I haven’t done one of these posts in ages, so, today we’re talking about Growth on Twitch! Sit back, grab a snack, and enjoy!
Warning: There are cat pictures. If you don’t like cats or if you’re afraid of them, you’ve been warned. There is a cat btw that needs some help and you can find his gofundme campaign over here and it would mean the world to me if you could maybe share it so that more people are aware of Aikka. Cancer sucks and our feline friends don’t even know about why it’s hurting or why things are happening. Regardless of that, thank you!
Growth is something that a lot of people aim for when it comes to Streaming. Naturally, if you’re doing your best, you want others to appreciate that and you want “your best” to be reflected in the numbers. So, what is “the secret” to growth on Twitch? Well, in my opinion, there isn’t really much of a secret there. All you need is Quality and Consistency.
Quality means that your streams or your “content” are pleasing and entertaining to watch. People enjoy what you do because it is good content, so naturally, you grow from that. You create it, they share it with others, recommend it and you grow. Part of the “quality” is also the video and audio quality. If your microphone is bad, people won’t be able to hear you or enjoy it as much. Background noises and distracting sounds can hinder the quality, and alas your growth. The same thing goes for a bad internet connection or bad commentary. More on that later.
Consistency is about the fluctuations in your quality but also about your schedule. Today’s stream could be 10/10 but maybe tomorrow, you’re tired and you end up creating bad content that is maybe just 4/10. Creating good content consistently means that people will appreciate it more because they can rely on you “delivering” consistently. If you stick to a schedule, people will know when and where to find your content. If you’re constantly late or if you skip out on days, you’re hindering yourself. If your streams take place at different times every day, you end up hindering yourself as well. People won’t be able to tune in more often and that sucks and just makes people a rare sight.
There is more to growth than that obviously, especially because of the limited discoverability, but for this post, I wanted to focus on how to improve your quality and how to keep up with the consistency in the best way possible. Discoverability will be a topic in a later post in the series, though, so stay tuned for that.
Quality generally is subjective, obviously. There are many kinds of streamers out there and there are many kinds of viewers. Some people watch streams for the games featured in them. The Dark Souls community on Twitch is a great example of this: No matter how good your stream is, they most likely will not watch any of your other played games unless they are also souls-likes. At least, it’s very hard to convince them to migrate to those other stream categories. Some people watch streamers for the skill they have. A good example of this would be people that follow E-Sport Pros on Twitch to maybe get better at League of Legends or see some sick plays. Again, that’s totally fine. And then there are people like me that tend to watch people for the personality that they add to a game. I don’t care if people play Subnautica or not… I’m there for the person behind the screen in the community… and that’s the kind of stream, I try to build as well. The kind of stream that is more community-based in which interaction with chat is more important.
Naturally, you don’t have to be like me or run your stream like me but I’d like to give advice on what I’ve seen a lot of people do and what a lot of people (including me) struggle(d) with.
For starters, your hardware doesn’t matter. You’ll need a good internet connection and something that can run your game if you wanna do gameplay. You can stream on your phone as well and don’t need to worry about anything when you do that, usually. You don’t need a microphone if you don’t want to talk. You don’t need a cam if you don’t wanna show yourself. A camera can help attract people but it can also bring a lot of trolls to your stream or make you a target. The bare minimum for a stream is really just a device to stream on and something to stream.
Getting a $7k microphone with Go-XLR and whatever isn’t going to help you produce good content. It may help with the audio quality but it won’t be of any use if you don’t talk. Similarly, you can have a bad microphone but still be really entertaining. Your content is what’s important. Nobody cares about your hardware!
What I try to do in my streams is to constantly narrate whatever I’m doing. Try talking at all times to not let any dead air ruin your quality. Try to give insights as to why you’re doing something or as to what your thinking. Try stirring up a conversation or maybe talk about recent things that you’ve been interested in.
What attracts people generally is passion. Do you watch anime? Talk about shows you watch. Do you love Indie Bands? Talk about your latest discoveries! You’re really good at cooking, so why don’t you try to talk about this new recipe you tried out? If you’re passionate about a subject, you can attract people to your space: Like-minded people. Your community, essentially, makes it easier for you when they like similar things about as you.
Your audio quality can be bad at first but what matters is that you actually use your microphone if you use one. It’s important to be there. You’re not playing games alone, you’re showing them to potential other people and you’re broadcasting live, right now, on Twitch! I mean… maybe not right now, but you get what I mean.
Consistency is the other thing I mentioned before. Due to timezones, you won’t be able to catch everyone at the same time. If you stream in the evenings, you may not catch people to the East of you but more from the West. If you stream in the mornings, you may not catch people to the West of you but may very much catch people from the East of you. It’s all a matter of what works for you as there are always people awake at any time. Heck, sometimes I browse through Twitch and find streams when I can’t sleep at 2 in the morning, ALTHOUGH I’d never catch them usually.
Don’t shape your schedule around your viewers but rather your viewers around your schedule. I stream in the mornings before uni starts or in the afternoon after my classes. If I stream in the evenings, I may screw my sleep schedule, so that’s something to pay attention to. After work, you may be less energetic and maybe even frustrated, so that can be bad for it… but in the end, it’s a matter of trial and error. Try looking at yourself and see what works best for you. What makes you the happiest?
The other thing about schedules is that you have to make sure to limit your stream days and stream times in some way. You can’t be live 24/7. Not everyone can watch you for that long. Rather, you may switch to three to five stream days instead with streams that go for three to six hours, so that you don’t burn out too much. Streaming is something that I look forward to and I look forward to watching streams that I couldn’t watch for three days. If I were able to see a streamer every day, I’d think that I can “check them out another time”… and then I just never return because there is always something else. Your stream is an event of sorts and if it’s rarer, it can be something that people look forward to.
As an example here, my current schedule is set to three guaranteed days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It works best for me that way. The other days are quite busy with RL-stuff but I may chuck in another stream into that with Art or Chatting when I finish stuff faster. This schedule works best for me as it allows me to focus on making those weekend streams special while preparing things for them during the weekdays!
Now, the other issue is the consistency of your quality: You want to deliver the best content in every stream and be there on-time, right? Well, then you’ll have to prepare for streams and make revisions, think about how a stream went and then change what bothered you. I’d recommend looking at your own VOD for that and see if you notice anything. Asking a mod or a friend for feedback can help, too! Be critical with yourself and do better next time! Obviously, you can’t give 100% every day but I think that it’s important to at least try to in order to grow more.
A great example of that would be XilentFlex or Flex for short. Whenever I go there, I have a blast. Sometimes, there are a lot of people or I don’t like the game, so I tend to lurk more… but most of the time, I tend to enjoy my time there more than anywhere else because it’s cosy AF and wholesome. I don’t ever get “bad stream” vibes when I go there because the quality is just so good every time. Alas, I come to hang out more often or actively seek out his streams to watch them. Sometimes, I even make time for that stream! That’s how consistent Flex is with his quality!
But either way, that’s it really for the post. I feel like these two points are important when it comes to streaming. Obviously, you can take anything I say with a lot of salt because I’m a small streamer myself but this is just an opinion and it’s based on my experience as well as conversations with bigger streamers than me. Basically, these blog posts will be accumulated experience on Twitch-Streaming documented in blog-form. Next time, I will probably make a post on how to use your voice and some practices. Looking forward to writing it!