Notes on Streaming

I’ve been making notes on the things I learn in regards to livestreaming. Just ignore this if you don’t care about livestreaming on Twitch or wherever.

My notes are literally just the raw thought as it fell out of my head. I provide these as a resource to dig through and refine, not as a final action for you to take!

I usually shuffle my note cards now and then to see if any new ideas fall out, so these are in no particular order. The card text will be in bolded italics fancy header font then any thoughts or clarification I have as a result of typing it will follow in non-fancy regular text.

By the way if you do use any of these thoughts for your streams or whatever, you owe me nothing. I’d love it if you let me know how it went, but it’s no obligation!

The notes start from this header ok

Get an email list started

Honestly this is a pretty boomer idea these days. It wouldn’t hurt but a more modern take on this would be a Discord server and Twitter combo. Obvious one really, most people already have this.

Somewhere outside of your platform you can rally the troops in the worst case scenario (e.g. if banned from the platform) and somewhere to let the community mingle.

You laugh you lose. Boss level.

People doing these contests are far too easily tickled. No way your chat could ever make you lose a YLYL that easily. Nahhhh.

If your audience can crack you, the solid-as-a-rock sense of humour having streamer you are, they’ll +1 their enjoyment stat with you.

!tts command (or any other redeemable)

Let your non-subs become superfans too. Some people can’t afford it right now, but let them have a chance interacting with your stream anyway. Chances are higher a superfan will eventually earn some decent cheddar and be happy to support your art than you earn any real money from hiding this one redeem behind a dono wall.

Btw I read the book Superfans by Pat Flynn recently so it’ll probably come up a bit as it’s fresh of mind. I’m using the word superfan to describe a person who will help you bring in other fans! :)

How? Just like I did there by introducing you to Pat Flynn. Some of you will go on to enjoy his works off the back of me mentioning them. That’s just what the superfan does. They’re truly happy to be the word of mouth part of your marketing team.

(It definitely does not describe creepers or stalkery types, nobody wants them)

Make a placeholder next video

YouTube one this. You can use cards at the end of YouTube videos, in your latest video of a series (e.g. vlog) set up a video telling the viewer that they caught you, you’ve not uploaded the next one yet!

Thank them for being a dedicated viewer, etc. It only costs a bit of time and ongoing maintenance but it should help build that connection with anyone interested enough in watching at least one more video of your thing. You can also plug your Twitch in this video. “In the meantime, head over to..”

Make the content. It’s on them to like it.

You cannot please everyone, you’ll lose your mind trying. People are different to other people. Make the thing you want to make and find the audience for it rather than trying to make content for the biggest audience. That second option leads to burnout.

Parody codemiko’s intro but it’s me dancing

Alright I had this idea after a few drinks. Recreate this video but it’s you dancing IRL and bait LSF with it. They love Miko over there, it’ll probably get enough traction to be worth doing.

At least it will for the the first of you to try it anyway :)

Why are you scared to go solo?

This one was very specifically for me. My reasoning is that I much easier bounce my humour off someone else. I’m also scared I’ll be caught with my pants down without anyone going “nah I’m not doing that”.

Once you know your demon it’s much easier to tackle. Figure out what’s causing that anxiety.

Be the guy other streamers come to when they need game servers setting up

Honestly this one was specifically for me again. Expand it by doing whatever it is you’re good at. Build friendships and help them create their content. They’ll likely (but of course are in no way obligated to) want to help you out in return.

Let people do stuff on screen. They love it

Redeems, bits, whatever. If they do something and as a result something happens on your screen that’s a dopamine button they’ll hammer away at.

Of course it’s a balance between stuff on screen and not being annoying for other users. Maybe only have it enabled on your Just Chatting screen so it doesn’t disrupt the game you play later or something.

Calling all nerds! Lets build something!

This sentence is being turned into a video my end because that’s the sort of content I’m making. The global version of this card is get your community involved! Obviously take the neccesary precautions to avoid being banned or whatever – only invite subs, etc. But get them involved!

There’s nothing more entertaining than being able to make the streamer laugh as a viewer.

Ok, obviously I’m procrastinating so I am definitely not doing it right now. Hypothetically though for the sake of argument, if I were to do it I would probably start by …

This one isn’t a streaming card, it’s in the wrong pile. Still tho, right? “Hypothetically” breaking it down is all I need to get started sometimes. I think I nabbed this one from that HowToADHD YouTube channel. Highly recommend by the way, even if you don’t have ADHD and are just a bit forgetful the stuff on that channel is super helpful.

On failure: Treat you how you would treat a friend failing in the same way

Don’t be a jerk to yourself. Hater’s gonna hate, and that includes you.

Evergreen content

Content that will always be relevant.

Additonally, content that will be searched for. Your 51st regular vlog upload is great, it truly is, I’ve seen it, trust me. But nobody is searching for it. Make some content you can upload that will hook people in by answering a relevant-to-you search term.

If I was a gamer, I’d make tutorials in addition to my letsplays. See what I mean? More hooks out there, more viewers come in. Still make the content you want, absolutely, but throw the odd hook content out there now and then too!

Make it easy for superfans to creep

I worded this in a way to keep it fresh in mind that while you should put additional unique content out through a side entrance (Patreon, etc) don’t go beyond what you’re comfortable with. Also there are creeps out there. Be careful and I wish you the best of luck that you don’t have to deal with creeps, honestly.

Breaking the ice at scale: Talk as if you’re chatting to a mate

Picture yourself in the pub, probably spoons knowing your mates. You’re sitting at a table but you’re only really talking to one person at a time. However, you’re talking in a way that anyone else at the table could fluidly enter or leave. Sometimes more than one person listens to you for a moment. Snapshot that vibe. Use that with chat. People are coming in and out all stream. Let them fall in and around the conversation.

Most streamers have already got this nailed firmly down but for the socially lacking of us I found it easier to picture a pub.

I want to build a network of nerds

Again this is me specific but build your troops, your bros, your army, whatever. Give them a name and they’ll report for duty (don’t abuse it).

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Almost every streamer in Scottish Twitch uses troops and nobody bats an eye. I am a part of the troops in about 6 different streams.

Give people possibilities

Not everyone wants to be involved in your content, and that’s completely fine. Give them easy paths in if they do decide to move up to the next level. Instead of asking individuals to join your game, pop the invite code in your discord. Let people no-pressure decide they want to get involved.

Also interpreted as: Teach them things! If you give someone a new skill they will be back for more. I truly think teaching is going to take a drastic online entertainment turn as a result of the kids who found Zoom lessons easier wanting more of the same. Mark my words.

If you can entertain and educate, you’re gonna go far.

Motivation follows action

Sometimes it just be like that. Give yourself 5 minutes to test the water if you’re unmotivated. Tell yourself if I’m not truly interested in doing this in 10 minutes time I’ll stop doing it. Just 25 minutes, and I’ll decide to not finish this task. It’ll only take 45 minutes and the task is completely done. Nice, that only took an hour. Done.

A quick summary of a concept in image form

I drew a pyramind and split it horizontally to separate the top of the pyramid “superfans”, “connected”, “active”, “casual”. Anyway it comes from the book Superfans by Pat Flynn. I recommend giving it a read.

Bait LSF (nicely)

This one’s cheeky and I don’t mean submit your own content. If you can somehow get in on whatever the flavour of the week (collab, parody, etc) you’ll attract a bunch of redditors to your thing.

Whether you want to do that or not is for you to decide.

Post the cards for this so far

Dunno how I’d use that idea :)

As I say teaching and sharing is probably going to be the next wave. Get on it.

Passive audience

Once you get over the peak of building your first 10, 20 viewers you’ll start to notice a passive audience.

There’s always viewers but never enough chatting to account for them all. That’s your passive audience. In Twitch terms your lurkers. Big events will help tease them out of the woodwork into an active audience state if they want to switch. Extended hours (12hr, 24h streams etc), special events, collaborations, etc.

If you can describe their problem better than they can they’ll trust you to answer it

Probably another one from the teaching-as-content series. Aye.

Be the guy who takes it seriously

Have you ever noticed there are some streamers that go all out? They’ll arrange lobbies for a game, they’ll draw people in, they’ll decide who’s in or out. If you take it seriously you become hub content. Viewers flow towards the hub over time.

Additional: Brand them. If I say the words “Hafu lobby”, you probably know who I’m talking about, generally who’s going to be in the lobby, which streamers you’ve discovered via the lobby. Be that person.

Twitch Builds

Sounds like a snappy title right, reminds you a bit of Twitch Plays and then gives you an idea of what’s going on right?

Wrong! It’s all about building a connection with Twitch. One day I’m going to ask them to sponsor something or pop me on the front page for something, I want to give them something now so they know I’ll play nicely with their brand.

On that note, if you ever want to build friendly terms with a brand – any brand, make sure you’re not over on reddit complaining about brands. Obviously fairly criticise all you like, but don’t make enemies with brands if you might later want some form of corporate sponsorship. People talk, people get new jobs in the same departments in different companies, people remember what you said.

Don’t just give them answers, give them questions

Pretty basic concept, if you answer everything perfectly there’s no reason for anyone to chat. Give people questions, they’ll ask them. They’ll get a dopamine kick when you answer them. Everyone wins.

By the way the one I used in this article as an example was not explaining what “LSF” is. It’s the subreddit Livestreamfail. You probably already knew that but had I not revealed it here there’d be a few people out there that would have tweeted or whatever to ask. Hopefully I’ve put something else worth commenting about in here :)

There’s only one first impression

Again a lacking in social stat one this. If someone comes into your stream and you’re doing something ugly, they’ll leave with that picture. They might even share that mental image with others.

Unless that’s your content, take a break!

Make your stories about them

I think this one’s lifted from that Superfans book, either that or Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crushing it! which I also recommend!

Essentially weave in little tidbits from the chat while you’re telling a story. I don’t mean incorporate something someone’s said into your story but if you notice someone asks a relevant question, smoothly slip the answer into your story. That’s great storytelling, and again is dopamine++ for your audience if you answer their question.

Picture that is essentially ‘structure’

I don’t know about you but all of the streams I’m currently following have a similar structure. An hour or so of Just Chatting, however long doing the main portion of the content, a nice wind down Just Chatting session at the end.

Not only is Just Chatting a decent place to hang out when you’ve already built an audience in your regular content sphere but it also builds a connection between you and the viewer. Again that’s dopamine++ and everyone’s happy.

Income reports

My streaming content is about building businesses live, right? I also share the profits with the people that help me build. This means every month if all’s going well there’s profit to be reported on. Have a regular big event and every member of your passive and active audience that can show up, will.

This also trims down nicely into regular YouTube hook content if you edit it well.

Never miss an opportunity to advertise

This one isn’t a card, I’m just pointing out I did it. That last one I turned into an ad for my own content. You gots to be sneaky. You gots to advertise.

Goal: The Gigaraid

This one is a for-me one again. Tell the universe your goals and it tends to start putting the pieces in place. Have goals, have public goals, have private goals. Get them written down. It’s easier to aim at something when you know where it is.

Oh what’s that? What’s a gigaraid? My goal is to be able to raid a person with 1k+ viewers and drop a hundo bomb of subs on them at the same time. Every stream.

Figure out how people word their problems, then solve them

We’re back on the YouTube side of the coin. Lets say you’ve figured out a good hook video. Find the people that video would benefit. Whether they’re on reddit, stackoverflow, wherever. Don’t spam them that’s not what we’re here for. What you do there is figure out how they word the problem you’re solving.

If they word it that way, chances are so will the person searching YouTube.

The Meta Show

It doesn’t hurt to share your working. If you’ve figured out something you’re doing might help other streamers, share it with them. Share it with the up and coming streamers. Put your name on their inspiration-deprived tongues.

If you’re the sort of streamer that other streamers watch, they’ll probably raid you. Just sayin.

Also yes it’s exactly what I’m doing here. Follow my channel.

I need more content

I think I got this one from Limmy. If you want to stretch out some content, scaffold your story the same way you’d tell a joke. This way you can just circle the punchline as many times as you want while keeping an easy ending in the back pocket for later.

The YT 2min rule

Basically the best position to put an ad in your YouTube video is at the 2 minute mark. I think I got that from Devin Nash but I can’t remember.

I can’t help everyone, but I would help anyone

I dunno man, just don’t be a dick to anyone because they’re in a group. Streaming works best when it’s inclusive, not exclusive.

Title + Thumbnail > Video

Basically if nobody clicks, nobody watches. Doesn’t matter how much effort you put into the video. Put just as much effort into the title and thumbnail.

Aim for ‘he gets me!’ and then get them

dopamine++

Crowd sourced learning

Fancy learning a new language, a new way to make something, how to build a website? There’s an audience for watching that process. Your audience will probably boost your learning too through resources and peer pressure :)

Leave information out

If you answer everything, they have no reason to interact with your content.

There’s always a chance you’ll look like a turtle out of its shell. You’ll survive it though

You know what every successful person has in common? They all failed at something before this. You gotta try else you’ll never know.

Give them a laugh. Never demean yourself, but get the laugh

People love to laugh, if you have them laughing, you have them laughing next time too (by that i mean because they will come to your next stream oh sorry you got that ok sorry)

People love list style content

I just realised that while writing this, this is gonna be a good idea.

Emotional consistency is more important than your schedule

If you come on depressed one day and then super cheerful the next 4 days and then depressed all the people you picked up during the happy 4 are going to wonder what happened.

Of course feel what you feel, but your streams are going to have a wonky time of it if you’re all over the place emotionally. Consider taking a day off gasp!

I’d recommend talking to someone with a medical degree if you can rather than chat by the way.

The type of person who wants power should be extra scrutinzed. Not to say they’ll definitely be bad, they just tend to be too heavy handed for small streams just getting off their feet. Watch out for any mods who take it too seriously. Jobsworths can kill a fledgling community.

It sucks to just say that so bluntly but tell me I’m wrong.

It’s less effort to be mean than it is to be nice. Don’t be a lazy c—

This one was propped up against my speaker, when did it end up in the stream pile.

Take the initiative and help other creators

This one’s related to the earlier one about taking it seriously. Essentially be the person that jumps in face first. A streamer you watch opens up invites to affiliate streamers or whatever? Get your foot right in that door.

Not your thing? Go give a streamer friend who would fit it a heads up about it. Not the reason you should do it of course, but chances are if they ever come across something suited for you they’ll pop you a note back.

Stop swearing

Bait card. It actually means be more share-able. You don’t actually have to stop swearing but if you’re in the early education space for example maybe you should consider it. Maybe you shouldn’t, it’s not my content. Make yourself easily share-able within your target audience though.

[As an example of this I’m going through now before posting and doing a swearword trim. It’ll be much more likely for someone to share this article if they can do so without worrying about me swearing up the joint in front of their friends!]

Make many passable things rather than spend forever on perfecting something

You have a massive massive idea for content right. It’s gonna put you on the map. We’re talking thousands of viewers, hundreds of retweets. I’ll start it when..

Nah, start it now. Get your minimum viable content put together and start there. It’s much easier to iterate than it is to scrap and start over. Quicker too.

Loss leader videos

Now, I’m usually a complete copyright nerd when it comes to content right. However.. However.

YouTube has the ContentID system in place. This means while you can’t earn money on videos containing it, you can use mainstream music in your YouTube hook content. You’re not going to earn money on this content but a fisherman doesn’t earn money on the hooks he puts into the water either. Take the ad rev hit sometimes.

Nobody wants you to give someone else’s thoughts

I could have just linked you to the books I mentioned earlier. I didn’t. Because I didn’t you’re still reading this quite honestly massive post.

Be you. People want to know what you think, not what someone else thinks but in your voice :)

Mistakes are GOLD, don’t waste them

Sometimes something will go wrong. Again don’t demean yourself but if you’re just a bit cringing about something that happened. Let the people talk. Leave it in place.

If you slip over in some snow or something and don’t get injured, it’s not the end of the world. Content’s content. Unexpected content is hilarious content. Hilarious content is shareable.

Always be comfortable doing the thing you’re doing though.

When in doubt, change your perspective

You’re the streamer, right? Of course you are. If you’re proper stuck on something though try to picture it from the audience POV watching. Does it really need to be that complex? Could you cut a few things here and there from your plan if it means making it work?

Move fluidly between all sorts of hats. You the streamer, your viewer, a potential sponsor you’ve been chatting up, Twitch itself, whoever. Get a different angle on it and see if that unblocks the inspiration pipes.

Stream the setup of a Rust server from scratch

I wrote this when Rust was having a moment but never got round to it. In any case what I’m saying is behind the scenes content is the next best thing (sometimes better) after your primary content. Get it BTS’d!

Just like any business it’s going to be all effort and luck. If you don’t put in the effort you won’t be ready for the luck. Good luck!

Long enough to say what it means on the tin that one.

Intermittent positive reinforcement

If used without considering the human this is straight up manipulation. Please be nice with it.

Lets say you play games with your chat, right? You actually build stronger bonds with the audience members that only sometimes get in. The person you guarantee an invite to every time? Not as into you as the person that got in once a few weeks back.

It’s a thing, trust me I looked it up on wikipedia. It’s the underlying psychology behind gambling. I discovered it from that Social Dilemma film if you fancy giving that a watch.

If you inspire them, they’ll inspire others to like you

Basically the way this one works is that I post all my ideas publicly like this and you like me more because it gave you new ideas.

What is up my nerds?!

Sounds like a dumb card to write but tell me you don’t know who starts every video with

BOYS!! Today we..

Aye it’s Ludwig, I’ve been watching a load of his stuff recently. Gotta keep a finger on the pulse of what them zoomers are into!

Ad rev: Split between mods

Lets be honest, the ad rev is the lowest part of the money pie that is Twitch. Split it amongst your mods and they’ll be on the ball for doing /commercial if you want, remembering stuff you need to do, etc, etc. Obviously don’t insult them by giving them pennies but y’know, make it known within the mod walls that when it splits out to be worth doing you’re going to do it.

Turns out even if it’s not much money, money is a smooth talker. Your mods become your first team. Remind them to pay their taxes.

This scales well too because if your stream blows up your mods get paid more. I pinched this idea from Sweet_Anita via Harris Heller I believe.

Emote only

Man, just make an emote that says “Emote only???” you’ll probably get a few stray primes off that the moment you spam it in a big streamers' emote only Among Us chat lmao.

Don’t actually spam, be classy.

That is the notes done now.

That’s yer lot. I’ll make a new post for when I next idea dump. Toodles.

Sike. Bonus one.

The rising tide lifts all boats

Network, network, network. I don’t mean go into every Discord server and utilize their #self-promo channel (although, do do that too). Be a part of the community in streams similar to your own. I’m not going to say abuse this relationship to shuffle viewers around. I mean legitimate friendships can be built doing this streaming lark.

It’s truly one of the best things that has come out of combining technology and media. Make some friends, sure they’ll raid you, you raid them. But it can be a lonely world living on the internet. Make your friends here. I’ve still got mates I could call on an actual telephone that I started chatting with on IRC what, 15 years ago now? Make some friends doing this internet thing, they’ll be with you for life.

Thank you so much if you read all of this. I do waffle on sometimes.

Heya! I’m Cohan and I make PHP-based websites. I also administer Linux servers and do other nerdy good stuff like that.
My real love is writing though, this here’s my outlet for that.
A picture of me.