How you come across to other people is a strong marketing factor. Coming across as someone different is especially key for saturated markets, so today we will be talking about live Streaming. One giant owns them all: Twitch.TV has had massive success over the years. I guess we should say YouTube is a viable platform for live streaming nowadays too. This article will not be so much about marketing as we perhaps know it “traditionally”, but rather about how you can come across as better (the ultimate marketing) and gain edge on your fellow competitors.
So Live Streaming…
My feedback is based on observing successful and unsuccessful streaming careers on different streaming sites. I am not a Streamer myself, but it doesn’t take one to see what is good and bad in others. You should consider me as your potential viewer, and therefore my criticism is of value.
Streaming is a career choice which naturally most takers fail because they’re not entertaining enough for a larger audience. We feel entertained through watching streams by a lot of things, such as a famous person, a skilled person, a funny person, a person with two heads, etc. It all comes down to entertainment in one way or another for us to stick around, just like with TV-shows, films and series.
Anyone can stream but few can call themselves professional streamers. Few are making livable money off it that can support their lifestyle in full through streaming income. Streaming is still a lot different from what most people today would consider a “normal job”, you can for example openly cuss, be drunk, high, and immature, and whatever you feel like as long as it doesn’t break the policy of the broadcast service. Each broadcast service has its own policies, but the bottom line is simple; you’re your own boss. Compare it to entrepreneurship; you must maintain and grow your business and sell, to succeed. Sell your soul. Heh. Let’s continue.
You need to question yourself
If you are serious about streaming you need to understand that it takes a lot of effort for a startup, time and dedication to even get a small and consistent audience who is willing to support and watch you. If you are just streaming “for fun” and not with the intention of going big, then that is of course fine, and you shouldn’t really adapt or bother beyond that. But don’t expect anything from it. Effort is what makes people succeed in this world. Below are a set of simple questions to ask yourself, or an honest friend to answer for you.
• Am I funny or entertaining? Do I make people laugh?
• Would people for some reason want to watch me play games? Watch at all?
• Am I socially capable? Can I start a conversation out of nowhere and can I keep the talk going?
• Am I willing to dedicate an immense amount of time and effort into streaming just to maybe succeed?
If the answer is “Yes” to all the above then I’d say your chances of becoming a professional live streamer if you set your mind to it are ok, but it is still too early to know because most of the time it’s up to yourself and the last question in the list. But then again, not everyone is meant to entertain. It mostly comes down to your persona and/or potential skills in what you intend to stream. You will notice after some time if people stick to you, if your channel is growing. If it’s not going anywhere in a long period of time, you may want to rethink your career.
But it could also be because nobody has seen you. You need to promote yourself through social media and communities where you ask for critique. Gaining exposure is difficult, but if someone takes notice on what makes you a good and unique streamer, that can change everything.
Below I will list a bunch of easy-to-make streaming mistakes as a smalltime streamer or “newbie” (in no special order):
Not being unique
Important above all, uniqueness wins. Being “just like everyone else” doesn’t cut it and it doesn’t make any sense as to why you’d ever get a large audience. You must be creative, and, wait for it, unique. How can you be unique? That’s the thing right, if I told you or gave ideas, you wouldn’t be. Work hard, play hard. There’s a reason why there are countless of “1 viewer streamers” out there, and it usually points back to this.
Not being clear in communication
Use your first language if you can’t speak English well enough, talk loud and clear, talk with empathy. Easier said than done, some people get it right away and some never will. This includes having a bad microphone, don’t stream if you have a bad microphone.
Missing or bad equipment (that affects quality)
Webcam is almost always a must, a good working microphone, a decent PC that can hold streaming + the games you play in HD quality. A green screen is overkill at the start and most don’t use it later either. But a green screen isn’t going to make or break you, trust me on that.
Countless of streamers need to learn about audio balance between the music / game sound, and their own voice. If you are going to play music on your stream make sure that it is so low that you can still be heard without issues, and so high that people will hear it. Same goes for any game sound. It’s really, really frustrating coming into a stream and the sound with the music is just high and the microphone is low or vice-versa. Make a thorough test on how it sounds before you start.
Having a stream intro
Time after time I see fresh streamers running an intro countdown or random video to prior to “entering” the stream. This is a huge mistake. Basically, they have some flashy effects and a timer on 5 to 20 minutes and beyond. The problem here as a “nobody” is that the risk of having the few viewers that enter your stream at the point you announce it as live, will or may be gone with the timer.
It’s understandable that larger streamers have these intros sometimes because they can be sure that it will work as a “hype factor” bringing in more people. And because the streamer’s fame he or she will gain a lot of excited viewers to tune into the stream and stick around because they are curious and genuinely interested and supportive in what’s going on in the stream. I would say having a countdown in your position right now (assuming you’re new) might as well kill your whole “career”. Personally, I hate the intro idea in general and most of the time I just instantly leave if I come across one.
Not having a stream outro
Outros on the other hand which are usually a set of (highlights, general awesomeness) video clips from previous streaming sessions to make people stick around for longer although you’re about to end the stream, is a brilliant idea. But to have one, you must obviously have streamed for a while to put one together. Here’s a streaming outro example to give you some inspiration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fN2upW_Mk0w Outros are a good idea to get as quickly as possible, regardless of your state as a streamer. Update your outro as more highlights come in during your sessions.
Being eager for money
You know for yourself that if you are serious about streaming you want to make money, lots of money. Your audience can make that come true for you but there is a long way to go. People want trust, trust that you will sustain as a streamer, trust that you will provide quality. There a lot of “fresh starters” that’ll bring in a few bucks every now and then but that’s not an argument against my statement here. A few bucks? Is that all you want? In the start just show no interest in money. Let people get a feel of you, see what you do, talk to you, just get familiar. There will be plenty of opportunities to earn money later if you’re successful, and perhaps your viewers will request a donation button from you.
If you really want a donation button from day one, sure but be careful. Put it at the bottom of your stream’s “about” and be humble about any amount (even if $0.1) you’re tipped. Always be humble, even when you are rich and famous. Never disrespect someone for donating a small amount. Be thankful, and express your gratitude for their support. Most definitely do not put up a greedy minimum donation amount required for a message to appear on stream, as you might have seen among larger streamers; “Donations of $3 or more will appear on stream!”, you are far from there at this point. Those doing that do it because they can. They get so many donations they must focus a lot of time on reading them, which may impact the quality of the stream for the average viewer, so to tone it down a bit they raise the amount.
Don’t put up any “donation goals” as a new streamer, people are more likely to get pissed of seeing Goal $10,000 “Road to my dream car” (which by the way, you should never ever, have as a goal written out publicly), rather than generous. In my honest opinion, you should never make use of “Goal” donation bars for any other purpose than charity.
Acting as if you aren’t all about the money isn’t going to be enough; you need to be passionate about the streaming and your content itself. Not the money. Don’t think for a second that streaming is different and you don’t have to put your heart and soul into it, be passionate about what you’re doing or don’t do it. People respect honesty; you may want to specify what your tips (donations) will be going towards, and whether that is your only source of income. Bottom line is, don’t be eager or greedy for your audiences’ money. It will affect the quality and worst-case scenario; you’ll lose your chance and get famous for a whole different reason than being a quality streamer who deserves what he or she makes.
The viewer will decide for him or herself whether you are worth their monetary support. A viewer will dislike someone pushing them into making monetary decisions. It also turns one off when the streamer attempts to start a “donation war”, that should come from the viewers.
Having a cluttered or no overlay
While you shouldn’t invest in high quality graphics the first thing you do as you need to test if you can make it first, there are a lot of freebies out there you can use if you credit the authors. Make use of it and have an overlay for your stream that suits the game(s) you play and doesn’t overlap with anything a viewer might want to see on your screen.
If you stream Counter-Strike and the round-timer is blocked out by your overlay, you’re going to get criticized for it. Having bad looking graphics, like fat, lime green bars around you is probably not going to attract a lot of people. Make it look tidy, ask for your viewers’ opinions. Keep off with any unneeded clutter, I mean why would you have a latest subscriber bar in your overlay if you haven’t gotten partnered yet. Keep the text not too big, not too small, get a feel for it or get help with it.
Badly written “About Me”
On streaming platforms such as Twitch the streamer has the possibility of adding in information below the streaming window that can consist of images, text and links. I have countless of times seen streamers use this in a miserable way. It’s misspelled, it’s eager for money, it’s filled with uninteresting information, and it just looks bad.
Visuals surely might have an impact on whether some viewers will stick around. Always spellcheck and try to bring some humor into any longer text you’d write there, some people will think you’re cool. It must be unique just like your whole idea going into streaming, don’t copy someone else.
Remember, it shouldn’t end up being a Harry Potter book with your life story and so on, have some games you play information, links to social media, follower goals, schedule, and whatever.
Not streaming enough
You wanted to become big in the streaming business, right? Streaming 3 hours a week won’t cut it, you need to be on an extensive schedule. While a lot of streamers don’t have any official schedule listed it is most of the time because they are clueless or well-established already and can skip having one because they announce it regularly through social media and people are hooked. I think that if the streamer has a consistent schedule, especially when starting out, it’s a big + in the mission of gaining more loyal followers that stick around for more than giveaways. So setup a streaming schedule.
For someone that enjoys watching you, having short sessions will be a huge disappointment either way, but it matters the most when you are low on viewers generally. There are also conditions in for example the Twitch partnerships about how much you will have to stream, so check that out as well and make your schedule in accordance with policies if needed for partnership.
It’s no news that having a giveaway will bring you extra followers and viewers, but only for the moment. I hate seeing new streamers attempting to gain a huge viewer base by having expensive giveaways, they’re just ripping themselves off as the winner often turns out to be someone that isn’t loyal to the stream and simply takes off with the prize afterwards.
Keep it down with the giveaways in the beginning, you can still get viewers, and then again you don’t want the viewers who are only after your giveaways. Not forbidding you to have them, it is always appreciated, but try keep it to your loyal fans instead by for example not announcing the giveaway in advance.
Banning, timing out viewers
Welcome to the Internet! You can no longer be overly sensitive, and you can no longer be overly affected about what people say to you. Again, countless of times I have seen this happening. Streamers with like 12 viewers ends up banning 6 of them because they broke some unimportant rule or because they “trolled”. Haters may even make you famous. Don’t be too strict when just starting out, obviously some people must be sorted out because they are that toxic, but tone it down a bit and relax with your viewers, don’t bother with insults. Make something fun out of it and get the upper hand, people will change their mind and look up to you instead, and feel that they can talk freely around you. At least this is what I enjoy, and I know for a fact that many others do too. Being ranted at can’t be allowed to mess your day up, have fun!
Not communicating with the viewers’
Either being socially awkward and not responding or just being lame and not bothering to read it, don’t be either of those. Engage in conversations, start conversations, encourage people to chat and talk to them frequently throughout all your sessions, see them as your customers.
Bad stream settings
Read documentation and ask for help if you are uncertain about how to treat certain settings in your streaming software and adapt them to your system. Make sure your PC is good enough and that you will be able to play the games you stream in acceptable FPS. Bad quality, FPS drops, lag, and your stream will suffer.
Always test run your stream and its features first. I very much recommend having two screens, to keep the chat separated and not having to tab in and out of games to read it, as said before communicating with your chat is of high importance.
The competition is tough
If you’ve ever tried scrolling to the bottom of any streaming site you have probably noticed that it doesn’t really end. There are even countless of streamers with just 0 or 1 viewer. You must grind, and you must be unique. There are exceptions, good looking women tend to get many viewers and followers quickly. A guy can just as well with the correct approach. If you aren’t good at the games you play, at least be fun to watch, don’t be fake trying to force out laughs and stuff, perhaps you should just realize that you aren’t the person to do streaming if you’re quiet and boring though.
You’ll notice eventually, but keep in mind that some of the larger streamers today streamed without making a profit or being especially famous from it, for almost a year or more.
Some final words
Okay so that’s it for the common newbie mistakes that I wanted to address. Next is social media. I like to say that most publicity is good publicity, because there is bad publicity. Don’t open a YouTube account if you don’t intend to post quality content on there, which may require some skills. Sure, reserve the name just in case. Most important is a Twitter account or Facebook page to simply announce your status. It’s a great way to inform your audience when you’re live, won’t be able to stream, and so forth. For an extra boost in Twitter followers you might wanna use strategies like this.
Make sure you’ve set up your Twitter or Facebook or whatever you are going to use in a good way so that it represents your stream first, that includes the name. Having different aliases will just confuse your audience and some may end up being misdirected due to it. Work on your follower base on Twitter, perhaps have some “event” like “I’ll follow back everyone who follows me in the next 48 hours” (and do it, of course). What I have seen with a lot of streamers is that they get sloppy and suddenly there is no word from them as to why they aren’t streaming when they should, and whatnot. Don’t be that streamer, keep in touch.
I hope you picked up some good hints with this. There is obviously more to it than this. For now focus on finding your place and style in the forest of streams!
You might have seen this on a forum dedicated to streaming, I am the author of this originally and unfortunately that forum appears to have shutdown.
The post Live Streaming: Marketing Yourself as a new Streamer appeared first on AVONCY.