Sunday, July 10, 2022

Growth Check-In: Keep Your Streams Going

When learning about Twitch streaming, most people want to know about the glamourous stuff. How do you make your channel grow faster? Can you get the streams to look more professional? What can you say to make your chat more engaged? How do you make money? These are all very useful topics, and I’ve covered them all several times in the past. But the most important subject for a Twitch streamer is one that new content creators usually don’t think about: keeping your habit alive

This simple subject, despite being less popular (and probably less interesting), is the one we come up against the most often on Twitch. Our channels are constantly under attack. And the enemy is within ourselves. For any number of reasons, you will see streamers begin to falter in their broadcast regularity, until eventually they take long breaks and then give up altogether. In this growth check-in entry we’ll look back at a few of the recent Twitch Playbook tips dealing with this topic. If you utilize the advice within, I’m confident you’ll be able to keep your streams going for that much longer. 


The easiest way to stick to a habit is to truly love what you’re doing. When you’re excited to go live each day, you’ll feel much less friction when preparing to do your broadcast. Many streamers however, confuse loving what they’re doing with loving the attention they get from what they’re doing. Both of these can help you keep going, but only the former can propel you even through the worst of times. If you’re confused as to which motivating factor is driving your stream, ask yourself the following question: If your channel never grew, and every broadcast had zero viewers, would you still enjoy what you're doing? In entries like Streaming For Yourself, I spoke about how even positive feedback like channel growth or chat activity can skew your view of your own content, and potentially stunt your overall enjoyment of the craft. 

Keep your habit afloat.

Now, what if you really do end up in a slump like I described above? Whether it’s your viewership, chat engagement, or performance while playing games that are inexplicably drying up, you might find that this recession in momentum starts to erode your will to stream. These spans of decreased activity on a Twitch channel are the most common reasons a streamer might throw in the towel. Don’t let a temporary setback become a permanent failure. In the entry
Survive the Streaming Doldrums, I spoke about how you can overcome your reliance on the fickle ‘winds’ of outside factors, and instead use the self-propulsion of a strong creative vision to drive your channel forward. 

No matter how passionate and driven you are about streaming however, you will still have your off days. You might wake up to find that your confidence is simply drained, or your computer is suddenly having problems. These things can’t be predicted or prevented, but they can be planned for. In the entry Stream With the Hand You’re Dealt, I compared Twitch streaming to playing an eternal game of poker. Each day the cards might be good or bad, but even in the worst scenario you can protect your interests. And sometimes, in streaming as in poker, you can have major success even with a terrible hand. 


It helps to create smaller routines for yourself within your streaming habit. A few interlocking micro-habits working in concert can do wonders for keeping a larger habit alive. The entry Cut Down on Stream Errors will help you to break down your most troublesome weaknesses and prevent you from falling into various creative traps. Creating a Pre-Stream Checklist will help you to automate the setup time before your show begins, ensuring that you don’t forget or botch any of the steps. Strengthen Your Twitch Habits goes into detail about how to retrain your brain to replace any bad habit with a good one. All of these things involve solving small problems on a Twitch channel, but you’d be surprised how much these improvements can help your overall streaming habit. When you often make little mistakes, that embarrassment and frustration can keep compounding until you don’t want to stream anymore. Being able to go live without worries removes all that friction. 

More ingredients doesn't always mean 
a better dish. 

Finally, in the recent entry Build a Better Streaming Habit, I talked about how implementing good ideas at the wrong time can be very harmful to a Twitch channel, especially for new streamers. We can get overly ambitious, whether we’re trying to implement daily or weekly show concepts, widgets and plugins for our chat’s enjoyment, raffles and contests, or other features we think might help our channels. None of these are bad ideas in themselves, but they can bring harmful results if you’re biting off more than you can chew. Just because something can be implemented doesn’t always mean it should. Each feature we add to our Twitch channels attaches baggage to our streams. If you add too much, you may not be able to carry that weight each time you go live. 


Being a Twitch streamer means constantly trying to stop yourself from giving up. This isn’t what most prospective streamers want to hear (and many won’t even believe it until they’ve streamed themselves), but it’s the reality that everyone should hear. If you can keep your broadcasting habit going, even if you don’t do anything special to improve your content as you go, you’ll already be doing better than the majority of other streamers to ever grace the platform. The most common Twitch channel is a flash in the pan- a lot of big ideas and excitement in the beginning, only to disappear as quickly as it came. Instead, aim to keep your flame alive for years to come, and build something that stands the test of time. 

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