Friday, December 20, 2019

Grow Your Channel in Public

People often wait to start their Twitch channels because they want to make sure everything's perfect before their first stream. I've spoken a lot in previous entries about how you should start sooner rather than later, before you're ready, because otherwise you'll never start. But aside from this motivational factor, here's what many prospective streamers don't understand about waiting until everything's perfect:

Perfection is actually an undesirable trait.

How is this possible? Let's say that hypothetically you did take a whole year to prepare behind the scenes, and your channel starts out 100% perfectly, with no room to improve in any department. Your stream looks great, but now you have nowhere else to go. You can still certainly have a community, but you will have robbed them of one of the most engaging aspects of following a Twitch streamer: you took away their ability to watch you grow.


Nathan Drake definitely doesn't make every
right decision along the way.
Think about the Twitch streamers you've followed longest. Not the huge ones with over 100,000 fans, but someone who hasn't reached partner, or hadn't yet when you started following. If you've been watching for one or more years, talking in chat, experiencing all the most exciting moments in their gameplay, checking in every day or week or month, you'll likely remember different 'eras' in the history of their channel. Times when their graphics had an uglier layout, or they had a cheaper camera, or when they weren't as personable when talking with chat. As a viewer, there's a certain pride in knowing that you've been with this person since before their channel was completely polished. You've been able to watch them improve in each streaming category slowly over time, until they became the person you know today.

I know you probably see your lack of tech, or lack of fancy graphical layouts, or lack of confidence on camera as a negative, but it's actually one of your biggest advantages. Because any low-tech, ugly, or un-polished aspect of your stream pays dividends over time. All you have to do is stay in the game. Imagine how powerful it'll be when someone tells you how much your stream has improved since they started watching a year ago. People will be able to compare their experiences on your channel based on its different eras, saying to each other, "I've been watching since the no-camera days," or "Remember when we were a Minecraft channel?" So if you're waiting until everything's perfect before you start your channel, don't. Start broadcasting RIGHT NOW!


RPGs are more fun when you're unlocking
skills regularly over time.
It's not just new streamers who can benefit from this mindset either- even if you've already been streaming for years, giving your channel more visible growth can benefit you as well. Do you want to add a bunch of funny new OBS layouts that you can cut to at different moments? Instead of waiting weeks until you have time to create and test all 20 of these scenes, just make the first one and then roll it out immediately. Let people notice the new feature, and give them a chance to get excited about the addition. Once this has settled in, you can start working on and implementing the second one. Then people can get excited all over again for this second layout. And so on, and so on.

In the best video games, they give you a steady drip of new powers and abilities over the entire length of the game. If all 100 powers were unlocked from the beginning and nothing ever changed from beginning to end, the game would get boring. Take this mindset to heart and let your stream's new features roll out in small pieces rather than huge chunks.


Most people don't want to look vulnerable in front of others. That's why they hide behind the excuse of 'making everything perfect' before they start something new. Deep down, they're scared to look like they made a mistake in public. But Twitch is a much more accepting place than you might expect, and the longer people get to know you, the more excited they'll be when you improve. If you haven't started streaming yet, jump in! Don't deny your potential fans the ability to see you grow! And if you've been streaming already, then forget about generating one single moment of hype with a comprehensive update- instead, spread the excitement around with a rollout of smaller updates, letting your channel improve in front of everyone's eyes. When you grow your channel in public, you'll be sharing the Twitch experience with your whole audience. What's more fun than that?

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