No longer the niche it once was, streaming is now a mainstream pursuit enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. As a developed market with an enormous potential audience, there’s never been a better time to get started, but therein lies a catch.
With streaming having come so far, it’s no longer realistically possible to succeed by putting in the least effort possible. Instead, would-be streamers today need to take account of many different aspects to gain a foothold. Taking a look at these steps, we’ve developed this guide to help guide newcomers find their place and make their mark.
Creating a Media Presence and Website
While streamers build their brand around, well, streaming, jumping straight in is a non-starter. Instead, the better idea is to create an online presence first, so that any searches or wanderers know where to find you in your downtime. There are many possible routes here, with the most important being the creation of a website and social media accounts.
While a website might seem like a lot of work, it’s worth noting that the process is no longer the tedious exercise in confusion and frustration that it once was. Rather, those wondering how to make a website can now use advanced tools to do the heavy lifting for them. With the use of templates and powerful customization systems, these services can easily provide websites for desktop and mobile access, giving visitors to your stream a reason to take you seriously. For many streamers, this is also an opportunity to develop a brand, so creating a website also helps coordinate your efforts for viewers to see.
Social media appearances are much easier, with the creation of Facebook and Twitter accounts giving viewers another easily searchable place to start. While these don’t need to be too robust starting out, they can still be useful at delivering key updates and streaming schedules to places viewers might miss otherwise. Going a step further here would include developing content for YouTube, which we’ll get to below.
Developing a Brand
When you have the framework for your stream laid out, you then need to decide what sort of tone and persona you’re going to lean into. This could be a gimmick like that adopted by a famous mustachioed medical professional, an exaggeration of your real traits, or simply you being you. Keep in mind that whatever you choose, you’re going to have to spend a long time as this character, so you’ll want to select something that comes naturally, that isn’t exhausting to maintain.
You’ll also need to understand that your brand will determine your audience. Sure, it might be easy to be another wacky screaming and overreacting face like so many others, but in this case, you’re only likely to attract children and immature viewers, which can be a nightmare to moderate. Understanding this, it can be a good idea to first browse other streamers to take a look at the community they’ve fostered, to help guide you in the right direction. We’re not suggesting you steal ideas, but using others for inspiration can be well worth the effort.
Extending your Content
When you have a few practice streams under your belt, it’s time to consider what else you can do to make your content go further. Big shoutouts in this regard have to go to YouTube, which can be a huge driver in finding additional viewers. Of course, making the most out of what YouTube offers means paying reverence to the almighty algorithm, but there are some common ideas that routinely work well for streamers.
The first method we’d suggest is that streamers build a clips channel that features their best-of content. This can be particular kill-streaks to unexpected bugs, funny moments, hacker drama, or anything interesting and unusual. Otherwise, it can also be worthwhile to enter your funny clips in compilation videos like those of Kotaku’s Highlight Reel or Overwatch Moments.
Practice, Practice, Practice
With these starting ideas in mind, moving forward then becomes a matter of practice. Like anything else in life, success in streaming doesn’t happen overnight, requiring a lot of time, effort, and experience to get ahead. This concept applies to every facet of the experience, from using streaming software to learning games, practicing your stream persona, and managing social media accounts.
At first, streaming will be challenging, that much is expected. What sets successful streamers apart from the rest is how well they respond to this challenge, and what they take from success, setbacks, and failure. Remember that streaming isn’t an ageless monolith, rather it evolves with us and our audience as we develop and grow.
Over time, practice lets players not just improve in what they do but also in detecting what works and what doesn’t. How to manage uploads, what to do with troublesome viewers, and what sense of humor should be adopted, all of these facets and more will only get easier over time.
Getting ahead in streaming means sticking it out, being honest with yourself, and understanding the evolving landscape in which online media exists. This might seem overwhelming, but stick with it, and you might be surprised at how far your stream can go.