So you want to be a streamer huh? Ah, the simple life of playing video games and interacting with your guests. Not so simple though. Dedication, hard work, a little luck, and a ton of time is needed before you can truly call this a job. That’s like any job though, isn’t it? You want any promotion or any job, you have to put in the work and time to get ahead. If this is something that you truly want to do and make an okay or decent living, let’s start from the beginning.
Make a Streaming account
I know, I know. You’re saying to yourself “Duh!” Let me explain. Twitch is an amazing streaming service and is awesome that you can play video games while others watch. Maybe this isn’t for you. Maybe Justin.tv is more your style, where you can do what you want to do. Even YouTube, where you can post how to do something in your own time. I will be focusing mainly on Twitch for this article but this can be applied towards any of them as well.
So make an account. Make a name that suits you. Something that you will always remember and won’t mind being called. It can be an item, a person, or even just your name. Whatever it is, make sure it fits you. I choose my name, Halios00, from the God Helios. I wrote it wrong one day in class and ended up loving the name. Double zero was my number in basketball so it fit very well. I never mind hearing my name or Hal and even respond to it like my actual name. It fits me, as your name needs to fit you.
After your account is made, check out the settings first. Go through each area of the Twitch menu and set up everything that you want for your channel. Do you want no language filter or certain words filtered? Do you want to save all past broadcasts or do you not care? I suggest, by the way, that you save every broadcast that you do, no matter what. I was playing Hearthstone the other day and forgot to save my broadcast. I made the greatest comeback ever and had the funniest reaction when I won. Chat blew up in laughter and jokes, in which I responded but I didn’t capture the moment for a highlight. Past broadcasts and highlights can be selling points for your channel later on. They can give someone who is just passing through an idea of who you are when you broadcast. It might make them come back. In addition, you can add these videos to your Youtube channel and gain new viewers through that medium.
Choosing your software is preference honestly. OBS and XSplit will both broadcast efficiently. I will post another article later about the pros vs cons of both but, for these purposes, I would recommend Xsplit for the user friendly atmosphere that it provides. I use Xsplit and love it personally. I know a lot of streamers use OBS though.
These are your bread and butter for free advertising. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and message boards are amazing sources to bring people to your channel. I suggest making an independent profile for the name that you choose to stream with. It keeps business and pleasure separate. You can still have all your friends in one account and your followers in another. Also, this helps to not bother your friends and family, who may not even know what Twitch.tv is, with your constant updates about when you are streaming. Once you go live with your stream, make sure a message goes out to every source you have. Place buttons beneath your stream so viewers can easily navigate to your networks. Networking is key!
Message boards are a good source as well. They bring together like minded people and can be very helpful in boosting your viewers. Make a signature that states who you are, what times you are streaming, and a link to your actual stream. Sounds stupid but people will always take the easy way out so by providing a link you help them get to your channel with the least amount of effort possible.
Once your social networks are set up and you’re ready for advertising, make sure to set up a PayPal account. This way, you can place a donation button on the bottom of the screen so viewers can help support the channel. Here’s all the information setting it up! You can also use stream donation software to receive notifications while you are streaming that displays the latest donation information live.
Test Your Stream
So you’ve set up everything and are ready to go. Now, before you even stream to Twitch, stream to yourself. Literally. Stream and play with the settings of your webcam, your menus, your microphone, and your visuals to find the optimal level that everything should be set at. It will make a HUGE difference if everything is set up already. No one wants to follow a stream that has constant glitches or no microphone.
Set a schedule for your stream. Make sure to stick to this schedule! Your viewers will expect you on at certain times and keeping this schedule together will provide you with a constant base for viewership. Find a time that works to you. If you are considering being a full time streamer, you’ll want to do some research to determine the best time for your particular niche. You don’t want to try and compete for viewers of a particular game with a large streamer.
Now, the hardest part. STREAM! Start off streaming and pick a game that is relevant currently. Just make sure to continue to talk and respond to your viewers. Yes, the game is nice. They want to see the game and everything that you do but they came here for the entertainment. Even if there are two viewers in your channel, act out like there are thousands. Be gracious and kind. Expect to have to answer a question at least a hundred times and make sure you answer the last one like you answered the first.
After a while, try to work into current games or new games. They tend to bring the highest viewer count due to viewers wanting to see what the game is like before they make the purchase. After all, wouldn’t you want to make sure a game is good before you played it? You are the first line in reviewing a game. You review it live and your personal opinion as well as your game play count. Let the audience know if you’re loving it or hating it because your facial expressions will always prevail. They will appreciate your opinion and may keep coming back for more.
Most of all, HAVE FUN! You’re doing something that others WISH they could do. You are a face of the gaming industry now and hopefully will be for a long time! This was only a brief overview of what you need to do to start streaming, there will be a ton of in depth guides coming soon! I wish you the best of luck and if you have any questions, make sure to check out our forums.
Halios00 is an experienced Twitch user, long time lurker, and an up and coming streamer. Check out his channel at Twitch.tv/Halios00.