It is a lovely sunny day. You just wake up, full of energy. Grab a coffee, and you are more than ready to start a stream. “I’m gonna kill it today,” you think.
Unfortunately, half an hour has passed and nobody is watching. You feel disheartened, and all that morning excitement vanishes immediately.
We’ve all been there, the hard time growing your channel from 0 to 5-10 viewers. “Keep talking,” people said. But how? How can I keep talking, knowing that all of my efforts would go nowhere? Also, your mind goes blank, and you can’t find anything to talk about. Don’t worry, we got you covered. In this article, we’ll talk about some tips to help you be more engaging, entertaining, and animated to your audience.
BEFORE YOUR STREAM
The saying “You only have one chance to make a first impression” holds true in many situations, from job interviews to the streaming sphere. When someone pops into your stream, you have less than 30 seconds to convince them to stay. Most of the time, people come to a stream to seek the entertainment coming from the streamer’s personality, not the gameplay. Imagine if somebody comes to your stream, just to see you sitting there playing in the scary silence, they will likely leave you immediately. By contrast, if they see you talking, they will probably observe how you interact and engage with you on the chat. You have one shot, so do it well.
Prepare your fillers
Watching stream is the same as listening to a podcast, unless it’s a folklore series, you don’t want any dead air silence because it makes you feel anxious and it’s just …awkward. Since you want to constantly fill the empty space, you will need to prepare some fillers in advance. Think about the small talks, asking how they are doing, what you did yesterday, a film you’ve just watched recently, some industry events, a new game, etc. If they respond, continue the topic until it runs dry. If you have some viewers that often hang around in your channel, ask follow-up questions related to the conversion you had the day before. They’ll appreciate it. It’s also recommended that you prepare a cheat sheet with a couple of bullet points on topics to discuss when you feel the chat is a bit quiet. Stick it to your monitor, and you’ll feel a lot more confident.
Another useful tactic is to prepare some props nearby, which you can play around and find a story to talk about. The thing about streaming is that you don’t need to be excellent at gaming to be popular — people like you for your uniqueness and entertainment value. So say if you’re very good at telling jokes, go for it.
Having said that, it’s not easy to be talkative at first. It’s not something that happens overnight. You need to practice, practice, and practice. Do this when you are cooking, taking a shower, or driving. Once it has become a habit, you’ll find yourself at ease doing self-talk on stream.
Turn off viewer count
It’s noteworthy that Twitch’s viewer count sometimes does not accurately reflect the real number of viewers, and a lot of streamers have complained about this. You could be seeing 0 viewers on display, but it doesn’t necessarily mean nobody is watching you. Therefore, what you should do is to shut the viewer count off, and keep it away from yourself. That way, you can keep going with the same enthusiasm as if you’re talking to 1000 people. Don’t think, “well, I’ll just be quiet until someone comes in”, because you never know when they will come. Even if in the best case, you notice when someone is in, you break the silence and say “hey how are you doing”, they would just leave because they don’t want to talk, they just want to watch.
DURING YOUR STREAM
So you’ve done your homework: fillers, props, viewer count off – all checked. Now you’re ready to launch your stream. So, what should you talk about on stream? Anything, honestly.
Narrate your thoughts
If you’re an entertainer, silence is not golden. Let your inner monologue out, share your train of thoughts with the audience so they are on the same page as you. If you’re exploring a new game and are confused about how to play it, show your emotions to the audience. Through your narration, viewers will know how to play the game without figuring it out themselves. It’s also nice to grasp some background information about the game in advance for small talks, such as the creator of the game, how trendy it is now, etc. On top of that, you can narrate the in-game characters, switch your tone of voice from time to time to entertain your audience.
Read all the texts in the game
It sounds simple, but it’s a very powerful tactic. By reading out the texts in the game, you fill the empty space while feeding your audience with the game’s plot and bring the in-game ambiance to life. Your viewer will feel like they are accompanying you in the mission, and that makes a good reason for them to stay.
Sing to your audience
There’s nothing bad in singing on stream, as long as you don’t sing at the top of your lungs. Singing boosts your mood and helps the stream be more lively. Even terrible singers can make their audience laugh at their horrible “performances”. You can sing under your breath, and a bit more loudly if the song strikes your mood. The chances are that people will comment about it, and that way, you will keep the chat alive. You can sing to your playlist, or to the audience’s requests, or about what’s going on in the game and improvise on the go.
To give you an example, check out Stable Ronaldo‘s vibing videos on Youtube. The renowned American Twitch streamer is not necessarily a good singer. His singing is abysmal, to be honest: he forgot lyrics at times, he missed most of the high notes. Yet people loveeeee it. Take a look:
Bring in interactive activities
One way to increase audience engagement is to …provide your viewers with the tool they need. It’s as simple as that. Now let’s take a step back and ask ourselves the question at the heart of gaming: why do people play games, or why do they watch others play? At the end of the day, gaming is all about the challenges, the spirit of competition, and the connection between people. Hence, the best game is when your audience can truly immerse themselves in the gameplay, going through the same rollercoaster of emotions as you do.
Nowadays, there are multiple tools available for you to add this layer of audience interactivity on top of your stream, to name a few: Gimbl, Madskil, Gamebuddy, Dixper, and Daredrop. For example, Gimbl acts as a tool allowing viewers to challenge their streamers in exchange for a tip (donation) if the streamers successfully accomplish the mission. The tool is fun, straightforward, and free. While it doesn’t cost anything to add such tools to your stream, it can significantly increase your stream’s audience retention and create an additional revenue stream for you.
In summary, here are a few tips to deal with 0 viewership:
- Prepare your small talks. Place props around. Make a cheat sheet. And practice, practice, practice.
- Turn off the viewer count before it turns you off.
- Let your inner monologue out. Narrate the characters in the game whenever possible
- Read any texts you come across in the game. Animate your voice.
- Sing to the audience
- Bring in engagement activities. There’s no harm to it.
That’s it. And sooner or later you’ll get there 😉