Level-Up Your Streaming Career – Think of it as a Business
Streaming is a potentially lucrative way to earn money from your favorite pastime. Big-name gamers like Ninja, Shroud, and StoneMoutain64 rack up thousands of views per stream and earn a six-figure income doing so.
Now is also a great time to get into streaming. In June 2022, Twitch reported a peak viewership of nearly 6.5 million concurrent viewers — a record for the streaming platform.
However, capturing a piece of the streaming pie for yourself is notoriously difficult. You have to constantly develop your offering to capture the attention of a wider audience and learn to read key analytics to make the algorithm work for you. In other words, you have to treat your steaming hobby like a business if you want to turn it into a bonafide career.
Popular streamers like Dr. Disrespect and Pokimane don’t leave their success up to chance. They know how to predict user behavior and create content based on trends rather than guesswork.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a tech expert to make use of user behavior analytics (UBA). You can use basic UBA to assess how your viewers interact with your content and tailor your next set of streams to suit this pattern of behavior.
Assessing UBA is something that FPS gamer NickMercs does particularly well. NickMercs records thousands of viewers every time he goes live on Twitch but has an even larger following on YouTube. Based on UBA, NickMercs tailors his gameplay to record content that performs well on YouTube by intentionally recording games that end in wins rather than high kills for his YouTube fan base.
Even if you aren’t an FPS gamer, you can still use UBA in the same way that NickMercs does. Try posting your streaming content to several different platforms (YouTube, TikTok, etc) and note which records the most views and interactions. When recording future streams, try to tailor some of your gameplay toward your top-performing platform as this will direct more traffic toward your stream in the future.
Understanding user behavior is important for the growth of your channel. However, you can only expect to grow as a streamer if you are consistent with your overall offering. This means you should try to have the same on-air personality every time you go live and should be religious about the time of day you choose to stream.
Being consistent doesn’t mean you have to go live every day — or even every week. Viewers understand that life happens and they won’t push “unsubscribe” if you let them know you’re taking some time off.
However, there’s a big difference between taking time off and missing scheduled streams. In the streaming world, nothing kills momentum like showing up late to your own scheduled stream or missing it altogether. If viewers expect you to go live and you do not, they’re far more likely to turn to other streams in the future.
Setting a work-like schedule is the best way to become more consistent as a streamer. Set your regular times and days for streaming and stick to them like you’re being paid to be there.
Entrepreneurs are constantly developing their skills to reach higher levels of efficiency and productivity. As a streamer looking to develop your side hustle, you should also partake in development opportunities that improve your stream and help your network.
Some of the best development opportunities are run by existing streamers. For example, StoneMoutain64 offers a streaming academy under the name of pipeline.gg. Opportunities like pipeline.gg are designed to give you insight into professional-grade streaming habits and behaviors and help bolster your current numbers.
Networking with other streamers is another form of personal development that you can steal from the entrepreneurial playbook. As a small streamer, you can amplify the number of eyes on your gameplay by teaming up with streamers who have a similar audience size. Collaborating in this way improves the quality of your stream and can significantly bolster your overall viewership.
Once you’ve built a following, it is time to monetize your stream and surrounding content. The best way to monetize your stream depends on your audience and the kind of advertising material you want to run. In general, Twitch offers three ways to monetize your stream:
- Bits and Subscriptions
- Running Ads Between Games
- Third-Party Sponsorships
Bits, subscriptions, and running ads are fairly straightforward and just take a little planning. However, landing a third-party sponsorship is as lucrative as it is difficult.
Third-party sponsors aren’t necessarily looking for average viewership in the thousands. However, they do want to see you offer a consistent on-brand stream that aligns well with their company’s goals.
To land sponsorships, you need to offer a quality stream experience. You can do this by investing in your gaming room with neon wall signs that display your logo and wall art that is non-offensive but quickly levels up your stream to the pro-level. You should also reinvest your early income into better mics, web cameras, and any computing upgrades you may need.
Launching your streaming career takes patience, effort, and consistency. You can grow your channel efficiently by paying attention to key user behavior analytics and tailoring your content to match. Try to reinvest any income you do earn into a better, more professional set up as this may make it easier to land lucrative third-party sponsorships.
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