We feel strongly about streaming and its role in our lives here at Empire Games. We believe that there are as many reasons to stream as there are streamers with no reason being more or less valid than any other. This means no voice is more or less valid than any other in the broadest sense. And we believe that this is exactly what makes the platform so fascinating and exciting.
Although it might not seem immediately apparent to those examining it through a more traditional lense, streaming is a creative field. It involves a lot more than just playing cool games or even playing them well. People can see and play games for themselves. What the audience comes back for is whatever the streamer adds to the gaming experience or the unique experience the streamer provides. That’s where the creative element comes into play.
Contrary to popular belief, not every streamer is trying to be a “star.” Some have a simple love for or even a compulsion to express themselves in certain ways. Some just want to have fun!
For all streamers, with or without aspirations of stardom, the more open-mindedly the streaming journey is approached, the more easily one can navigate the twists and turns encountered by anyone undertaking a creative endeavour.
This guide is intended for all streamers from all walks, and with all purposes. That said, anyone who thinks they have every answer for every person is kidding themselves and we try our best to avoid doing that here at Empire. With that in mind, we offer the following guidance based on our own experience and knowledge.
We hope you will be inspired, trust you will be informed, and suggest that you pay attention to what speaks to you personally, and leave the rest. This guide represents a collection of elements that have made all the difference to *us* among the streamers we have come to know, love and admire.
Setting The Stage
First things should and usually do come first.
Let’s start at the beginning by creating your online presence.
Once you’ve decided what to call yourself, you’ll have an idea of what your streaming account (and various other URLs) will hopefully match or refer to. Of course, this can be a challenge among an ever-expanding streaming population, as you’ll want to find something memorable without stepping on the toes of streamers who are already doing their thing (and who’ve already snagged those usernames!) Be careful not to make it too complicated in your quest to make it different.
Counter-intuitive spelling or a mess of special characters could make your name hard to remember, and maybe even work against you when your potential audience wants to search for you or recommend you to someone else. Once you do manage to settle on that catchy moniker, it’s time to get yourself set up with an account on the streaming platform which you’ve chosen as the tool to bring your stream to the world!
As Streaming grows in popularity and becomes more and more profitable, more options become available by way of streaming platforms. The most common and therefore most well-known streaming platforms are Twitch, Mixer, and YouTube Gaming. Although there are other options out there, most people will find themselves launching their stream via one of these specialized providers. Each have their own benefits and drawbacks.
Twitch, for example, is likely to be the first platform considered by any streamer. Especially those who aim to stream gaming exclusively. That’s not to say other types of streamers won’t enjoy the benefits of the largest available streaming platform.
Accepting more than just one type of streamer is one advantage offered by Twitch. In addition to boasting the largest community and therefore largest potential audience, Twitch provides its users with plenty of features tailored to streaming (ways to communicate with your audience, ways to store content, tons of customizable profile options, etc.) and has what it takes to allow it’s most successful streamers to make very real profits.
It might seem like the clearest choice but recently, other platforms have begun to provide real competition. For example, YouTube allows streamers to post videos outside of just streaming, which could add additional to potential profit sources when they are able to be monetized.
It is worth noting, though, that content posters will have to jump through a few hoops before they are able to monetize videos. Content variety may become a drawback when it comes to specialized features designed specifically for streamers which YouTube lacks compared to other providers.
Mixer, in spite of it’s smaller numbers, offers some of these specifics- for example, providing ways for streamers to interact with their audience, or sponsorship opportunities. If you are still trying to decide which platform is right for you, a great first step would be to check out our in-depth reviews of each platform.
The truth is, not as much is needed in this area as is likely to be coveted. The basics (for most) are a computer with an internet connection, a camera, and a mic.
Let’s compare streaming to another creative field to illustrate our point about coveting. In music, expensive guitars and effects or a million dollar studio don’t *make* the musician they just help or enhance their music, to varying degrees. If a musician is worth their salt you could take all that fancy stuff away and use the bear minimum, and their talent would still shine through. When it comes to streaming, there is plenty to be said about the excellent technology that’s available.
If you are in a position where you can grab all that top of the line gear, stress free- awesome! It’s only going to help and (usually) make things easier. If you aren’t in that position however, don’t worry, don’t be discouraged, and most of all- don’t wait! Get your hands on what you can get your hands on, and start with what you have.
You have nowhere to go but up, the top-of-the-line stuff will still be available when the time is right. The most important thing will be deciding what you are going to do, and *doing* it. Your collection of equipment, like your stream, will grow as you grow.
As you might imagine, we at Empire feel very strongly about this topic (*brushes dirt off shoulders*) as it represents the area in which *we* shine. This is where we find space to offer our own expressions, in a way that only we can. Good graphics provide an attractive backdrop for any streamer.
Great graphics *enhance* a stream, and further amplify what makes that stream unique in the first place. Some streamers are lucky enough to be able to translate their own vision for the look and feel of their stream into useable graphics that really stand out- which excites us! That’s what it’s all about!
For streamers at any stage who have a clear vision, but need it brought to life by someone as experienced and specialized as we are here.
For those who know they want something beautiful but aren’t sure where to start, we offer graphic elements that can be customized to more closely match a streamer’s unique style. We even offer simple, ready-made visual sweetness which we feel could help plenty of streamers achieve a great look quickly and easily a look that still sets them apart, and helps them stand out. No matter what your stream needs, Empire has a solution. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
So you’re amped about your stream, it looks awesome, and is it’s ready to be unleashed upon the world. How do you reach all those beautiful people whose lives are about to be enhanced by you and your stream?
Know Your Audience
This is another area in which not all methods work for all people. For example, avid social media fans might splash posts about their stream on as many accounts as they can visit, while others may try to make their posts a more occasional event. Some might not use social media at all. Whether online or in other areas of your life, a great idea for those just starting out is to begin with those you know.
Reach out to the folks who are already in your corner. Let them know you’re working on your stream, let them feel your excitement and see your passion.
In addition to those people hopefully helping you branch out with their own recommendations to *their* community, you can begin to reach out in the ways you feel comfortable social media being the most obvious, but certainly not the only resource available to streamers. For example you may choose to find ways to connect to other streamers or those who share your interests in the real world- like events and conventions.
What About Streaming Communities or Teams?
There are pre-existing organized communities within streaming- like teams- designed to help streamers help each other in growing their potential new audiences. Let your instincts, as well as what you do and don’t feel comfortable about, help you decide which avenues are right for you.
It’s great to push yourself outside of your comfort zones, and sometimes reaching out to those you might not know will require a bit of courage. However in the end, a tactic or message you are unconvinced is right isn’t going to convince anyone else. The steadiest and most reliable growth is organic- and that will likely involve some patience on the part of the streamer.
The longer you keep at it, the more your community will grow.
In the end, if you are offering something your audience wants (which essentially boils down to something they enjoy) it will go further toward expanding your community than any other means you could think of. Hopefully, what you’re offering is unique, and highlights what only you can bring your audience making your stream impossible to forget, or resist.
There’s an esoteric element to originality that can’t be taught outright. Originality isn’t just coming up with a new or unique idea. It’s finding a way to offer an expression of yourself, which, because you are different from everyone else- will *automatically* be unique and special.
Being yourself on your stream, to the furthest degree you can muster, will lead you to discover the truly original elements you have to offer not just to your audience, but to the world.
Isn’t that the point of streaming anyway? Connecting us all. What makes people want to connect with you in real life? Chances are that’s a great place to start when it comes to figuring out what you, and *only* you, can bring to the streaming table.
What’s my Badger Suit?
It can be difficult to discern the difference between being original and having a gimmick- but it’s an important distinction. One can actually look quite a bit like the other, yet somehow, originality is generally perceived as such and something contrived just never seems to connect with people the way the contriver had hoped.
For example, if your plan is to say, dress up in a badger costume to run your stream- this does not necessarily count as originality, even if it isn’t being done by other streamers you can think of.
The stipulation, however, is key. Somewhere out there there’s a badger-obsessed, costume-loving streamer whose most genuine approach to streaming would be exactly this. In this way, it would feel honest. There is a very good chance that any given viewer would feel as though there is really no other way for this streamer to stream but in a badger suit.
Develop a Strong Vision
Making decisions about who you will be as a streamer based on the hoped-for reactions of your audience might not sound like a bad thing, and we understand that there are many who prefer this approach. Especially among those who see streaming as a potential career. But we hold that the most memorable and outstanding contributions to streaming have come from people who have been themselves so fully that others couldn’t help but join in for the ride.
We’re not suggesting you ignore your audience entirely.
If you know the difference between self-expression and, for lack of a better word, pandering- you’ll be inspired to find your own “badger suit” element. That is- the thing that only you could do quite right, because it’s inexplicably a part of who you are. Those are the streamers who inspire us. They are the ones we remember, and the ones who keep us coming back for more.
Here’s to you becoming one of them!