Quitting my steady salary job to follow my passion for gaming and creating content online was a huge risk, as it is for so many creators turning their passion into a career. With 7 years of experience making content and 4 years of streaming, I’ve built an audience of 3+ million followers between 2 different platforms and I can say that I’m still learning and working hard to be the best I can. Here’s my advice.
P.S. The first webinar is tomorrow at 9 AM PST. Don’t miss out!
The most important thing you can do is create entertaining content that comes from your unique voice and perspective. Embrace and learn from failure. Start doing, but also evaluate opportunities for innovation. Write down ideas whenever you get them.
You do not need the best equipment to be the best streamer. Optimize settings for your current hardware, software, and peripherals, then upgrade as necessary and as you grow your channel, using your income from subscribers and donations. Check out our infographic for a settings checklist.
Content must be available before the audience comes. Streaming at the same time every week increases the likelihood of return viewers, as they’ll know when to expect new content from you. Committing to a schedule shows your audience that you are serious and passionate. Maintaining high-quality content is also important for keeping the attention of your viewers.
Find your niche by looking inward and recognizing what you’re passionate about. There are thousands of “niches,” from different games to styles or categories of streaming within those games – playing professionally, being an entertainer, explaining secrets and guides, giving advice and tips, etc. Build your knowledge around your passions. You will generate more ideas the more you know about a niche, what you want to see, and checking if it’s missing. If there already is a community or content around it, then contributing and being a part of it in a genuine way can start to build reputation.
While having a primary platform is important, diversification sets you up for more audience stability via greater potential reach. For example, making VoD content gives your audience who may miss a stream something to enjoy until next time, and is a great source for discoverability. Also, if you receive a ban for whatever reason on one platform like Twitch, you may need backup revenue until it expires or just another outlet to engage your audience.
It’s impossible to look at someone else’s numbers and not have some sort of reaction and make a comparison on yourself, but you have no control over what they do or who watches them. What you can control is how you react and what you do because of it. You will better grow your channel and have a more enjoyable time by creating friendships and bolstering and celebrating others’ accomplishments, rather than trash-talking those you think you may be competing against. Most viewers follow more than one content creator, after all.
Collaborate! Bring together creative minds to form something unique that you couldn’t otherwise do on your own. Creating content can be very isolating with countless hours streaming or spent editing alone in your room. While an audience is important, having peers to ask questions and discuss ideas with can go a long way in making the experience more enjoyable, successful, and just help drive you.
Other streamers will not want to collaborate with you, and viewers will not tune into your stream, if you have a poor reputation. Remember, there are appropriate places and times to promote yourself. It’s important to note that nobody’s forcing you to accept new deals — if you’re offered something that doesn’t align with your values, don’t take it!
Look for channels at a similar level and those ahead of you to analyze who is growing and how you may be able to emulate it. There are 3 basic ways to get yourself in front of new people: word of mouth, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and running advertisements. Still, focus on your content quality first. It’s important to gain new viewers, but more important to show your value to your current ones, whose attention you hold now.
Streaming is a business, and it is more than just playing games and being live 24/7. Balance your time allotted to this job in terms of streaming, reviewing, and planning new content across all your platforms. A business has to compete and provide something unique to a consumer if it wants to stay alive and grow. If you make a living off of this, you will need to have healthcare and figure out how to do taxes and expense purchases. This is not something to worry about at the beginning, but something even the most casual streamer will need to deal with at some point.