Beginner’s guide to becoming a streamer

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Each month, 8 million people will live on Twitch, spreading their passions and talents around the world. And at any time there is 2.5 million people on the platform are watching content including video games, music, cooking and art.

If you’re one of those viewers, you’ve probably wondered about stepping out and becoming a streamer yourself. You can definitely do it, but there are some things you need to know first.

Build your setup

You can’t become a streamer without gear. Different types of streams require different setups, but if you just want to try your hand at streaming before spending your hard-earned cash, you can opt for the most basic setup of all: a computer.

Depending on how much RAM your machine has, you should be able to run streaming software (O.B.S. Studio is free and the most popular) and a video game of your choice. Keep in mind that more basic computers with 6GB or 8GB of RAM may struggle to stream more resource-intensive games that require more processing power. Your computer is arguably the most important part of your setup, so if you find that your machine is causing a lag in your game or stream, upgrade it before you do anything else.

[Related: Best streaming devices of 2022]

If buying a new computer isn’t an option and you have an old laptop that’s still working, you can use your more powerful machine just for gaming and the other for streaming. Dual-computer setups are slightly more complicated than running everything on one machine, so you will need a capture card to bridge the gap between devices. You’ll also need to buy one if you’re streaming console gaming or using something other than a webcam for your video stream.

When you have the right processing power, you’ll be ready to step up. If you want people to see and hear you while you’re streaming, you’ll need a camera and a microphone. But if you have a working smartphone, longtime streamer, and pro gamer Tyler Blevins, better known as Ninjasays you already have everything you need.

“You can use your phone as a camera and just buy a mount for as little as $8,” he says in his MasterClass, How to become a streamer.

From there, you can build as complex a setup as your budget allows. It’s a good idea to start with a proper microphone, as streamers agree that faulty audio is a bigger deal breaker for viewers than a subpar video stream. After that, upgrade your camera and invest in better lighting if you haven’t already. These elements are especially important if you stream anything other than video games, such as cooking or art.

Finally, pay close attention to the speed of your internet connection. Good streaming quality requires high download speed, as opposed to fast upload speed, which is better, for example, for a smooth Netflix experience. The minimum amount of throughput you’ll need to stream is 5 megabytes per second, says Ninja, and anything above 10 Mbps will get the job done. If you don’t know how fast your real download speed is, you can take an online internet speed test discover.

Create your streaming character

Upgrading your setup is always a good idea if you really love streaming. But if you want to see your community grow and eventually try your luck as a full-time streamer, know that you could spend all of Jeff Bezos’ fortune on gear and not get more viewers or subscribers.

For that, you will have to work on your content and decide what type of streamer you want to be: a gamer, a cook, an artist, a musician or whatever. The good news is that you don’t have to decide right away and you can try different things along the way.

“In my experience, streaming is an ever-evolving art form, so finding your ‘stuff’ as you go along and being open to trying new things has always made sense to me,” says Ninja per E-mail.

Once you’ve decided what you want to stream, it’s time to figure out what kind of artist you want to be, your persona. Most people think of streamers as loud, outgoing people who jump up and down every time something cool happens on screen. If that’s what you want to be, great, but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe you’re not very into talking and just want to show off your gaming or cooking skills, or maybe you’re a bit shy and prefer healthier interactions with your viewers. Whatever your streaming persona is, make it authentic.

“I only talk about the things I’m really passionate about,” says Ninja. “If I was faking it, my audience would be reading all of this and it just wouldn’t feel right. That’s why every time I’m asked to give advice to future streamers, that’s what I bet on. emphasis: just be yourself.

If you ever wonder about yourself, remember that the internet is vast and there’s room for everyone, whether quiet or wacky. Moreover, you can change your mind whenever you want. After all, at least at the time of writing, there is no streaming font.

Define your goals

Your approach to streaming will be different depending on what you want to get out of it. If your goal is to make a name for yourself and build a huge community, you’ll need to be strategic. Ninja recommends players pick one game and stick with it, at least initially.

” Most of the time, [people] find yourself through the game you play, not through who you are,” he explains in his class.

When it comes to choosing the game, he says it’s best to go for something that isn’t so mainstream that a million other streamers are playing it, but isn’t so obscure that no one is playing it. will want to watch. He also explains that every time you switch games, regardless of the size of your community, you may lose half of it, because many people may not be connecting for you, but for what you play. . He only recommends taking this leap once you’ve established a following that’s watching for you, regardless of what you’re actually doing on camera.

Another element to consider in your strategy is the promotion of your content on social networks. If you have video editing skills, set aside time to browse your feeds and post videos to platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

“TikTok is cool because people post clips and it’s the algorithm that shows their stuff to an audience predisposed to like it,” says Jess Boddy, special projects editor at popular science and a streamer known on Twitch as JessCapricorn.

But maybe you’re not in it for the clout or the endorsements. Maybe you just want to share your skills with the world and have a good time, and that’s fine. If that’s your goal and the numbers make you a little uneasy, Boddy suggests turning off the viewer count. At first, you’re likely to go live for entire streams without a single view, which can be daunting considering you’re probably not quite sure what you’re doing yet. She says not knowing how many people (if any) are on the other side of the screen can be soothing and make the fun easier.

Set boundaries

If you’re an avid stream viewer, you’ve probably noticed that some of your favorite streamers are live for hours and hours. This might lead you to think that this is how you succeed as a streamer.

But that’s not necessarily true, says Boddy. Moreover, it can even be very detrimental to your mental health. That’s why she suggests setting a schedule with specific days, times, and duration for your streams.

“Being live for at least an hour and a half is good, because it takes time for people to arrive. I notice that I reached my average audience an hour after the start of my stream”, explains- she.

Ninja also thinks having a schedule is essential to protect against burnout, but he insists that flexibility is key. If the numbers mean anything to you, he says staying a little longer on specific occasions could work in your favor.

“Surfing the waves is important,” he explains. “Sometimes you will approach your end time and you will have a raid or your view count will increase. Maintaining your streaming can be beneficial for you: it could lead to an average increase in viewership and bring you closer to being a [Twitch] partner.”

Still, that’s no excuse for working overtime on every stream, so it’s adamant that you should treat this as the exception, not the rule.

Scheduling also has an added benefit, says Boddy: consistency. “I’ve gotten to a point now that my community knows when I’m going live and they’ll be in the chat before me, which is a crazy thing to think about, but it’s also very comforting,” she says. .

Go ahead and stream

As with most lessons in life, there’s only a little you can learn about streaming by watching and researching – the best way to master this 21st century art form is to actually do it. .

So whenever you feel a bit ready, go ahead and start streaming. You’ll learn a lot along the way, and the fact that you probably won’t have many (or any) viewers at first will allow you to polish your stream without a large audience watching when something goes wrong.

[Related: Can playing video games be your full-time job?]

Ninja recommends jumping into the streaming pool and setting daily or weekly goals. You don’t have to debut with a three-hour stream – start small by going live for 30 minutes, and only go to an hour when you’re ready.

Boddy mentions that some people can get embarrassed if they know people they know in real life are watching, so they’d rather not tell friends and family about their stream until they feel more comfortable. comfortable doing it. On the other hand, you might want the support of your immediate IRL community when you’re just starting out. Do what feels right for you and keep going until you find your comfort zone.

Finally, be patient. Becoming a big deal online always includes a huge luck factor, and that applies to streaming as well. The most important thing is that you have fun and take the opportunity to share your beautiful personality with the world.

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