Networking and collaborating with other streamers
Networking with other streamers is a great way to grow your community, form genuine connections with your fellow peers and introduce your viewers to some of your favorite content. While it might seem like you’re competing with other creators, the reality is that they’re also your co-workers, peers and potentially even friends. Streaming can sometimes feel like a lonely career especially if your family and friends don’t understand your passion.
And while your audience can be very supportive, they don’t understand all the behind-the-scenes work you do on a daily basis or the stress of trying to make a living from your passion. Networking with other streamers can help motivate you to grow and unlock a variety of new opportunities from collaborations to sponsorships.
Streaming doesn’t have to be a competition. Just because someone is doing well doesn’t mean you’re losing. You can both succeed together! When you make real connections with people, you’ll find that they’ll start advocating for you and return the support you offered them. Plus, collaborations allow your viewers to see how you interact with other creators and provide different perspectives on the same game.
The process of networking isn’t as complicated as you might think. It basically breaks down into five easy steps.
- Create an elevator pitch that describes you and your channel in 20-30 seconds.
- Make a list of streamers you would be interested in working with.
- Come up with ideas or concepts for potential collaborations.
- Follow and engage with streamers on their channels.
- Reach out to them and propose a collaboration.
Each step of the networking process requires you to put time and effort into them in order to build a genuine relationship with other creators. Some steps will take longer than others and others will need to be repeated to maintain the relationship. Remember that networking isn’t a hit-and-run. Even after you’ve landed yourself a collaboration, follow up and stay in touch with your peers.
When you’re looking for potential streaming partners, it’s important to be realistic. Don’t expect to be able to randomly ask top creators like Ninja to collaborate with you without first knowing them in person. Collaboration is a two way street where you provide substantial value to each other.
There are three types of creators you should include in your network:
- Similar Streamers: These are the creators who you have a lot in common with whether it’s the type of games you play, the language you speak or your audience size. Even if you specialize in different games, if everything else is similar, this will allow you to diversify your stream. Connect with streamers who are compatible with your schedule so it’s easier for you to work together.
- Smaller Streamers: Everyone has to start somewhere and once you’ve graduated from newbie status, look back and see how you can help other creators. You’ve been there. You know the struggle, the desperation and the lack of motivation when nothing seems to work. Keep a look out for up and coming channels that have potential for greatness.
- Top Streamers: Who are the top streamers in your category? It doesn’t hurt to have a list of streamers you look up to and would collaborate with given the opportunity. Keep track of what they’re doing and what they care about.
The most important things to consider when looking for people to collaborate with are their personality and attitude. Search for creators who are friendly, nice and close to you in terms of style.
Create your contact list of potential collaborators.
Networking Do's and Don'ts
When it comes to networking, there are right ways and wrong ways to network with other streamers. Networking also takes time — there’s no quick way of networking and top streamers often tell you that it took them years to build their community. It takes time and effort on both parties to cultivate meaningful relationships.
There are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to networking with other streamers, especially within someone else’s channel. Some of those we’ve covered previously in the chapter on peers but it’s worth reiterating again.
Do make friends
Follow someone you genuinely like and get to know them. Join their channel as a viewer and get involved in the conversation.
Do join their Discord and social networks
Lots of streamers are not limited to just Twitch and YouTube. If you’re active on any of the other platforms they’re one, give them a follow and keep up to date with what they post.
Do stay in touch
Networking never ends. Don’t stop visiting people after they’ve given you a follow or added you to their auto host list. Visit them from time to time and talk to them especially if their chat is a bit slow.
Networking is a two way street and should be mutually beneficial to both parties. Don’t get too needy and greedy with your peers. Give back and thank them.
Genuine engagement over time will get your streamer’s attention. Don’t mention a streamer a hundred times on Twitter or DM them constantly. It’ll do more harm than good. Provide enough value for them and they’ll notice you.
Unless asked, don’t talk about the fact that you stream. Don’t drop your channel or announce that you’re leaving their stream to start your own.
Don't expect anything
Just because you’re trying to help others, it doesn’t mean they should help you back. And just because you follow them, it doesn’t mean they have to follow you back either.
Don't ask for a collab right away
Don’t propose a collaboration on your first interaction with a fellow creator. Get to know your streamer and build a genuine connection first. If you have chemistry and the same values, it’ll happen naturally.
After you’ve built up a rapport with your peers through diligent networking, it’s time to think about how you can work together. Some platforms like Twitch have built-in features for the purpose of making it easier for streamers to collaborate.
Raids are a way to send your viewers to another live channel at the end of your stream and best reserved for similar size channels you already share followers with. It’s a great way to introduce your audience to a new channel and help the other streamer grow his or her community. Twitch has a /raid command that makes it easier for streamers to start a raid and have their viewers join. Streamers can share a fun message that their viewers can send in the new channel. It’s one of the most effective ways to keep your audience growing and engaged.
Hosting and Autohosting
Another great way to collaborate and grow your community is by (auto)hosting. It’s exactly what it sounds like: you host another channel on your page when you’re not live. Your chat remains your own while letting your viewers check out other content while you’re offline. Twitch has an autohosting feature that allows you to make a list of channels that will be automatically hosted once you’re done streaming. You can use it to prioritize streamers you like or pick some at random (we recommend the former of course!) Streamers that host others are more likely to be hosted themselves.
Make sure you set proper expectations before you start creating any content with your collaborators. What are your goals and expectations? What are theirs? Discuss this with your partner beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings and conflict after the fact.
And while you may have already vetted this during the research phase when building your contact list, make sure you discuss some basic ground rules such as:
- How should you address each other? Do you prefer to be called by your real names or by your gamertag?
- What is your swearing policy? Is your channel/content more family-friendly?
- How long will you stream for? Coordinate your streaming schedules ahead of time and let them know if something comes up and you can’t keep your regular hours.
Remember to follow up after each collaboration. How did it go? What worked well and what didn’t? Unless it was an absolute disaster and you never want to work together again, make sure to reconnect afterwards.