Let's play some Twitch Mad Libs. Fill in the words as they apply to you, if you've ever started a stream like this:
"Hey guys, sorry I missed yesterday's stream but (noun) needed me to (verb) at (time) and I was too (status effect) to stream. (Future date) I'm going to be better though, and every (span of time) going forward I'll be streaming at (hour). You can count on it!"
We've all followed this script before in some way or another, and it's understandable. It feels bad to break your promises and let people down, after all- you want them to understand why you weren't around so they aren't upset with you. But conducting streams like this is very problematic- not only is it unprofessional, it snowballs into missing more shows in the future. Wean yourself off this habit as soon as possible. Don't apologize when you miss your streams, or even bother acknowledging that you did so. Just do better next time, and silently excel as you move forward.
This is a very important step for a content creator. When you stop apologizing and promising, you drop all the baggage of your failures, and are able to move forward confidently with your plans. It also means you are truly taking responsibility for your actions. You stop depending on the sympathy of others to fuel your excuses, and learn to rely only on your own perseverance and work ethic. In short, you simply become a better streamer.
➢ YOU DON'T ANSWER TO ANYONE
|On Twitch, there's no boss to give excuses to.|
On Twitch, there is no one above you to answer to. There is only you. You're not an employee on your Twitch channel, you're the business owner. Someone who is responsible for their entire business doesn't make excuses when they miss a day, they work twice as hard the next day to make up for it. If you didn't stream, it doesn't matter how valid or understandable your excuse is- at the end of the day, you didn't stream. You can only move forward, so just focus on not missing streams in the future.
➢ FINDING THE RIGHT SCHEDULE
Schedules are a killer for new streamers. Deviating from a schedule is the main reason that streamers end up needing to apologize in the first place. The way most streamers plan out their channels is as follows: the streamer thinks about what they'd like their content to look like, then they announce a streaming schedule and do their best to stick to it. I think this is a totally backwards mindset.
You should prove what schedule you're capable of executing first, and then announce it.
|On Twitch, like in Monster Hunter, preparation|
As a freelancer, my work schedule is very irregular, and on a given day I might be flying somewhere, working at an office in the morning, from home at night, or in a hotel room in the wee hours. If I promised that I'd be live on Twitch every night at 8pm, or at any concrete time with the life schedule I keep, I'd never be able to deliver consistently. For weeks and months, I created multiple shows every day to try and see which showtime worked best for me. And after all this, I decided on an unorthodox idea. I would do three shorter streams per day, but never promise a specific showtime. This means I can now fit streaming in whenever I'm available, and still make a whole lot of content. I lose some viewership from not being live at the same time every day, but I gain rock-solid consistency and peace of mind in knowing that I can deliver on my promises. I've done roughly 1,500 individual streams so far since going Affiliate last year, and I've never missed a single show. I was only able to come to this conclusion by heavy experimentation however- not just announcing a schedule I wish I could keep and then hoping I wouldn't break it. There's an ideal stream schedule out there for you too, but it won't simply come to you- you'll have to go looking for it.
➢ THE STREAMER'S DOWNFALL
When a content creator seeks validation for their failures by apologizing, they are hurting much more than their level of professionalism. This path leads to a dark payoff. Apologizing for missing streams can cause you to give up streaming.
|Don't let it feel good to miss your streams.|
I've seen it happen to plenty of channels before. Heck, it's happened to me before- I used to always announce a schedule for my content, and then start half my shows by apologizing for having missed the previous one. Those channels didn't work out. Don't forget, in the first Twitch Playbook entry I mentioned I had been on Twitch for a year, but I've been doing livestreaming for the past six years. That's five years of other personal channels on various platforms where I made every mistake in this book before anyone had ever even heard of me, and most of my previous efforts fizzled out because of a need to constantly apologize for missed content.
➢ UNDER-PROMISE, OVER-DELIVER
So just do your streams without announcing anything, and keep track privately whether you're able to stick to the schedule you want. Once you're able to prove over a week or two that your stream schedule works, then you can announce long term plans. This will ensure you're able to actually keep your promises and not have to constantly apologize. Don't be someone who announces new things every week and then breaks those plans the next. Build trust with your community, and with yourself. If you want to be a better and more consistent streamer, don't apologize for your content. If you keep silently improving, you'll be just fine.
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