Streaming on Twitch, Facebook, or YouTube has become one of the most popular activities of this generation and there is a lot more to it than many think.
The Art of Content Creation
Streaming video games has become tremendously popular over the past few years and has drawn countless gamers into streaming and creating their own content. Decisions to get into streaming vary from person to person. Certain individuals start streaming so that they can make extra money to pay for their gaming hobby, while others begin streaming with hopes to make a living off live streaming. Whatever the reason is, they need to keep their eyes on that goal. With an ever changing and evolving gaming environment it can be easy to lose track of your goal.
I can be counted as one of these individuals who started live streaming video games. Over the course of roughly six months I grew a wonderful community, that I still love even though I am not currently streaming, made a lot of great memories and friends, and beat more games over the course of those six months than I did the four years I was in undergrad. I not only grew as a streamer but grew as a person, allowing me to recognize a few key facts about myself. I want to be able to share my story, suggestions and struggles with anyone who is looking into streaming on any platform.
I spent many hours listening to podcasts about streaming, listening to stories, suggestions, and where new streamers should start their journey before getting serious with my “streaming career.” When I started streaming at the beginning of 2020, on January 1 to be exact, my goal was to create a welcoming and opening community that anyone could enjoy. I began my journey on Mixer, may it forever rest in peace, for a multitude of reasons. One of the biggest reasons I choose to start on mixer was the hope of less competition allowing for greater growth. While there was less competition from other streamers, there was also less of an audience for the games that I was interested in streaming. Mixer had a larger audience for those who play competitive shooters, but not so much for single player games. With a lack of audience for the games that I would play resulted in me spending days at 2 to 3 viewers, most of these views coming from friends.
Following some deliberation, pondering, and conversation with my mods, I made the decision to switch to Twitch in February. Twitch is the most popular streaming services for video games. Upon making the switch, I achieved the affiliate status on twitch in less than a month allowing me have sub button, receive donations via bits, and exclusive channel emotes! Through streaming every day of the week for roughly four months on Twitch I saw rapid growth, with an average viewership being 12 viewers and peak viewership of 20 on a slow night. I was consistently live at 8pm EST every day of the week, with a 12- and 24-hour stream occurring in those four months. I loved seeing so many of the regulars in chat and getting to interact with all of them daily.
While the growth of my community was going better than I could ever imagine, I realized that I was neglecting other aspects of my life, such as personal relationship and mental health. I slowly realized that I was draining myself mentally and never giving myself time to recharge the batteries or spend time with loved ones. On top of some of the things I was neglecting, I began to have an unhealth relationship with the numbers related to streaming. I felt the need to focus purely on statistics and lost sight of what I wanted most out of streaming. That is when I made the decision to take a break from streaming.
Currently, my goal is to eventually have a gradual return to streaming with a healthier mindset and goals!
My 5 Tips for New Content Creators
When it comes to my four months of diligent streaming I learned quite a bit in such a short time. I learned how to set up Streamlabs OBS, add overlays to my stream, interact with people that I do not know, and networked with artist and other content creators. All of these and so much more are of the utmost importance to becoming a great and successful content creator. Here are five tips to help you grow as a content creator!
Set a Goal for Yourself
Setting goals is important for accomplishing anything in life and even more so while being a content creator. On top of having the goal you must keep your eyes on the goal and remind yourself of why you started your journey of content creation. Losing sight of your goal can result in you burning out. Whether your goal is short term such as becoming a part of the entry level program that you are streaming on or long term with the goal to build a strong and thriving community, this is a crucial step in paving your way to becoming the next big name.
Being authentic and honest with your community is extremely important when starting out as a new content creator. I learned that when you feel off your community can tell and that can ruin the experience for yourself and your community members. On top of it all, being authentic helps build the community you want and keeps out those who do not mesh with who you are.
My best nights were when I was most relaxed and being my true self. My community fed off my energy and began to blossom into something beautiful!
Stick to a Schedule
Have a set schedule is a major key to success. Being consistent with when you go live helps people who are invested and excited for your content know when to jump in. This consistency helps your stream become a part of your community’s schedule and allows for phenomenal community growth. If you are consistently changing when you go live week by week you begin to create a void between yourself and your community. This void makes it difficult for your community members to connect with you and each other.
When creating a schedule, you do not have to stream every day of the week, while this can accelerate growth, it can also accelerate mental fatigue. Finding the best rhythm for you and your mental health is a point to consider when making your schedule. It may be best to start small and grow from there. Consider choosing three days a week that you can consistently be on at the same time and start there. As you become accustomed to content creation you can increase your days on your schedule.
One final point to remember is to make sure you set a start and end time. While having a start time is common sense, the end time may not cross your mind. Having an end time allows you to better control your schedule and not burn yourself out. It is easy to get consumed by the excitement of your streams but staying consistent with your end time will be helpful for your personal health in the long run.
Find the Right Games
What do you think the right game for you to stream is for growth? The hot battle royal game that everyone and their siblings are playing? Or the new hot game that just came out? Well, if you want my opinion, picking a game that has a small to medium viewership can help lead to early community growth. While at first it would seem the fast way to growth is in the larger games being streamed on the platform of your choice, more on this later, it will actually lead to you getting lost in the numerous other beginner streamers with “lower” viewership. Think I’m joking? Next time you are on Twitch go to Fortnite and see how long it takes you to get to a streamer with around 100 viewers, let alone 15 viewers. These games ultimately put you in a never-ending pool of content creators and makes growth hard.
I found the greatest growth on games that had anywhere from 100 to 2500 viewers total! First off it will be easier for people to find your channel if you only have single digit viewers, as people do not have to scroll for ages to find you. Being close to the top allows for an easy click and excitement of the game the viewer love! Second, you will most likely not be competing with the bigger names of the streaming platform, making your chance for community growth stronger!
Picking the Right Platform
Choosing the right platform to start your journey is an important one to consider. Currently there are three major platforms to pick from: Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming. When trying to decide you should look at the potential for growth, the numbers of viewers in games that you want to stream and consider the platforms support for the content creators.
Growth can be seen in followers and viewers, so picking a platform should be somewhere you have potential for being found by people to grow followers and retain them as consistent viewers. Finding the platform that has the least competition for viewers would be ideal, however, with less competition likely means less opportunity for growth since Twitch holds most of the viewership of the three platforms. While Twitch takes the cake for most potential viewers, it has the lowest likely hood of being found in some of the bigger games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty. Therefore, if you are looking to play some of these larger games you may want to consider Facebook Gaming or YouTube.
While you have individuals who dream of streaming bigger games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty, others, such as myself, have a higher interest in single player games such as Dark Souls, or multiplayer games with friends similar to Divinity Original Sin 2 . If you find yourself having similar interests, then investing the audience of these games is an important step in deciding which platform to create content on. Watching a few streamers on these platforms and seeing the kind of viewers that are watching can help you find out who will come into your streams. I found much success and built an excellent community playing these games on Twitch, whereas if the community in these games are not what you are looking for then an alternative would be ideal.
Lastly, looking into platforms creator tools and support for creator growth. Creator tools including things such as Twitch’s clip tool. The clip tool allows for easy creation of clips that can be used for growth on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Whereas YouTube saves your videos straight to your channel making for easy creation of YouTube content! Facebooking gaming makes it easy to handle children who are being trolls in your chat because the viewers are using their Facebook account to watch and follow your channel.