If you want to make money and be successful streaming on Twitch, then you need to have a regular and growing viewership.
As well as strategizing what will make you stand out among the pack (see 4 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Twitch Stream), here are more tips that you will need to take into consideration if you will be intending to grow your regular viewership:
- Flawless Quality. Invest in having good equipment to be able to run a high quality stream (at least 720p), with good audio. In short, you need to be like a TV channel, and never have glitches in your stream. Treat every technical disturbance to your stream like a sharp stab to your chest.
- Webcam. While we are speaking about equipment, another default point is that you have your webcam shot of yourself while you are playing. Some streamers do a really nice job of this by having a green screen setup to mould the game into their own webcam background (e.g. MANvsGAME).
- Video Overlays. Use video overlays to tell your fans occasionally throughout your stream to subscribe to your channel, and promote your website URL there too every now and then.
- Consistent Regular Streaming Times. The logic behind this point is so simple, but the effort needed to maintain this point over a long period of time can be what separates the successful streamer from the person who gives up after a few streams. You have to think well in advance to make sure that you will be able to hold the streaming times that you are preparing. Moreover, you will need to deal with all kinds of unforeseen disturbances to your regular streaming schedule, whether it be your own health issues, or crises among family or friends. An even more fundamental point here is: Why do you stream? If you are only streaming to make money or gain views, then you will be likely to go through some hard times on the way, and moreover, you will be likely to be one of the majority of streamers who never really puts their heart into it and makes something of it. A person who maintains regular streaming times over years and constantly works on growing their audience is a person who streams because they have a big desire to stream.
- Audience Interaction. When people are typing all kinds of comments and questions in the chat, you need to respond. Every single person entering your stream has incredible value, so do whatever you can to make them feel that way. At the very least, say a “Hello” to them when they first enter (especially when you are still starting out and do not yet have many viewers). It is very simple: people want appreciation and respect, so if they feel appreciated and respected on your stream, then you gain some points to keep them coming back.
- Have a Good Time. Adding to the audience interaction, mere audience interaction is not enough. In fact, getting past that initial hurdle of even getting more than a handful of viewers on your stream is a big challenge to many. One tip is to get a group of your own friends on there, and have fun, joke around, challenge each other, and make your own community out of the stream. Get them all to invite their friends, and try a few rounds like that. Even if it does not develop, you will see the value in getting a good atmosphere of laughing and having a good time around your stream. If you will be having a good time, others will want to be a part of that.
- Share Your Emotions. Both visually, through your webcam shot, and audibly, through your commentary, share your emotions, let yourself rant on about stuff while you play, and every time something dramatic, funny, sad or unexpected happens to you in the game, let your emotions out and dramatize, humorize, sadden or explode it even more.
- Music. Having some good background music running on your stream gives a nice touch. People often write in the Twitch chat if there is no music too, so it has become an expectation in the Twitch community. There are thousands of musicians in the world begging to be heard where it would be a privilege for them to get some exposure on your stream. Find some music that adds to the experience, and which does not subtract or interfere with it. Unlike many of the sponsors, not always musicians are in the same place as gamers, so for music, you can do some searching on YouTube or Soundcloud for one or more artists who would be happy to get regular exposure on your channel, offer them an exchange deal, where they can promote themselves on your page and get their music heard, and there you have free music on your stream. Legally speaking, all you need is their written permission to use their music, and you keep to the conditions that were agreed upon in writing, and then you are good to go. You can also run some searches for “royalty free music” in Google to find some artists who would be more likely to give their music away for this purpose.
- Giveaways/contests. Everyone likes getting free stuff. If you run giveaways and contests regularly, you can generate a lot of interest in your channel. Someone who wins free stuff from you will never forget you. Moreover, you can request little actions from your audience in exchange for giveaway/contest entries, e.g. that they like/share/comment on a certain Facebook post of yours, or retweet a tweet, and in exchange for that, they enter your giveaway/contest.
- Profile Page. Put in a good amount of effort into your profile page. After having thought out what makes you unique, what strengths you can offer, you should spend time working on emphasizing these aspects in your description, and the look and feel of your page’s design: the kinds of images you put up, how you write and what you write.
- Girls. If you are a girl, then congratulations, you have a natural Twitch streamers’ strength. You have lots of guy viewers out there who would love to talk to you and see you respond to what they say. The fact that you are a girl already makes interaction with you all the more better for most of the male viewers. If you are not a girl, then try to get a girl on your stream every now and then. The principle (for most guys): girls + games = heaven.
- Different Games. One of the ways to stand out is to play games that other people are not streaming. This can often mean new games that just came out. Also, if you start streaming a game that is not being streamed much, and if you are doing it regularly, let its game company know, and you might be able to spark some special opportunity when they know that you are streaming one of their games. If you are just starting, and you are going to stream League of Legends, Dota 2 or StarCraft 2, then you have a lot of climbing to do before anyone is going to start paying attention to you.
- Socializing/collaborating. “You scratch my back, I scratch yours.” If you can get a shoutout from a top streamer, if you can get your name mentioned in Reddit comments or gaming forum threads, then you will have people checking you out. Of course, do not spam. The idea is that “you scratch their back” and they might come back and scratch yours. If you watch others’ streams and can say good things about others’ streams, and continue following any number of these points consistently over a long period of time, then people will gradually take notice of you, and when they take notice, they might just also start talking about you. However, note that this is in addition to your own stream and online presence. When a person clicks on your Twitch username and goes to your Twitch profile page, they will be out of there within microseconds if you do not already have your presence and regular streaming established.
- Be good. Although there is an emphasis on audience interaction, finding a uniqueness and strength, and all these other points, at the end of the day, it is a gaming stream, and you need to be able to show that you can play the game well when you play, even if you use the stream to just be funny. You should be good enough to play games against tournament players. Even if you cannot beat them, you should be good enough to be at least in the same arena as them. “Being good” in gaming on streams is a default for maintaining and growing a viewership. Otherwise, there is very little chance of progressing with your stream for the long haul.
Of course, there are exceptions to the above points, and there are examples of streamers who defy any number of those points, from (excuse the stereotypes) genius Korean StarCraft 2 players who do not interact much with the audience, to funny, charismatic personalities who do not win much.
The above points are merely to help boost your thinking about those points and clarify where you stand in relation to each point. If you can definitely say that your goal is purely entertainment, and you are out there 100% to have a good time and make people laugh, then you likely do not need to be so good. Likewise, if you are setting out to make it as a pro tournament gamer and want to use the platform to give tutorials, instruction and showcase your skills and knowledge, then you need not engage in audience interaction as much. It all comes down to what you stated in your characterization (i.e. your well thought out answers to the 4 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Twitch Stream), and then you can justify any direction you go in according to what you are trying to get out of the stream.
And don’t take my words for it, let the words of Twitch’s currently most followed user Syndicate resonate on this basic concept to Twitch streaming:
Just be you. Don’t be a fake character. I know a lot of people who are characters, and they’ll get off a stream and be like, “Oh, thank God I don’t have to be like that anymore.” They’re all hyped up and energetic, like, super-hyped – and as soon as they get off, they’re like, “Oh, my God, I hate myself.” I’ve seen it and it genuinely shocked me that such popular people have kept that up for so long. I’m not calling anyone out, but it’s just surprising that people can be like that. So, just be you and be who you want to be for the future, as well. Really set yourself up for it.
– Syndicate, in “Streaming Tips From Twitch’s Most Followed User, Syndicate”
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