Most esports athletes will have to support themselves financially through streaming. It provides them a less stressful way to play video games and interact with their fans.
How do I become a successful streamer? It takes commitment, the right equipment, video game skills, and an engaging personality. Streaming can be an excellent way to provide for yourself financially.
There are a few different websites currently dominating the esports streaming world. We’re going to focus on using Twitch in this blog. Please know most of the tips we discuss can easily be applied to whatever streaming service you decide to use. Hopefully, some of this advice will help you become the next streaming star!
The Beginning and Basics
As a newer fan of esports, I had no idea how much the industry used streaming.
I knew there were people creating content and videos on YouTube, but I never knew gamers were relying on these channels to make a sizeable income.
Being a professional gamer can be incredibly stressful. Not only are you having to compete against the best in the world but you’re also having to rely on tournament winnings to support yourself.
This is where being a streamer has been incredibly beneficial for esports athletes.
Streaming provides a way to supplement an income between tournaments or if a gamer is on a losing streak.
Tournament prize winnings are obviously very desirable and provide an immediate lump sum of money. But there’s no guarantee you’ll win a tournament every time you enter. That’s where streaming can help.
The esports industry is currently relying on a few different streaming platforms to support their athletes.
In this blog, we’re going to focus entirely on using Twitch. Obviously, YouTube has a massive following, but for pure esports streamers, Twitch is currently the king.
The most popular esports athletes are creating Twitch channels to share their content and interact with their fans.
Twitch has been around for several years (launched February 2014) and is highly regarded for its streamlined process. It was just a few years ago Twitch was bought by Amazon for $970 million dollars.
On average there are about 1 billion hours of content consumed monthly on Twitch.
Amazon obviously saw value in the service.
CHECK IT OUT
Where Can I Watch Esports Competitions?
I highly recommend going to Twitch’s website to get an idea of what I’m talking about and how gamers broadcast their content.
When you go to their website, you’ll see a list of the most popular games being played and the most popular streamers currently online.
Twitch provides a way for esports athletes to broadcast themselves live playing a video game while commenting about what’s going on. Fans can communicate directly with the streamers and also give them financial tips while they play.
Esports fans love the interactive capabilities Twitch gives them. All they want is to talk directly to their favorite streamers.
For older people, it probably seems very bizarre to sit around and watch other people play video games. I’m 27 years old, and it sounded weird to me!
To an esports fan watching their favorite athlete stream is highly entertaining. They love watching these highly skilled gamers compete and use insane tricks.
It’s comparable to an NFL fan watching their favorite team play on Sunday.
I had to learn a lot about streaming before writing this blog. The following tips and tricks seem to be the best way to create a career out of streaming.
Starting Your Twitch Channel
Congratulations you’ve decided to try and become a streamer.
So what do you do now?
Get a Twitch Account
To become a streamer, it’s as simple as going to Twitch’s website and creating an account. They have made it very easy for anyone to have a channel.
You’ll need to create a channel name that is engaging and memorable. Like I said before there are a lot of people currently using Twitch, so you need to create a name that stands out.
It’s no different than choosing a Gamertag. You wanted a Gamertag that was original, personable, and something people could remember.
Try creating a list of names that you like. Consult some of your closest friends and family to make sure you are choosing a name that you’ll be proud of.
If you already have a following on social media channels, I would recommend naming your channel after your social media. You want to create a brand synergy so that everything flows together.
Your fans need to know precisely how to find you and what you are currently doing.
By having the same name as your social media channels, you can let your fans know on Twitter when you’re about to go live on Twitch.
They complement each other very well.
After creating a channel and choosing a name, the next couple of steps are more personal. You’ll need to spend some time making sure you’re mentally ready for streaming.
The top streaming professionals make it look effortless but trust me talking on camera is not always easy.
Being able to communicate while answering questions and playing video games confidently is a skill set that not everyone has.
Even though you really want to have a streaming channel it may not be what best suits your personality.
You’ve got to ask yourself questions like
- Am I passionate enough?
- Do I want to be a competitive streamer or entertainer?
- Do I have a tough enough skin?
You probably weren’t expecting all of these questions when you first decided to pursue a streaming career. But these are vital questions you’ve got to ask yourself.
Do You Have the Passion?
It’s not enough to consider gaming a hobby. Being able to get on camera every single day for hours takes a lot of dedication.
This is why you need to make sure you are genuinely passionate about what you’re trying to accomplish. The people watching your content will easily be able to tell if your heart really isn’t in your content.
Competitive or Entertainer
The next thing you’ll need to decide is if you want to be a competitive streamer or more of an entertainer. Both have found success on Twitch and are reliable options.
Competitive streamers focus more on actually winning competitions, and showing their elite skill set. There’s not as much communication and storytelling involved. They let their gaming speak for itself.
An entertainer is skilled at video games, but they also try to tell us a story while competing. They are always talking to their fans about what they’re thinking and feeling.
These streamers typically have very engaging and funny personalities.
The last question you really need to ask yourself is if you are mentally tough enough to broadcast yourself on the internet.
As we’ve all seen the internet is a beautiful place filled with great people. People can be supportive and fun to communicate with.
At the same time, the internet is a sad and dark place. Very bitter people will get online and make you feel horrible.
It’s happened before where streamers will get bombarded with very negative comments while they’re trying to play. Angry people will mock a streamers looks, religion, and anything else.
You need to make sure you can handle these types of people and not get too distracted when they appear in the comment section. Don’t be afraid to use that block feature!
The best streamers know how to roll with these offensive comments and make sure their fans continue to get reliable content.
If you’re still on board with streaming after answering some of these interpersonal questions, then go get them!
Now is when you start putting the pieces together to build a successful streaming channel.
As a website developer and blogger, there are a couple of different tools I need to be successful.
To be a professional streamer, you need specific tools to be successful.
For streamers, a couple of the things you’ll need is gaming equipment whether that’s a PC or console, a good headset to communicate with fans, excellent internet connection to avoid poor streaming quality, and you want a quiet location to broadcast.
All of these pieces make the best streamers look professional. In today’s world fans expect high-quality content.
A quality headset makes communication between fans and streamers effortless. Fans want to be able to hear you talk to them and comment on what’s happening in the game.
Having a quiet place to broadcast is incredibly important. I wouldn’t necessarily watch a streamer if their area looks dirty or if there was a lot of background noise.
I’m watching your feed to hear you play a game and I don’t want to listen to your roommates arguing in the background.
Picking a Game
Once you’ve got all the equipment, it’s time to decide on what game you actually want to build your channel around.
Just like in competitive professional esports most streamers decide on one game they always play.
A few will play multiple games, but for the most part, gamers stick with the one game. It allows them to excel at a single game and for fans to know what to expect.
For new streamers, you need to decide whether you want to play an incredibly popular game like League of Legends or a less popular game that still has a lot of fans.
Yes, League of Legends has a ton of fans, and there’s a lot of financial opportunities there. But so many people create channels around these super popular games making it hard to stand out.
This is why it’s better to start with a less popular game to build a dedicated following. There’s less direct competition when playing these games.
Start small and work your way up. I’m not saying to pick a game you don’t enjoy playing just find one that’s more of a niche.
Have a Streaming Plan
Once you’ve made the financial investment in the equipment and chosen a game its time actually to broadcast some content.
Before jumping straight online, it can be very beneficial to have a plan in place.
I personally appreciated this advice. I like having things thought through.
Take a little bit of time to make sure you know what you’re going to talk about and how you want your broadcasts to go. Yes, your feed isn’t guaranteed to go according to plan, but there’s no harm in having some parts of it mapped out.
Brainstorm all the components of your stream. It can even be helpful to test some ideas out on your friends before taking it to the internet.
Try out certain jokes, conversation topics, and even your voice. There’s not much you can do about your voice, but it doesn’t hurt to get feedback.
Your followers don’t need to know that you have everything mapped out; they just want excellent content.
Goals and Expectations
During this brainstorming session, layout specific goals and expectations.
This way you know what you’re building towards and how long it’s taking you to hit these goals. I’m very goal-oriented and like having something to strive for.
Goals can keep you motivated and on track on days when you don’t feel like broadcasting.
Make sure you have a very well-thought-out schedule of how often and how long you want to stream. I understand this can vary week-to-week, but consistency is king.
Fans want to know how often you’ll be online and how long you’ll be streaming. If you go days without communicating, then you’re very likely to lose fans.
I’m not saying you can’t take breaks, but you have to let your fans know when you’ll be back. Otherwise, I’ll just jump ship to the next person.
You need to be consistent in your style, brand, and communication. If you’re going to be aggressive and talk trash, then you need to do that every single time.
Decide on the type of gamer you want to be and keep your brand on point whenever you compete online.
Ask yourself what do you bring to Twitch?
As I said, everyone can create a channel and throw their content out there to the world
You need to figure out what makes you unique and why people should be watching you. If you can’t clearly think of a reason why you’re streaming, then no one’s going to watch.
It really doesn’t matter what makes you unique as long as you have something to draw people in.
I just listed a lot of things that need to be accomplished and planned. It can seem overwhelming. But I want you to have success.
These are steps the top streamers are all doing to take advantage of the people tuning in. It’s really just a show, and you want to be as entertaining as possible.
As much fun as it sounds to be a professional streamer at the end of the day you have to get paid. No one does anything for free.
I wasn’t exactly sure how streamers got paid. What I didn’t realize was there are actually 3 ways on Twitch to earn money.
The first way as expected was through an advertisement.
Twitch allows their streamers to play ads while they are playing and also give shout-outs to their corporate sponsors.
During a broadcast, you’ll routinely see streamers stop playing for a moment to plan an ad. Gamers will get paid for the number of ads they show and how many people will see their advertisements.
Some of the smartest streamers will specifically play their ads while they take a break. It’s like a regular commercial break on television.
Beyond these scheduled ads some streamers will give verbal shout outs to their sponsors. Thanking them for sending them products or just giving them a polite thank you.
Just as sponsors put their logos on competitive esports teams jerseys sometimes you’ll see streamers have logos on their clothing.
Advertisers are happy to pay for their logo to be proudly displayed. It gets their logo seen by a lot of people!
You’ll even hear streamers hold contests to give away some of their sponsor’s swag.
DID YOU KNOW?
Twitch streamer Pokimane is sponsored by HyperX.
Personally, I always thought this was such a cool way to get paid. Unfortunately, not many people are wanting to pay for bloggers to wear their logo.
Subscribers Equal Money
The second way streamers make money is unique to Twitch. To follow a streamers channel consumers have to pay $5 a month.
Of that $5 the streamers will be paid around $3 for every fan that follows their channel.
This may not sound like very much money. But for the top streamers, who have hundreds of thousands of followers it can be a substantial amount of money.
This is why you need to be consistent with your content and trying to be as entertaining as possible. You want people to continually return to your channel and see the value in paying the $5.
This is such a great business model Twitch has come up with. It’s a great way to get the top esports talent to focus on their platform.
Lastly, streamers will earn money by actually getting tips. Or as Twitch calls them ‘bits.’
During a broadcast, subscribers have the option to tip the gamer if they’d like to.
Streamers are always coming up with unique and fun ways to encourage people to tip them. By either playing ridiculously good or saying something funny.
Tips can’t be heavily relied upon. They can be incredibly inconsistent.
If a fan does tip you, please make sure to personally thank them either through chat or by actually giving him a shout-out for everyone to hear.
The last thing you want to do though is to be pushy for tips. You’ll quickly lose your entire fanbase if they feel like they’re being spammed.
Between all three options, there is definitely financial potential in Twitch. It’s just essential that you remain sincere and hardworking.
Last Minute Advice
There are a couple more little tips and tricks I wanted to cover before you really dive into the wonderful and crazy world of Twitch.
In some of my previous posts, I reference how esports is a very community-driven organization. Gamers are always talking and strategizing together.
This community bond is present in Twitch as well.
You’ll routinely see streamers hold joint broadcasts. Where they will either compete together or against each other.
Not only are these broadcasts fun for fans but the streamers benefit from it as well.
Streamers are combining their total fanbase to create an even more significant following for each other hopefully. Everyone knows it’s all about having the largest audience.
This is why streamers don’t mind collaborating together. It helps get everyone more fans.
Take time to get to know other streamers, watch their content, and show them some love. If you aren’t going to be broadcasting one day then tell your fans to go watch your friend’s broadcast.
It never hurts to be kind.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
A slightly more negative piece of advice we do need to talk about is not to quit your day job.
Yes, there’s great potential on Twitch, but it takes a lot of time to build a following that can financially support you. Before quitting your job try growing a fanbase when you have free time.
I hope it can support you financially; it’s just having the right expectations and mindset.
Don’t Be Shy
Try to be as genuine as possible when broadcasting by showing your face. Don’t hide behind the camera or video game.
Let people see you so they can know who they’re supporting.
Lastly, don’t watch the viewer count.
Twitch shows you how many people are currently watching your feed. This can be both exhilarating and depressing at the same time.
It’s best to hide that number so you can keep your momentum.
You don’t want to get distracted by a number. Even if you have one fan watching it’s worth it to bring your A game.
Streaming is such a funny and weird part of society.
It’s definitely not going anywhere, and it will be interesting to see how it develops in the future.
How do I get more followers on my Twitch Channel? First, try holding a contest. People love winning things, and it’s a great way to bring in new fans. Second, if your fan base is stagnant try changing the game you play. Sometimes it can be beneficial to choose a different game whenever you’re just not seeing the growth you want.