Many people are finding themselves with extra time at home nowadays and you may be looking to find a way to pass the time. Video game streaming can fit this role perfectly. It can be an exciting hobby or even a full time career, but either way it will be very rewarding and enjoyable, but requires work and effort. There are tons of information out there on where to get started. However, a lot of the videos or blogs I've come across focus on the technical and hardware side of things.
While these are very important, I think there are a lot of things that new streamers miss and in the end just get frustrated and give up. Here are my top 10 tips to help get you started and cover some of the overlooked aspects of streaming. I was able to get my Mixer channel up and running quickly and I became partnered within my first year following this guidance and overall mindset.
10 - Just Get started!
You can get bogged down when researching and reading about multiple stream setups, lighting, overlays, multistreaming, etc. The truth is that all these things are beneficial, but not absolutely necessary. Baby steps! Do you have an OK internet connection? Great! Put everything else aside and practice going 'Live'. Current generation consoles make it so easy to stream. Link your accounts and you are ready to go, with or without camera. Lets face it have a face cam is more personable and will help draw viewers, but as the tip mentions: Just get started! If you are cam-less, focus on saving for one and just get comfortable with the setup you currently have. Streaming from a PC is fairly simple as well and you can get yourself setup with my other tutorials.
9 - Play games YOU enjoy
Down the road, you may come to a point where you decide if you will be a 'variety streamer' or you may focus on a specific game/genre. Don't worry about that now. Play what you enjoy and don't try and follow hot game niches just to try and leech some of the viewership. Sure it may work, but it will be short term and not what you want. Remember, you are trying to build a community. A lot of your fans will be fans of games you like and play. It just gives you more to talk about and play and gives people a reason to come back. Playing games you enjoy will also help you relax more and probably help you open up more and show your true personality compared to forcing new games.
8 - Be Consistent
You will probably be balancing work, family, friends and just life overall. Trying to find consistency in a schedule is very important and will help your fans know when you will be going live. Try hard to set a schedule and stick with it. If there are any short term or long term changes, make sure to let people know on social media. Don't forget to let your relatives know as well! Family can be a great motivation and those extra one or two viewers can help the stream too! Just don't do anything to embarrass Mom while you are live :).
7 - Become a viewer
This is a very important point that I feel a lot of people miss. When people start streaming they push and push and try to maximize their hours online. While this is good motivation, it is not everything. In fact, I feel the mix between viewing and streaming is closer to 50/50, especially when you are just starting and trying to get your name out there. Believe it or not, streaming is a social platform. Making friends (and avoid making enemies) is a huge part in building your community. Your online community will always be your main viewer base as opposed to filling your stream with random people.
Find like minded streamers. Find streamers that play similar games or game genres. Focus on fellow new/newer streamers. While some of the bigger established streamers do a great job of interacting, you will have better chances with smaller and less populated streams. This also takes time so don't expect meet dozens of people the first few streams. Remember, most people seem to forget the importance of networking or paying attention to viewers so its typically hard to get noticed by people in your same situation.
6 - Be Yourself
There are a lot of internet personalities out there and while it may be your end goal to create a certain character or persona for your stream self, focus on just being yourself and let your personality flourish on stream. Be genuine. Your audience will notice and appreciate it.
5 - Interact at all times
Lets face it, when you are just starting out your viewer numbers will be low. You will probably end up with some zero or single digit viewer streams. Don't pay attention to these numbers. Focus on your game. Speak your mind...literally. Do it verbally. It may seem weird at first, but speaking to your 'audience' will help you get comfortable in your skin and help you adapt to this new endeavor. Random viewers may also be coming in and out of your stream so if you are constantly interacting, you give viewers a reason to interact back or at least a chance to see you doing your thing.
4 - Start Thinking About Branding
Whether you will be doing this as a hobby or look to do this part-time or full -time, you will want to eventually focus on your branding. So what is a brand exactly? Branding is promoting yourself, your stream, your content. You want to eventually stand out from the crowd and give people a reason to want to come back. When you are just starting out, branding could be as simple as a theme for your channel, a specific font, color scheme, you name it and it probably counts.
3 - Social Media/Discord
Social Media is going to be a great outlet to reach out to your followers and potential viewers. You are probably already on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc with your personal and pet accounts (be honest. You do have a pet Instagram account, right?). It may be good to create separate social media accounts for your streaming persona. It actually may even be necessary for work or other personal reasons. Get those accounts created and linked together in the bios. Remember branding? Use similar fonts, images and eventually your logo(s). All this stuff is related and is very important. Trust me, people notice and appreciate it. When you get to the point of applying for a platform partnership program, it gets even more important to have all this established and coordinated so its good to start early!
Creating a dedicated Discord channel is also key. Discord will be your hangout for before and after the streams. Live streams are great, but there is something about kicking back, chatting or sharing memes outside of streams. It just makes it that much more personal.
Tying into #7, joining other streamers Discords is another great way to network. Your Discord app could great cluttered quick, but it is well worth it. I think at one point I was in over 80 servers just from my Mixer communities.
2 - Be Realistic!
Setting goals for yourself and your channel can be a great motivation. Keeping the goals realistic is also important because no one likes to fail. Maybe set your goals low to begin with. A goal of 'Getting a $1000 donation' probably isn't very realistic. How about maybe a $1 donation or even better....set up a donation page and link your PayPal! Setting up channel viewer goals or follower goals can also be great motivators and can be shown graphically via overlays once you start adding those to your stream.
1 - Patience!
As you have probably noticed, getting up and running, established and popular takes time. This stuff doesn't happen overnight. Streaming can be a lucrative hobby/career, but it will take work and dedication. If you are looking for a 'get rich quick' deal, then chances are this isn't the right hobby for you. Be patient!
Follow these tips and build upon them. Stay focused. Once you start to build a small community, try expanding on it by maybe offering more interactive gaming streams, giveaways, etc. Once you have a baseline branding, expand it! Work towards that killer logo. Merch? Affiliate and partner programs? The possibilities are endless.
So there you have it. It was hard for me to limit the list to ten as there is so much more involved. Streaming is also a highly evolving as platforms are competing with one another to earn your business and call their platform home. While this is great for streaming in general, it forces you to keep up with all the changes and trends. You will constantly be working on your branding and channels behind the scenes. Feel free to leave comments below or message me directly on Discord if you would like additional pointers or want to discuss your channel or branding.