Live streaming is something that has taken off in popularity over the last few years, with the number of people doing it growing exponentially. However, streaming is not for everyone, and it’s not something that you should just dive into without any preparation. Follow these steps and you’ll be ready to start streaming on any platform (Twitch, YouTube, Facebook) and ahead of many in competition.
Set your stream goals.
The most common mistake that new streamers make is jumping in 110% with little to no planning. It’s easy to get caught up in the initial excitement of starting, but starting out blind with no goal to aim for will result in burning out and losing motivation – inevitably giving up and quitting.
It’s unfortunate, but in today’s generation mindset, we tend to expect instant results from short term hard work we put forward. Streaming at 110% effort for a couple of weeks or few months will not guarantee instant results of being successful live streaming. It will take dedication and patience to build a community that you see from the bigger streamers. Creating a structured weekly routine schedule will promote viewership to continue returning to watch – after all humans are creatures of habit and being consistent in your schedule will form one!
When starting out or even pushing to grow larger, set small obtainable and realistic goals. Let it be setting a numeric goal for followers, subscribers, viewer count, or even consecutive streams without missing scheduled days. Another reason for setting realistic goals is that you can share these goals with your viewers to get them engaged with you – community building!
For example, say you’re a new streamer starting and you share your goal for 100 followers and your current follower count is 3. This goal is too aggressive. Think about it as if you were a viewer tuning in. You would watch for a couple of minutes and think wow this streamer has a long way to go, he/she is not even close to obtaining that goal. See what I’m saying? It’s off-putting. But now look at it as if you shared that your goal is for 5 followers and your current follower count is still 3. New viewers will subconsciously think ‘wow this streamer is close to reaching their goal’ and probably watch a little longer and potentially follow you to see your milestone reached. Small reachable goals promote Win-Win scenarios for everybody. The streamer grows their community, new viewers feel engaged as in they alone helped reach a community milestone, and loyal viewers will be engaged to welcome new chatters and celebrate reaching a goal. Best of all it creates hype within your stream that will keep viewers coming back for more!
What does streaming do for me personally?
This is an important question that should be reflected upon by new and small streamers.
Is streaming your fun hobby, is it your side hustle, is it your potential career?
Understanding your intent for becoming a streamer can clarify your mindset and reduce some of the pressure that you may feel. For instance, if streaming is something that’s for fun and a hobby, why sweat overanalyzing every metric? Just focus on enjoying your content and having fun, your charisma will come off more natural and viewership will notice and stick around. As a hobby, streaming becomes secondary, it’s about having fun and producing an outlet for creativity. There’s no pressure against failing, just go with the flow and learn along the way.
Now if streaming is to be an income avenue as either a side hustle or main career then yes, there will be some pressure felt. You will have to present yourself as a brand. That could mean creating a consistent theme for your content – persona, logos, overlays, alerts, and maybe unique catchphrases that fans will only associate with you. The object here is promoting unique content that nobody else can replicate and capitalizing on it through monetization.
Best time for you to stream.
This is a controversial topic. Sure, you can optimize your go-live schedule to hit peak viewership times or lower competition times in your niche, but is it worth disrupting your personal life for it, and more importantly is it sustainable long term? I would suggest that this method is not recommended, especially if you are working a full-time job or have a family to tend to. It’s not worth disrupting your sleep schedule in hopes of obtaining a small chance of increased viewership.
What I would recommend is creating a set weekly schedule routine and strictly sticking to it. If working a full-time job or in school maybe pick 2-3 nights a week and stream for a couple of hours. This allows your current life to remain relatively the same whereas you are designating your streaming to any downtime in your weekly schedule. For example, stream Tuesdays and Thursdays at times 6pm – 10pm and designate timeslots that work for your weekends too. What this does is promote consistency for your viewers so they can easily manage their own time for tuning in week after week. Being consistent also forms a viewership habit, they will tune in because, well, they always tune in – it becomes the nightly tradition. Only when your monetization brings in comparable income to your main income source should you consider going all in.
Review your surroundings to help you stream.
The most important part of streaming is being comfortable in front of the camera. If you are in a loud room it may be annoying listening to any background noise coming in through your mic. Maybe you stream in a common room where other people are present or come and go, this could be problematic as you may freeze or tense up when somebody else is present in the room – your viewers will pick up on that. Wherever you stream you want to be 100% comfortable and be able to commit your personality or persona without interruptions. For most people, this would be a quiet private room with the door closed and window shades down.
Another tip for starting out would be to hide your viewer count in your streaming dashboard. This is a common mistake for streamers starting out. So many times you tune in to a new streamer’s live stream and you can instantly tell when they notice their view count changes from 0 to 1. They stiffen up in their chair, their voice changes in how they speak, and their eyes keep glancing over to their second monitor double-checking that I’m still watching. These are all immediate turn-offs. I don’t want to watch somebody tensed up in their chair and frantically glancing at their second monitor every 2 seconds totally distracted from actually focusing on their content. You really only need to be distracted should somebody type in chat; otherwise, focus on your content or I’ll simply move onto somebody else. The takeaway here is quite simple and easy, turn off your viewer count in your stream dashboard and stream away! Only when you end the stream should you take the time and pull up the stats to review viewer count.
How to avoid feeling unmotivated?
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If your serious about streaming then keeping your motivation levels high is very important for the long game. Motivation is typically lost when one commits a large amount of effort to something and the reward is very small or not present at all. Almost all new streamers go through the previous statement. Here’s probably the most important tip in the article.
Do not over-commit and burn out. You have to be strict with yourself and enforce self-constraint. Set your schedule and times and keep days off as days off. Start stream on time and end stream on time, do not stream overtime. Why you may ask, wouldn’t this hurt growth, if I feel like streaming more shouldn’t I? NO!
Ending streams on time and keeping days off as days off keeps your urge and passion to stream alive for the long haul. You will not get burnt out because the time away will make you excited to go live again. Your energy level will generally be higher and your mood much more positive. Your viewers will also be much more excited when they see you go live after some time away and will promote hype in chat during your intro.
It may be hard to end streams on time, especially if you are in the middle of something. But be strong, resist the temptation to “stream a little bit longer” to try and finish. The reality is there’s rarely a good time to end stream on time, you just need to accept the end time is the end time. But there is a positive out of ending in the middle of something. Your viewers will have a reason to tune into your next stream and be excited to watch you finish. If you pull a long stream to finish some viewers may never come back as your task was complete and they’ll move on watching something else, but if you break a task into multiple streams they will have the opportunity to become invested in you resulting in a loyal viewer going further! This is a very important concept that most new streamers simply do not grasp.