How to Become a Successful Streamer
Streaming is a fascinating concept, and it wasn’t that long ago that it didn’t even exist. While there were quite a lot of naysayers in the very beginning streaming soon took off and is now considered an integral part of the gaming world.
Nowadays there are thousands of people streaming their favorite video games every single day, but what if you wanted to become a part of that exclusive club? How should you approach starting out and what are the fundamental questions that you should ask yourself before commencing your streaming career?
People think of streaming as a dream job, and for some, it might be, but it’s not just sunshine and rainbows. It’s hard work, much like any other job. The only difference is the fact that you’re just a person sitting in front of a computer that has to entertain hundreds or thousands that are watching for hours – and that is exactly where things get complicated.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the more important aspects so you can become a more successful streamer:
What Kind Of A Streamer Will You Be?
First of all, you have to decide what kind of streamer you’re going to be. What will you be offering to the Twitch viewers of the world? Are you insanely talented at a game? That’s great as there are a lot of people who want to watch high-level gameplay.
But you don’t have to be a mechanical beast in order to be successful at streaming; you could have an educational approach and teach your viewers how to improve at the game.
By deciding what kind of a streamer you’re going to be, you can tailor your approach, your marketing, and visual identity for that specific niche/role.
You Don’t Have To Be First… But You Have To Be Different.
Being first is a fantastic thing, but you’re not always going to be able to be a pioneer. Twitch streaming began in 2011, so seven years later chances are almost every single role, and niche is already taken.
In other words, you have to bring something new to the table.
People want to watch something different and unique. If you’re offering the exact same value as everyone else, then you’re not going to be particularly interesting or engaging. You need to start building an audience from scratch, and the easiest way to do that is by offering something unique.
Now whether that’s the overall atmosphere of the stream or the way you play a game or the genre you’re focused on really depends on your own personality and personal preference.
There is no right or wrong way to approach things.
The world doesn’t need another imaqtpie (or even if it does Twitch doesn’t). Now while you could be better at doing something than an already successful streamer the chances are still very slim. We are creatures of habit and if the majority of people are used to watching imaqtpie stream, talk and play then they’re probably not going to give you a chance.
But If You’re First Then Great
Say you got your hands on the new God of War for PlayStation 4 and no one is streaming it at the moment. You’re going to be the first person on Twitch that will be showcasing the latest and greatest installment of one of the most beloved and recognizable characters in the gaming world.
You’re obviously going to reap all the benefits, and even though others might get the game soon enough, it’s going to be too late as the majority of people are already focused on your channel.
Should You Go For A Big Game Or A Lesser Streamed One?
This is where things get a bit tricky.
If you go for a game that’s incredibly popular, then you could potentially get more viewers, but it’s also harder to break through as there are a lot of “big name” streamers who will be getting the majority of viewers almost by default.
That said bigger games have bigger platforms for discussion and more avenues for marketing. As an example, the League of Legends subreddit has over 1.5 million subscribers. If your post reaches the front page, then you’re going to get a couple of thousand views – easily, and if you continue creating engaging and fun content, then you’re going to become a household name sooner or later.
If on the other hand, you decide to go for a more niche game then you’re going to be reaching a far smaller audience, but your viewers might be more committed, more open and friendly.
Both paths have pros and cons, but in general, a good way to approach things is to play the games you like the most. You’ll be right at home, and your viewers will sense that you’re enjoying yourself and that’s the most important thing.
If you’re doing something different and unique, then it won’t even matter which game you’re playing as you will be getting more and more popular because of your style and approach to streaming.
Don’t Go Down This Road If You’re Not 100%
Streaming is a very specific type of job, and it requires a special mindset. It’s not for everyone. To at least do an okay job at it, you’re going to have to invest a very concrete amount of money – you need to have a microphone, camera, green screen and perhaps even specialized software if you’re not fond of OBS Studio that’s available free of charge.
Not to mention that you’re going to need a pretty solid computer/console and a fast enough internet connection. These things add up.
Now of course if you just want to test out the waters for a bit and not invest a lot of money you can do that but with a loss of audio and video quality. However, if you’re going to be a professional, then you’re going to have to invest in your tools.
The streaming world is pretty populated. You can be doing everything right and still fail – much like with every other profession and business. Without a sprinkle of luck here and there (and tons of hard work) it’s going to be hard to break through, and you should be aware of that fact.
Streaming doesn’t work for everyone, in fact, it only works for a select few, but you won’t know if you’re the right person for the job unless you try.
Nothing of value comes easy, which brings us to yet another key point.
No one attains success overnight. (well, it can happen, but it’s incredibly rare) If you’re starting out it’s going to be a grind – potentially quite a long one. You’re going to be streaming sometimes just for a couple of people who won’t even give any concrete feedback. You might feel like you’re making zero progress and that you don’t have a chance, but you need to be patient.
You need to persevere and just keep doing your thing, and with time you’re going to see improvements. It’s not easy succeeding in any field, let alone streaming.
A huge roadblock for the majority of people is consistency. Sure you might get a surge of excitement and optimism when you set everything up and when a couple of strangers join your channel, but you’re going to need to sustain the same level of enthusiasm over extended periods of time.
The days and nights when there’s no one watching will be the hardest, but you will have to endure like a true stoic if you want to reach success.
Seven years ago I was doing a playthrough of a Star Wars game for PSP. Now straight from the beginning that doesn’t really sound like the most exciting thing in the world and why I was doing it is beyond my comprehension.
Fast forward a couple of months and each of those clips had over 50k views, with the most popular ones reaching well over 150k. How did that happen? I’m not exactly sure, but it seems like there was quite a large number of people who wanted to watch a playthrough of said game and didn’t have the opportunity as there wasn’t one available on YouTube.
Now while this concrete example might be a bit far-fetching it still perfectly illustrates my point. If for example, you’re streaming a playthrough then make sure to upload it to YouTube as there are thousands of potential viewers who won’t be watching your live stream.
Or if it was a particularly special playthrough then create some highlights, edit boss fights and upload them to YouTube for people who are looking for tips and tricks.
Try to cover as much ground as possible as live streaming is only one avenue to success. You want to have as big of a reach as possible on Twitch will only get you so far.
There’s No “Right” Way
You can always try something and then change your mind afterward. There is no set road to success, and different people can find different avenues towards it. If you tried your hand at one game and it didn’t work out for whatever reason, then there’s no reason not to try another one.
This whole process is trial and error, and the sooner you begin, the bz. You’re going to see that your own approach to the whole streaming process will change and evolve with time, leading to you becoming a more successful streamer.
In other words, make sure to enter this whole process without any preconceived notions of how it should be done and allow yourself to have fun. That’s the most important thing, and it’s addictive – people will get that vibe when watching.