If you're a gamer or an upcoming streamer, then you definitely know about Twitch. Twitch is a streaming platform people use to often play games and broadcast it to others. It's fun, because you can see how others play games you enjoy, and the commentary could very well be worth it. As Twitch has become a staple in the gaming and streaming community, more and more people, including myself, are trying to be well-known and gain a mass following. There are some common links between the most popular streamers, and below are the top ten things you need to make it on Twitch!
1. Be Original
This might sound a little obvious, but it's completely true. Some people have gained a following because they enjoy playing unique, unconventional video games. If you're seen playing "Badger Simulator," not only is that odd, but it could hold a potential interest. If others that enjoy the game go on the platform and notice a streamer playing a game they've noticed has gotten little attention, this might work in the favor of the streamer. It's all about the originality of your content.
2. Be Entertaining
This is another step that can be a little obvious, but that people seem to miss quite often. You need to be someone who can keep others entertained for a long period of time. If you're only interesting for the first ten minutes, your retainment of viewers will be very low. Also, if you're only ever streaming the same game, this might start to get dull. Either implement rules to this game that change the formula, or try streaming a new video game. It's all about keeping the viewers happy.
3. Follow Trends
If you looked at the first tip, you might believe that this one is a little contradictory, but it doesn't have to be. You can be original as much as you like, but that might not always gain you a following as quickly as you'd like. The goal is to make it big on Twitch, and unfortunately, this means that you might have to follow certain video game trends.
If a new game — such as "Super Smash Ultimate" that comes out December 7 — is predicted to be streamed a lot, do it too! The closest you can get to streaming the new video game, the better chances you have of attracting the viewership of people wanting to know about the fresh video game. Later on, when you have a bigger following, you can stray from trends with even more originality, but it's important to have a balance.
4. Establish Your Personality and Interests
This is different from being original because you have to make your viewers see what kind of streamer you are. If you're the kind of streamer that will focus mainly on Nintendo games like "Smash Ultimate" or "Pokémon Let's Go," then let your viewers know that. If you also plan on straying from your typical formula, test out how it works with the viewers. Some people may want to watch light-hearted games and find that your stream fits that, but if suddenly you want to start playing "Outlast" which has a lot of suspense and thriller, they might be jarred. Let who you are as a gamer be known to your fans so they aren't thrown off later.
5. Set Your Stream Rules
Your stream needs moderation to some degree. If it's going to be the standard rules, then let it be the standard rules. If you're suddenly going to enforce stricter rules, give a thorough explanation as to why you've suddenly changed it, but you need moderation. If you want to be a PG stream, let viewers know that you do not curse, or refuse to curse while streaming to keep the content suitable for all. Include banning of words as well so that people cannot even try to break the rules you set. It's all about how the stream regulates its viewers.
6. Keep Your Channel Updated
Some of the most attractive qualities of a stream are its appearance. A prominently strong top banner, offline video banner, and well-made panels can make you seem more professional. Even if you're a beginner and have no use for panels yet, do them anyway. You never know what could happen. Make yourself stand out above the others. This is also a good time to exert your personality over how these items are stylized.
7. Connect with Other Streamers
Connections are everything. If you can somehow become friends with someone like Ninja, who does exceptionally well on the platform through his "Fortnite" gameplays, then perhaps he will be willing to host your channel. The way hosting works is that, whenever that player isn't streaming, if you are, their stream will host yours and broadcast your gameplay on their channel. This helps attract one popular streamer's viewers to other people's channels and can work extremely well. I have a group of friends and we all enjoy streaming so we auto-host each other whenever we can. It's all about helping others and being helped.
8. Engage with the Audience
Channel engagement is everything. You can be entertaining and check every single one of the boxes of this list, but if you do not engage, you will not be great. Your audience wants to hear you interact with them, thank them for following/subscribing, tell stories to them, answer questions, etc. Remember, you are LIVE and they know this. You cannot ignore the people promoting you. The higher you interact with viewers and the more ways you find to make this entertaining, the better your stream will be. Some streamers have viewers submit funny videos to play as they're gaming on a separate screen and they'll react to them. It's all about how you present yourself.
9. Promote Yourself on Social Media
Relating back to tip six, panels are everything and your channel presentation matters. Make sure your banners and panels include links to other social media accounts you have. You want viewers to find you through all means. When you stream, publish a stream announcement on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Discord — anything you know of that people follow you on so that they can go to your stream and watch. You need to shamelessly self-promote or else it's going to take you much longer to amass a following.
10. Set a Schedule
With Twitch's algorithm, you can actually make streaming/gaming your job... if you do it correctly. If you want this or plan to do this, then you need a schedule. Have set days and times for streaming and publish it somewhere where fans can visibly see it. The more routine you get, the better for people who want to see you stream next! It's important to keep a pattern on how you stream because if you stray from it, it can throw you off. Just like your sleep schedule, one bad late night can screw up your entire sleep for a week. Be professional and give yourself a schedule to follow and you'll be thankful you did.