So as I get asked many questions over the past year on how do you grow your streaming channel or how do I become a streamer so I decided to do a round up of all my best tips, hints and lessons learned over the past year. I also included shared advice with me in the hopes that it can help other streamers get ideas on how to get themselves out there.
I will preface everything saying that there is luck involved to some degree, talent is another, and having a really entertaining personality and style that connects well with an audience which can be part luck and part just the right type of viewers enjoy watching you is a big 3rd.
Quality of your streaming setup and gear is also important, but can be a distant third and can improve while you are growing as a streamer. It is also possible to stream just from consoles without all the fancy bells and whistles that come with a PC dedicated to streaming software and equipment, but I would say it is probably a little harder to grow and gain an audience.
What most streamers don’t realize is that being a Twitch streamer is really no different than being an entrepreneur where you are the brand and you are trying to build clientele and sell a product, in this case the product is you and the entertainment you provide. So learning about marketing, upselling, SEO and phrasing for maximizing titles is important. Developing business and marketing skills even from free classes and YouTube videos is a great way to help think of new ways to market and promote yourself. I do not think it is enough and the “just stream and they will come” is a hit/miss luck at best kind of thing, unless you are a pro in a game and can do speed run records, or have an excellent skill set that people would watch just to learn from you then you really have to make your mark. Expand your social media presence like wild, as the more social following you have the more potential audience you have to entice to visit your stream and entertain this includes building following on Twitter, Facebook, Gaming Tribe, Instagram, Tik-Tok (while it lasts), Pinterest, Tumblr, Reddit). Join the various Facebook Groups and be engaging/interesting, don’t just ask for follow for follow or lurk for lurk. Instead tell people about you, tell a story, be entertainment, be remembered.
It is much harder to become noticed as a streamer without a pre-existing social media following or doing a lot of networking in the various Discord and Facebook groups for streamers. You get what you put in, and don’t look for F4F (Follow for Follow), Lurk for Lurk, but visit other streamers, say hi, stay a while chat, engage them. Chat in their groups/discords without doing any promo of yourself, take a day off to network a week, or fit in an hour to network a day if you can just to help get yourself integrated and part of other communities. If you are loner and don’t like doing the community thing.
Start your stream early and give a 5 minute to 10 minute starting soon screen. And as someone rightfully pointed out if you are streaming directly from your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 console you won’t have overlays and an easy way to do this, so instead have the game at the starting menu or a pause screen and just type in chat that you will be starting the stream soon. The main thing is to not immediately dive right in and give your live stream a chance to “soak” and the notifications to go out, the Twitch system to pick it up and place it in the category list…etc. Before you dive right in and start playing.
Step 1 – Create a Consistent Schedule
This is generally the rule, there are some exceptions but unless you have a really loyal fanbase that will have notifications on at all times or follow you on Discord to know when you randomly pop online, you should have a clear streaming schedule that is front and center in your about page. Let people know when you stream and how often. Also make some time for the non-streaming stuff that comes with being a brand/entertainer. No matter how much time you can set aside to work on being a content creator/entertainer time management and scheduling are very important, I like so many other content creators suffer from the “too many ideas, too little time” thing often. You have to set measurable objectives and narrow your focus, like block out 1-2 hours on specific days where you work and focus on 1 goal or objective. Create off-days in your schedule to just work on the stuff outside of actually streaming content. As a framework and example, you don’t have to be so rigid, I share with you my own “time schedule”.
My schedule is kind of like this Mon – Fri
3:30am – wake up, check about 60-100 emails from previous night (blogging related, business inquiries…etc)
4:30am – check in with all my discord groups/networking groups, engage, interact, network.
5:15am – write some articles/posts for blog, work on some banners/promo and event materials, create highlights/clips from previous streams, create new stream alerts…etc.
6:30am – Get my 3rd cup of coffee, go for a 30 minute walk with dog to get air/clear head.
7:30am – prep for my day job to start and check in with family.
8am – 4pm – Day Job, checking in on networking stuff on lunch break or breaks from time to time.
4pm – check in with family, chores,
4:30pm – dinner
5pm – start a stream (some days) or moderate one of my other streamers. If I am not streaming I use this as open time to do whatever.
7pm – Family time for rest of night (do not touch computer until 3:30am) next morning.
3:30am – 5:30am same as weekdays
5:30am – stream live solo or collab with someone else
8am – go get coffee, 1/2 hour walk break with dog.
8:30am – grocery shopping / laundry
10am – work on writing, blogging, marketing, materials, promo, giveaways, banners, highlights, clips, schedule stuff for auto-publish throughout week.
12pm – housework/chores/family time/anything I want or need to do
7pm – Family time for rest of night (do not touch computer until 3:30am) next morning.
Just Grind More… I don’t believe or put stock in people who tell you this. I subscribe to the “work smarter” method where you analyze and grow from dissecting your streams and then see where you can go from there. Do split testing, try streaming 1 week on one schedule and another week slightly adjusting schedule, then analyze the insights to see if a difference is noticed. Stream a different game but not once, do it for a few days, get some insights to see if a different game has a better draw. Try a few Just Chatting streams or start off with Just Chatting and be creative, invite conversation, banter and discussion.
Step 2 – Don’t Ignore YouTube and Other Sites
Don’t ignore using YouTube for highlights/post VOD content as it is king of monetization for non-live stream stuff. Setup a pro website, Amazon influencer store…etc. You need to diversify income sources to avoid having a dip month or more which would cause financial stress. When you do start making some income from your streams you may want to reserve some of it to invest in better equipment/gear if you don’t already have a pro setup, this could include a DSLR camera, a better gaming PC, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 4 console with a capture card, gaming monitor and more. I highly recommend you export some of your stream content to YouTube and/or create clips to upload to other socials. Create Stream Highlights and Export them to YouTube as a second place to get your content out there but never include your Starting, BRB or other delay/standby scenes when you export, always do highlights and strip out the standby filler those are really pointless for YouTube unless it is a promo trailer or something you have as BRB screen. Example: Having a post video on YouTube say brb guys I have to use the restroom and be gone for 10 min, is tacky.
Network with Other Streamers
Leverage the Raiding Feature in Twitch
Some Twitch Raiding tips and how I run my raids:
I try to balance raiding the streamers I visit and like the most with new streamers. I try to choose streamers with low views deliberately to raid when I can because I know how much a morale booster it can be to get raided while you are sitting at 1-5 viewers for hours. It is always nice to be acknowledged, but it depends on the game some FPS games are just so intense that I understand people can’t see/look at chat until quite a bit of time after a raid occurs. Someone streaming from a console directly may not have chat up and may notice it later.
I don’t raid expecting anything in return, an acknowledge is nice. That being said, I don’t exclude raiding someone again unless I don’t like their content, sometimes I blind raid and raid someone I just wouldn’t watch or visit myself, so usually I will remember and just not choose them again, I don’t keep a blacklist or anything though.
I have a raid reward alert too I stream, people can redeem with Twitch Loyalty who they want me to raid, and I will prioritize that raid target before I randomly search for someone to raid.
Be Social with Other Streamers
Sounds simple right, but don’t just be an unknown viewer, even if shy go ahead and say hi, or let the streamer know you are there and watching, this helps identify that you are not a bot and builds a streamer always generally appreciates knowing someone took the time to say hi and engage/interact. There is no such thing as stupid questions, but some streamers do not like backseat gaming, so know your streamer and know if they want or don’t want feedback or assistance while gaming. Remember that many FPS and competitive games don’t leave time for a streamer to watch the chat except during reload screens, death screens or when matches ends so don’t get frustrated if your comments aren’t seen right away.
Many streamers dont’ have time to create quick clips of engaging moments while the are in the middle of streaming and you can save time by capturing those “headshots” or achievements, funny or exciting moments by using the clip button while watching their stream. This creates a marker on their video highlighter too so they know where the moments are that were clipped by viewers/fans and helps them narrow their edits. Plus creates bite sized chunks of content for quick sharing, so take a few and clip those special moments on stream.Host a streamer
it costs nothing to go to your own channel and do /host of your favorite streamers channel and just use it as a way to show support and a nod. If you are also a streamer, take time to raid your favorite streamers once in a while to show your support as well.
Help Spread the word
Share on your own social networks when your favorite streamers are live and help retweet/share their live notifications and help call for support.
Become a Chat Mod
If you are a true part of the community and come back to the stream time and time again you can offer to be a moderator, though this power only gets given to those who the streamer trusts as you have the ability to ban, block and cut off others ability to comment and interact with the stream. Helping moderate trolls, foul behavior and people harassing your streamer is a sure way to be appreciated and become part of their community as you are given a special role.
Be Wary of DMCA (Music Copyright Strikes)
If you are a streamer that just NEEDS to have music available to your audience while streaming and doesn’t want to risk DMCA you have to know that you can’t just use your Soundcloud, Spotify or other music tracks in the background, you have to use stuff that is cleared and copyright free or licensed for you to stream on your channel. In order to do this there are a number of services, first you can find and get copyright free music from sites like YouTube Audio Library or copyright free playlists (though not guaranteed to be copyright free) or you can subscribe to a music track service which licenses you to use tracks on your streams, available options include Soundstripe ($11.25 per month is cheapest plan paid annually), EpidemicSound ($15 per month for personal plan), Artlist.io ($16.60 per month for music without sound effects) or by far the cheapest which is PretzelRocks at $4.99 per month for premium.
Just make sure you cover yourself and be careful to disable in-game music while streaming as even games you purchase and own may not allow you to stream the music without hitting a copyright strike.
Leverage Titles / Categories / Tags and Change it Up
Try adjusting your Stream title and tags to optimize what may catch people’s attention. Remember if you are streaming a popular game with a lot of people streaming the game at the same time, you will be hard to notice as the streamers at the top have the most live viewers, so people who scroll down you would have to have something really catchy to grab attention. Using hashtags and tags to be fun and inviting, make a call to action (come watch me do this, come help with this, roast me…etc). Calls to action help drive someone to know they are being asked to do something on your channel. With Twitch tags like “Playing with Viewers” and “Backseat Gaming Allowed” can sometimes bring in viewers.
Switch up games from time to time even if you main one game. You may find you just can’t get noticed, so try a different game/category and look for a low # of other streamers with low to midrange viewership. Experiment with doing an off-schedule stream to see if another time slot happens to grab some attention as well.
Always stream with intention to have highlights/clips you can cut together and use as a post video highlight, take the time to clip and add markers if something noteable happens in game (you beat a boss, do a great headshot, die spectacularly…etc) clips and highlights stay in your Twitch profile for a long time and you can export highlights to YouTube or use https://clipr.xyz/ to download your Twitch clips so you can upload them to Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or any other place to get some attention going. Most Discord stream teams have separate channels for you to share your clips so take advantage and also make sure to visit and show support for others if you are looking for the same as well.
Join Some Streamer Groups on Discord and Facebook
There are many FB and Discord gaming groups, with some who prioritize members helping people reach affiliate, but nobody will just help out without you investing and helping out in return, being part of streaming communities means you get what you put in. Besides my own Discord Channel where I help showcase other streamers with auto-live roles and earning ranks for auto posting when you go live, here are some of my favorite Discord Groups and Facebook Groups that you can become a part of.
PAY ATTENTION: As a general rule please know this:
Let me be blunt here: Nobody wants a parasite in any of the Discord or Facebook Groups. These are all other streamers and everyone is there to network and get to know each other, this is not just a place for you to spam “WATCH ME LIVE” links and for most groups never post or talk about your stream in the “general” chat at all, instead there usually is an introduction channel where you can talk about yourself and your stream and separate “live now” or self promotion channels where you can post your live links. You may have to earn a rank in that channel or accept a role to gain access to those benefits. You should go into any one of these groups with the intention to learn about and network with others, not “how do I just grow myself” as just asking other streamers to come watch you does not build a following.
Team B42 Discord
Team B42 is a community of passionate individuals who are willing to help one another grow as streamers. On our team, we understand that we are only as strong as our members. We have become one of the fastest growing communities on Twitch because our members are passionate, dedicated and positive. We do not offer a free ticket here. Instead, we offer opportunities for growth and success. Team B42 also does a unique 4x per day raiding where a group of participants all join a chat channel and drop in various streamers live over the course of an hour. This is a bunch of people visiting your channel to show some support for each other and is one of the best things I like about Team B42. Team B42 is my main Twitch team assigned to my channel front and center and it was Cabalette and Benda42 who make this place feel like a home for streamers. But there are so many other great streamers in this group and take the time to get to know them. You can be one of them if you have time time to put in and be a contributor.
Twitch Kittens Discord
While you may see the word “Kittens” in the name and think there is mostly female streamers in this channel you would be wrong. Twitch Kittens welcomes streamers of all types & stages and promotes making new friends, expanding your streaming horizons & is a place to call home in your streaming journey.
Bully Free Twitch Discord
This team is to bring in streamers of all sizes together that are active, looking to network, and stand for Bully Free Twitch’s Values! For BFT’s Stream team there will be requirements to become part of the team and stay part of this supportive and growing group of streamers! This is to ensure that support continues to grow and that it isn’t just take, take, take!
Lurkforce is a community of lurk-friendly streamers. On Twitch and other livestreaming platforms, lurking is the action of passively viewing a live stream without engaging the streamer. Since September 4, 2017, we have supported social networking and channel development to help advance our members. Lurkforce is supplemental to the streamer’s content and does not participate in “lurk 4 lurk,” mass lurking, nor third party tools to inflate viewership.
Phoenix Cartel is a stream team created for members who have the desire to constantly improve their individual stream channels by helping each other, brainstorming ideas, giving and receiving advice on areas to improve, while making friends in the process.
Imaginatious Gaming Guild
Gaming guild for the crazies and imaginative minds, all platforms and types of gaming(including tabletop). Join our gaming guild to: get support if your a streamer or an artist, share pictures and chat, gaming, Pokémon, cards against humanity, and DJ roles.
The Quack Pack Discord
DuckPlague is the creator of The Quack Pack Streaming Team and I am a big fan of his as not only is he an entertaining streamer, talented artist and overall extremely friendly guy but he also streams and supports a noble cause. The QuackPack is a community of Streamers, Gamers & Artists. They are always looking for positive people that wants to spread positivity and laughter. The team moto is to have fun, meet new people in the streaming, gaming or art world, make friends, discuss, share your life, be part of charity events/streams, watch movies, live streams together and of course to enjoy yourself. We are more then a community, we are family.
If this is something that interests you, join the quackpack Discord and check them out and if you enjoy the community, you can apply for the stream team
SPOC Nation Discord
I kind of learned about SPOC by being spontaneously invited to the Twitch team, You can suggest a friend or even yourself to enter within the Team Spoc nation the best way is to follow Spoc and wait until he goes Live and ask him directly and he sends out invites. Spoc does best to bring gamers together and game while Livestreaming the best and most awesome way to have fun! Pass by and let him know what you game!
Twitch Streamers and Networking – TSAN
TSAN is the only Facebook Group I am including on this list because of its sheer lack of tolerance for Follow for Follow, Lurk for Lurk and just blatant promotion. This is a group where you look to network with other streamers and grow as a streamer, but it is not designed for you to go just posting and asking for people to come visit you. Here you introduce yourself, why you stream, what is unique about you and share ideas, tips, ask questions and more. You can post/promote when you go live but only if you include a story and entertaining bit about you and your stream or purpose. A single “watch me now with Twitch link” won’t cut it, the more engaging your “story” the more likely it will be published for those to see. Also you must include a media image or video in every share, they won’t accept live links if you aren’t including a image of yourself or something creative. You can obviously post without sharing images if it is to look for information, ask questions and more. Some exceptional streamers are in TSAN and special nod goes to BehavingBeardly who is the reason I discovered the group.
How To or Should I Be a Giveaway Streamer?
Giveaway streamers come with a huge pro and con and I will be 100% honest and disclose that I am a giveaway streamer. People can watch my streams and earn points to redeem free random game keys or enter my daily random steam key giveaway. Much like my site, I incorporated giveaways as one of my forms of entertainment and rewarding my community and I still will continue to do this though it comes at a cost and I will explain the pros and cons.
Cost to do Giveaways
It is not expensive to become a giveaway streamers, but there is some cost. You can snatch up Steam game key bundles on Fanatical, HumbleBundle and GreenManGaming often getting 6-10 keys for under $10 and then use those keys as your prizes. You can also list keys on Lootlink and run instant win games there which have people come to your stream and do !redcoins commands to earn coins to unlock more spins. It does drive “viewers” and it can be effective at getting some attention. Also doing giveaways like on Gleam, Playr and even GamingTribe social network are great for growing a following. Heck you can even become a giveaway co-sponsor with me for as little as $10 and get hundreds of followers for your small investment.
Now here is the real cost in doing giveaways and one of the potential things to watch out for. Giveaways are better as rewards when you already have a partially established fanbase, people who would be loyal and watch you even if you didn’t run giveaways. If you use giveaways as a sole means to grow your channel you will end up with bloated followers without meaningful engagement for up 95% of people who enter those giveaways. Those who find your streams entertaining and really mesh with your personality are the 5% that may stay and become true fans, but the majority will vanish if you stop doing the giveaways, so you create a cycle of engagement here. You may get enough viewers to quickly make affiliate, but as hosted views and non-engagement will be judged for partner you will likely hurt your run to being chosen as partner in the end. This is a decision you make for yourself, some can be fine with affiliate as just being able to have subs/bit donations and such is enough of a benefit the push to partner may never really be needed.
I have many Twitch streamers who partner to run giveaways with my channel and they call come away impressed with the giveaway response to follows/traffic and growth of their following, but the actual engagement with live people in a chat is very small as giveaway poachers are there to try to win a prize. That being said I accept this and reward my most loyal fans, for the same 30-50 people who visit my channel every day to watch our streams even if it’s just to enter my giveaways they are there to chat, hang out and give me a view while I am streaming. I have plenty of people who would watch me if I didn’t do any giveaways, but I definitely have some that are there just for that purpose and I don’t mind myself, but this may be something that bothers others so I am giving you fair honest warning about this path.
Binx.tv is a site that rewards streamers for being part of their network by putting them into a featured spotlight where various people on Binx can visit your channel doing !binxraid commands and sticking around to win games and giveaways. I list it as a giveaway platform along with lootlink because you can deliberately run game giveaways through Binks on your channel, or if you are just a participant eventually they can select you to automatically host a game and someone will win a game by hanging out in your channel while you stream. You are featured randomly, so the more you visit others and participate in their streams, and the more you stream the more you will be randomly chosen in the Binx featured hour as they cycle a new streamer to feature every hour for an hour
Become a Dragon Blogger
No seriously, you can actually be come part of my crew and my site, channel and in doing so you gain perks that help your own channel grow. All it takes is some time commitment on your part and this can be 1 article contribution per week, 1 2 hour stream per week or even some video game footage/how to video contributions for our YouTube. The perks included you being auto-listed in giveaways, auto-host priority, increased raid priority. To me giving you up to 5 random steam game keys per month to my top contributors and even earning your way to receiving free products to review and feature. I share sponsors/game devs and help my contributors and sponsors network with brands and provide guidance on Discord anytime they need it when I am available. I also teach you how to become an affiliate with various online programs, and more.
There is so much more I can say here and I am not a huge streamer, so as I continue to learn and grow in my journey I will add more, I can only share all that I have come across so far and hope that it provides guidance and helps you grow on your own streaming journey.
If you found my advice or feedback of value, please feel free to join us on one of our social channels and become part of my community.
Bonus Community Provided Tips
MisterWashBurn suggests – If you DO use a starting soon screen it should have timer. The bounce rate on starting soon screens is very high unless you are a big time streamer.