How to PLAN and SCHEDULE a Google Plus Hangout On Air the Easy Way
Google Plus Hangouts are fantastic to help your audience learn, manage client relationships, and just about anything else that is enhanced with face-to-face communications. But you have to do them correctly.
My first Google Plus Hangout On Air turned into a Google Plus Video Call. Oops!
I wasn’t expecting smooth sailing, but I thought I would schedule a hangout event, invite the world, click a button, and I would be broadcasting live on Youtube and G+.
Not exactly, as I found out the hard way.
Looking back it doesn’t surprise me. There are some crazy Google nuances. The ones that can stop you dead in your tracks.
However, overcome the small, quirky things of Google, and your Hangout On Air will become second nature.
You don’t have to struggle like I did.
What follows are instructions, with easily understandable video and text resources to cross reference.
You will be broadcasting live in no time at all.
Do it once, and all subsequent times become easier.
From then on…practice makes perfect.
The Google+ Pros Showed Me The Way.
So, to get things started, this short video explains the important components of Hangout on Air:
- How to launch a Hangout On Air
- How to integrate a Hangout On Air into a Google Event
- How to make sure your Hangout On Air can been seen on Youtube
Schedule And Broadcast
Did you pick up on the scheduling the hangout as an event? That’s probably how you’ll use hangouts most often.
Plan and schedule. Then broadcast live at that later time.
Scheduling a hangout on air event is really a two step process:
- first a notification to your audience that there will be a hangout on air and,
- second the actual live broadcast itself.
Keep in mind when you send out an event notification, that’s all it is. A notification. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The event notification does not have any of the smarts embedded into it to make the actual hangout viewable on the actual event screen. You will need to modify the event a few minutes before show time so your audience can easily access to the event broadcast.
As a side note, the live broadcast is a sightly delayed live Youtube video stream, which is broadcast to your G+ connected Youtube channel. Your audience needs to know the Youtube URL so they can access the ‘live’ stream.
I’ll show you how to locate the Youtube URL, but first – a little Green Room activity.
Time To Go Live – Green Room Time
Just before you broadcast time you’ll need to do a few preparation activities.
These activities take place in a Green Room.
Here’s a great Ronnie Bincer video, showing you the essence of Green Room activities through to ending your broadcast. If you wish, you can forward the video directly to 4 minutes and 50 seconds – the start of relevant Green Room activities.
When the time arrives for your Hangout on Air to go live launch the Hangout on Air application. The easiest way to do this is to start the hangout from the side main pop out menu – click on Hangout on Air.
Provide a hangout name and invite only yourself to the hangout.
I know, it sounds kind of strange and lonely.
You will need to prepare properly before the actual live event, and this is the best way do these activities, without anyone watching over your shoulder.
Depending on how many guests you host, and the complexity of the hangout, you should allocate 15-30 minutes preparation time, before the actual event.
When you start the Hangout on Air, you’ll notice counting up rapidly to 100%.
No need to freak out! You are not live on air yet! You still have time to fix you hair, get a beverage and position your headset. In fact you’re not live until you click the button that says
Also, take note, in the top left hand corner of the screen, there is an indicator that says you are OFFLINE. It is only when you click the Start Broadcast will you be broadcasting live for everyone to see. And even then you will get a 10 second countdown after you click on Start Broadcast.
Before you hit that “Start Broadcast” button:
- You need to make sure you have your Hangout Toolbox installed. Setup the lower third, and turn it on. The lower third will display your name and other cool things, just like they do on real TV News stations. Even though the lower third text appears mirrored, your audience will see it the correct way.
- Setup the Hangout Toolbox Comment Tracker. The comment tracker will allow you to track comments from various sources during your live broadcast. Sources can be specific G+ posts, your Youtube channel etc.
The following Moritz Tolxdorf How To Hangout Toolbox video covers the lower third and the comment tracker.
Just in case you are using Hangout on Air from a Google+ Page (instead of a personal profile) Moritz includes a very helpful explanation of How To configure the Hangout Toolbox correctly from a G+ Page perspective.
You don’t have to watch the entire video. However the following start time stamps are important:
- Install Hangout Toolbox as a profile – 35 seconds
- Install Hangout Toolbox as a G+ Page – 3 minutes 22 seconds
- Configure the lower third – 11 minutes 2 seconds
- Comment Tracker configuration – 20 minutes 2 seconds
- Click on the embed button (currently located at the top center of the screen to the right of the Start Broadcast button. Copy the html code (not the embed code). This html code represents a Youtube video link. This is the link that you will use in the event that you sent out earlier.
Paste the Youtube link you just copied into the Youtube URL field of the event notification you sent out earlier. This will allow anyone who lands on the G+ Hangout Event to view the broadcast video.
You can, although not necessary, add the Youtube URL link to the ‘Unsubscribe Trailer’ area of your Youtube Channel. This is a great way for your not yet subscribed Youtube visitors to watch the video when they land on your Yourtube channel.
You can also insert the same Youtube link into the “Featured Video’ area of Youtube. You’ll find this field located in the Youtube’s In Video video programming area.
By doing the above, your audience will find your Hangout On Air on both the G+ Events Page or on Youtube, subscribed or unsubscribed.
- Perform a sound check and make sure your headset and microphone are working ok.
- Perform a visual on your image, and make sure lighting, the camera angle, and image quality are acceptable
- Guest names (if any) as they would appear in G+
- Something to take notes.
That’s it for the prep work!
Next. You’re ready to start inviting your guests into the Hangout. Remember you’re still not broadcasting live yet. You’ll send the invitations via the Live Hangout screen – the screen with the button.
After you get your guests setup with their lower third, perform a sound and visual check, you can starting inviting others to fill up the ‘guest’ spots or get ready to push the big Start Broadcast button.
Lights. Camera. Action.
Now’s the time to go live…
Click the Start Broadcast button, and watch the countdown…10,9,8,7,6,5,…
Smile. Wait for the counter to reach zero, and when you hear the second beep. you are broadcasting live to the world.
Enjoy, have fun and keep practicing.
A Slideshare For Your Audience
One more thing. Here’s a summary slideshow that represents the material in this post. Feel free to use it on your own site. Just follow these 3 simple steps.
1. Hover over the slideshow
2. Click on Embed and copy the Embed Code
3. Paste the copied Embed Code in a post on your site
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