Disclaimer: I am not and never was a true “professional” streamer. I did not want to be, and never advertise that I am or was. My advice here is based on professional experience in the media as well as personal experience as a part-time streamer.
Hello chumps! Today’s post is brought to you by a very frequently asked question: Andrea, how did you do it when you first started? To answer that, it’s kind of a long story, but the TLDR version is, my brother made me do it.
So you want to stream on Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, or whatever. You’ve got zero followers, zero views, and zero clue on where to begin. These five first steps that I’m about to share with you are a great place to start, but don’t view my word as law. Get as many opinions and make as many connections as you can to truly better yourself as a professional (see my list of recommended sources).
Step One: Put the controller down, and watch.
The first and most crucial step to becoming a streamer, is to not stream. Hear me out on this one. There are so many benefits that can come from just watching. The biggest plus (in my personal opinion) is the connections you make with other communities. By making friends and integrating yourself into other communities, you are inherently building a network of potential viewers on your own stream. This being said, NEVER and I mean NEVER advertise your own stream unsolicited in other communities! Keep it personal, keep it real!
Additionally, by watching, you will gain a better understanding for how live streaming works. You can take the basics you learn from other streams, and apply them to your own. Having Streamlabs set up for alerts, rigging OBS to your optimal settings, which bots to use, modifying your info panels and profile, etc.
Step Two: Set your focus. Be who you are, no one else.
After you’ve gotten a feel for how streaming works, you have all the power and knowledge to decide what kind of streamer you want to be. Do you want to play one game and make the focus on how freaking AMAZING you are at that game? Do you want to play a lot of games and instead put the focus on your KICK ASS personality? Whatever you choose, set your focus and be uniquely you. Tell jokes that make you laugh. Play games that you love. Don’t stream any specific way just because someone else does it. If it doesn’t feel like you’re being yourself, you’ll never feel comfortable in your own stream.
Step Three: Get consistent and STICK TO IT!
Setting a schedule is probably the most common advice you’ll hear from any streamer ever. And if you’re ignoring it…STOP IT! Once you’re really into the groove of streaming, it’s really important to set a schedule and stick to it. This part can be hard if you’re a person who’s real life schedule changes all the time, but you can still do it, I promise! The magic number is 3. Start out streaming 3 times a week at a set time, and don’t veer from it. Consistency is not only good for you to create a habit in hitting that live button, but also for your audience so they know when to expect you.
Step Four: Be EVERYWHERE.
The rule of thumb is: post once, publish often. Don’t just stick to one platform. Contrary to popular belief, if you want to stream on Twitch and Mixer, that’s okay! In the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) it actually makes more sense to do it that way. Have a Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA!! The more places people can find you, the more people will find you. Just be sure to have consistent branding on all your channels.
Step Five: See that number? Don’t look at it!
The biggest mistake new streamers make is looking at the view count on their streams. Because “success” is measured in how many people are watching any stream at any given time, it’s really easy to fall into the trap of caring only about getting more viewers. Caring too much about view count can lead to losing sight of who you are, doing or saying some things that you normally wouldn’t, and becoming easily discouraged. If you’re not having fun because you’ve only got 2 people watching, think about how poor of a show you’re putting for those 2 people who do want to watch you. If you’re too interested in your numbers, you wouldn’t want to watch you either!
TLDR; just be yourself man! If you’re not happy doing what you’re doing, stop doing it.
Trying to get this article short was a challenge; there’s so much good information out there! Educate yourself and never stop educating yourself. The world of the media is always evolving and there’s always something out there to learn. No matter how successful we are, there’s always something out there that we don’t know.