Last Updated on March 6, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
Twitch is a popular platform for those who play games and want to socialize. It’s also a good way to make a few bucks if you have the right personality. Last Sunday, I made a return to Twitch streaming, but not for the reasons you might think. In reality, there’s a lot more involved than just playing a game or two.
At first, back in 2014, I began streaming for the sake of making money while playing games. I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy a career out of something they love to do? Unfortunately, my bills piled up faster than I could make money. So, I had to give it up and spend more time at my writing career.
Now, I have made a return to the platform with a whole new sense of purpose.
Why the Return to Twitch Streaming?
Don’t get me wrong, the money would be nice. I could stand to bring in even half of what some of the more popular people I watch take home. However, it’s not the solid driving force behind why I want to go back to building a routine of Twitch streaming.
Socializing with Viewers
One of the things I missed most is the interactions I had with viewers. It was more than just watching me play a game. I had a good report with many of my regulars, and to be honest, I miss all of them.
Twitch is more than just a gaming site. It’s built with many sub-communities all socializing in one regard or another. You can learn how to play a game, what strategies are effective and be entertained by the streamer all at the same time.
In fact, most of my favorite streamers are not even all that good at the game they’re playing. I watch them because of the entertainment value. It’s no different from paying for YouTube Red to watch shows if I decide to donate or tip the streamer.
I’m Playing the Game Anyway
I love games of all kinds. If I’m already going to play the game, I might as well broadcast. Sure, there are games that I’ll keep private. Sometimes I just don’t feel like talking or engaging while playing something. However, I might as well broadcast if I am feeling social today.
I’m really excited now that my daughter is getting old enough to play and stream with me. She likes a lot of the games I do, and I can’t wait to have her in-game with me. Some parents bond over sports, we bond over games and technology. We’re all a load of geeks over here.
Using it for Marketing Purposes
I am putting effort into developing ColoradoPlays and Crossing Colorado into something big. Because both sites have a degree of gaming in them already, it only makes sense to incorporate Twitch streaming.
Using backlinks, verbal call-to-actions and other elements, I can reach a broader live audience to market myself as well as my websites. Because I spend time trying to help Extra Life and other charities, Twitch gives me a powerful platform to share the message.
Building Structure in My Life
One of the biggest problems I have is chaos. I didn’t really have solid structure throughout my day, and creating a work and play schedule has made me far more efficient and productive.
This is what happens when you work from home as a freelance writer.
Because I want all of my plans to work, I need to adhere to a strict layout of my day. So far, it’s been going very well. The websites are getting traffic, my channel is coming together and I am usually done working with my clients early enough to stream.
I’ve been a freelancer since January of 2012. And for the first time since I started writing, this is the first schedule I’ve created and felt good about. Maybe it’s maturity or experience, but either way, it’s going well.
…And a Hope to Make a Few Bucks
Making money is more of an afterthought nowadays. I make enough as a freelancer to pay the bills and have a bit of extra each month. If I can generate some income for myself as well as the charities I support, then all the better.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be as popular as some of the biggest names on Twitch. All I hope to do is make a few friends, spread the word of my sites and have fun.
But bringing in the bacon wouldn’t be all that bad.
Is Twitch Streaming for Everyone?
Anyone can stream to Twitch if they really wanted to. Well, those who have decent enough hardware and a good Internet connection. For me, it’s a $1000 computer I built recently that performs exceptionally well in Twitch while using Century Link’s Gigabit Internet.
Engaging the Audience
The hardest part for some while Twitch streaming is engaging the audience. If you really want to get the most out of Twitch, you can’t just sit there and play a game. I know some who develop a following doing just that, but they are not nearly as successful as those who incorporate the audience in game play.
For many on the platform, it’s all about the back-and-forth. It’s the engagement and the interaction that really connects with the audience. This strategy is used by many bloggers, YouTubers and large corporations to increase popularity and sales.
I know, because that’s what I do for my clients.
The Wrong Reasons to Stream
Perhaps the biggest mistake many people make in Twitch streaming is expecting a big payout. You can’t start off with the belief that you’ll make $500 per day in donations, like some of the more entertaining personalities pull in.
I was expecting to make more than I did, but it just didn’t happen. This was because of several factors including:
- Playing unpopular games with a small audience.
- Streaming during low-impact hours. You need to find your ideal time slot.
- Not having a high-energy personality.
- Not spending enough time researching how to improve.
- A lack of a solid stream schedule. People like it when you’re on time, every time.
Games of All Kinds Welcome
You don’t have to be a video gamer to go live on Twitch. In fact, I often watch people play either Magic: the Gathering or Dungeons and Dragons in real life. Some of the broadcasters are incredibly funny.
Sigh, I remember my days of being a DM in Dungeons and Dragons. Those were good times as we huddled around a table in the garage and popping jokes to the point of crying.
The point is even a board game can be effective if it’s played by the right people.
You Don’t Need High-End Gear
You don’t need a $6000 computer system to get into Twitch streaming. Don’t get me wrong, more power is definitely a bonus. But you can offer a good experience even using something as basic as your smartphone.
As soon as we get the files cleaned off, my daughter will be using an eight-year old rig to stream with a cheap web cam. As long as she has fun, that’s all that really matters.
Hunting Those Achievements
Lastly, Twitch implemented an achievement-style layout for streaming. Now, you can earn achievements based on your activity. At first I thought, “Seriously?” Too many things have achievements in them already. Now, I think they’re kind of fun.
After my stream today, I should earn two more…one for time and the other for unique days.
If You’re Gonna Play, You Might as Well be Social
Don’t get into Twitch streaming because you want to get paid for playing video games. Do it because you want to have fun and engage an audience. In the long run, having a decent reputation is better than bringing in a $10 donation from someone. Think of the long game and enjoy playing. Not everything has to evolve around how much you make today.
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