You are live on Twitch, but what comes before rolling around in millions of bit donations? Turns out quite a lot. You need to build and engage a viewer base first. Not to mention fix problems as they arise, because everything that can go wrong will go wrong.
I explained category selection in the How to Stream on Twitch and Succeed series. Now, it’s time for the 5 tips streamers need while live!
#1 Engage the Viewers
Viewers could be watching YouTube instead of you. The advantage you have on youtubers is real-time engagement.
You can chat them up whenever you aren’t providing a constant stream of consciousness. Pose questions they can respond to during the stream.
- “How is everyone?”
- “Anyone have any music suggestions for the night?”
- “Did school/work go well?”
- “How’d that thing you mentioned go?”
Viewers are people too, and you should show that you have interest in their lives. Treat them like you would friends sitting on your couch.
Not enough active viewers in your chat?
Talk to yourself and respond to your own questions.
#2 Fix Problems as They Arise
Expect problems every now and again. Things happen and go wrong. If you don’t fix the problem immediately, it is sure to bite you in the ass later.
Problems can be anything from audio buzzing to weird creepers.
Audio buzzing is easy to ignore. Some day you’ll be playing a quiet game and not want to drive everything to a halt fixing it for irritated viewers.
Tell creepy viewers immediately when they approach the line.
All it takes is a polite, “Hey, knock that shit out, it’s weird. You’re about to cross the line.”
If they persist or argue:
Ban ’em. Nobody wants to have that creeper around. Kept around, they’ll end up sending you cat heads and weird Amazon gifts.
#3 Stay Interested
The number one reason streams fail is streamer burnout. Losing interest in the game you stream can lead to burnout.
If you aren’t interested, then streaming will like an unfun chore.
Imagine streaming 8 hours a weekday cleaning toilets. Anyone would burnout.
Have you played the game for 6 months and don’t enjoy it anymore? Swap games. Even if all your viewers are there for that game.
Imagine you are a streamer onboard for Fortnite’s rapid early success. You might lose half of your repeat viewers if you were to decide to switch to Apex Legends.
Anyone would prefer a 50% drop in viewers instead of 0 viewers from giving up.
Try not to stream too much at the start. That’s a recipe for early burnout.
Start slow. You should stream only a couple days a week or less for awhile. Once you become more comfortable, add a few days.
#4 Ban Trolls Immediately: FUCK THEM.
It’s not always obvious to identify a bad actor in your chat.
Someone starts saying anything off-kilter, borderline-racist, or are fishing for an argument?
Ban the fuck out of them.
You will never regret this. Ban early. Ban often.
Otherwise, you foster trolls that know they can get away with a lot on a new account before you take action.
All it takes it one dedicated asshole to ruin your stream for everyone.
Do not let them start.
#5 Check the Feed!
SLOBS and OBS both have preview windows on their display for a reason.
I’m not suggesting you sit watching your stream all day, every day.
Load twitch after going live to check if there’s any audio and that your actually displaying the game.
It’s easy to forget that you were doing a broadcast test the night before. Now your stream key still has ?bandwidthtest=true on the end and nobody can watch!
It’s also too easy to switch to an AFK scene, only to come back and forget to change back!
If your viewers are like mine, doing their own work while listening, they might not notice it. New viewers joining will find a streamer who appears to not know what the hell they are doing.
Plug your phone in, put it on WiFi, and keep your stream active on mute within your field of view. Easy peasy.
Bonus #6 Tip! No Heated Gamer Moments!
Don’t be racist. Like ever. Even off stream. How fucking hard is this one?
You aren’t racist. Your feed is functioning. You’ve banned the trolls. You like what you’re streaming. You’ve fixed all problems and you are keeping the viewers engaged.
A more perfect stream could not exist.
In the next article in How to Stream on Twitch and Succeed series, I’ll tell you how to find more viewers.
If you sign-up for the How to Stream on Twitch newsletter, then you’ll get it in your email as soon as I write it!
Ever have a stream problem or troll you had to deal with? Let everyone know in the comments below!