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A Full, Extensive, Thorough Guide to Streaming Video Games for Beginners (Part 2)

streaming video games

This is Part 2 of A Full, Extensive, Thorough Guide to Streaming Video Games for Beginners. If you haven't read the first part, I'd recommend it.

Without Further Ado...

I'm Streaming...But What Else?

Good question. The thing is with streaming, you never stop learning. Every streaming market, whether it's YouTube, Mixer, Twitch, Caffeine, Smashcast, Afreeca, whatever platform shifts constantly. The only constant is "change" with digital marketing, unfortunately, and you need to be able to understand the market until you can be considered a trendsetter. That includes looking at and understanding your analytics, making educated decisions based on those, and ensuring your social media has good coverage. I use the program Later to schedule posts, one a day, for my business accounts that are spread across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Later is Instagram-centric, so if you're expecting to post across all platforms you'll need something visual.

I'm considering the paid version of Later, since you can post plenty more per month and you get access to better analytics. Once again, study your analytics so you can understand what time works best for streaming video games and how your particular portion of viewership operates on the platform you've chosen. Just to be clear, I am in no way endorsed by Later or its related companies. I just happen to enjoy the program heavily.

Which brings me to...

Streaming Sponsorships...Yay or Nay?

Here is some interesting territory. I must be transparent in that I don't know very much about sponsorships, but this is what I've experienced with that world. Also, I'd argue you need to be careful with who you represent and what they offer, because if you start branding yourself too heavily, it can have strong implications. Here's what I mean:

So, Twitch and Mixer are two separate platforms that are heavily respected. They both have their positives and negatives. Many would say since Twitch has such a large streamerbase and viewerbase that it's the more toxic platform because so many people are trying to get ahead in it. It's easy to recognize followership and viewership graphs aren't climbing the way they used to, so sometimes people do a lot of unethical things in order to see success. I would know, I trusted people that basically used me. Be careful about that.

That aside, it's important to recognize who owns the platform when you're on it. Amazon (in my opinion) gives users a very strong streaming platform because they don't own very many streamable video games. There's Breakaway (recently canceled), Crucible, and now, New World (I'm desperately hoping AGS will change the name of that game). Even though their streaming service is superior in volume numbers to Mixer, I'd argue they give some sort of algorithmic preference to streaming their games. Why not? In the age where net neutrality is beginning a slow and unfortunate disappearance, if you wear a brand, that means you support everything that comes with it. Mixer is no stranger, either. One of the largest companies in the entire world would only naturally show their products heavily on their own platform, so recognize that when you start streaming video games, you are nearly endorsing a company and all the extraneous baggage that come with it. 

The same goes for sponsorships. Before you jump on the bandwagon of "I'm getting FREE/CHEAP stuff!" do your research about who owns the product, what the product does, and whether or not the product is worth actually supporting. The awesome guys over at Senshudo TV (whom I used to write for) had a similar incident where they dropped a sponsorship because of a poor product. Even though I decided to leave them on good terms (I got tired of game journalism), I still support them because of how ethical they are in this business. Remaining ethical is not easy to do.

Oh, and also try the product. If you don't like it, don't support them. That should be a no-brainer.

Depending on the product (and whether or not you sign a contract), they'll ask certain things of you. Some require banners put in your stream, other require small ads, it all depends. Just recognize they can be a turn-off to some viewers, and if you feel that they detract from your stream audience, talk to your sponsor about ways to improve their presence with you. Renee Reynosa clearly has a sponsorship with Monster. Often times her "advertisements" in her Instagram, or Twitter, or whatever social media she's on tend to have their branding in her photos, somehow. 

Oh, and I must stress. If you ever support a product and want to feature it in your social media somehow, ensure the label is facing the correct way before you post anything. It's sloppy to post a photo on social media only to see the brand you're trying to give exposure to is backwards

Also, please do not approach a particular company asking what you can get for free. That's downright stupid and companies will outright ignore you for such an act. I typically enjoy asking a company, "How can I support your product in my community?" It shows them that you aren't looking for handouts and it puts the ball in their court on how they want to proceed. If you get free stuff, celebrate and be sure to demonstrate how their product is awesome. That's exactly how I promoted Soylent once—I approached them in the same manner, they rewarded me with some free things, and I tweeted out once that I was using their shipping box as a small makeshift camera during the 2017 eclipse. I got free things, they probably saw an increase in sales, and everyone wins.

To be entirely transparent, I currently have a sponsorship with the company ForHims. They sell hair regrowth products that include prescription medication, shampoo, vitamins, and other goodies. I noticed awhile back that my hair started getting thinner progressively, and their products helped me re-grow hair. If you'd care to browse what they have, take a look.

One last thing—I recently learned some contracts on platforms will not allow you to stream on other platforms, regardless of your affiliation with the opposing platform. When you sign contacts, you earn that corporation money. There are implications there. Think about it.

Convention Conventions

I'll touch on this briefly. Conventions about streaming video games can be tiring. I can typically do a convention that lasts two days. A convention that lasts three days is just draining as all hell. I have yet to do one that lasts four days, but we'll see in the future how things pan out. 

As much as you may have some fanboy or fangirl experiences, recognize that your favorite streamer celebrity is also just a person. That's hard to do, because in the past I've ran into Soe Gschwind and completely fumbled my words up, until someone shouted "GET A SELFIE!"

ZOMG YES, SELFIE!

You'll likely lose your shit when you meet someone famous. Try not to. And also, don't be a creep. There have been some occasions I've heard of from esteemed streamers where people tend to follow them around incessantly because they don't know when to quit it. In the world of making money playing video games, there are ethical lines that you can cross, and this is one of them. Don't cross that line, or you will be ousted from communities and talked about in some circles. There was one streamer I remember meeting a few times during the San Diego Twitchcon that always seemed to have this level of anxiety when it came to meeting me, as if he was just desperate to meet as many people as possible. Conventions are great to network at, but also remember to have fun.

And be safe. The truth about conventions is that plenty of shit happens that people don't know about. It's just not publicized. I saw a Twitter thread years ago where someone at a gaming convention (PAX, likely, as I've never been to one) passed out home-made cookies to several people. One person found a very large needle baked directly into the cookie. I hope that whatever cosmic justice powers in the universe develop a very specialized hell for that person, but please be careful about what you accept from people at conventions. The cookie looked like it had red food coloring inside of it. It wasn't red food coloring.

I would also caution about running up to people and seem incredibly eager to do a mass following off the bat. If you've got business cards (you should at a convention), wait until the group is about to retire before whipping them out and mass-firing. It allows people to get to know who you are and see if they like your personality. "Business card first" doesn't make an impression on them. "Business card last" ensures they know who you are and they have a way to contact you / follow you. Getting a viewerbase is dependent on respect. Please remember that.

Conclusion

This guide focuses a little bit more of the "extra" things you'll come across being an influencer. Please understand it's just my experience and what I've learned, but I hope you're able to take things away from this and use them to your advantage, whatever you do with your content. If you'd like to email me or stop by the stream, here's my contact and schedule page.

Happy streaming.




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