Twitch’s success as a live streaming platform makes it an attractive place for content creators to work.
It’s the newest version of the internet watercooler, a place where people come together to “hang out” with streamers they like. It’s also a great place to connect with like-minded people.
But keep in mind, there are a lot of people trying to do the same thing. Twitch user counts continue to climb, but so do the number of streamers. Competition is stiff, and it’s getting tougher by the day.
So if you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to find some sort of advantage.
Start With A Plan
The worst streamers are the ones who don’t use a camera and have bad mic quality. If you’ve spent any time browsing old games or low-follower channels, you know what I’m talking about.
Everyone on Twitch has a vision for what they want. But those people (the ones with bad internet, audio, video, or all three) will always be playing catch-up. Even if they’re great at the games they play, viewers just won’t stick around. We all have high expectations these days.
The best channels — the ones that consistently attract new viewers — try to deliver a great and engaging experience. And at the end of the day, that level of quality comes down to two things: Personality and production.
I’m not in a place where I can judge your on-stream persona or give you tips on how to be a better host. (To be fair, a lot of that comes with practice and being comfortable in an “on-air” setting.)
Instead, let’s look at the things we can address right now: choosing the right mic, investing in a lighting setup, and adding background music.
Step #1: Choose The Right Mic
This might seem like a no-brainer. But if you want to be serious about your production value, then you absolutely must make sure you have a high-quality stream. That might not define how well you run your channel, but it affects whether or not you come across as a respectable streamer.
And in our Instagram-centric culture, perceived quality can be more valuable than actual quality.
When Twitch first started to become an internet sensation, everyone thought they could become the next PewDiePie. Some people played their favorite games with friends and assumed people would enjoy the inside jokes and funny banter. High-level competitors showed off their skills in Call of Duty, or built masterpieces in Minecraft.
But being good at a genre or playing a popular game isn’t enough. (In fact, you could argue it never was.) Your on-screen presence will determine your Twitch success, and it’s up to you to make sure that your audio is as clean as if you were sitting on a Skype call with each viewer.
Step #2: Invest In Good Lighting
If you’re a consistent streamer looking to grow your audience, I’m going to assume you’ve already got a dedicated camera setup. (And if you don’t have one, order a webcam today.)
Good audio quality is the most important thing you can do, but a crisp, clear visual comes in at a close second. Viewers want to see you — face-to-face interaction is how people start to establish emotional connections with you and the content you produce.
That’s a huge reason why Twitch has become so prominent. People will get to know you over time. They might listen to your commentary and interact with you in chat, but they’ll develop a relationship with you because they can see you.
And if you can show your authenticity and entertain them, you know they’ll be interested in jumping in to watch future streams.
Step #3: Add Some Background Music
The right ambiance goes a long way in creating an environment. And if viewers associate a specific mood with your streams, that might be the reason they stick around (or come back in the future) instead of moving on.
It’s almost equally important to choose the rightstyle of music. You don’t want to play death metal during your No Man’s Sky stream or classical compositions during an Apex Legends session. Knowing how to pair music with the game will help you set the tone for your stream.
You also need to think about how you are getting your music. It might be tempting to pull up your favorite Spotify playlist, but that can get you into trouble. Twitch has a history of cracking down on streamers who don’t obey their music rules — you don’t want to finally break through on the platform, only to get banned because you used music you didn’t have legal rights to play.
This is where something like royalty free music can save you.
Instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to license a single song, you can pay a fraction of that on a royalty free site. There are lots of places to find royalty free music for Twitch streams.
Some companies even offer a subscription service where you pay a single monthly fee and get unlimited access to their entire library…like a Netflix service that has royalty free music for Twitch streams.
But more importantly, it also means you won’t have to worry about Twitch’s copyright claims.
Always Try To Improve
In the end, your success or failure as a Twitch streamer all comes down to you. You could invest thousands of dollars on a gaming rig, a sound studio setup, and Billboard Top 100 songs, but your channel won’t be successful if you aren’t personable and your content isn’t engaging.
Developing a community can’t just be about the number of followers or how much income you make (if any). As a content creator, your goal should always be to share your passion with like-minded people. And if that’s your goal, those people will find you.
…but sticking to these three steps will definitely help you on your journey.
About Author: Drew Gula is the copywriter at Soundstripe, a royalty free music company that helps filmmakers and content creators do what they love. He’s also a lifelong gamer who has spent a little too much time on Twitch this year.