How to start streaming on Twitch

In this article, we help you start streaming from scratch, with a strong focus on what matters the most: having a strong personal identity and getting your communication strategy right.

As a gamer and a stream-enthusiast, you can’t think of streaming without thinking of Twitch. The platform is still the undisputed leader on the market, even with all the competitive media pushed from the hype around streaming. In 2020, the average monthly broadcasters were 3.8 million, which made its market share above 65% among its competitors.

The platform is obviously overly crowded, but it’s also where most viewers converge, so there is always room for you if you have a strategy to differentiate yourself from the crowd. In this article, we give you all the advice you need to start streaming from scratch, with a strong focus on what matters the most: having a strong personal identity and getting your communication strategy right. In other words, it’s all about how you’re going to market yourself to differentiate from other streamers and captivate your audience by being unique.

Without further ado, let’s dive into it to see how we can help you grow into the next OG streamer in the game!

Create your branding identity

That’s the very first thing you have to think about when you’re about to start streaming. What is your character’s personality? How do you want to be seen by your audience? If you don’t have any ideas in mind yet, don’t hesitate to step back and spend some time finding your own “brand.” It’ll save you a lot of time later!

Graphic identity

Creating your own personal graphic identity is crucial for your stream since it’s the first thing new viewers are seeing of you when they stumble upon your channel.

Define what colors you like and what you want the visuals to make your audience feel (comfortable, calm/relieved, hyped, excited). Then you have to choose if you’d like a particular avatar to be featured on your channel.

For example, BIIIIIIIIIIIIIRD has built his visual identity around his nickname and 2D character sprite: a pink bird. It became the primary source of visuals across all his channels (Twitch, Twitter, and Discord) and even a running gag among his community.

His Twitch panels all echo his avatar: the mighty pink Bird
His avatar became a running gag among his community; they're having an unofficial contest photoshopping it into random memes

Obviously, all of this has a price. If you have some money to hire a pro to do it, then go for it! But if you don’t, you can make it yourself by watching a bunch of YouTube tutorials (picking up some Photoshop classes can be useful at some point). Sometimes, ugly doodles work better than the pro ones because they convey a personal touch and emotions. Later, when you evolve, you can always sharpen your visual based on the original idea!

On the topic of streaming visuals, here are some jargons you need to know:

 

Logo: A logo is a graphic design piece that translates your ambitions and who you are. A logo isn’t mandatory; as long as you’re not 100% committed to streaming and wanting to become professional, it can be a classic profile picture.

 

Banner: The banner often comes in pair with the logo since they have the same objective. But the banner can also be used to show what you’re doing, who are your sponsors and partners, etc.

 

Overlay: An overlay is a set of graphic pieces that comes on top of your stream to make it look better, communicate with your viewers, or give your channel a more customized look.

 

Panels: Twitch panels gives the opportunity to streamers to showcase themselves and their branding on their own Twitch page. Panels are either graphic or text blocs that you can customize with titles, visuals, and embedded links for your viewers.

 

Alerts: They’re visual and sound alerts to warn you and the viewers when something happens: a subscription, a new follower, a raid, a host, a donation. They come on top of your stream as a part of your overlay.

 

Clips: They often last only a few seconds; their virality is exponential. Clips let strangers have a first taste of what your streams are like and decide whether they want to check your channel out or not. They can be created from your stream by either you or viewers.

 

Highlights: are such an excellent way for people who can’t see you on Twitch to catch up with your streams and see only the best parts of it (quicker than having to go through the X hours of replay on your channel).

What kind of streamer are you?

Some people are just great at being themselves on stream, but some want to split completely streaming and reality, so they created an alternative version of themselves: a character. You should consider spending a fair amount of time thinking about this.

Whether you stay true to yourself or you choose to build a character, you have to stick to it and even push the traits to make it fun for your audience.

  • Dr. Lupo is well-known for being kind-hearted: in 2018, he raised $600.000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and he went for $2.3 million in 2019.
  • Dr. Disrespect became famous for his eccentric character: he describes himself as “a character who plays multiplayer video games, and he’s considered the most dominating gaming specimen.”

What are you doing on stream

Nowadays, almost anything is possible on Twitch, from gaming to singing, drawing, painting, cooking, and coding. As long as it respects Twitch’s Terms of Service, you’re free to do whatever you want.

But that’s where it gets tricky! Most of your first viewers won’t mind you switching from game to game, but once you’re starting to grow, viewer will become more loyal and will come back to your stream to see you doing a particular thing if you didn’t specify that you were playing multiple games.

The best way to start streaming on Twitch today is to find a niche and dive into it as deep as you can to attract people interested in this niche before it gets mainstream.

For example, casino streams took a big place on Twitch in no time, while it’s not related to gaming directly. TeufeurS is one of these streamers. We wrote about his inspiring journey From banking suspension to the million euro.

Set up your Twitch channel

Once you’re done with all the previous steps, it’s time to get to the actual work: setting up your Twitch channel! Let’s go through all the steps, so you’re fully prepared to entertain your viewers.

Visual assets

The first thing to do is install and feature every visual asset you have gathered so far: emotes, overlay, logo, banner, alerts, and visual panels. Install them on both Twitch and your streaming software:

  • Twitch (for your profile, “About Me,” and chat): emotes, panels, logo, banner, and schedule
  • Streaming software (for your stream itself, to display it on screen): overlay, alerts, eventually your logo, and your emotes if you want to show them on your overlay

Description, text panels, and schedule

After inputting your visual assets to your channel, you need one more big step to finish the setup: writing up your channel description, text panels, and other extensions (like the schedule).

  • Description: keep it short, but you need to describe who you are and what you’re doing; many viewers will stumble upon this before actually watching your stream, so make sure it’s worth remembering!
Hiko's "About Me" section
  • Text panels: text panels are going with visual panels under “About Me”, make sure to keep the messages you deliver short and concise, so it doesn’t take too much room.
  • Schedule: if you can’t build a nice visual yourself for your weekly schedule, Twitch has you covered. There are tons of extensions to add to your channel by going in the Creator Dashboard.

Here are a few examples of Twitch extensions you can use to build your schedule:

Work on your titles and category

Twitch algorithm and browsing feature allow you to be featured in their categories, even if you don’t have many viewers. Choosing them properly will improve your ranking decently, so make sure to find titles that will make people want to check your stream! We wrote 5 tips to create great stream titles to attract Twitch viewers; you should take a look if you’re struggling with titles.

As for the categories, stick to the basics: select the categories related to your specific activity:

  • Language category to let people know where you’re from
  • Type of games: Shooter, FPS, RTS, Visual Novels, etc.
  • And others like Just Chatting, Creative, and more.

Prepare your communication strategy.

Once you’re done setting up your channel, you have to start preparing for the launch. There are a few points to go through to build a proper and decent communication strategy. If you don’t, people won’t know that you’re streaming, nor when!

Target audience

First of all, you have to define your target audience: who you want to talk to. It often depends on what games you’re playing/what activities you’re doing, but it can also be a matter of demographics (age, language, location/time zone…).

  • Select your audience based on what country you want to target: define the language, and shape your schedule. Prefer streaming early in the morning or after 6 PM CET, for example.
  • Select the demographics: do you want to target kids/teenagers? Do you want to speak with adults? Students? Girls or boys?
  • Imagine their interests and work on providing them the best entertainment related to their passions.

Visuals (clips/templates)

To communicate effectively outside of Twitch, you should consider using specific templates and get familiar with clipping/making highlights of your streams:

  • Communication templates are basic visuals that you can customize quickly whenever you want to post on social media. It should include every basic information needed for viewers to know what you’re doing on stream.
Luffy is a professional Street Fighter V player, and he often teases his stream events on his social media
monckey, a graphic artist, creates overlay scenes and social media visuals for streamers (monckey#8183 on Discord)
  • Clipping and highlights are a super-effective way to promote your content to a potential new audience: people on Reddit, TikTok, and Discord, on alternate servers, etc. They’re two different things but kind of working together: clips are short cuts from your streams (1-minute maximum), while highlights are a montage of multiple clips and other stream moments.

Promotion channels

There are multiple channels to promote your streams, but only a few are worth the time you put in:

 

  • Twitter:

The good thing about Twitter is that they’re actually giving tools to attract people to your content. Hashtags are a great way to do so, if you’re using the trendy ones, for example (the ones in the left column on your timeline). And if you manage to engage people under your tweets, even if it’s just a “fav”, all the people that follow them will eventually see your content in their feed.

 

  • Discord:

Discord might be the most important channel to focus on when building a community, especially now it has become so popular. Its power relies upon building your own server and inviting people to discuss either in text or voice channels. You can let them share their own content, play games through Discord, and so much more!

 

  • Reddit:

Reddit is the number 1 platform for informative and quality gaming discussion. Though it’s a superpower to go viral, be careful with what you’re going to post on Reddit. Each subreddit has its own community rules that you must adhere to, but most of them will ask you to submit posts for the purpose of informing, entertaining other members or igniting a discussion, not just to promote yourself with your clips.

We would advise you to join the subreddits related to streaming or the games you’re playing and contribute to the community first with great posts and comments before you wish to benefit from it. Soon it’ll payback!

 

  • TikTok:

TikTok is the latest player in the game, but it became pretty effective if used properly.

The goal of your communication on TikTok will be to post content that echoes your Twitch channel. Whether it is flashy gameplay or any kind of content you’re producing on Twitch, it has to be short, fast-paced, and exciting to convert people from TikTok to Twitch.

In one of our latest articles, we covered How to grow your Twitch channel with TikTok.

 

  • YouTube:

YouTube is one of the classics. Many content creators use YouTube to post their stream replays, highlights, and other tutorials they covered on stream. You can exponentially grow both your channels by having well-made and informative content. YouTube is all about bringing quality content. Find what works best for you, and go for it.

 

Though video editing takes a long time and requires a certain amount of skill, this isn’t a lost investment at all.

We covered almost everything in this article to help you start streaming in the most efficient way possible. Make sure to follow thoroughly every step of the way, and you’ll build a strong community and a decent viewer base in no time.

But at Gimbl.gg, we pushed it even further: even a small streamer can now monetize his content and retain his audience better thanks to our tools. For example, Gimbl Challenges lets your viewers send you conditions on top of a donation, like making a certain amount of kills during a game without dying more than X times (it’s harder than it sounds, actually!). They actually have hands over your stream and your actions, which makes it a lot more fun.

And it protects you from Donation Chargebacks at the same time, which is really good for a new streamer, especially if you’re still not super familiar with the concept.

If you’re still hungry for knowledge, check out our other #streaming101 articles to become a streaming icon within the industry:

Budget setups for new streamers

Streamer networking tips: the Dos and Don’ts

Tips to keep talking to …0 viewers

Creating great stream titles

How to stand out on Twitch

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