your project page. 
2. Click “Create a Live Stream.” 
3. Create a test live stream by selecting “This is a test live stream” at the top of the window that appears. Test live streams will only be visible to people with whom you share the link.

Test your live stream setup as soon as possible
Test your live stream setup as soon as possible

Ask a collaborator to join you as a co-host.

We were broadcasting from New York City, but our co-hosts joined in from Germany, Canada, and elsewhere in New York. Before the live stream, they each let their fans and followers know about the live stream. Once we were live, they kept the conversation going and helped answer questions.

Invite co-hosts that you’ll feel comfortable having a back-and-forth with. Consider asking a co-host to be in charge of monitoring the chat for questions that come up. 

How to add a co-host to your live stream:

1. After you’ve scheduled a live stream, click the “Hosts” button. 
2. Copy the link that appears and share it with the person you’d like to invite as a co-host. 
3. You can add up to three co-hosts.

You can add up to three co-hosts to a live stream
You can add up to three co-hosts to a live stream

Tell people to tune in.

Once you’ve decided what you want to talk about and you’ve scheduled your live stream, it’s time to start spreading the word. Post an update to your project page to let backers know that you’ll be sharing something unique and special. Mention that they can sign up to get a reminder before you go live and that they can start posting questions for you to answer during the live stream.

People can sign up to get a reminder about your live stream or submit questions beforehand
People can sign up to get a reminder about your live stream or submit questions beforehand

Asking people to join your live stream is also a great way to invite potential new backers to support your project. Share the news about your upcoming stream with your social media followers, via email, or anywhere else that you connect with your community. Focus the invitation on what you’ll be sharing during your live stream –– the more interesting it sounds, the more likely they’ll feel inclined to join (and pledge).

Don’t forget to use the #KickstarterLive hashtag when posting about your live stream on social media. We’re always checking out who’s streaming.

Once you’re live, you can simultaneously broadcast to Facebook and connect with your followers there. There’s nothing to set up beforehand, but:

1. When you’re live, click the “Facebook Live” button on the left side of your screen. 
2. Select whether you want to broadcast to your personal Facebook page, a group, or another page that you manage.  
3. While folks can view the live stream on Facebook, they can't participate in the chat or other features of Kickstarter Live. Frame your post in a way that encourages them to head over to your project page for the Kickstarter Live broadcast.

Focus on the experience, not a script.

When you’re setting up your live stream, hone in on a few specific things that you want to discuss or share. It’s a good idea to jot down some talking points, but remember to have fun. Connect with your audience, address chats and comments, and thank people for selfies and pledges.

Cookbook author Justin P. Moore recommends starting your stream slowly. Give people time to join in while you share a brief summary of your project and what you’re planning to do during your live stream. Try asking people to share where they’re watching from, or to ask questions about your project. As you’re preparing your setup, plan to have some props that demonstrate your work nearby. These props could be sketches, mock-ups of rewards, instruments –– anything that you’re using to complete your project.

Once your live stream is finished, a recording will be visible on your project page for 48 hours. Most broadcasts get 40% in additional views from people watching the recording, so share it with any of your supporters that may have missed the live broadcast.

If you’d like to share the recording in an update or elsewhere, follow these steps:

1. Select “Kickstarter Live” from the creator tools menu on your project page. 
2. Click “View details” next to the live stream that you’d like to share. 
3. Click the link icon to get a link that you can use to share the recording, or use the Facebook or Twitter icons to share directly to those platforms. 

Share your live stream recording with people who missed the live broadcast
Share your live stream recording with people who missed the live broadcast

 If you want to edit or upload the recording to other platforms, you can do so from the same page. And if you weren’t a fan of your live stream, just click “Delete” to erase it.

Find your inspiration.

Whether this is your first time planning a live stream or you’ve done it before, do something that you yourself would enjoy watching.

Have more questions about Kickstarter Live?

1. Explore how other creators are using Kickstarter Live
2. If you’re not sure where to start, try watching our live streams with cookbook author Justin P. Moore, Kickstarter’s Head of Publishing Margot Atwell, Outreach Lead and author Monika Kanokova, and co-creator of Hickies, Mariquel Waingarten
3. Visit our in-depth best practices and FAQs for more tips on setting up and running a great live stream.
4. We asked creators to share their live streaming tips on Campus and you can add yours, too.