Streamer 101: Finding your Start

So you want to be a streamer?

This first article is less about the technical aspects of streaming, and more about how to approach “starting out” as a streamer. I’ll be doing an in-depth post about configuring your stream set up in next week’s article.

Streaming is all about building a community around your content. The unique aspect of streaming that appeals to most new creators is the instantaneous feedback loop that comes from interacting with an audience. It can, however, be challenging to get into the “streamer” game. With several live stream platforms and millions of other streamers out there competing for views, it can be hard to get your foot in the door.

Step 1: Define Yourself

Before you even think about hitting that “Start Stream” button – it might be a good idea to think about the big picture. Ask yourself some key questions:

“Why do I want to start streaming?”
“What kind of audience do I want?”
“What kind of streamer do I want to be?”

It’s easy to go live and not think about any of this – the ease of setting up a stream makes it so we can go live with little thought or motivation, outside of wanting to get ourselves out there. However, trying to stream without answering these pivotal questions will make it tough for you to find your path, and could prove to be a difficult obstacle to get over.

Step 2: Define Your Content

A lot of new streamers go the route of “If I play it, I’ll stream it.” In fact, this does work for some of Twitch’s most popular streamers. Sodapoppin and Markiplier are examples of what have become known as “variety streamers” – streamers who have built their fame around themselves. People watch them for how THEY react to different games, and their personalities play a big role in that.

For smaller streamers however, it’s best to focus on building a stream around a particular game, or genre of games. This is because when you haven’t established yourself, it can be hard to get return viewers. By playing the same game every time, you can draw in return viewers who are interested in following the story of a game, seeing you improve at something competitive, or join in and play with you on a regular basis. Consistency in what games you play allows you to build a community around them, which will inevitably contribute to the steady growth of your channel!

Step 3: Go Forth and Stream

This one is easy – get yourself out there and start streaming the games that you love! You might have a solid vision for your channel in mind, but don’t expect growth to come overnight.  When you first start out as a streamer, can be demoralizing seeing the viewer count float between 0 and 2 viewers. The best piece of advice I have for you to avoid losing motivation is simple: Don’t pay attention to view counts. Just stick with it, and you’ll eventually get people who drop by your channel out of curiosity. There are a lot of a viewers who are interested specifically in small streams due to the nature of a more intimate streamer-viewer interaction. If you’re really self-conscious about throwing yourself out there all alone, invite some of your IRL or online buddies to watch and keep a conversation going in the chat. It’ll take off some of the pressure of an empty chat.

Streaming regularly, especially if you stick to a schedule, is the most effective way to grow your channel. After all, who’s going to watch a channel that’s never online? Treat streaming the same as working out or making a habit of cooking for yourself – the more you do it on a regular basis, the easier it will be to stick to that routine. With that, you’ll see your channel – and your audience – grow over time! By knowing what kind of streamer you want to be, and having a goal for your channel’s content, you can focus on playing the games you really enjoy.

To all new streamers, best of luck to you! Now get out there and stream!

My next article will go into the technical side of streaming – what gear and programs you need, how to set them up, and how to utilize them to make your channel pop!