On Twitch, you don't need to be the best, you just need to be YOU.
Great, so you're motivated and you're ready to either start your channel, grow an existing but lapsed channel, or just optimize your already successful streams. But why do you need me in order to run your Twitch channel? Honestly? You don't. That's right, I'm going for the 'Wizard of Oz' route: you've had the tools to be a great Twitch streamer in you all along! What I'm here to do is share stories of how I grew my following, found my niche and built my brand, in the hopes that you'll gain something that helps you along the way. Maybe you'll learn some technique you never thought of, some way of dealing with negativity, combating lack of motivation, or squashing audiovisual tech issues, that you didn't think of before. Maybe you'll reach your first hundred followers, first thousand, first ten thousand that much faster. Or maybe you just like reading the stuff I write. Whatever the reason, it's your call whether you stick around, but I have a lot of thoughts to share, and I'm confident that at least one can work for you and improve your streaming game.
➢ ORIGIN STORY
I started on Twitch fairly recently (roughly one year ago), but I've been in the livestreaming game for a long time (six years), the professional video production game longer than that (nine years) and playing video games the longest of all (since I could pick up a controller). During my career, I've worked extensively in social video, creating content optimized for large Facebook and Twitch brands, and broadcasting live to audiences of thousands of concurrent viewers. My personal channel is significantly smaller than what I've done in that realm, and of course it grows much slower, but that's what we're here to talk about. We don't all have thousands of dollars to spend on giveaways, advertising, equipment, and special guest appearances (at least I don't) so the ability to manage a personal Twitch channel with as little financial input as possible is more likely what we're all here to discuss.
|Not all of us have money like Wario here.|
I can't guarantee that anything I tell you will get you to your first thousand followers, and I can't cater to everyone's style of Twitch channel, making sure that your specific style of gameplay, commentating, camera layout, whatever, is covered and offered custom advice. What I can do is tell you what I did to get here, the tools I used, the challenges I faced, and most importantly, the mindset I employed to keep everything on track and always move in the right direction towards my goal. I encourage you to try to understand the meaning and logic behind my experiences rather than implement my strategies blindly. My channel's exact path may not work for you, but hopefully you will find the core concepts behind my advice effective.
➢ NOW COMES THE HARD PART
I'm going to be up-front with you- none of this was easy. When I had a salary job working from 10-6, I would stream after work hours. Allotting some time for dinner, 8pm to 2am was my domain. When that wasn't enough, I added mornings to my regimen, claiming the hours of 6am to 9am in addition to the night time shows. It's not just about the time spent streaming either- what most people don't see is usually the most important. I'd estimate that for every hour of streaming I do, there is another hour of behind-the-scenes work happening- whether that's to improve the channel, analyze my hosting style, tweak video and audio, update social feeds, engage with my community, or any of the other endless items on my massive and ever-expanding checklist. It's A LOT of work. You may think me excessive for sleeping four hours per night, and streaming during almost 100% of my time not spent at the office, but I was prepared to make sacrifices for this dream.
|This was me every morning and night for MONTHS.|
Sitting at a computer and working, with no days or weekends off.
➢ A LIFETIME OF BENEFITS
For the first time in my life, video games aren't the thing STOPPING me from being productive- in this weird fantasy world I've created for myself, playing extra video games in a given day is a direct measurement of how much MORE productive I've been. I also get to spend time with people who have become incredibly important to me, who take the time out of their day to watch me play games and share details about their own lives just as I share details about mine. A community has formed around my channel, from which people draw inspiration, share ideas, and help each other through tough times. And it's all borne from a common love of watching me play video games. There's so much about Twitch that I find incredibly inspiring and rewarding, and it's why I work so hard to continue doing it, to improve my stream, and to grow this community with every ounce of motivation I have. I can truly say that I love what I do every day. There's no better feeling than that.
I've wanted to start something like this for a while, to share some of the insights I've learned from creating my channel, and give you a look into the pitfalls and workarounds I've discovered. I am far from the largest channel on Twitch, nor am I the most knowledgeable or qualified person to be writing something like this. But when I was starting out I found that there weren't enough resources about how to optimize my Twitch presence, so I'm going to offer my thoughts and experiences in the hope that someone will find them useful. Hopefully this look at the contents of my playbook will help you to "make it" on Twitch, however you define that concept, and live your livestreaming dream.
Go out there and make something amazing!