Streaming 101


Streaming is an exciting career for gamers to get involved in— I viewed it as the chance to play video games for a living, travel, network, and to connect with others. Though streaming can be a simple act, the dream of turning it into a career is a goal that comes with many challenges. So, on a regular basis, I get asked a lot — “How do I get started? What are some tips for streaming?” I began writing out my thoughts and experiences as a streamer and hope you find some of my thoughts useful.

Disclaimer: These are tips and are not a guarantee or something you have to follow. I'm still a growing channel myself. These are simply some ideas I have had over the past year and have done myself that helped my channel grow. Just look at this as a guide if your just starting off.

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Step One

We're going to talk about the simple steps of becoming a streaming . Turning on your console/computer and going live is the easiest part of streaming. What people don’t see, the people who like to tell us that streaming is easy, is all the thankless work you put in behind the scenes. Here are some of the very first, most simple things to begin with:

Choosing a Username

This is a difficult task. With millions of usernames registered on Twitch, finding a username that isn’t being used is going to be very challenging and require you to get creative.

Consider your username’s marketability — Do you want to work with sponsors or companies like Asus or Logitech and get brand deals? A channel name like xXIlickbootycheeks4freeXx is a freaking joke (Not actually funny & rather stupid). No one will take you seriously, at least the ones that can potentially add major growth to you channel. It makes since to create a username for people to remember, spell, and search when looking for you. “What was his username… Game_OnlyxXxinthesummer… something? Ah fuck it I’ll just go watch LadyKaylee.”

Consider making sure your username is unique — If your username is similar to larger streamer or company, it’ll be nearly impossible for people to find you easily when you’re just getting started. So don’t go all crazy trying to be like your favorite streamer by making your name similar to their's. In other words, be unique.


Defining Yourself

Brand is a concept tied to how people see your channel and what your channel’s overall “message” is. Are you a chill laid back gamer or are you insane when you rage? Are you a funny person who is good at cracking jokes and goofy accents? Are you a creative person who is knowledgeable in different art mediums? My audience watches my stream because they (hopefully) think I’m funny, honest, and pretty goated at any game I play. I’m simply just being myself. Try to be anything other than that and you just might burn yourself out.

Equipment

The downfall with new streamers is most try to copy the setups of streamers who have been established for some time. If you’re new to streaming, you do not need an overpowered PC build. Guess what! I got started with one laptop, a USB Logitech camera, and a USB microphone. I know a few streamers who got started on a shitty laptop. Over time, I've upgraded my setup piece by piece and I'm still building my overall setup. DO NOT invest thousands of dollars in streaming equipment when you’re getting started, you need to be realistic. Try not to spend money when there is no guarantee of return, because your not going to benefit off streaming right away and there is no guarantee of success as a streamer either.


Stream Quality

I’m in a fortunate position where I spent all of high school and college learning graphic design, editing and marketing. However, many streamers don’t have those skills mastered. Sometimes you might have so source graphic designers offering commissioned work if you need graphics done for your channel. The point I'm trying to make is spend time adding panels and information to your stream. It will show you take it seriously.

Choosing Content

I learned that it can be very difficult to build your channel around games with larger views. Fornite and League of Legends… these games are so oversaturated with content that your channel might struggle to see success. I started my channel as a NBA 2K streamer. I played nothing else except 2K and occasionally popular titles. Slowly, after I have gained a following, I started integrating other games I enjoy like the Sims & Pokemon. My community became used to the idea of my channel being a variety channel and I’m extremely thankful that I did that. While the 2k community growth is rewarding, the freedom that comes with being a variety streamer is a blessing.

Try browsing categories you like to see what is still pulling an audience but not dominated. You can also try dodging well know streamers are known to go live to increase your chances of channel being seen on viewer list. Now, this is an opinion and I’m in no way saying that you can't stream fortnite but its something that could help. e of a larger streamer is the key — but rather, when a large streamer goes offline, their viewers might disperse to other similar channels and content.

Be Realistic

It’s important to recognize that streaming can be a source of great joy and success but that, much like any other job, you shouldn’t rely on it 100%. Life changes unexpectedly and having a backup plan is just a smarter move.

One day you can avg 50+ viewers, the next 25. This doesn’t mean that you’re doing something “wrong”, but just that viewership is uncontrolled and influenced by unforeseen forces entirely out of your control.

 "Sometimes it could be because another streamer said something crazy about you" 

Some days have less viewership on Twitch due to the season— that doesn’t mean your content was bad. Focusing on the views can lead to negative emotions — remember to see the big picture and to know that there are things at work determining the numbers you see day by day, so don’t get bogged down in one bad day. Streaming success is rooted in your persistence and passion.

On another note 
— I don’t recommend you quitting your job or school to stream even if you’re very successful. You never know one day that chapter of your life will come to a close and having a degree could be very important. If I happened to stop streaming, I still have my four-year Bachelors of Arts degree to fall back on. Plus it just doesn't make since and is a horrible business move. How else are you going to pay your monthly Internet bill so you can stream?

On closing, I want to note that not everyone’s life is the same and I think there are about a billion factors to consider when making life decisions. I can’t and don’t claim to know everyone’s story and so can’t advise concrete steps one way or the other (which is why I suggest staying in school but don’t judge people who chose to drop out when it made sense for them). My main point was to bring attention to the unpredictability of life, streaming included, and reminding you to look at the big picture. So while I wish you the best in streaming, you should always work on a backup plan while you chase your dreams.


Networking

So many people are afraid of networking because they’re worried about appearing sketchy or they’re not sure how to build relationships without being obviously self-serving. Just don't push your content in someone’s face. Instead build friendships with like-minded people. Your intentions should be to honest with others, not to take advantage of their hard work and viewership. That distinction is important. People, especially streamers who have had it happen to them numerous times, are very good at telling when your intentions are not honest. If you don’t enjoy someone’s content but you’re trying to convince them to collab with you, you’re trying to take advantage and not being honest with them or yourself.

Conventions or events (E3, Twitchcon, & etc.) is a great time for networking 
 I took the luxury of attending a local meetup "Twitch Chicago". Familiarize and introduce yourself to fellow streamers, developers and companies. It also might be a good idea to bring a business card. If you receive one from another show courtesy with them and follow up. 

Last, try following a few stream teams and consider getting on bored with the one you feel best fits your personality and growth as a streamer  I happily represent being apart of "The Cookouta safe space for PoC content creators. Who push for diversity & inclusion on all streaming & gaming platforms.

Consistency 

Well the word "Consistency" nearly speaks for itself  Just like any other job or business. You'll only see the results and growth as a streamer if and only when you are being consistent. I have more on this topic but I'll leave that for another day.

Well-being

Take Time Off  neglecting your mental, emotional, and physical health is only going to hurt your success. All streamers will eventually encounter a burnout — Heck even some of your favorite popular streamers get tired. It’s simply a result of the long hours and not enough diversity in your day-to-day activities. In other words....Get Out Of the Fucking HOUSE! 


Be Excited & Have Fun!

In my final thoughts, streaming is supposed to be fun. It is hard work and the hours can be long, but the core of it is playing video games and entertaining an audience. If you stream and don’t feel like you’re having fun, please don’t force yourself to keep doing it just because you think you have to. Find that passion you love for streaming and make adjustments that puts your happiness first.[/lock]

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Kay's Dosage: Streaming 101
Streaming 101
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Kay's Dosage
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