YouTube is one of the most popular online video sharing and social media platforms around. In 2020, many people turned to videos and live streams instead of in-person events. From gaming to food recipes, YouTube live streams are an excellent way to engage and entertain audiences in real-time. If you’re unsure about how to set up your first YouTube live stream, I’m going to show you how. Let’s get started!

  1. Choose your preferred device and software to stream with
  2. Enter live stream details
  3. Promote your YouTube live stream

Step 1: Choose Your Preferred Device to Stream With

YouTube allows you to stream on a mobile device, laptop, or desktop. You can use your computer’s webcam to stream right away or you can install an encoder, which is preferred by some creators who like to provide their audience with highly-produced live streams.

To use your computer or mobile device to stream right away:

  • Log in to your YouTube Channel
  • Select the Create button (the camera with the plus sign) next to your profile photo and choose Go Live
  • You will then be prompted to enter your live stream details
How to instantly go live from the YouTube home page

To stream with an installed encoder:

If you are choosing to go with an installed encoder, here is a list of a few software and hardware encoders YouTube has provided:

Once you have chosen an encoder to download and set up, select Go Live on the YouTube home page. Click the Stream tab on the left-hand side and YouTube will connect to your streaming software. Scroll to the bottom to adjust your stream settings and enter your stream details.

YouTube's Stream Set Up Help for Software Encoder
Stream Settings screen for users who want to use an installed encoder

Step 2: Enter Live Stream Details

Once you have set up your preferred device and software, it’s time to enter the details. Create a unique title that will give your audience an understanding of what your stream will be about. Some creators like to have fun with their titles as a part of their brand. Keep it fun and engaging! Next, include a description of your live stream. This is a great place to include any links to your social media or other work that you’d like your viewers to see. After you include a title, description, and genre, review your settings again to make sure the camera and microphone are correct.

In the advanced settings, you can enable the chat feature which allows you to engage with your viewers by responding to their comments and questions. You can toggle this off if you don’t want your viewers to send any comments.

If you are using a webcam or mobile device to live stream, you’ll be prompted to take a photo for a thumbnail, but you can edit this and upload a customized one!

YouTube webcam stream details page

Step 3: Promote Your Live Stream

Before you go live, you should promote your live stream on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. As you enter your live stream details, you are given the option to take a photo for a thumbnail or upload a customized thumbnail. I personally like customized aesthetic thumbnails and think they can bring in more viewers. The Kapwing Studio offers different tools to get you started in creating a promotional thumbnail which you can view below:

  • Add Text to Images: Add text on a JPEG, PNG, or another file type. Text can be words or emojis!
Sample Roblox Live Stream Thumbnail Source: Devforum
  • Remove Image Background: Many YouTube creators will remove image backgrounds and replace them with a new backdrop that is visually appealing. Try this tool to remove and replace your background.
  • Collage Maker: Stitch together text, multiple images, and emojis to create an aesthetic collage. Check out how Kapwing set up a fun thumbnail for this YouTube video!

I hope that this article has helped you successfully set up a YouTube live stream. For more Kapwing content, please visit our YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok where we post video tutorials, creator spotlights, and Kapwing updates. While you’re here, read some of our other YouTube articles and tutorials below!


Related Articles: