Making Friends & Influencing People
Tips on Establishing Yourself as a Professional Streamer
Professionalism in the content creation space is a bit subjective. There is a marked difference between dabbling and being considered a professional at your craft, then again, being a streamer is special because anyone involved can both fawn and be fawned over, but they’re all in a rat race to get to the top. People may think that they’re on the same playing field but in the words of the venerable wordsmith Meek Mill: There are levels to this sh-t.
There is no tried and true method of guaranteeing success while streaming video games to the masses but if your goal is to grow your audience and present yourself as an established influencer, then there are a few tenets to stick to better stand out as a creator and look like a reliable and trustworthy contact.
Starting From The Bottom
A master chef doesn’t run around the kitchen with plastic knives, and if you’re planning on bringing heat to the content creator space, then in the same way you’ll want to get your hands on a decent computer; something with a little more capability than basic web surfing and spreadsheet building. I would recommend something with a lot of processing power, memory, and a half-decent graphics card. Once you have that, I’d also advise investing in multiple monitors, trust me, you’ll need the extra real estate. You’ll also want to grab a solid webcam, proper microphone, capture card, ring light, some external hard drives to store footage, branded assets, and most importantly memes!
Outside of these things, the key thing you’ll need to get started is a strong internet connection. You can’t connect to your audience if you can’t even connect to the interwebs. A connection with at least a 6-8 Mbps upload speed is required when beginning your streaming journey. This is less important if you’re focusing on just YouTube, but you’ll still want a decent upload speed so you don’t have to spend whole days getting your videos uploaded.
You’re free to stream whenever you want and play whatever you want but the main difference between streaming as a hobby and doing it professionally are the expectations you set. Making it professionally is a lot of work, it’s highly recommended that you create an online persona, not only for your well-being but to establish and set some healthy boundaries between work and play. Just like a real job, you’re allowed to have fun with it, but you also need to find a good work-life balance.
It’s All Part Of The Plan
Expectations are important, the expectations you set for yourself are just as important and if you plan on being a professional, you need a plan for everything. The best place to start is to set a schedule for yourself. Get a calendar or a planner and block out some time during the week when you’ll be at your most energetic. Choose a game with a concurrent, existing audience, preferably something you enjoy playing. You don’t have to be attached to this game forever, you can slowly integrate new titles if you’re trying to keep up with current trends (although you should definitely expect audience drop-off when switching titles unless you’re planning to immediately establish yourself as a variety streamer).
(Image provided by the unmatched Umbrallis
The important thing is to establish consistency so that your audience can grow comfortable and confident with the routine you create. Another thing to note is that choosing a popular game that a lot of people are playing will make it easier for viewers to find your channel, if you’re playing something that no one else is playing, you’re not going to find much of an audience. People will come for the popularity of your game but stay for your personality!
This is where creating an online persona and branding is key. I definitely recommend brainstorming and plotting out ideas to develop a persona or brand that you can visualize yourself representing and creating content with. If you’re not artistically inclined, commission an artist to create profile pictures, banners, emoticons, and gifs that align with your new brand.
Ultimately you get to decide what kind of content creator you want to be.
“The One Where They Learn How To Network”
As one of a thousand voices screaming into the maelstrom that is the modern internet space, it’s very hard to get noticed let alone become recognized as an influencer. A professional in any industry is defined by the considerations of their peers, that’s why networking is important. The key to success and recognition lies in an arena beyond the platform of your content. Community engagement is key.
Create a space for a community to grow; your success as an influencer depends on the reach and size of your audience, so it’s important to be active on some kind of social media. Whether that’s Twitter, TikTok, Instagram or Discord, the online persona you create is going to need a home; distilling and capturing fun moments for your socials is always a good way to put yourself out there. Engaging with others' content is even more important, if you can find people who share your ideas you’ll be able to learn from them and you’ll even be able to make new friends!
Speaking of friends, you’re not alone in the world. A great way to network is to join other communities and attend events in your area. Attending events like Twitch-con will expose you to face-to-face interactions with people from every community, find your niche and get to know the people you want to build a relationship with, it’s not always a competition, it’s all about collective success.
One last thing I’ve got to add, and this is essential: PLEASE LIST YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION ON ALL OF YOUR SOCIALS. If you’re going to network with others, you’ll want to put your contact information out there so that anyone looking to get in touch with you can find you. I’m not saying give out your personal phone number (unless you’re Rosario Dawson, then please call me), but list your email, or some sort of business contact in the “about me” section of whatever platform you’re on.
All in all, if you can secure the basic tools to get started, learn to stick to a plan, set expectations, and engage with other creators, you’ll be a professional in no time!
Published September, 23 2022
Last updated September, 23 2022