Streaming has taken off in the last few years. Platforms like Twitch provide gamers with the opportunity to make a living while playing games they enjoy, entertaining an audience, and building a community. Many new gamers may hope to join the crowd and build their own fan base around the games they connect with.
I got a chance to chat with Couch Soup’s own Pagan Plays to talk about her recommendations for those getting ready to jump into the streaming world. Read on for her go-to tips on getting started, building a channel, and growing an audience:
Hi Pagan! Thank you so much for interviewing with me! The streaming industry has skyrocketed as more and more people share their love for gaming with an audience. For those who are new to the idea, what are the most popular niches for new streamers?
I definitely think that you shouldn’t necessarily focus on niches for streams. I think categories on Twitch can be very overpopulated such as Just Chatting, Valorant, Apex Legends, etc. Those are some of the biggest categories, and any competitive FPS is going to be very highly saturated. I think you should stream what you love and your community will build. Obviously, if you’re going to stream smaller games like Stardew Valley or Little Nightmares, you’ll have more of a chance to be found on Twitch as the areas are not as densely populated.
Speaking of category planning, what sort of things do you need to have figured out before you begin a channel?
A microphone and a camera (if you wish to be on camera). You can pretty much do anything from there. Those are the only requirements for streaming really. I started streaming from my PlayStation 4 using the PlayStation camera. It worked well, and PlayStation has an integrated chat feature so you can see everything from there.
Nice! One thing I appreciate is that not only is there a fairly low barrier to entry but there are also resources readily available online. Is there any education, courses, or software you’d recommend for someone looking to get started?
Absolutely. I think Streamlabs OBS is very easy for beginners and the interface is super friendly. There are so many amazing YouTube channels out there to help with tips and tricks to getting started with streaming such as Harris Heller or Stream Scheme and so many others. Definitely take the time to watch tutorials on the streaming software, and there are also some wonderful new tutorials on how to create your own overlays using Canva, which is a free-to-use software on desktop and mobile.
Canva is such a fantastic tool, and so user-friendly! I use it all the time at my day job. Now that we’ve got the foundation set, how can a newbie set themselves up for success?
Stream consistently. Twitch has some great achievements built in and they are great to follow to reach certain goals. Keep your chin up and stream consistently. If you’re not up to a stream, that’s ok, try again tomorrow. Keep organized and just enjoy what you do. If you don’t like it or aren’t genuine, your audience will pick this up.
I couldn’t agree more. When you’re passionate about what you do, it shows. Since we’re on the topic, what’s your favorite part of being a Twitch streamer?
I love my community. With every fiber of my being, I absolutely love being able to hang out and chat with a fun group of individuals who regularly join my streams. They’re so supportive, and I just have so much fun!
That’s wonderful! Finding a like-minded community can make the day-to-day work of building a platform rewarding. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself before you got started?
Just keep going and don’t follow a trend. Stream what you enjoy and have a good time. Keep talking and engaging with chat as much as possible, it’ll make it more fun to keep streaming and also helps develop relationships between you and the viewer.
You make a good point, there. Huge fan bases have grown around these titles because people are so invested in the characters and stories, which automatically gives viewers something in common to talk about online. On that note, do you have any tips for growing your audience?
Grow your channel everywhere. Discoverability on Twitch is awful sadly. If you have very few average viewers in a densely populated category, your stream gets pushed to the very bottom of the list, and you have way less of an opportunity to be discovered on Twitch. I would highly recommend TikTok videos; I’ve seen this work firsthand for Twitch streamers who have started with 1,000 followers and they’ve blown up to over 40k just from TikTok videos alone. The traction on TikTok is very good and I’d definitely recommend investing some time rewatching your streams, clipping anything you think is unique to your stream or funny, and then editing that for TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels.
The importance of social media can’t be understated right now. TikTok, especially, is booming with gaming content and offers a fun way to make content people resonate with. Now that we’re at the end of the interview, it’s time for the BONUS ROUND: What was your favorite game to stream in 2022?
I streamed Dead Space and Dead Space 2 and, honestly, it was a lot of fun. But I have to say I am having a lot of fun reacting on Twitch and using the Just Chatting category to talk about my hobbies and things I’m passionate about. I fell in love with K-Pop as a genre last year and have started streaming reactions and I absolutely love it. It’s such a great place to learn and my community helps educate me on things I wouldn’t know otherwise. In terms of video games, I’m definitely going to do more of this in 2023 but probably more cozy comfort games or group games like Among Us.
Thank you so much for chatting with me! This is a ton of valuable information for those looking to get started on Twitch in 2023. You guys can find Pagan Plays on the following platforms to catch up on her gaming plans:
If you’d like to read more on the topic, Stef Watson has a go-to article that helps you answer the million-dollar question, “Should I start streaming?”