Friday, May 20, 2022

Important Growth Concepts for Any Streamer

On a Twitch channel, it can be difficult to manage all the moving pieces. As I’ve mentioned in entries before, adding features can sometimes hurt your content as much as help, if you’re not being smart about how you do it. This time, I wanted to mention a few topics that I’ve found useful when building my own Twitch channel. I believe these concepts can be valuable to a broadcaster of any size, and help them either grow their channel, or grow as a streamer. 


When streaming on Twitch, the most important thing is to continue gaining experience. This means that, no matter what I advise in this resource, as long as you’re actually going live regularly on your channel, you’re on the right track. Never let concerns about how best to stream get in the way of actually doing your streams. But if you’re doing well at maintaining your habit, it’s worth implementing a few optimization tips along the way. My suggestion on this front is to focus only on one type of improvement at a time. If you add ten features to your channel all at once between episodes, it will not only be hard to manage the overall quality of your broadcasts, but you’ll also be unable to isolate the effect each individual feature is giving to your streams. By taking things more slowly and focusing on one new aspect at a time, you can keep track of the response each feature gives, and hone your skills at using them during your streams. There will be plenty more broadcasts in the future. There’s no need to rush to implement everything at once. 

When playing FromSoftware games, I
keep a written to-do list. There's always
so much to do!

In addition to having a ‘to-do list’ for adding in new features on your stream, it’s just as important (if not more so) to maintain a ‘stop doing list.’ I spoke about this a bit in the growth check-in entry called
Simplify Your Streams. Channels can often become bloated through the months and years of adding features, and sometimes those features become obsolete. Whether viewers no longer use them in chat, you don’t like doing them anymore on the shows, or they simply no longer have any use, I’m sure there are a few vestigial components on your channel right now, if you’ve been streaming more than a few months. In that earlier entry I mentioned, I helped you to take stock of every aspect of your channel, and make real decisions about how to separate the wheat from the chaff. I know it’s difficult. There are probably great memories associated with some of those aspects of your streams. But if the feature isn’t working right now, those memories shouldn’t play into your decision. You either get the feature to work, or remove it. By making your channel leaner in this way, it removes a burden from you as the streamer, helps viewers understand your shows more easily, and (depending on what you removed) can even help your stream’s performance. 


As I’ve spoken about before, you shouldn’t worry about being right all the time. You’re going to make mistakes on Twitch, and instead of sulking about them when they happen, or allowing the fear of failure to paralyze your decision-making, you should embrace those blunders! Every time you do something on your channel that isn’t as good as it should be, and you’re able to recognize that it isn’t up to par, you’re gathering valuable data. You’re improving your skill to identify what doesn’t work, and increasing your likelihood of finding the right answer down the road. Think of it like playing Minesweeper. In that game, you’re trying to identify a set number of mines on a large grid. Each tile is blank at the beginning, and could either be a mine or a safe space. But after clicking the first tile (assuming you don’t immediately hit a mine), a large space opens up, telling you about the number of mines adjacent to your newly opened area. In order to win the game, the knowledge of what not to do, and which spaces not to click, is just as important as knowing which spaces you should click. Figuring out both kinds of information, both the positive and the negative, are necessary in order to reach the end without exploding. I like to look at Twitch streaming in the same way. Each time you make a decision or add a feature, it’s like you start another game of Minesweeper. You’re not going to get it exactly right from the beginning, but you’re gaining valuable information about what move to make next. And even if your idea hits the equivalent of a mine and blows up in your face, you can always try again with a whole new approach. 

Connor has made some mistakes, and
he does his best to atone for them. 

Finally, in order to really succeed on Twitch, no matter what you’re aiming for, you’ll need to take responsibility for your actions and their consequences. Avoid excuses. It can be comforting to make them, but they only hurt you in the end. Whether you missed a day, want to change the games you play, need to remove a feature, or anything else, just own up to it and keep going. There’s no need to tell everyone about your mistake or make a public apology, just do it right the next time. As I mentioned in the entry How to Find the Time to Stream on Twitch, you are 100% responsible for your time. But that’s really true of everything else too. When you’re the owner of a Twitch channel, the buck stops with you. Yes, something out of your control may have happened and prevented you from going live, but that still means the viewer missed out on your show when they expected to see it. Your problem has nothing to do with them. No matter what you say, you can’t change the disappointment they felt in that moment. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how good an excuse is, because no excuse will change what’s already happened. It’s more productive to focus on what you can actually accomplish in the future. 

So consider these concepts the next time you go live. Whether you’re slowly adding features to your streams, removing old ideas, making mistakes or kicking the excuses habit, any one of these things can help your Twitch channel a great deal. Keep streaming, keep learning, and keep getting better. No matter the size of your operation, the concepts laid out here can help you to stream that much more effectively. 

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