Planning a Google+ Hangout on Air? “Ask an Expert” to Ensure Success!

YouTube view of live “Ask the Experts” Broadcast

By now, you’re probably aware that Google+ Hangouts on Air are the LIVE version of regular Hangouts and they allow any individual (or brand) to broadcast live anywhere, anytime. This sounds fun and easy, but the amount of time required for pre-planning is directly related to how successful your (or your client’s) broadcast will be.

Having just pulled off a successful live broadcast on behalf of our client Xerox, we wanted to share our top 5 things to keep in mind when planning one to make sure you’re fully prepared and ensure no last-minute surprises come up.

Here are our Top 5 tips to keep in mind when planning a live broadcast (such as the Xerox “Ask the Experts” Episode we executed):

1. Determine ALL of the details and logistics at the outset

  • What’s the topic? When will the Hangout happen? Who is the host or moderator? Who will be joining the hangout? Answering these questions and more will help you start laying the foundation for the entire event before even beginning the plan.
  • Bonus tip: Select dates and schedule an introductory call, check-in calls, preliminary test runs, etc. The more pre-scheduled meetings along the way, the better, to keep everyone on the same page and ensure things are progressing smoothly.

2. Create a Google+ Test page and begin testing

  • Remember to circle your coworkers and have them circle the page so that you can include them in your testing. Testing out logistics (i.e. how to start a Hangout, join a Hangout, add/remove people from a Hangout, mute/unmute people, etc.) will help familiarize you with the platform and work out any kinks well ahead of time.
  • Bonus tip: Read through ALL of the helpful Google+ Hangouts on Air information found here.

3. Develop a roles and responsibilities document

  • From the host to the participants to those behind the scenes, there will likely be a good amount of people working to bring your Hangout to life. A document that clearly outlines what each person is responsible for and when will help to keep everyone organized in those crazy minutes before you go live

4. Pull together a show flow document

  • A show flow document, similar to a script, will be essential to keeping everyone in line during the Hangout and ensure things are running smoothly. It helps the host and participants stay on track with messaging, while helping everyone behind the scenes follow along as well.
  • Bonus tip: Have all attendees join the Hangout well ahead of the start time to run through the show flow document one last time while in the “green room.”

5. Have a dedicated live tweeter

  • Needless to say, social media promotion before the Hangout is key – but having someone Tweet reminders about the show and key discussion highlights as they happen will help to draw in last minute viewers.

A live Google+ hangout is a much larger undertaking than one may think and can be pretty nerve-wracking if you’re not completely prepared. Be sure to keep these top five elements in mind, and you should be setting yourself (and your client) up for a successful live broadcast. Good luck!


Editor’s Note: This post was co-authored by Nick Rovisa and Nicole Pavlas, both of Text100 Rochester.

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