Welcome back to the final installment of the week of Twitch blog posts. Monday we talked about hardware, Wednesday we looked at software, and now we get to talk about the most subjective part of streaming; finding, creating and cultivating a personality for your stream broadcasts. The first thing you want to ask yourself is, “What type of streamer do you want to be, and CAN be?”
I break down almost all streamers into two major categories. The Hardcore, pushing the end game/meta to the cutting edge, the MVP for ever match, or the eSport champion streamer and the more casual, laid back, social streamer.
You can choose either one, there is a crowd and demand for both type of streams but you have to realize there are costs AND whichever one you choose to be you have to walk the walk to back up the talk.
I can not help you with being a good hardcore streamer. I realized early on that I could never be on the cutting edge of endgames so I elected for the social school of streaming, that was realizing my limit of free time to invest in the meta, practicing and realizing I could not be competitive enough ranked matches.
Start out by mainly playing one game, gets yourself cred and settled within a games community, after that you can branch out with other games that you and your viewers might find interesting. I had a short stream session at the very beginning on Wednesday called “Wildcard Wednesdays” where I would stream a game I wanted to stream or that I found interesting to stream, indie games, TF2, and games kicking around in my backlog. I soon noticed that when I switched from game to game for every stream had significantly less viewers and participation than my regular Infinite Crisis nights.
No matter who you are or what type of streamer you want to be you have to find something to make you unique. I have seen some people adopt alter egos, other speed run classic games, some streamers have giveaways on stream, and a few who cosplay while streaming. I, from the start, have made good use of my positive personality, my corny jokers and extensive comic book lore to make myself out as a sunny, charismatic, and wholesome comic book geek who stream to talk about nerdy stuff, which worked really well with the game I have been streaming since day one, Infinite Crisis.
I also view my stream sessions as shows rather than live feeds of my gameplay and I draw inspiration for my on air personality from listening to how Political Speakers and Radio DJs talk and interact with their crowds.
When you start streaming you need to realize that people will be tuning in to watch you stream and if you want them to stay you need to provide a way to entertain them. That means not fumbling around with your broadcasts and doing your part to avoid extensive periods of Dead Air.
To help you with this, learn how to monologue. Go to YouTube and listen to public speakers and actors, see how they hold themselves and pay attention to how they talk to a big crowd, especially with politicians when taking questions from an audience. And always stream like the world is watching, never do a half-hearted stream just because only 2 or 3 people are there, instead cherish those few people who choose to spend their free time with you.
That being said it is normal and natural to completely botch your first few streams. When I was starting out my stream was a nervous mess and very early on I went into my setting and disabling the “record past broadcast” button, taking comfort in knowing that even if my stream session was terrible nobody would be able to find it after the stream ended.
If you get past your embarrassment and push yourself to keep streaming and keep talking, even if nobody is there, you will build confidence and you will develop a voice that warrants viewership. If you are still having problems set some time aside before streaming to make a short list of talking points and topics to mention and monologue on air. I did it when I was starting out and still do it now, it stops you from trying to scramble on air for interesting topics to talk about.
Outside of streaming be sure to deck out your channel’s panel area below, make sure it has a F.A.Q and links to all of to contact you, and make it professional looking. Also brush up on you knowledge of framing with your camera. Make sure you have a clean background, find the best position and distance to sit from the webcam and learn where your camera box ends so if you, like me, use your hands when you talk your hands do not fly out of frame.
Another solid tip I can give to all up-and-coming streamers is to have a great intro and outro for every stream session. For me, at the start I greet everyone with a “Good Morning everyone! My name is Spencer Nozell, this is Be MOP streams, and today we are playing ”
At the end of my stream I go full screen with the webcam, so it is just me at center stage to thank everyone for tuning into today and then transitioning into my ending monologue that covers; the suggestion to hit that follow button as a way to see me again, how to friend me on all the gaming platforms I am on, and plugging all of my social media links, followed by a hearty ‘Good Night’. At the beginning of my time streaming, I would also do a little comic/video game show and tell as a special thank you to the people who stayed until the end. I did that streaming segment until I ran out of stuff to show
This next tip is a big one from me, is use your chatroom on your stream. This works great with your second monitor that I suggested earlier this week, no matter what game you are playing people will eventually swing by your stream and chat room and when that happens be sure to be on the proactive and engage with them the moment you detect them, by saying hello and asking how their day has been, and thanking everyone who press the follow button (I always have my phone or my mailbox inbox at hand to see Twitch’s automated ‘New Follower” email come in real-time).
People tend to stay longer and follow you if you have a genuine conversation with them. Talking to your chat room will also make it easier to stream, by having a conversation it leads into topics and discussing you just could not reach just by yourself.
My greatest tip is do not imitate someone who is already important, instead draw inspiration and wing it and see what sticks and what doesn’t. What works for me might not work for you and your game’s Twitch community, but regardless of the community be transparent, especially if you do a one time company sponsored promotional stream or joining a partnership program. Be sure to disclose those fact from the start. It is alright to make connections with gaming companies, it is NOT alright to withhold the fact and not disclose that information when streaming or when you give your opinions or review of the game. Trust me when I say you do not want to get caught up with conflict of interests accusations, those sort of things can destroy the year and years of faith and trust you built with a community.
For reference THIS was the YouTube video that help me understand Twitch and helped me to develop in the streamer I am now and he might be able to better better communicate some of the points I made here today
But with that I hope this mini-series worked and good luck with your own streaming adventures.
Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
Disclosure: I am apart of the Streamer Partnership Program for Turbine’s A.R.T.S/MOBA, Infinite Crisis, which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
This blog post was written without approval, consent, or knowledge from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment or any of it’s subsidiaries