Who is better placed to advise on how to succeed in the streaming world than those who have struggled, persisted, and overcome obstacles to make it to the highest level and retained their spot? The pros.
We talked to a wide range of industry experts on the top of their game right now and picked their brains on what it takes to be a successful streamer. After spending an excruciating number of hours sitting through numerous live streams, we were able to narrow down the common themes and identify patterns to success.
Compiled here are the major points, creating a definitive guide to maximize your chances of actualizing your dreams regardless of the odds. Hopefully, after going through it, it'll put you in the driving spot of your streaming career.
Without further ado, the following tips from professional streamers should get you started.
Give Your Audience What They Want
It’s important to be self-aware about the kind of content you are creating and what the viewers want from you. When you put yourself in the shoes of a content consumer, they are primarily looking to be entertained. They want to think, laugh, learn and grow with you. To keep them hooked, you need to constantly meet their expectations so that they keep coming back.
Whatever your niche is, whether it’s giving hot political takes on the trending topics, or your mechanical gameplay skills, the entertainment aspect of your stream is always going to be the key deciding factor that will determine your viewers’ count. Pandering to your audience up to a certain degree is a necessity that you have to indulge in.
When streaming, it can’t be emphasized enough how important it is for you to appear lively and energetic. Be alert and responsive. Stay focused on what you are saying and how you are projecting yourself. Employ gestures and show expressions while talking to the camera or playing a game, it shows that you are engaged in what you are doing.
A lot of this comes with confidence, something that you will develop over time. Doing certain things like fixing your posture and sitting upright, keeping your arms open while talking, and smiling at the camera will set you on the right path.
Sometimes it can feel awkward putting up a show when you have a low view count or no viewers. It may seem tempting to slump and laze around, but you never know when someone will switch to your stream, which might lead to a domino effect with other viewers joining them as well if they enjoyed your vibe. The best opportunity in life sometimes comes unannounced, and when that happens, you want to be on top of things.
It is easy to get discouraged by the struggles that come with being a streamer. Sometimes you have to grind numerous days staying up on stream for hours on end with single-digit viewer count, and other times you might feel your growth is stagnated and the entire route of success is behind you. It’s only human to feel like you are losing motivation and question your ability to improve. You can only get out of this rut by staying positive.
In the streaming world, you might often go through a period where you have more bad days than good ones. If you keep your chin up, you will figure out ways to overcome these challenges. Having a positive attitude also helps you not let random hate comments in the chat or elsewhere in social media affect you.
To build a strong long-term audience for your content, you have to stay authentic; otherwise, you can’t sustain yourself. Be interesting to your viewers, but also do not forget to bring your true self to the stream. It’s hard to deliver a consistent content line when you are putting a facade, and it will wear you down in no time. It’s also a disservice to the community you are building.
The relationship between a streamer and their audience is that of trust, not lies. Showing genuine parts of your personality—whether it’s your quirky taste in music or your goofy sense of humor—will help your audience relate to you, which in turn will help you create a strong community. Staying true to yourself both on and off-stream will do wonders for your mental health as well.
Engage with Your Chat
It takes so much effort to build an audience for yourself and when that happens, you want to engage with them. Your audience is your biggest companion and ally in your streaming journey, and knowing how to talk to your chat is an important skill to learn.
Ask them questions and answer the questions they have for you.
Two-way communication between you and your chat will personalize their interaction and make their viewing experience much better.
It helps to build a habit of interacting with people if you are shy. It will surely not happen overnight, but slowly, you will start to get a hang of it, which will immensely help your streaming career. Remember, just like you, your audience is also giving their time of the day to you, acknowledging them is the foundation of building a healthy relationship with your viewers.
Respect Your Opponent
When playing against an opponent, it’s normal to get invested and caught up in your emotions, especially if you are a competitive person. However, you have to stay aware of your surroundings as well and make sure that you won’t say something that you’d regret in the future. Trash talk is part of the friendly banter, and it needs to stay just that; friendly and harmless fun. Being constantly aware of your surroundings while playing a sport might be hard at first, but when you practice good habits, it will come naturally, and feel way easier after some time.
Streaming games is not about being the best at them; it’s about having fun while being respectful to others and showing consideration for their time. You are building your brand, and you don’t want to say or do something that smears your image and becomes an impediment to your growth.
In the words of a famous philosopher, Seneca, — “When there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness.”
It’s important to respect the people and their craft who are doing the same thing as you and are part of the same industry. Respecting your fellow streamer is not just general human decency, but it will also help you network better and form connections.
Streaming is not just limited to you and your audience; it has various aspects to it, and often it requires you to involve and interact with the streaming community at large. If you want to make the best out of it, respecting them and their efforts will take you a long way. Be on the lookout for opportunities to make friends while building your brand. Try not to be a source of frustration or negativity that only makes people less likely to interact with you. Act in a way that your future self and your community would be proud of.
If you want more regular viewers on your streams, it can’t be emphasized enough how necessary it is to pick a schedule that works for you and follow through with it religiously. Honoring your commitment and respecting your viewer’s time plays a key role in making the most out of what you have got.
In the online world, even a delay of a few seconds feels like a decade, and the last thing you want is to keep your viewers waiting.
Sometimes starting your stream even half an hour late can cost you a lot of viewers who might have been waiting for you thirty minutes ago.
If you say you will stream from 1-5 pm, respect your words. If you need to prepare for your stream before it, have it done before 1 pm. It is also important that you show up on time to host a guest on your stream or play with your teammates. Stalling your viewers or your teammates might feel like not that big of a deal, but all of these little things add up to shape your image as a person. By not showing up on time, you are signaling people that streaming is not a priority for you. If you are not taking this seriously, there is no reason for your viewers to take you seriously either.