From pro-level players to teens in their bedroom, being a streamer or vlogger is now considered a viable career choice. Even if you only want to do it for fun, follow these tips to make your shows the best they can be and make the biggest impression.
What are you going to play?
Look around the gaming world and you can see endless streamers for popular titles like Minecraft, Star Wars Battlefront and Call of Duty. Do you really want to compete with those people? It is fine if you do, but can you think of a different angle to most of the content out there?
Whatever you want to do, try and find some way of being unique, and we don’t mean through a silly voice or by playing in a dumb or anti-social manner. Find a niche type of play, or a set of games that most streamers have overlooked to start in a niche that you can build on.
Pick a good name and get a logo
Your channel will need to stand out with both a good name a distinctive logo that people will recognize and be able to spot. Spend some time thinking about what to call your channel, and also if you want to use a stage name. If you’re no good at art, there are lots of designer apps, but the results can be rather generic. Instead, find a designer friend who can make a logo up for you, or hire a freelancer who can do it, there are lots available who will work cheaply on a small project like this.
These little details will help build your streaming brand and make it highly visible. Apply TV or cinema like production values to your videos where you can to create a good quality looking product that people will want to enjoy.
Get the right capture hardware
If you’re playing cutting edge games, or want to produce the best quality shows, you will need the best capture card you can afford. Prices range from $99 to several hundred, but are essential for getting the best footage off Xbox or other HD consoles, PlayStation TV or Nintendo Switch if you want to create non-live shows with the best edits and quality video. They are also good for capturing footage from retro consoles via HD adapters.
Build a community around your shows
With shows up on YouTube, you now need to get an audience. Mix them up with livestreams on Twitch and other services, along with Ask Me Anything events on Reddit or other forums to get your name out there and get people talking about your shows. These will help get your videos shared, commented on and help build your reputation.
If you don’t do this, then you end up looking like one of the wannabes who make little effort outside of the video itself, no matter how good that video is. So, some effort is required, but you can build these events into your overall schedule and if you want to be successful, then it is a required part of the job. See the example below…
Get people involved in your shows
Creating a set of videos featuring games with regular players helps build some loyalty toward your show, and these people are likely to help promote your shows. Having regular play times also helps people set their schedule around your shows. Always have a spot of non-game action for chat and Q&A to create an interactive element, and if you find a natural star among your fellow players, don’t be afraid to give them some of the spotlight.
Interaction and shareability are key to making your show a success, so from little competitions and giveaways to turning up at gaming events and conventions, these are all great ways to help reach out, meet people and become an influencer.
At this point, your tone of voice becomes important. Some people come across well with a hint of mania in their shows, but that is easy to overdo. Some will speak like they do on the streets and thrive with an edgy performance, but that can also put off people in this age of a global audience. Whatever you choose, make sure you can keep it up as your show matures, and that it won’t fall out of fashion.
Don’t flood social media
Unless you have a team behind you, being on every social media channel effectively is a huge undertaking. Instead focus on the few where you think your audience is, and do some research to see what is popular in future. Not so many gamers are on Facebook, so perhaps give that a miss, but if Mark Zuckerberg company decides to launch a gaming channel in the future, you will want to be straight on that. Similarly, Google Plus is pretty much dead and anything Microsoft or Apple does for social seems doomed to fail. Also, know the politics of the sites you use, YouTube seems to be really down on gamers at the moment, so consider that in your plans!
Focus on where gamers play and look to ride the next wave. For example, where did all the people go who dumped NeoGAF after its latest rebellion. What’s the new hangout for people playing the hit indie games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and its fast-growing community? Being in these places can help make your videos and brand grow really fast.
Be an effective producer
Finally remember the basics when making a video, use plenty of relevant tags, add text content that is findable by search engines. Link to it in popular sites and places, and encourage interaction without that constant begging that most viewers now hate. Instead, think of smarter and better ways to engage with people and give them a reason to come back to your site.
High quality video with good production values and compelling little stories as part of the overall episode are great ways to keep people engaged and visiting.