How to be a Streamer?
So, you want to start streaming online and become a streamer? No problem, we are going to walk you through how to be a streamer from start to finish. If you’re aspiring to become the next Ninja streamer or the best Twitch streamer these steps should help you get started.
Learning how to be a streamer involves a few steps and stages to understand. But once you’ve taken your time to get the building blocks in place you’ll be up and running in no time.
Table of Contents
What is a streamer?
A streamer is an individual who features in a live stream as a host and the term is traditionally associated with gaming. Live-streaming is when live-video is broadcasted over the internet, usually intended for an audience to watch.
Twitch is one of the biggest names in the gaming platform industry, with 15 million daily viewers who come to watch the wealth of professional tournaments, gaming talk shows, and casual solo sessions that the site’s 2-million-plus broadcasters offer.
So, it should be no surprise that there’s an entire industry built around broadcasting live gameplay, also known as live streaming, and competitive matches you can watch online, which fall under the category of esports.
Esports has grown so popular that some of these games are even broadcasted on television. As an example, ESPN-3, Disney XD, and even ABC all carried portions of the Overwatch League finals for their viewers. Overwatch is a popular team player battle game created by Blizzard (no stranger to online entertainment, having created World of Warcraft among many others). League play includes players and coaches from around the world, competing in thrilling matches in real-time with unique camera angles not available in the regular version of the game. It’s truly exciting to watch.
It makes sense if you think about it, really. While it’s fun to play sports, millions around the world still want to watch the best athletes to compete in sporting events. It’s the same with video games. There are games we’re good at, and those we’re not, but we can still enjoy watching them, especially when players are very, very good at playing them.
Live-streaming has a broad application within the entertainment scene, but the majority of people beginning on their streaming journey from home, streaming to people that have chosen to follow their channels.
What equipment do you need to become a streamer?
So, what hardware or equipment will you need as a streamer? We recommend there are 3 standard things you will need:
- A PC or laptop to run the equipment.
- A microphone to be able to speak with your viewers.
- A webcam so that the audience can see you.
- A mixer to control the audio balance
- A pop filter to avoid any audio issues
As with anything, if you want the best from something you’re probably going to have to pay a little more to increase the quality. Although, you can cut corners with certain elements to bring down the price initially, and then upgrade as you go along. Many do this at the beginning as they’re learning the ropes.
Here are a few of our recommendations below.
1. A Computer or a Laptop
Although there are a few exceptions, you’ll likely be doing most of your streaming from a gaming laptop or gaming PC. Whichever you use, you will need a pretty good setup to run both game and equipment effectively.
As far as specs go, we recommend having at least an Intel Core i5 processor (or its AMD equivalent), 8GB of RAM, and Windows 7 or newer. (Don’t worry; you can stream from a Mac, too.)
Just as important as you PC spec is your internet connection; you’ll definitely want to stay wired via Ethernet for the best possible bitrate. If your internet is terrible, you may struggle regardless.
For an in-depth dive guide, check out our Complete Guide to a Gaming PC Setup for more information on how to choose the best setup for you.
Relevant Article: Best Gaming PC Setup
2. A Microphone
Most would argue that getting a high quality microphone is one of the best choices your could make as a streamer. Some streamers double up their comms piece as a microphone, but most streamers use a standalone mic to capture everything while minimising background noise.
Related Article: Top 10 Streaming Microphones
3. A Camera
Not everyone has a camera, but some of the more popular gamers to tend to use a webcam or similar to help engage with the audience.
Here are the webcams that we recommend for streamers:
4. Other handy things
Both of the items below are not essential, but they would make your life a whole lot easier as a streamer.
How do you produce a stream?
You may have noticed that many streamers have overlays, graphics and other things that create a better streaming experience for the audience.
Below we’ve listed some of the most commonly used platforms for producing such content.
OBS (Open Broadcaster Software)
This is a free, open-source software package for recording and live streaming. It’s flexible and powerful, but perhaps the biggest benefit is the price tag of free. Even pro video game streamers use this one, and it is flexible enough to work with practically any available streaming service. It can take a little bit of time to set up, but OBS is a great tool for getting started.
Used by broadcasters and professional producers, Wirecast is incredibly flexible, powerful, and optimized for sending streams. However, it is commercial software and a bit on the expensive side if you’re just getting your feet wet. If you’re looking to add a lot of fancy transitions or to broadcast video games to multiple services, Wirecast is a good investment.
If you want a good blend of easy-to-use and power, XSplit is a good option. There’s a free introductory version, and if you like the features and interface, you can upgrade to unlock HD broadcasting and more production tools.
If you have an Nvidia graphics card, the GeForce Shadowplay software is a good choice if you want to put your video on Facebook. In just a couple of clicks, you can start streaming to the Facebook platform, and there are also easy tools for recording and replaying your best game moments.
Twitch studio is a free streaming app designed to help new streamers broadcast on Twitch.
How do you broadcast a stream?
After you’ve worked out how to produce your stream you will need to find a platform for your stream. If you watch streams generally you’ll be familiar with most already. You can stream on more than one platform at the same time.
The biggest name in the world of streaming is Twitch, which still has the largest number of broadcasters and viewers. It’s now part of Amazon, and the number of people watching has exploded over the past few years. It’s popular with gamers, but other streams can be found on the platform.
Twitch has a very active community, plus lots of features to reward your favorite streamers. Ad deals sometimes help streamers make this their full-time gig, but for most players, it’s just the fun of playing through a game, making comments, and interacting with other fans.
Twitch can be viewed on just about anything, from mobile devices (via apps or browser) to computer browsers, to consoles like Xbox and PlayStation.
Microsoft decided to get in on this action by launching Mixer, available online, and on Xbox.
Unique and niche than the other platforms, Mixer allows its live game streaming users to mix and match with co-creators or other like-minded users on the platform. The platform provides co-streaming as an option where a maximum of four users can stream their content at a time.
The community is still smaller than Twitch, but growing quickly as Microsoft has several nights each month dedicated to promoting the streams of players who regularly show up and participate. It’s a great way to find some of the newer players who are often playing new games.
YouTube has a streaming service called YouTube Gaming, although it’s not as popular as Twitch and Mixer. Still, it’s a familiar place for streamers from the other platforms because they’ll upload their edited live streams onto YouTube for their fans.
Streamers like Markeplier, Jack Septiceye, CohhCarnage, and others have millions of fans watching around the world thanks to live shows on other platforms, as well as tons of content posted on YouTube. They provide a great gaming experience in videos that are often edits of video game streams.
Even Facebook has its own gaming channel, though it’s still growing a bit. Facebook has over 2 billion potential audience members, more than just about anyone, and since it’s not as crowded as the other gaming sites, it can be a good way to see what this streaming stuff is all about before really diving in.
How to promote your stream?
If you’re starting from zero, promoting your stream will be slightly more difficult than if you already have a following on platforms such as social media.
But there are outreach things you can do to give yourself the best chance at breaking through.
1. Set clear goals
Before begging on your promotion make sure you’ve set yourself clear goals and something to work towards. These goals could be from subscriber numbers, social media followers or social reach goals.
But, make sure that the goals you set are achievable and something you can reach. There is no point setting a 100,000 channel subscription within the first week as you will never reach it and could potentially lose confidence.
2. Run social media accounts
If you don’t want to use your personal social media accounts, running branded social media accounts can be a great way of getting messages out.
If you’re not used to running social media accounts, our main platforms should be Instagram and Twitter due to the suitable demographics, organic outreach and creative power of those platforms.
Make sure you’re sharing content with your followers, as well as letting them know when you’re live on your channel.
More information on running social media accounts can be found in our social media section.
3. Connect with other gamers
Reaching out to other gamers is a really good way of learning new things, but to also potentially get some promotion through their channels. They might be happy enough to host or feature your stream on their channel and some larger channels even have ‘new streamer promotions’ in place to help new streamers.
As well as reaching out online, make sure you go to meet up and events. These events can be another great way to get to know other streamers and build a connection with them.
But remember, don’t expect them to do anything for you and don’t hassle them.
4. Tell your friends and family
Family and friends can be a great initial starting boost for your numbers, especially to get above any thresholds that a platform want’s you to achieve before giving you rewards and native promotion.
Friends especially could be convinced to start their own streams which would allow you to help each other out as you initially look for growth.
5. Stream as much as possible
Make sure you’re streaming as much as possible in order to bring in as many viewers as possible. If you can pick up a few random viewers as core followers, coupled with your friends and family, they’ll push you on to bigger growth metrics.
This also gives you more time to engage in your community and promote what you do and who you are. The more you do this the more subscribers you’ll pick up.
Top tips for streamers
The number one great thing about streaming is that it can be enjoyable to play your favourite games and also to be earning at the same time. We’ve compiled our top 5 tips for aspiring streamers below.
Related Article: 10 Tips for new Streamers
1. Watch others and learn
While we understand this is all about you, there’s no better way to be the best than through knowing what the best are doing. Study a few steams and understand what makes them successful.
Who is your favourite streamer? Is it Shroud, Ninja, or someone else? Who do you want to imitate more? What can you learn from them? Could you even do it better?
If you watch enough and learn enough, hosting your own streams will become much easier.
2. Choose a niche
It’s very important to not spread yourself thin or you won’t be able to define what you’re really about. Example, don’t start playing a long storymode campaign, and then all of a sudden turn to a racing game simulator. Not everyone will enjoy both of those.
Although, there are many angles to take on what a ‘niche’ is in this instance and it doesn’t always boil down to game choice. The niche might be based around you, doing something unique whilst playing a game. You night have so much character that you become a niche in yourself!
What is important is that the audience has an opportunity to enjoy and want to follow whatever it is you’re doing. Make that easy for them.
3. Engage with your audience
Remember! You’ve got to commit. Success doesn’t happen for everyone and definitely not overnight. Just like training your body for a triathlon, doing your math exercises to pass your exams, or pretty much anything in life, streaming requires commitment.
And not only committing through dedication, make sure you’re engaging with your audience. Streaming involves more elements than watching TV or a movie, it’s interactive. Remember, Most viewers will be lurking in your stream, especially if you don’t know how to break the ice until you engage and pull them into being interactive.
Building an audience will take time if you’re starting from zero, but don’t let that stop you from streaming and doing a great job of it. If someone drops in and you’re great, they will stay and watch, and then the next person that comes in will do the same etc.
If you are not always treating your stream as if there are 100,000 watching at all times, you’re going to miss out when it matters.
4. Collaborate with other streamers
This is one thing beginners always fail to do, reaching out to other streamers and building a connection. Obviously, you need to be building real relationships as your doing this and not just bombarding random streamers with messages.
If you’re building genuine relationships within the community and doing a great job on your stream, other streamers will likely be open to hosting your stream on their channel sometime. If that happens, it could give you a huge boost in audience numbers.
Many streamers get their break by either hosting other larger streamers or appearing in other streamers’ streams. It’s a great way of finding another audience for your content. But, try and make sure that the person you’re collaborating with has a relatively similar audience to you, in order to have the best effect of audience transferal.
5. Work out a schedule
If you’re serious about becoming a streamer then it’s a great idea to start organising yourself early on. Work out a schedule and stick to it. This doesn’t only help you stay organised, but it also gives the audience a pattern they can also follow.
Make sure you’re training yourself to keep to a streaming schedule, and streaming around the same time every time you go live. Having a routine will allow your audience and subscribers to plan their time to be available to watch you, eventually making it a habit for them. You might then begin to see repeat viewership on your streams!
If you can’t manage a consistent time make sure that you’re making it as clear as possible to your audience when you’ll be streaming and available to watch online. That can be through social media posts, or through the info section on your profile.
6. Get good equipment
No, equipment isn’t everything, but having a good kit behind you makes your life so much easier and allows you to go that step further every time.
A great PC setup will give you enough power to run as many webcams as you want, to share as much gameplay as you need and to run any game.
As well as that, a great streaming microphone will give you crystal clear sound, a great camera will make sure that people can see you and all the other little things will give you a foundation to grow a faithful audience that’s being lead by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Do you need to be a good gamer to be a streamer?
No, you don’t have to be a good gamer to be a streamer. You don’t even have to be a gamer to be a streamer! Many people these days are streaming different things from the comfort of their own home.
How much money do streamers make?
Yes, some streamers make money from streaming, but it’s all from hard work and dedication. A pro streamer streaming around 40 hours a week could be making up to $5,000 per month from subs as well as any sponsorship or additional revenue streams on top.
How do you make money from streaming?
The main way of making money through streaming and gaming is to be an affiliate on a platform that pays money based on subscription numbers. You can also receive tips, be sponsored as well as be involved with other monetisation methods.
So, we hope that you now know how to be a streamer and wish you the very best as you embark on your streaming journey.