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Streaming, online engagement John Schnobrich
Online engagement takes a lot of work, a lot of focus, and a clear goal to really be successful.

Streaming: Tools For Creating Two-Way Connections

Video is one of the best ways to engage with those online these days. It drives traffic, increases page time visits, and it’s very affordable compared to 10 years ago.

It is no secret that live and on demand streaming for churches has continued to grow every year since online streaming first became available.

Streaming isn’t going to create a two-way connection, without offering a little more. An organization can create those two-way connections in various ways.

Over that time, the amount of options, gear, styles, tutorials, and services have continually increased, providing a much richer offering for the end user today.

Engaging with your viewer is something that has continued to be as important a desire as everything else, but it isn’t as easily replicated as offering another encoder or graphics package for ProPresenter. Online engagement takes a lot of work, a lot of focus, and a clear goal to really be successful.

There are many types of ways to engage with those online. When I used to work at a pretty innovative church in the Orlando area, we would consider all the different ways that people were pursuing us online and all the different ways we wanted them to pursue us.

This helped us to create goals.

From there, we could explore all the various ways of reaching those goals.

Streaming was one of the ways our church could engage with our viewers, but at the time, it was seen as a very one-way connection. That’s the same today.

Streaming isn’t going to create a two-way connection, without offering a little more. An organization can create those two-way connections in various ways.

Here are a few ways it can be done without too much effort.

Landing Pages

A great way to provide dynamic content to those visiting your site are landing pages. They can include an array of resources.

Why are the viewers visiting your site? Most likely, you have a reason for them coming, like a video stream. Once the viewer lands on your page, you can now engage with them by providing a link or opportunity for them to explore all the other resources your website offers.

Do you have future events coming up to promote, classes that need to be registered for, projects with current volunteer positions open, or the latest content from the creators that is fresh and ready to be consumed? Use this opportunity to promote the rest of your website. Search ‘best landing page builders’ to find some. Church Online Platform is a great option for churches (free!).

Video Streaming

One type that I mentioned earlier is video streaming. Video is one of the best ways to engage with those online these days. It drives traffic, increases page time visits, and it’s very affordable compared to 10 years ago.

I won’t spend much time here, but a lot of services offer free trial periods. Try a few out and choose the one that is right for you.

Be sure to look for good customer service, a simple interface, and the highest quality.

Chat

An obvious tool is chat, which allows for two-way communication. These tools can be embedded alongside the video so that viewers can chat and watch together. Oftentimes, you can have a moderator in the chat so that they can lead the conversation and connect with viewers individually that need more direct contact.

Help to promote the content on a stream by adding links, Q&A, or additional info during the event. Chatroll and Sli.Do are a great options to consider, as well churchonlineplatform.com.

Church Online Platform

Among the perfect tools available for many churches that are looking to engage with their viewers in multiple ways is Church Online Platform. They have chat, notes, a Bible app, and the ability to add links, such as for a donation. This is hugely popular among churches because it’s free for churches.

Made by the life.church folks, this tool is a super easy way to create an engaging online experience. You still need a video hosting service, but it’s easy to set up and integrate.

Social Media

Of course, when referencing social media, there needs to be no explanation about its connection to online engagement. We are all familiar with the different leading platforms and why people like to be on them. There are two in particular that stand out regarding streaming, Facebook and YouTube. They both have livestreaming capabilities and allow you to notify each of your members/visitors to know when you are ‘live.’

We’ve seen a lot of popularity in streaming to these destinations, but almost all have the goal of leading the viewer to their website to get more info. The engagement is high, with chat integrated, but the tradeoff is that the quality is poor.

I’ve heard of many different churches using social as a means to promote the livestream they are doing on both social platforms and their website. Then they will cut off the social media livestream and drive traffic to their site.

Lead Gathering

Another great tool to consider is lead gathering, because oftentimes online attendees are wanting to be contacted when content that is helpful.

If online visitors to your website or video streams are looking for more content, they may like the ability to opt-in to getting emails, about new and relative content.

By adding some online forms for them to fill out, it will allow them to provide their contact info to you, where you can then send out regular and engaging emails with ways to interact with your new media. You could easily start with a Google form or Wufoo.com form.

Although I think live and on demand streaming are very important and a great way to share your content, it isn’t solely the only kind of experience you can create online.

Adding streaming to your website won’t necessarily produce the results you want by itself. Try to understand what your visitors are looking for, and then tailor your online engagement to meet their needs.

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