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Perfectionist's Guide to Marketing Your Hangout on Air

This is an advanced guide, and assumes you're comfortable with Hangouts on Air. If you want a general guide to HoA, follow this link

Tips and Tricks for Hangouts on Air

You're running a Hangout on Air because you want to broadcast to a live audience. Ideally, you want the largest possible audience you can get. During our coverage of the Curiosity Landing, we had approximately 30,000 people watching our hangout. More = better. :-)

Properly marketing your Hangout requires an extreme attention to detail, to get the widest possible boost when you're live. You'll have to do a zillion different things, but follow these steps and you should get a much larger audience.

So here's my handy guide to help you out, and get the widest audience you can.

But first...

Choose the MOST Important Event You Can

What you're hanging out about will define the total audience you can reach. If you're hanging out about something interesting and dynamic - like the launch of a new iPhone or the landing of a rover on Mars, you'll be able to get a much larger audience than an impromptu hangout without a topic. This acts like a multiplier.

Choose your events carefully, and respect your audience's "hangout fatigue".

The Event is Your Anchor

As soon as you know when you're going to be broadcasting your Hangout on Air, you need to create a Google+ Event.

The event acts like an anchor to your Hangout. Fans can put the Event into their Google calendar, so they'll get an alert when you're about to start broadcasting. You can also embed the live video back into the Event page so people can watch it from this page too.

You'll want to create a Hangout on Air by going to:

Event Options -> Advanced -> Make this an event on air

Take the time and care to make the most interesting Event page you possibly can. 

A good event page should contain the following:

- a custom theme graphic that gives you a recognizable brand. People should be able to spot your event from a big list

- embed the video for previous events into the current Event so people can get an example of what it's about. You access that from Event Options -> Advanced -> Show Additional Fields

- a nagging reminder that people should click "Yes" to attend the Event. That will put it into their calendar.

Invite the public, and invite the attendees of the event itself.

Now, Market the Event which Markets the Hangout

Since the Event page acts like an anchor to the future Hangout, you have a permanent location you can use to market the Hangout. Point people at the Event page, and that'll encourage them to sign up and get it into their calendar.

Things you can do ahead of time.

Once you've got that Event in place, you can start promoting your future Hangout. Here's a laundry list of ideas, places you can promote your future Hangout:

- write a press release
- write an article on your blog, convince your blogging friends to promote it
- post a writeup on Google+
- mention the Hangout on Twitter, multiple times leading up to the Event
- create a promo video on YouTube and encourage people to embed the video
- use the Hype My Hangout service
- mention it in any podcasts you're associated with
- create a parallel Event on Facebook and then link to the official Google+ Event (specifically invite people who you think would love to attend).

… and lots of things I haven't even thought of. You'll come up with lots of ideas, but the point is to direct them at the Event.

Invite people to your Event

Google+ allows you to invite an unlimited number of people to an event, and this will probably be your secret weapon; the difference between a mediocre event and a blockbuster.

You'll want to invite your friends and super fans of the show.

But, here's your secret weapon

Ideally you've created a Brand Page specifically for your show. All of the people who have this show in their circles are obviously fans of the show and should be invited.

For example, here's a link to the Virtual Star Party brand page:

At the time of this writing, 3400 people have the VSP page in their circle. This means that I can invite 3400 people to future editions of the Virtual Star Party broadcasts. As you can probably imagine, this is a massive multiplier to the attendance of the event.

I create a special circle called "VSP fans" and circle everyone back who circles the Brand Page.

You're limited to a total of 5000 people who you can circle from a Brand Page.

Navigate to the Event, and then invite everyone in your circle.

If you have multiple Brand pages related to your Hangout, you can invite from each one of those Brand Pages. Powerful but dangerous, use caution.

Once you're about to start your hangout

Assuming you've been marketing like crazy, there's a key checklist of activities you need to do to once you create the Hangout, but before you start broadcasting.

- Start up your Hangout on Air and invite your participants
- Grab the YouTube embed code from the menu bar and embed this back into the Event. Nobody will be able to see the participants until you actually click "Start Broadcasting".
- Embed the YouTube video into every location you want. From your blog, Facebook, etc.
- Run Hangout Comment Tracker in a standalone tab and put in the links to the Event, YouTube page and a Twitter hashtag you want to use. -
- Get all the participants to run Hangout Lower Third to identify themselves


Start the broadcast

Once you start your broadcast, you'll get access to the Google+ link containing the live video. You can either promote this page, or continue promoting the Event page, since the live video will be embedded into both.

- Start the broadcast. Put up a starting screen for the first 5 minutes to give you a few minutes to get organized - you've got a LOT of work to do still
- Add the Google+ Hangout page to the Hangout Comment Tracker
- Now you'll have a link to the actual Google+ page containing the Hangout. Get all the participants to reshare the Hangout from their pages.
- Promote the live Hangout on Facebook, Twitter, etc. "We've started our broadcast, join us live."
- Within the first minute, encourage all your viewers to reshare the Hangout page to get the biggest possible exposure. If you're lucky, you'll go to the What's Hot page and get even more publicity

During your show

During your show, you should do regular station identification. Encourage viewers to circle the participants, and especially your brand page on Google+. This will let you invite them in the future.

If you have a few spare moments, you can remind people on Twitter, etc that you're currently broadcasting a cool live event.

After your show

Once you've completed your live show, you'll still want to get as many people to watch the final video on YouTube. This will help build interest for the next episode.

- create your next Event as quickly as possible, to start the whole process again
- embed a link in the comments of the previous Event to the next Event. Everyone who commented on the previous event will get a notification and ideally put the next event in their calendar
- promote the final YouTube event in all your regular places, to the biggest viewership after the fact.
Tips and Tricks for Hangouts on Air updated Sept. 13, 2012 Hangouts on Air is a service from Google+ that lets any number of viewers watch your Hangout;…
Will Bancroft's profile photoalimi eyitayo's profile photoJimmie Lanley's profile photoR.J. Adams's profile photo
+Fraser Cain Thanks for sharing your tips. I've forwarded them on to my AAUW Social Media Committee team members (
Great tips +Fraser Cain I couldn't get Hangout Lower Third to run on the HOA but it works fine for normal HOs. Someone mentioned that apps don't work on HOAs. Am I missing something?
Hmm, none of us could get it to work. There was a popup window that flashed and disappeared. It could be that I accidentally joined the HOA as +ScienceSunday as did +Robby Bowles Maybe Lowerthird doesn't work for a page. Thanks for the quick reply +Fraser Cain 
You can only have one app going at a time, so if you're trying to use Comment Tracker, for example, they'll override each other.
Hmm, I think we were just trying Lowerthird. We will try again next Sunday.
Lower Third and other Hangout apps still don't support Pages, where I need them.
I WILL MARKET YOUR HANG OUT CAIN! falls to knees and shakes fist CAAAAAAAAAIN! 

... ahem sorry .. #monday   #startrek  
+Dustin Vaughn You're not the first person to shake their fist, lamenting Caaaaain! You won't be the last.
Oh Fraser, I'm sure it won't even be the last time I do it. =)
+Chad Haney the issue you are likely experiencing is the fact that the Lower Third app will not work if you are in the HOA as a G+ Page, currently it can only work if you are in as a G+ Profile, as +Laurence Hubbard has mentioned here.
+Chad Haney I've tried running Hangouts from Brand pages and there are just too many problems. That's why I run everything from my personal profile.
Thanks +Fraser Cain Since it was our first HO for +ScienceSunday we were a little bit panicky. We couldn't find the hangout. We found it via the page so two of us joined there. We hopefully won't make that mistake this weekend. We have one guest who doesn't use G+. Fingers crossed. We did a test HO with him.
+ePublish Unum - Digital Author Education  what are your thoughts on +Fraser Cain 's comment -- 
"I've tried running Hangouts from Brand pages and there are just too many problems. That's why I run everything from my personal profile."?  ePublish Unum runs its B&B Hangout on Air via your ePublish Unum page, right?  Have you had any problems?
There are limitations, to be sure. Some of the plugins don't work. You can't invite guests until they circle that page. But we sacrifice those so we get better separation from our other projects. YMMV.
Thanks.  It is a shame that some of the plugins don't work -- especially given that HOA is most applicable to pages, in my opinion.  I want to have separation from my personal profile, so I am willing to accept some differences, as long as the basic video/audio quality is the same.
+David Dierksheide everything is the same as far as the core function with HOA be it on a G+ Profile or a G+ Page. The getting in (re. circling first) or the extra goodies (apps like hangout lower third) are where you will see the differences. Plus your ability to interact with the commenters is limited unless they have circled your Page. But the core function/quality of the HOA tool is exactly the same according to the G+ Engineers.
Great piece. Anyone figure out how to get shared YouTube footage to show up in the archived video so those who check it out post-show don't have to sit through long periods of silence?
thanks for this post!! Is there a way to know the number of people viewing? the hangout
The number of viewers will appear at the top of your hangout screen (when you are the one who is broadcasting it, that is).
FYI, that Live HOA View Count number is a 'real time' number not cumulative like most of YouTube views are... and then the count starts over again once the video is finished processing... viewers that watched live are not included in the post live view count.
Very helpful in terms of prepping for a hangout! Thanks!
Good one! Thanks. Feel a lot more confident going on Air!
Thanks for the great, in depth and detailed information. Very helpful.
+Douglas Baumwall HOA and G+ Pages will have more capability sometime soon. When they can have their own YouTube Channel connection we will have Profile HOAs and Page HOAs and they can each go to different YouTube Channels... not yet, but soon!
Incredible Share Fraser - Thanks!
+Fraser Cain Thank you for this fantastic post.
I was wondering, how can you determine the URL for the HOA beforehand?
+Brandon Locke he can't (unless your 'beforehand' means just before you start the live broadcast). Once you start the HOA, you don't begin broadcasting immediately... during that time, you can harvest URLs etc.
Hi Fraser! This is a great guide! Thanks so much! I havent gone through all the comments, so sorry if I missed this - How do i promote the event to people who are not part of my circles on google+? Can i just send them the event link? If they do not have a google+ account, will this hamper the process?
+stuti thakor you can send non-G+ers a link to the event... then they can get there, watch but can not comment/interact until they become G+ members.
Thanks +Ronnie Bincer ! Also, instead of creating an event placeholder, if I invite people to view it on youtube, where exactly will they view it on my channel?
+stuti thakor that my friend is a moving target... depends on old channel layout vs. new OneChannel layout.
I created an G+ event and chose the option "Hangout on Air". But I don't know where I can get into the Hangout at the scheduled time. Is there a connection so that the Hangout on Air will start automatically at the scheduled time? How do I get in then? How do the other guests get in?

Or do I have to start a Hangout on Air (independently from the event) and then invite other people to join instantly? 
+Merle Theeß you must create the HOA (hangout on air) independently from the event)... if you look closely you will notice that there is no "Hangout on Air" option to select as one of the Event options.
I think you can schedule a hangout on air while you're creating the event under "Advanced".
There is now way to 'schedule' a hangout on air with the event tool. The Event Tool does not offer hangouts on air [period]. Many of us use the Event tool to schedule a time to meet and bring in the totally separate HOA video view link into the Event (via the Event's Advanced options). This is still a confusing area for many unfortunately. Unless something just changed!

Just verified, this has not changed even with the new design today, still no "Hangout on Air" option inside G+ Events.
I did an event tonight for my clients but didn't realize because it was private it didn't record. That was loads of fun. They I forced my girlfriend into a chat with me LOL. But it wasn't really a chat I was on the events page making it an on air hangout and couldn't figure out where the Join button was for the hang. After reading this I know there was no button and you have to schedule it in events and later do the live cast- I believe if I'm reading it all correct. I did manage to record my bunny fingers as a tester so I'm totally proficient now ;)
How do i connect a video camera to my googleplus event page?
Superb Hangout guides from +Fraser Cain. An essential resource for anyone wanting to launch their own news channel on G+. Thanks so much and keep up the great work!
+alimi eyitayo Best is to post links to the Hangout in the event page, or embed the video. Either way people can then get access to the action from the event page.
Thanks william bancroft, i really need an explanation on how i could turn a google hangout event to a live stream event, how much do you know about live streaming? how much do you know about public google hangout? kindly reply and add me.
I consistently have trouble inviting people to events as a page. Your post here says a page can invite up to the number of people who are following the page. Do you have any documentation for that? I will test that the next time I try, but I'm curious where you learned that. 
While looking for promotional ideas for Hangouts, who else shows up in Google than my online friend +Fraser Cain ... great post... thanks!
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