A while ago I talked about what streaming was and the practical bits and pieces of what you need to get started. In this article I’m going to talk about how to get started and how to start growing a stream community as well as a brief recap on the practical stuff like software etc.
To recap, streaming is essentially digital busking. You broadcast live to the internet a form of entertainment for an audience to enjoy through any one of the multitude of platforms available, the biggest of which being Youtube and Twitch.
You can stream anything you can think of, art, music, gaming, wood working, car fixing – it doesn’t matter, there’ll be someone out there who wants to see it.
To get started you’ll need a decent web connection and broadcasting software, such as OBS studios which records what you want to record and sends it live to your platform of choice.
I personally recommend using Streamlabs OBS Studios as it has a lot more features built in that plain OBS studio doesn’t. And obviously if you want to show your reactions or need to record stuff that’s happening off screen, you’ll need a camera of some sort.
That’s the practical dealt with. Now, to the hard stuff. Making your stream grow.
It is important to remember there is no instant fame to be had here, no tricks to launch yourself into the big time. Results in streaming are brought from patience, dedication and managing your own expectations.
All the big streamers you see today have put years into growing their communities. Most of them spent half that time broadcasting to half empty lobbies of 10’s and 20’s before eventually climbing to higher numbers. Don’t get discouraged on the days you have no-one turn up, there will be busier days ahead.
A tip I wish I’d followed before starting my stream is to start with making content for social media before you start.
Get a following on Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram first by engaging with people, making videos for Youtube and sharing them using the social medias, tagging them with the relevant Hashtags to get them out to a wide audience.
Make guides, how to’s, funny montages and most importantly don’t click bait. You want to build ongoing trust, not to get people to click because you worded something tempting or used a misleading picture.
This should hopefully mean that when you eventually start streaming you should have some form of a following already who will come to your stream. Streams are 100 times better with an audience to interact with.
Keep a regular schedule. If people know when they can watch you they’re more likely too. And to start with don’t make the schedule too intense.
Don’t do 5 days a week of 10 hours a time, keep it to 2-3 days a week of 2-4 hours a time. While you have fewer viewers to talk amongst themselves you’re less likely to keep them for long periods of time.
Plus you don’t want to sink too much time in when you could be doing other things while you’re just starting off. Streaming shouldn’t be an all or nothing.
Appearance is also important. having proffessional looking channel art gives a good impression, panels, message headers and pictures etc. (Picture above is my username personified – The Marfalcon – A very dapper old falcon indeed)
Use your social media you’ve built up to promote when you’re going to be streaming. Both just prior to going live and throughout the week you should be talking out your plans with your followers to both gauge what they want, as well as informing them as to what and when.
Make the most of being a smaller streamer. You should never miss a comment in the chat, you should answer every question you can and be personal. If you’re lucky enough to grow your channel bigger, it can get hard to keep up with everything so make the most out of being small.
While you’re growing you should look to collaborate with other streamers of the same size. Having someone to bounce off often makes the content better and helps both parties as you tend to earn viewers from each other’s communities. You shouldn’t go out, get your first 10 viewers and think right, time to collaborate with DrLupo. They will never get back to you nor want to as it doesn’t help them in the least. Walk before you run.
There are other things you can do to help grow your stream. You can join social media communities for specific games and activities and try to become a helpful member of that group, whilst linking to your channel.
For example, if you want to focus on a particular game like Destiny 2, you could regularly post about where the lore items are and where to get good gear for your character, linking to a video from your channel of how to find it etc.
Or you could run the occasional giveaway to entice people in. You don’t want to do this too much though. It can get expensive, and should you stop, those who just came for the free stuff will leave.
Most importantly out of all of this is to just remember to have fun. If you’re enjoying it, it’s more likely that anyone who’s watching is. It might never work for you or you could be the next Ninja to have a community of 100,000’s in a couple of years time. So just enjoy what you’re doing and don’t worry if you’re not seeing your channel grow quickly.
With my stream, I’m lucky to have built a small community of regulars in just half a year, and rarely have streams when no-one turns up anymore. We love welcoming new viewers into our little community and hope to see many more in the years to come.
Should you want to see my content, check me out at www.twitch.tv/marfa1con
I hope to see you there.