Legendary streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins is one of the most popular internet personalities on the planet today. He started out as a professional gamer, playing Halo 3 competitively for well-known e-sports teams such as Cloud9, Renegades, and Team Liquid. In 2017, he started streaming himself playing Fortnite Battle Royale—an online, free-to-play third person shooter—and the rest, as they say, is history. Now he’s eking out a very comfortable living for himself, streaming to millions of subscribers and earning hundreds of thousands of dollars while doing so. He’s gotten so big, in fact, that Electronic Arts paid him a million dollars to promote one of their games on his stream and social media.
Ninja is living the dream, but he’s also the first to admit that it took a lot of hard work, time, and a fair bit of luck to get here. In his Udemy course on streaming, he openly claims that he thinks he was at the right place at the right time when he first started streaming—and it’s true. It was easier to stand out as a streamer before you had to compete with hundreds of thousands of others streaming the same game on the same platform. However, he also believes that there are steps you can take to still achieve some level of success as a streamer, even if that golden timing has, obviously, already passed. Below, we discuss a few tried-and-true tips and tricks on how to grow your streaming channel:
Choose Your Platform Carefully.
Due to the immense popularity of live streaming as an activity, it’s now possible to set up a streaming channel on a number of platforms. There are the big ones: you can go live on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram, or use Twitter’s companion live streaming app, Periscope. There’s Twitch if you’re a video game live streamer, though the service has also started to host live music broadcasts and other creative content, as well as “IRL” streams.
There are even localized stream hosting services that cater to country- or continent-specific audiences: for instance, there’s YY, Douyu and Huya in China, AfreecaTV or NaverTV in South Korea, abemaTV and niconico and Japan. Basically, there’s really no shortage of places for an aspiring streamer to carve out a space for him or herself on the internet. You just have to choose the right one, so it’s important to establish what kind of content you’ll be streaming and who its intended audience is. Then it’s just a matter of going where the people are, so to speak.
One of the most popular live streaming platforms in Southeast Asia is Bigo – download it on the App Store or Google Play Store and you can instantly go live wherever you may be. It’s ad-free, easy-to-use, and also doubles as a video and voice chat app that you can use to stay connected to your friends and followers.
Break The Ice Early.
Speaking of staying connected, it’s crucial to break the ice early between yourself and your viewers. Most people watching your stream will be content to just watch and not really engage with you. In fact, you can expect that only a very small percentage of your viewers will take the initiative to interact with you, regardless of what kind of content you’re producing.
So, be engaging. Be positive and proactive. Greet new viewers when they join your stream, and start asking your audience questions and build conversations with them. Before long, you won’t be talking at a void; you’ll be talking to a loyal audience that’s engaged and eager to keep watching you.
Invest In Quality Equipment.
It’s worth putting some money towards things that will increase the quality of your stream. Just improving your lighting can make a huge difference; with good lights, your viewers will be able to see you much more clearly, even if your camera quality isn’t the best. From there, you can invest in a good mic to improve the audio, then a decent camera when your budget can spare it.
You don’t have to have the latest and best equipment when you’re just starting out, but it’s important to improve your audience’s experience with your stream to the best of your ability. You’ll be able to retain your audience better and attract new viewers in the process.
One of the things that all the great live streamers of our time have in common is that they keep to a consistent streaming schedule. Putting together a schedule and sticking to it religiously is how you turn an audience of casual viewers into regular ones. When you follow a routine, they’ll know exactly when to expect you. They’ll be able to wrap up whatever they’re doing before you go live so that they can give you their full attention.
Some live streaming platforms allow you to schedule your live streams in advance and post them in a calendar for your followers to keep track of. It’s also a good idea to remind your viewers of when you’ll be going live next before ending your stream. If you can’t stream for whatever reason, let your audience know in advance through a community post, via your social media, or both.
In Ninja’s own words, it took a lot of hard work to get to his level. You have to be prepared to put the effort in if you want your streaming channel to grow, too. Focus on improving different aspects of your stream until you find the combination that works for you. And don’t forget to have fun!