Streaming is an extremely competitive space. Intuitively, you might think it requires a lot of hard work to succeed, and you would be right.
However, not knowing where or what to work towards often results in streamers putting in long streaming hours without seeing much growth in their channel.
One of Twitch’s most successful streamers, Ben “CohhCarnage” Cassell, is no stranger to consistent streaming. After all, he once streamed for 2,000 days consecutively as part of his path towards growing a steady 2-3 thousand concurrent viewers. Today, he streams on a daily schedule to upwards of 8 to 10 thousand viewers.
Throughout his streams on twitch, he has talked extensively about how he managed to achieve his level of success. A great resource on his insights on streaming is a talk show called FrieNDA(pronounced Friend-D.A). Together with input from our streamers, we’ve collated the top lessons on streaming below.
1. Look into the mirror
Find out what kind of a person you can be on camera constantly, and grow from there. It’s no secret that people act differently in front of a camera. However, short of playing a character ala Dr. Disrespect, the secret to becoming a consistent streamer is to make streaming as easy as possible for yourself.
If you need to force yourself to be something you’re normally not when the stream isn’t rolling, you’ll more likely burn out from the effort and start finding streaming a chore. Sure, you can grit your teeth and continue playing along, but gamers are the first bunch of people to smell fakery and call you out on it quickly.
This is however not to say you have to keep to a certain character and be the exact same person as you were in the beginning. As much as consistency is good, a viewer that is invested in a streamer also wants to see them grow and have some form of character development.
Hence, it’s most important to find your on-camera comfort zone, before you start pushing the envelope on your stream.
2. Create a “home away from home”
Twitch chat isn’t the only home for their community that successful streamers have. Work on creating your viewers can hang out and feel a sense of belonging.
From discord communities to a website, having purpose-driven places for your community to interact with other community members is a great way to keep your viewers engaged.
For example, a streamer might create a website to house offline forum-based discussions within the community or run offline polls on the future games they might stream. The same streamer might then go on to use discord to engage or reward a specific community group (like followers-only discord or subscribers-only discord) to make them feel more involved.
Viewer retention is not a straightforward sum, but tools like websites and community apps definitely help. Check out Gank’s industry features that provide streamers with a ready-made community home without any of the hassle of website creation, design and management. You can even learn the best practices of streaming from experts all around the world!
3. Start broad
Start streaming on a broad schedule and then laser-focus on a busy time slot for yourself to increase your stream quality. There are only 24hours in a day, but not everyone has the energy to be at their best for all 24 hours. Depending on your own disposition, you might only have 6 “great” quality streaming hours in you or less.
For streamers, it can be said that you’re the most entertaining when you have the energy to do so. Maximizing your energy and having enough rest is also how the best streamers keep up the quality of their streams without burning out.
You might start off streaming 8 – 10 hours a day, but sooner or later you’ll identify a time where you’re at your best according to your audience statistics, and you can focus on that timeslot to really grow your stream quality and audience.
That’s not to say you’re always looking to reduce your streaming hours – no – in fact, many big streamers stream for long stretches of time. However, everyone’s effective hours are unique, and focusing on those hours will be the most productive for you as a streamer.
4. Manage your community
Learn how to manage your community from the start and build up your moderation team. Overnight success is a myth. However, getting spikes in viewership is something that can happen on occasion. To many streamers, these spikes in viewership are actually growth opportunities. Being ready for that spike is about 3 things:
- Having the moderation manpower or coverage to enforce your community standards on the newcomers.
- Having the community culture, or rules set in place for the newcomers to learn about you and your community
- Be ready to perform your best to convince your new viewers to stay.
Many new streamers get overwhelmed by viewer spikes: chat goes out of control, they become frazzled by the outpouring of support and chat and mods have no idea what to do.
Practicing and communicating with your mods Your stream is effectively your home, and when people come to visit, they expect you to be present for them. Any less, and they will leave.
The number one thing is finding a positive way of dealing with trolls. Big streamers face this daily and are used to it, but if you aren’t ready for it and let trolling get under your skin, it can make streaming torture for you quickly as you try to grow your channel.
5. Position yourself for success
For streamers, positioning yourself as a streamer is about negotiating 3 things: Streaming the game you like to play, streaming a game that’s good for your channel, and finding the right time for you to stream.
“You want to be right smack in the middle of this triangle,” says Cohhcarnage, in his episode of FrieNDA. He also shares that growing your audience is first about driving people from forums, Reddit, social communities, and their own social circles to their channel.
Having that base of viewers helps you rank higher towards the top of the streamer list for the game you’re streaming – so when the top streamer logs off, the viewers exploring similar content will be more likely to find your channel. Over time, constantly getting small wins and being discoverable will undoubtedly grow your channel.
If you are looking for more tips on learning how to stream your games for success, you can always talk to our streamers or content creators who reside on the Gank app.
These are industry (gaming) tested individuals who are experts in their own domains, whether it is streaming on YouTube, Facebook, or Twitch. You can surely tap on the treasure trove of knowledge we have on the Gank platform.