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.

Plan and Schedule G+ Hangout on Air

My first Google Plus Hangout On Air turned into a Google Plus Video Call. Oops!

Extremely disappointing!

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.

If it wasn’t for Martin Shervington and Ronnie Bincer I would still be trying to find a way to turn my Google Video’s into Hangouts On Air. 🙂

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.

G+ Hangout on Air Menu

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 G+ Hangout on Air Schedule Broadcastcounting 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 G+ Hangout on Air Start Broadcast

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. G+ Hangout on Air Youtube HTML LinkCopy 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 HOA Start Broadcast 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…

…almost.

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

 

If you found this article helpful please share it with your followers. 

About Gary Hyman

I'm a strategist, coach, and consultant, helping business professionals build a solid online and social media presence. 25+ years experience in the business, technical & marketing arenas, Practical, results oriented, with strategies and techniques that work.

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18 Responses to “How to PLAN and SCHEDULE a Google Plus Hangout On Air the Easy Way”

  • This is great information. I haven’t done a google hangout or a live chat because it isn’t my cup of tea. I know that I need to start doing videos to help market my blog but I am a bit camera shy. 😉
    Christy Garrett @ Uplifting Families recently posted…Potty Training Secrets: Learn Why I Am Hesitant to Switch My Toddler to Big Kid Underwear Until My Child Has Fewer Accidents

    • Gary Hyman on August 20, 2013

      Totally understand Christy. You need to choose the medium that works best for you. A great way to tackle the shyness issue is to remove the focus away from YOU and invite a Hangout guest. Have a bunch of questions for your guest & treat the interview like a telephone call.

    • Lorii Abela on August 26, 2013

      Interesting information! This is a great way to keep the interest of your audience. How have the hangouts benefited you the most?
      Lorii Abela recently posted…Difference of Preferences in Dating

      • Gary Hyman on August 27, 2013

        It definitely is Lorii. Great question Lorii – The hangouts allow me to ‘touch’ my clients easily = doesn’t matter where they are on the globe. The other significant piece is that they give me a larger reach than what I previously had.

  • Rob on August 20, 2013

    Thank you Gary! We are planning on doing a public hangout to get some questions answered in mid sept and this was a perfect lesson!

    • Gary Hyman on August 20, 2013

      Excellent Rob. Good timing then. All the best with your Hangout on Air.

  • Alexandra McAllister on August 20, 2013

    WOW! You’ve made it so easy with your instructions! Thanks a whole bunch Gary! 🙂
    Alexandra McAllister recently posted…How To Deal With Disappointment

    • Gary Hyman on August 20, 2013

      Enjoy Alexandra. Hope to see you on a hangout soon 😀

  • Roslyn on August 20, 2013

    I have attended a few hangouts that didn’t go smoothly. I need to do video’s, esp in prep for holiday sales.

    • Gary Hyman on August 22, 2013

      Rosyln, it can be daunting at first. The more you do it the better it becomes. One of the keys to to make sure you follow the Green Room activity steps. If you need more help with this please drop me a note. Will be more than happy to help out.

  • Yvonne Brown on August 20, 2013

    Thanks! I feel more confident in doing it now!

    Yvonne Brown

  • My first Hangout was a bomb… lol! I am now getting better at it but I find the volume not very high. Do you know if something can be done about that? Thanks, Gary!
    Norma Doiron @Savvy Biz Solutions recently posted…Do Every Small Business Require a Facebook Page Opportunity

    • Gary Hyman on August 22, 2013

      Hey Norma. Good see that you’ve tried it. Each time gets better. Perhaps you and I can jump on a video call & we’ll do a little trouble shooting. Drop me a private message and let me know a date/time that works best for you.

    • Kurt Frankenberg on August 28, 2013

      Norma,

      My first Webinar sucked rocks as well. But as Gary said, practice makes perfect with these things. I’m really looking forward to trying a Google Hangout instead of Webinars with the $99 per month pricetag. Please let me know how to solve the volume problem if you find out.

      Keep Stepping,

      Kurt
      Kurt Frankenberg recently posted…HOW do your Comments Create Value?

  • Kurt Frankenberg on August 28, 2013

    Gary!

    I think you may have just saved me $1200 this year, plus given me an edge. We’ll see sometime after my first Google Hangout.

    Almost everything you have described in here follows my own personal checklist for webinars with GotoWebinar. It seems that Google+ Hangouts can be used for the very same function that I use GTW for, only it’s cheaper. I spend $99 per month to teach folks about the market. Plus I think the Hangout will provide a social dimension that GTW does not.

    I’ll test Google Hangouts with your simple steps very soon and let you know my findings.

    Thanks for commenting on Shoestring101 Effective Marketing on a Shoestring Budget: Part ONE. Parts TWO and THREE are up; Part FOUR is still in the oven 😉

    Keep Stepping,

    Kurt
    Kurt Frankenberg recently posted…Effective Marketing on a Shoestring Budget: Part THREE

    • Gary Hyman on August 28, 2013

      Excellent Kurt. Glad this article was of help to you. Looking forward to see what emerges from the ‘oven’.

  • Arleen on August 29, 2013

    Gary- I have gotten invitation for Google Hangouts but I have never accepted and sort of put it out of my mind.
    I will have to look into Google Hangouts as you have made it seem simple.

    • Gary Hyman on August 30, 2013

      That’s great Arleen. There will be a learning curve, but I believe the information I’ve provided will reduce that curve. Then it patience and persistence + a little practice. You become better at it each time you host a HOA. Thank you for your comment.

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