Video Creation or Streaming – What First?
First of all – there isn’t a tried and true way to do things, no matter what someone might tell you. You should experiment and try as many things out as possible. A big part of being content creation is having fun, and you’re supposed to be doing things in your own personal, unique way.
Reading about someone else’s path to success is a great approach – everyone can learn so much from how someone achieved success (and even more from how others failed), but chances are you won’t be able to fully apply what you’ve read to your own path.
Everyone has their own road and blindly copying what someone else did won’t necessarily lead you to success.
That said, there are some benefits when you start off with standard content creation instead of streaming.
But why though?
Why You Shouldn’t Be Streaming First
Well, first, breaking through in the streaming world is a gargantuan task and the odds are stacked against you. In fact, the chances are so slim that someone might even say they’re non-existent.
Now make no mistake, the obvious pessimism in the upper paragraph isn’t present because I’m a skeptical person by nature. It’s there because streaming took off quite some time ago, and anyone joining the party in 2018 will almost automatically have a very hard time standing out.
Sure, you can stream for fun, but it probably won’t lead to anywhere. Over the span of a couple of months, you might even accrue a small following, but it won’t be anything more than a hobby. Whereas with content creation – if you do things right – you can make it into a living one day.
There are so many people in the world that are trying to succeed as streamers that it’s going to be insanely hard for you to get noticed. At the end of the day – and someone might argue this – there is only a finite number of ways that an individual can stream.
You can be an educational streamer, or you can entertain. From that point on, things branch out into multiple possibilities on each side, but no matter how you spin it there is a set amount of ways that you can do things.
Even if you do bring something new and unique to the table, you’re going to need quite a lot of time (and luck) to break through.
As for content creation, there are no limits to what you can do. You can display your creativity and personal touch in so many ways – through writing, editing, acting, directing, etc.
The process of creating a video will almost surely require you to design a unique approach to things, and that will be immediately evident in the end product. That’s exactly the reason why you should start off with videos first, as you’ll have a far easier time breaking through and showcasing your own distinctive idiosyncrasies and qualities.
Not to mention the fact that a video (or an article, for that matter) is a complete product. You can’t share a five-hour stream on social networks or Reddit. It’s so much easier to gain traction by sharing a five or ten-minute video or highlight. The average viewer’s attention span is only a couple of minutes long – at best. If you don’t “grab their attention” from the very get-go, they’ll move on in their search to find interesting content.
Streaming is a completely different approach to things, and while it’s not bad by any means it’s not as “practical” if you’re starting out.
After you’ve built a fanbase, and this takes quite a lot of time, then it will be the easiest thing in the world to simply start streaming. In general, people don’t separate the two – they’re intertwined. In fact, most streamers have very active channels on YouTube and vice versa. No need to restrict yourself to just one platform, but let’s save that for later.
The benefit of doing things this way is the fact that a good portion of your viewers and fans will simply “transfer over” and watch your streams as well. It will be a natural transition, and you don’t have to prioritize one over the other – do what you feel like doing. Both forms of content can bring you revenue and can expand your fan base.
Now while I’m not exactly a titan of content creation, I did dabble in the field for a couple of months and had moderate success. Out of the ten or so videos I made about League of Legends almost all of them reached the front page of the League subreddit, and over the span of a couple of months, almost a thousand people subscribed.
Because the videos mostly consisted of me talking and showing some gameplay, I consider that a success. The average view count that I was able to attain per video is something around six or seven thousand views, with the most popular video getting up to sixteen thousand. While that’s far from a viral video, it’s still something concrete and the fact that professional players and people from the industry saw my content is nothing to scoff at.
Now obviously I don’t know what it’s like to be at the very top, but I do have some personal insights that could help you immensely in the long run.
So, without any further ado, let’s start with the end!
Why Did I Stop?
Why did I stop creating content after a couple of months? To be honest, the cons outweighed the pros. Content creation isn’t a sprint – it’s a marathon. A very long, excruciatingly painful marathon that will test your creativity, endurance, and willpower.
Sure, the first couple of videos you create will be top notch – you’re full of energy, and everything is still new, but after you reach a certain number of videos you start to feel the reality of it all. The repetitiveness, the looming feeling that what you’re doing is probably in vain. You find yourself anxious since you’re spending up to an hour or so looking into a camera lens whereas your peers are probably out grabbing a beer, enjoying their social life.
After people start watching your videos, you start creating content not because you feel like it or because you have the urge to tell a story, but because you know there are a lot of people who are expecting something to pop up in their feed. You don’t want to disappoint, and you start forcing yourself to create even when you don’t want to.
That’s when things go from “exciting and fun” to something that more resembles a day job. You’re feeling a more significant weight on your shoulders, and people have expectations, they want to laugh or be entertained and once all of a sudden the stakes are higher.
The moment you feel pressure before publishing or creating a video is the moment when things lose a bit of its charm. You are no longer trying to grab someone’s attention – you have it. And perhaps it’s even their undivided attention. Now you have to deliver. On a consistent basis.
That’s when you start feeling a different kind of pressure.
Be Prepared for Bad Patches
There will be moments when you will feel like what you’re doing isn’t leading to anywhere, that all of it is in vain and at times you’re going to be right. Trying to create something in a world that’s filled with content can be a fool’s errand.
It doesn’t matter if you’re unique, or if you’re creating something entirely new – it’s still a long process that will test your endurance. When you slow down, and when reality hits you, you’re going to be questioning everything.
Because of this, it’s very important to know that you’re going to run out of steam after a while regardless if your channel is growing or not. You need to balance things out and only create when you feel like it, rather than because someone else expects it. After all, you’re doing this without any concrete benefit in the beginning – it’s important to have fun.
This brings us to my second point.
Find A Reason to Keep Doing It
One of the main problems that I had – or perhaps the only one – was the fact that what I was doing didn’t get me anything. I loved the process, and I loved interacting with my viewers, but in the end, it was all in vain. Watching my subscriber count rise was nice and all, and it did create the feeling of growth, but when real life responsibilities kicked in, it was hard to justify sitting in front of a camera for a couple of thousand anonymous people and then spend up to ten hours editing a video.
After all, there are so many other things that can bring you immediate results and joy.
It’s hard to balance things out, and that holds true in all facets of life. If you have school, college or a day-to-day job it’s going to be hard to find the time and energy to write a script, record a video (which can depend on the complexity of the video, take up a lot of time) and then edit for countless hours.
So, if you want to get into content creation – fantastic! It’s an incredibly exciting and rewarding journey, but it does have its pitfalls, and if you’re prepared for them at the very beginning then your chances for success rise exponentially.
Branch Out When You’re Ready
If your career as a content creator starts off on the right foot, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try and branch out – given that it doesn’t take away from your main channel.
In other words, if you have the time then start streaming in addition to creating videos. Write articles, become an active member of the community, do analysis, commentary, start collaborations, etc.
If you’re only focusing on a single network, then you’re essentially restricting your growth.
Do whatever you can to get your name out there, and if you’re doing something someone else isn’t – and you’re doing it well, then success will come by default. People want to watch something new, and even though there are a ton of content creators out there, you can still be unique and bring something different to the table.