What’s in this article:
- Create quality content
- Distribute to other platforms
- Be consistent
- Work smarter not harder
- Invest in yourself
- Enjoy the process
There is a growing number of streamers and content creators that are able to go full time and pursue their hobby as a career choice. This might sound like a distant pipe-dream, and for many, it is.
But streaming as a concept is still relatively new. The space is still rapidly growing and there are more people than ever watching and creating this live content.
If you’re someone who wants to up their game when it comes to streaming, don’t just read through this article. Implement the changes! There is some solid advice here and if you are looking to see improvements, you need to make the changes.
Let’s kick it off with the absolute golden rule:
Create quality content
Now before you click away, you’ve probably heard this before. That’s because it really is the be-all and end-all of streaming and content creation as a whole.
For some people, it’s far too easy to just hit the ‘Go Live’ button and consider themselves a streamer. But the reality is, you can’t just sit in the dark, saying nothing and play 8 hours of Call of Duty.
QUALITY CONTENT is the very reason people are choosing to watch you, over someone else. Ask yourself what VALUE does your stream actually provide to someone? Can you answer?
If you can’t, then you need to rethink your position and the way you take on streaming. Let’s take a look at value as a concept and try to understand it.
Throughout my time on the internet, I’ve learned that people are only ever looking for two things.
If your stream provides neither education or entertainment, it is destined to fail. That may sound pretty gloomy, but don’t worry we can look at how to fix it.
Value comes from providing one of those two things. Entertainment or Education. (This is a key point, make a note!) Being able to entertain people is considerably harder to pull off than it is to educate. Some people are naturally entertaining and have the personality to carry it out during a stream.
You can learn to be more entertaining and charismatic, but if you’re looking for an easier and more sure-fire way to grow. You should consider offering some form of education.
Many people at this point might think. “But I can’t educate! I’m no good at <subject>. This person is WAY better than me!“. WRONG.
There are millions of people in the world, and there are thousands of things you know that they don’t. You CAN educate people, especially while streaming.
If you’re playing a newly released game, or a niche indie title. Your gameplay and commentary are educating someone’s purchasing decision.
Or if you are learning to play with a new champion or loadout it could be a learning experience for you and your audience. Sure you don’t play as well as a pro, but does a long-time pro offer the same learning insights that a newer player can? Arguably not.
Entertain or Educate. Know which one you’re doing at all times, and make sure your audience finds their time spent, VALUABLE.
Create the content you want to watch
One of the best ways to create quality content is to ask yourself the question. ‘Would I watch this in my free time?‘. If the answer to that question is NO, you can’t expect others do so.
Creating content you want to watch gives you a reasonable expectation of what to produce and helps build an audience. People who are like-minded, want to do similar things as you, such as watch the same content you do. This makes it easier for them to relate to your personality and find value in your content.
TAKE ACTION: This step might be a little easy to gloss past so as an actionable step, take a minute and really THINK about what you would enjoy watching and how you can progress towards making that content.
Just showing up is not enough
If you’re trying to make it as a streamer you need to realize that showing up isn’t enough. You may have heard about being consistent, which I’ll go over in detail later, but you need to make sure you’re being consistent at the right things.
If you go live 4, 5, 6 even 7 times a week for 8 hours a day. You may THINK that you’re getting somewhere, and progressing, but you probably aren’t.
The good news is if you do stream as consistently as that then this should be one of the easier changes to make!
Growing as a streamer right now requires more than just hitting the LIVE button and people finding you. You now need to put yourself in a position to get found, and that is where you should concentrate your effort.
Spend more of your time creating content for other platforms rather than streaming.
Sounds a little counter-intuitive but we’ll go over why here.
Distribute to other platforms
If you think about your favorite streamer, it might be really easy to just think they hit the live button and play video games for 8 hours.
The chances are, that person puts in some serious work behind the scenes that you don’t know about. And it’s this work that you need to find yourself doing more often then streaming.
Why only streaming is hurting you growth
Take a second and consider this for me. When you stream, how many people will actually watch that broadcast, or even catch a clip of it.
If you’re a small streamer just starting out, that number is probably under 30. Heres the worst part, once that stream is finished and done, the chances of someone seeing any of it ever again are INCREDIBLY LOW.
In essence, live content doesn’t stick around very long. Therefore you should re-consider where you spend most of your time. I would suggest instead of streaming for 8 hours, try spending 5 hours making some quality content for YouTube and then go live for 3.
Leverage YouTube for more consistent growth
A search engine is designed to understand what a user is looking for and deliver the best results for that search. Google is the biggest and most advanced search engine on the planet. Google owns YouTube, the second largest and most advanced search engine on the planet.
When we think about a stream we now know it just disappears after you end the broadcast. Whereas YouTube has been refined over the years to deliver the most compelling content to a search query.
The best way you can grow your stream more consistently is to find your audience via YouTube. Here is a quick breakdown of the best ways to get started on YouTube.
Choose a Niche
Choosing a niche is a really key idea for growing on YouTube. A niche is a narrow area of interest that someone may have. Let’s take Call Of Duty for an example.
There are many people who are succeeding at only playing Call Of Duty. This would be considered their niche. Instead of them creating a video about CoD and then one about Fortnite and then Rainbow 6, they stick to CoD.
Having a niche allows YouTube to understand what people are likely to want to see ALL of your videos (People searching for Call Of Duty content in this example). This means your videos will be more likely to get recommended and viewed more, therefore, more exposure for your stream.
It might seem like a bit of a fad but keyword research allows you to create content that other people aren’t, or lets you do it better than someone else.
To get started with some simple keyword research, think about your chosen niche and start typing out some common questions into YouTube search. If it starts to get auto-filled, you know people are searching for it.
Then go ahead and look at the competition for those keywords. How many people have created content for that search? If there aren’t many videos that match the search, great! Get started on a video for it!
As we now know, content is the key to everything. If you are going to make some content for YouTube, I would strongly advise that you couple your keyword research with some really helpful content that will solve someone’s problem.
Solving a problem for someone will give your channel many positive signals and that person is much more likely to return to your channel for more.
Titles & Thumbnails
If you don’t know how to create eye-catching thumbnails, learn! That or find someone who can. Having great content that is helpful and fits into a gap in the market is amazing. But you need to get people to click on your video.
Craft a title that satisfies your keyword research but also makes people want to click on the video. Light clickbait is ok, but never be misleading!
For thumbnails, think BOLD, Vibrant, Outlines and Relevance.
These steps should give you a brief idea of how to get started on YouTube and let you begin making some good content. Remember that its better to do something, rather than do nothing, especially when it comes to YouTube. So get started today, even if it isn’t the best video you will ever produce.
The big ‘Networking’ myth
If you read through some other guides or advice online, you may hear the term ‘Networking’ get thrown around a little bit. When people say networking they are referring to getting involved with meeting new people on Twitter or other platforms.
Let me preface this with a disclaimer: There are some nice, genuine and interesting people in this community, who want nothing more than to create amazing content and entertain people.
However, you can very easily fall into the Twitter trap. The Twitter trap is how I describe the streamer eco-system on that platform. As a streamer, you should be aiming to find people who want to watch your content as it provides them value.
Getting involved in some areas of that group means that you only ever end up talking to, networking with and being seen by, OTHER STREAMERS. A lot of which are also there to try and get people into their streams.
Most people come across as genuine and nice and I am sure many of them are, but everyone is just trying to grow their own stream. My advice for this is to not create content aimed at OTHER STREAMERS, instead focus on content a viewer would want to see.
If you want to be successful in any area of your life, whether it’s your career, fitness, relationships or hobbies, consistency is the key to getting there.
Consistency can feel like stagnation. As if you aren’t really going anywhere. Yet the benefits of showing up time after time are that you can unconsciously up your level of performance drastically.
The 1% gains don’t feel like much at the time and have seemingly no impact. But they will compound and grow and success will come. IT WILL NOT BE EASY. You just have to stick with it!
Why consistency isn’t working for you
There are people out there that will stream 8 hours a day 7 days a week to 0 viewers. Now I respect the grind and the consistency is there. But it’s not working.
You need to work smarter, not harder. AND DO THAT CONSISTENTLY. I’ll talk more about smart work later.
To make consistency work for you, it’s really important you try to consciously improve on every single stream. Audio, Video, Branding, Networking, CONTENT. Make a 1% improvement in one of these areas every stream, and you will not fail.
How some people grow without trying
There are many, many streamers that came from nothing and didn’t put in all of this extra ‘nonsense’, so why should you? People like Lirik started at zero and have grown to over 2.5million followers and only every turned on their stream and played.
The reason is, they started years ago, when Twitch wasn’t the titan it is today. There were fewer streamers, and no-one was even trying to make money from streaming.
Natural growth was easier back then, that’s for sure. However, they did more work behind the scenes than you realize. They showed up every day, got recognized in their niche, on and off-platform, and created content that provided value to people. (Sound familiar?)
You need to be doing more than just clicking ‘Live’ if you want to make a good go at this, so consider setting up a working schedule. This all plays into the next point.
Work smarter not harder
Right now, you may well be spending hundreds of hours streaming, working consistently to show up and stream day in, day out. But this is hard work, not smart work.
You must begin to focus your time and energy where it is most effective and most needed. Consistently creating quality content and getting more eyeballs on it.
Doing this effectively is going to require you to do more planning than you currently are (assuming you don’t currently plan). Let’s take a look at creating a work schedule.
Creating a work schedule
Notice how this is titled ‘Creating a work schedule’ and not ‘Creating a streaming schedule’. Hopefully, this is starting to hammer home that there is more to streaming than streaming.
Creating a work schedule will help you plan your time out in a smart way so you can record, edit, upload, network, and still have time to stream.
There are many ways to create a schedule but creating one that you can stick to is actually very difficult. When I’m trying to be more productive, I find it useful to know what I need to do and when I need to do it. It helps me actually do the task.
However, there have been times where I have bitten off more than I can chew and created a schedule that is wildly different from the lifestyle that I usually lead and I never managed to commit to it.
The most effective method I have found is to create your dream routine where you would be most efficient, and then build towards it over time with small changes to your normal routine.
Set goals and focus on them
There are many, many reasons you should set goals in every aspect of your life. It WILL make a difference in how you progress and the things that you do each day to keep moving forward.
Having goals allows you to clearly define what it is you want and then plan how you will get there. This includes your goals for streaming and content creating.
I suggest creating two different types of goals. Bigger, longer-term goals. For example, reaching over 100 average viewers on Twitch. Then setting smaller, short term goals that will help you build towards the bigger goal. For example, publishing 25 YouTube videos in the next 3 months.
Action. Action. Action. Stop wasting time and just do. The less you consume and the more you create, the better your results will be.
It’s hard to stop yourself from being a consumer and becoming a creator, it’s something I’m working on myself and I am actively trying to become a more focused person that can set goals and achieve them.
When it comes to growing your stream, there are many things you need to do and the best thing you can do is get stuck in and try new things. As you do more, you will learn more, and you will see results.
The first step to getting there is to take action. Make the video, Buy the camera, Create the account, Write the plan, Set the schedule. Don’t put it off. Don’t start tomorrow. Start now. TAKE ACTION.
Invest in yourself
If you have decided you are going to take the dive and try to become a successful content creator and grow your stream. You will quickly realize that there are many different skills you need to be a great creator.
And at the start, you are going to be the only person invested in the project. You are the only member of staff. You need to learn to do everything. YOU ARE THE ASSET. No-one else is as committed to your journey as you. So you need to level-up in as many areas as you can.
Investing in yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend money, but it could mean you need to spend time learning new skills.
- Photography and Lighting
- Video Editing
- Relationship Skills
- Finance & Business
- Social Media Marketing
Just to name a few. Make the decision to learn as much as you can and become an expert.
Reaching the average stream quality
These days on the major platforms; Twitch, YouTube & Mixer, there is a minimum expected quality from a good streamer. You need to meet this standard if you want to maintain a viewership over a longer period of time.
You don’t need to have a crazy good computer or the best capture card to meet this standard. But you should be able to run a stream at 720p with very few problems.
The system requirements for this will change depending on each person and what they do but do your due diligence and research if you need to.
Again. You do not need a great setup, if you are just starting, you don’t need to spend hundreds on a new PC. If you plan on being serious with streaming, however, you should look to make the investment.
If you have very little amounts to spend on your computer you can absolutely make do with the cheapest peripherals out there. Keyboard and mice often don’t change functionally the higher the price, so keep to your budget on this one, don’t overspend if you don’t need to.
However, if you do have money to spend you can look to make some purchases that will help you with your streaming and level up your quality. I would suggest focusing on the following:
Having great audio quality can often-times make up for poorer video quality. Whereas terrible audio quality will drive people away, even if you stream in 4K.
When it comes to streaming take a look into the budget-friendly Blue Yeti, which I used for years and have found to be a brilliant half-way point for audio. If you want something a little more professional, the Audio-Technica AT2020 with a full XLR setup is more suitable.
Camera & Lighting
One of the best purchases you could make is with upgrading your camera, and subsequently your lighting. Having a great camera will mean that you can stream in high-quality and shoot great YouTube videos too.
I personally use the Logitech C920 for streaming and have found that it provides great quality and can be paired with external lights to make for even better footage.
If you’re thinking about recording VLOG style YouTube videos and want to take it to the next level consider a more professional camera such as the Sony A6000, however, you will need to invest in lighting if you are going to make the move to a better camera.
At some point, you will be able to find a thorough guide on this website for everything you need to know about cameras and lighting. Until then, have a search around YouTube and learn how it all works.
Why branding is important
Streaming and content creation is an outlet for your creativity, and it’s important that it represents you correctly. Branding is how you define yourself as a serious creator and begin to build trust with your audience and other people.
Having a good brand not only builds trust but it also makes it easier for people to recognize and remember you. If they see you on one platform and then find you on another, if you have strong branding, it’s going to much better for your results and their interactions.
Branding is not just visual. It’s your content, your language, and your personality. Think about where you want to be in the future and mold your brand to fit that idea.
It might be tempting to brand yourself differently to your personality. Don’t do that. You must be authentic. Be yourself and create a brand around that. People are good at spotting fakes, so don’t be an imposter!
If you aren’t great at graphic design or branding and don’t want to learn, consider paying for your graphics, overlays, emotes, banners and animations. I recommend NerdOrDie, they offer high-quality complete bundles ranging from $10 – $30 as well as some great resources for beginners.
Now it’s onto the last step. Enjoying the process!
Enjoy the process
The final thing you need to learn, in order to become a successful streamer is to enjoy the process. Recognize that no matter how long it takes, or how much progress you do or don’t make – It’s about the process. Learn to love the grind.
Take your satisfaction and the love from each individual day, from the actions that perform and the things that you do every single day.
Don’t aim to take satisfaction outcomes, from hitting numbers and for metrics. If your happiness and love for streaming and content creation come from seeing increasing viewers, subscribers, and money. You’ll never get as far as you want too.
Take pride in the actions you take, enjoy the fact that you finished that video or that you kept to your schedule and you woke up on time. Appreciate the viewership and be grateful, but don’t base your happiness on it.
If you enjoy the small wins each day, it makes the journey more enjoyable. The longer the journey the bigger the success.
Create Quality Content – Entertain or Educate to provide value to your audience. Know which one you’re doing at all times. Focus your energy on making it worth watching. If you wouldn’t watch it, you can’t expect someone else too. Spend more time creating for other platforms than you do going live.
Distribute To Other Platforms – Livestreams are great in the moment, but they rarely get watched after they finish. Spend your time creating content that won’t disappear when you’ve finished. This way your time is spent building something that sticks around and drives traffic to your stream. Invest a lot of your time to growing a YouTube channel and distributing bite-sized content to Twitter that provides value.
Stay Consistent – Showing up every day is half of the battle. Make sure you work every chance you get, daily, to work towards your goals. You don’t have to stream every day but stream to a schedule and do it consistently. You don’t have to upload to YouTUbe every day but upload to a schedule and do it consistently. Consistency will be difficult to achieve but will be a key factor to success.
Work Smarter Not Harder – You don’t need to spend 40 hours a week working on your stream for it to be successful. Just make sure that the time you do spend is working on the things that yield the best results. Set goals, long-term and short-term, work towards them with an action plan.
Invest In Yourself – You are the only person who will drive your stream forward. Spend time learning as many skills as you and use them accordingly. Invest the time to become the asset. You will be the most valuable part of the Livestream so make sure you are the best you can be. You don’t need the best setup to be successful, but there is a minimum standard and ways you can reach professional levels of production quality.
Enjoy The Process – If you can nail each of the steps and love what you do along the way. You won’t care about succeeding or failing, and you will just do your best, always. Doing so will make your stream flourish. Enjoy the process. Love the grind.