This step-by-step guide will show you the process of setting up Google Hangouts On Air and linking it to your YouTube channel which will allow you to do live conferences and interviews. It’s a powerful & free tool that Google provides and can be used to drive revenue or attention to yourself or brand. It’s also an amazing way to build content and help your SEO.
Step 1- Get a Google+ Account
Go to http://plus.google.com. If you have an existing Google account, simply sign in with that username and password. If you do not, hit the Create An Account button and you will be walked through the steps which includes a short form to fill out and a few steps to begin building your profile. It’s up to you if you want to complete the entire profile setup process or skip through the questionnaire, but at the very least you should provide the basics and a picture at this point.
Step 2- Navigate to Hangouts Section
Once you complete your profile section you will come to the Home page of Google+ profile. In the top left of your screen you will see an icon of a house and it will say “Home”. Hit that button and you will see a drop down with some other items. Just below midway you will see the “Hangouts” and its green quotes icon. Click on that “Hangouts” button.
Step 3- Navigate to Hangouts On Air
Now that you are in the Hangouts section you have a few options. You can do a regular hangout, or you can do a live hangout that is simulcast throughout Google+ and will also post directly to your YouTube channel (details below). This is the real power behind Hangouts. To get to this live conferencing section, click on the “Hangouts On Air” button in the top middle of the page.
Step 4- Launch The Hangout
You will come to the Hangouts On Air Screen. In the upper right portion you will see a big blue button. Click the button that reads “Start A Hangout On Air”. This will launch a window that may ask you to install a plugin. Hit the install plugin button.
Step 5- Link Your YouTube Account
In order to broadcast a live Hangout On Air, you will need to have a YouTube account that has been verified. You will also need to create a YouTube Channel. If you have not already established a link to your YouTube account, you will need to do so. You will know if you get this message on the Hangouts On Air popup: “Oops! Your YouTube account needs to be connected. Click here to get started.” I wouldn’t actually click that as it takes you to an instructions page and nothing more. Instead, hit “Cancel” and follow the steps below.
Open another browser window or tab and go to YouTube.com and login to your account. You actually created a YouTube account when you created your Google+ page so you can use the same username and password you just made. Once you are logged in, simply type in or navigate to http://www.youtube.com/features in your browser. You will see a screen that looks like this one below. Click on the Verify button.
Note: You may first be prompted by a screen that asks you to setup your YouTube channel if you do not already have one. If that happens, hit the big blue “OK” button.
After hitting “OK”, it will redirect you to the YouTube homepage and you will once again need to type http://youtube.com/features into your browser (I know this seems redundant. I’m not sure why they don’t take you back to the Features page automatically, but they don’t). Once back at the Features screen, hit the “Verify” button once more.
If your channel is setup, after hitting the “Verify” button you will come to this screen where you can choose your verification method. Either have Google call you with an automated message or have it send you a text with a verification code. I chose the text method.
Now enter your 6 digit code that was called or sent by text message to you and hit submit.
If you did it right, you will get this success message.
Lastly navigate back to the features page at http://youtube.com/features (while still logged in) and enable the Live Events button at the bottom of the page.
You will come to a page with a success message saying you are now enabled for live streaming.
You have now linked your YouTube to Google+! You can now exit out of YouTube and return back to your Hangouts page.
Hopefully you kept that tab or window open. If not, you may need to follow steps 2-4 once more.
Important: If you kept the little popup window open and still see the error message to connect YouTube, don’t panic. Simply close it out (hit “Cancel”) and reopen by hitting the big blue “Start a Hangout on Air” button once more. This time you shouldn’t see that message.
Step 6- Start the Hangout On Air
If everything went right, when clicking the big blue “Start a Hangout on Air” button, you will not see the error message to connect your YouTube account. You will see a screen like this where you simply enter the name of your hangout, a description, and you can invite your circles (audience) to view the broadcast. By default, the hangout will start immediately (Now). You can also decide to schedule your hangout at a time in the future by toggling the button to “Later”. When you’ve entered the info, simply click Share.
Step 7- Start the Hangout On Air
After hitting the “Share” button you will be redirected to your Events page that looks like the one below and it will automatically create an event for you. Click the blue “Start” button and the Hangout window will open.
Step 8- Invite Your Guests
As the Hangouts window launches you will be asked to “Invite” guests to join. You can enter either email addresses or Google+ IDs. You can also “Skip” this if you want to fly solo.
Step 9- Go Live
Once you choose to Invite or Skip, you will be taken directly into the live broadcast window. If you chose to invite guests, you just need to wait for them to pop into the hangout. When everyone is there, it’s just about showtime. Now comb your hair, touch up your makeup and hit the big green button at the bottom that says “Start Broadcast” when you’re ready!
Step 10- Broadcast
You’re now live! When you are finished with your video hit the “Stop Broadcasting” button. It will be in the same place as the one above. When you stop, go back to your Google+ page and watch your video, or head over to your YouTube channel and check it out there.
You’ve just created your first video, share it with the world. Use the YouTube embed function to place the video on your site. By doing that you’re also just generating some great SEO for your website! If you have filled out your Google+ profile and your YouTube profile and linked those to your site you’ve got even more SEO juice flowing. Nice work!
If you keep broadcasting, building your audience and generating quality content for your site you’ll be able to build marketing powerhouse that’s fun and rewarding in no time.