Livestreaming can be daunting for first time streamers, but it opens up a wonderful world of opportunity, fun and community for those that stick with it for the long run. For first time gaming streamers, there are plenty of do’s and dont’s to consider, and in our 2020 Streaming Guide we’ll give you 5 beginners tips to ensure you hit the ground running like a pro.
1. You Need A Good Mic, But Webcam Is Optional
This is non-negotiable, if you’re going to start streaming, your microphone quality has to be good, even if you’re not going to talk a lot. Investing in a good mic ensures that your viewers and potential viewers that land on your stream know you take streaming seriously, and that’s one foot for them in your door to check you out more. The good news is, streaming microphones are more affordable than a few years ago, and our top favorite is the Blue Yeti.
As for the webcam, this is subjective. Are you comfortable with showing your real face? Do you find it a distraction for the type of game you play? Will you be interacting a lot with your viewers and reading chat? Answer these questions and that will give you an answer as to whether or not you need a webcam. The benefits of using one is firstly, there’s a face to the voice, and it does grow your audience a little closer to you, the streamer. If your personality allows for jokes, laughter and reactions, that can enhance the stream if coupled with a webcam. Now if you do get a webcam, there are some ground rules.
- Lighting is key. If your room is dark, ensure that there’s a light source hitting your face or it will look terribly unprofessional.
- No need to cover half the screen with your face. A small corner of the screen will do, or use a chroma-key/green screen to take it up a level to make yourself look more presentable.
2. The Right Encoder Settings
To livestream like a pro, you’ll need a few basic software and some knowledge of how it all works. Firstly, find out if your internet upload speed is fast enough to handle Twitch or YouTube’s encoder bit-rates, and if you’re good to go, then you simply need an encoder to start streaming your gameplay. The right settings are different for everybody, and this is where some trial and error will serve you big time.
Generally if you’re new to Twitch streaming and are not an affiliate, people tend to stick to the following:
- 720p 60FPS (downscale recommended)
- 2500-4500 bit-rate (upload speed dependent)
The range above is a base-line and should be experimented with, and you’re looking for a smooth stream experience with very minimal blurring especially if you’re streaming fast-moving games, like FPS titles.
3. Make a Consistent Stream Schedule
Imagine if your favorite TV show that comes on every Saturday night at 10pm suddenly changes it’s schedule to release on a random day each week moving forward. Kinda sucks doesn’t it? For viewers who want to follow and support their favorite streamers, it’s sort of similar. When just starting out, you should definitely play around with stream times and find a schedule that works for you, because once you start getting more followers and attention, it’s not advisable to change your stream times and schedules too much, or you risk alienating your core following. It’s key to be consistent with your streaming times as much as possible once you have a decent following.
4. Work Towards Monetization
Once you’ve set up and maybe knocked a few streaming sessions out of the way, it’s time to ask yourself if you’re ready for the next step which is monetizing yourself. Ever watched a big streamer rack in tons of tips, Cheers, Superchats and donations while playing the game they love? That could be you, but first you’ll need to grow your channel until you’re ready to be monetized. YouTube requires 1000 subscribers, while becoming a Twitch Affiliate requires a lot less. Both offers decent ways to earn incentives, like Twitch Subs or YouTube Ad revenue from putting out content there.
It’s a grind but once you get there, it’ll be worth it. In between all that, it’s time to set up a Streamlabs account. Why Streamlabs? Because it’s the easiest platform which already is integrated on multiple streaming sites like Twitch, YouTube and more and that lets you earn some tips and donations. The Streamlabs OBS encoder is also a big plus, letting you adjust fancy stream art, tip animations and more without having to leave the encoder. Additionally, link your PayPal account or credit card info, fill in your tax info, and you’re now ready to earn money through livestreaming. The first few streams after you’ve been monetized may require a little coaxing for your audience to start tipping. Make sure to tell them that you’d welcome and appreciate any tips and donations, and express how that will help you grow your channel for the future. Don’t be shy and expect folks to throw money at you – sometimes you need to bring it up.
5. Be Yourself & Grow A Community
The one thing that can’t be researched or thought however, is how to unleash yourself to the viewing audience. Some folks are natural at talking or presenting on a livestream, while for others it takes a while to get used to. The most important thing here is to be yourself, have fun with the game you’re playing, and interact with the chat and viewers as much as you can to make people feel involved. This helps build your community over time, and the constant interactions also gives viewers a look at who you are as a personality. Again, this comes with more streaming experience, so don’t be afraid to let yourself go on Stream. Laugh, tell jokes, ask your viewers questions. These are all first steps into letting your audience into you as a streamer, and that builds long-term support.
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