Over the last couple of days, you may have seen a few articles going around with headlines such as “How to make $7000 a month from your living room” or “Everything you need to know to become a professional video game streamer”.
While it is true that you can, in fact, make a great living from streaming on Twitch, YouTube, Mixer or Facebook, these articles make this look like an easy thing to do. These articles only go through the hardware, software and services required to start streaming (all accurate information btw), but leave out a key point to becoming a partnered streamer… The person on camera!
At goto.game, we work with some of the biggest and best streamers in the region and they all share one quality. Each of these streamers is, above everything, a personality! They are not just gamers. To be honest, some are not even good at gaming. What they are though are broadcasters, entertainers and presenters who have worked hard to develop their skill as hosts of their own live show who also run their own social media profiles & personal brand.
What does it really take to do this? Let’s break it down:
Just like any broadcast medium, people won’t watch you no matter how knowledgeable or good you are unless you are entertaining, likeable and fun.
The most successful streamers I have worked with know how to talk continuously no matter how many people are watching them. They interact with their chat, make fun of themselves & have developed an onscreen persona which is usually themselves turned up to 11.
The first advice I usually give when asked, “How can I get better at streaming?” is this: Watch all your favourite streamers or even ones that you wouldn’t watch but are doing well for themselves and become a student of what they do on screen. That is, not how they play but what they say, how they hold themselves, how they interact with their audience.
You need to be everywhere!
Get on Twitter, Instagram, create a Facebook page and fan group. And, use them all. Nobody else is going to toot your horn unless you do. Nobody gets “Discovered” without self-promotion!
These are your tools to let the world know: what you are doing, when you are live, where people can find you and, if you build a big enough profile, where you will entice future sponsors.
Top streamers use their social media daily—even hourly to talk to their fans, viewers and friends. They are their own social media manager!
Just like any TV show, magazine or media, branding has to be on point.
And, branding does not stop at a cool logo. This is important right down to using the same font type in your image posts, a set colour palette and tone. But remember: branding is everything from knowing what kind of tone you speak with, what kind of community attitude you encourage, catchphrases, music style, and everything about you that you share online.
Essentially, YOU become the brand!
Everything you say now and in the past can and will be used against you. So, when becoming a streamer, you need to treat yourself like your own PR manager.
Remember that if you say something horrible, it will come back and bite you on the arse. Speak badly about a brand? You bet that they will not want to work with you.
I’m not saying you need to be a super bubbly and positive person. But, you can stay on brand and not be a dick.
So, on that note…
Don’t be a dick!
Once you get to the big game—you have a few thousand subs, you are getting good concurrent viewership and you start getting the attention of potential supporting brands—you need to be easy to work with. Nobody wants to work with a diva.
Be prepared for hard work and trolls
This is the hardest part.
Being a streamer requires dedication and at times, a thick skin. Start off with setting a firm schedule: people need to know when to expect you to be online. Just like TV Guide back in the day, setting a schedule will get viewers into a routine with watching you.
Also, attend events to network with other streamers and fans. This is a great way to grow your brand and keep fans. People love to connect with people so putting in the time and effort pays off!
Now you are an online personality though, you will be putting yourself in front of the Internet’s worst as well as the best. You will face unwarranted hate and possible personal attacks. It sucks. You will need to learn how to deal with these people gracefully and not lower yourself to their level.
Streaming is fun and if you have no desire to make it big time, but enjoy streaming, do it!
But if you do want to make a living out of streaming, expect to put in the time and effort to do it right. It’s not going to happen quickly for everyone and it’s not going to be easy. But, it is a great career path if you have what it takes.