With YouTube ads no longer providing the revenue they once did, many gamers have turned to live streaming. However, it can be tricky to build and retain a live streaming audience. With that in mind, here are some live streaming tips to help your channel succeed.
1. Find Games That Are Trending
When choosing games to play on a live stream, you’ll want to opt for new and popular games that are currently attracting attention. Trending games are more likely to get the attention of viewers, helping them discover your channel.
Check the best gaming sites and search engines to see which recent games are in the news and garnering praise from players. If you manage to get a pre-release copy of a certain popular game, that’s even better.
The Twitch homepage also shows a list of popular games among viewers if you’re struggling to find ideas. But it’s always advisable to do your research if you really want to find out what the gaming community is currently focusing on.
At the same time, you don’t want to choose games that already have oversaturated coverage. Some popular games will still have streamers covering them months or years after launch. It’s difficult to compete with heavily established streams that have covered particular games for a considerable time.
Audiences of AAA titles with oversaturated coverage tend to stick to the streamers they know, as they’ve had ample time to discover who covers games in a way that they enjoy. Therefore, you may want to opt for new indie titles that are less mainstream, yet still popular.
2. Live Stream Games Consistently
As with any sort of content publishing, you need to keep a regular schedule when starting a streaming channel. You can adjust this schedule depending on your own time commitments, but consistency is key. You should keep a steady, regular output instead of streaming in bursts and then going silent for unpredictable periods of time.
If you don’t have much time during the week, don’t try to stream daily. It’s better to stream once a week or only on weekends if this is the case. Audiences prefer consistency over erratic and irregular content schedules.
3. Keep the Conversation Going
If you just sit silently while playing your game on a live stream, there’s not much of a reason for others to watch you. Don’t worry: you won’t need to constantly talk, especially if your game requires focus. However, keeping a conversation flowing goes a long way in keeping your audience engaged.
In a skill-intensive game or dungeon, explain your strategy and what you’re doing. When playing a casual game, comment on your first impressions.
If you’ve already done this, talk to your viewers, who will likely post questions and comments in the chat section. It doesn’t all need to be related to the game—sometimes your audience just wants to get to know you.
The type of conversations you have will also depend on your audience. For example, subscribers to the various Yogscast live streams typically enjoy their tangential humor. But an audience of hardcore gamers might want more guidance and tips when it comes to difficult games.
4. Thank New Subscribers on Your Stream
Subscribers on game streaming sites such as Twitch are your bread and butter, so you should thank them accordingly. Even a small contribution helps you make money from gaming, so make sure your audience knows that you appreciate it.
This may be difficult to do when you’re trying to focus on a game, but you can use a streaming plugin to somewhat automate the process. You should note that this doesn’t replace the need to make a personal mention during your stream. But it does give them some recognition while you wait for a gap in your gameplay where you can shift your attention.
5. Take Game and Song Requests
This is another way to show your audience that you care about their input and opinions. During your stream, ask them which games they would like you to try for your next session.
If you like to play songs during your stream, you can also take requests. The simple gesture of allowing audience members to select a song on your playlist goes a long way in fostering interaction.
6. Interact With Your Followers on Social Media
Speaking of interaction, some of your audience members will want to interact with you outside of stream chat. This is especially true if they can’t tune in every time. You should share your various public social media handles with your subscribers.
No, you don’t have to become Facebook friends with each follower. But you can share your Twitter handle and any other social media pages that you want them to visit.
Even if you’re not necessarily sharing gaming-related posts, many audience members will still be interested in what you have to say. You can even check out social networks that are specifically for gamers. The important idea is to engage your audience outside of streaming sessions.
7. Give the Audience Incentives to Return
Increasingly, audience members are willing to subscribe to or sponsor content creators who give them the right incentives. Live streaming, however, is slightly different from traditional content creation. So what can you do to incentivize your audience?
One of the best ways to do this is using giveaways. Just make sure that you understand the rules around contests for the platform you are using, and the region you are running the competition in.
Great ideas for giveaways are gift cards, game service subscriptions, and games. Items like these, which you can send keys for digitally, can save you shipping costs when you’re just starting out. Depending on your streaming platform, you may be able to incentivize subscriptions. For example, Twitch offers subscriber-only streams.
As your channel grows, you can aim higher and even get sponsored prizes from certain companies. But if you’re still a newbie, you could perhaps find some gaming deals to give away.
8. Get a Sponsor for Your Live Stream
For this step, you will need to already have a bit of a following. However, getting a sponsor can actually help you grow your audience further.
Getting a sponsor is often cited by streamers as a way of gaining a larger following. Some attribute this to the increased credibility that comes with being endorsed by a brand.
If you are unable to find a sponsor just yet, you should aim for affiliate status on a platform like Twitch. This increases your credibility while giving you additional revenue streams. However, this takes considerable hard work and is not a quick solution to gaining a following.
9. Get Other Gamers Involved
While live streaming is mostly a solo venture, it’s great to get some other gamers involved in your streams. It doesn’t have to be a regular feature or an official partnership. However, the occasional variety can be a great addition to your channel.
Try to find gamers with whom you have some chemistry. Banter is one of the most entertaining things for gaming audiences, especially in multiplayer games. You won’t necessarily need the gamer to appear in person. In fact, some great partnerships are formed between streamers who have never met offline.
You can also appear on someone else’s stream, which will give you extra exposure to potential new audience members. Squad Stream lets Twitch streamers broadcast together.
10. Use Decent Equipment
One major factor that affects your audience’s viewing experience is streaming quality. You don’t need to worry about establishing a flawless, 4K stream. But you need to make sure the quality is acceptable. Hissing microphones, serious packet loss, and highly pixelated visuals will chase most audiences away.
Make sure to equip yourself with a decent microphone and a fast internet connection before you stream. If you want to put a face to your stream, invest in a decent webcam too. Also, don’t try to play games which are too intensive for your gaming rig.
More Live Streaming Tips
Now you know some of the main ways to attract and retain an audience for your live streaming channel. However, you should use these live streaming tips while also improving the quality of your channel overall.
If you need more guidance, be sure to check out our guide listing live streaming tips to make your channel more professional.