How to Begin Streaming

Everything you need to know to begin streaming

So you want to know how to stream?

You’ve come to the right place! This should sort out any questions or concerns you have about your first day of streaming up to your first 100 followers. I am making this for a very specific reason. When I was beginning no one had a guide tailored to this. Everyone who made a guide made it when they had a few 100,000 followers, long after they forgot that grind it took to get their first 100. I wanted to try a different approach with this story. I’ve just conquered this recently. It took me one month to get affiliate and about three weeks to get to the 100 followers mark. I did this back in November. Getting affiliate is a very big step, one that takes a majority of streamers closer to three to four months to accomplish. I also had nine subscribers prior to stopping my stream. Again far above average for the stream size. I’m planning to begin again to conduct a second ‘experiment’ to see how long it takes me to get back to where I once was (10 average viewers, 104 followers, 9 subs) from being a “dead channel;” however, that’s not what this article is about! I just wanted to lay a bit of ground first. Here’s the overview of that I’ll cover:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Games [to stream]
  • Personality
  • Bots (Chatbot)
  • Tips

I will go into depth on each of these points for you to better understand the reasons behind what I’m talking about; however, I don’t want to go too in depth and lose the reader’s interest.

Hardware is not as important as people think

Hardware

Peripherals

To be a streamer you don’t need the best hardware in your pc or on your desk. There’s no way around that statement. You don’t need it. You’ll never need it if you don’t want to drop the money on it. Truth is you can be a massive streamer and still use a Yeti mic because they’re good. If money is no object and you want to spend money on a $500 condenser mic then go ahead and buy it. I’m not telling you it won’t increase quality but it won’t make content that much more appealing. I’ve had the $50 Yeti and I currently have a Rode studio mic that was around $500. The only reason I switched was to see how it would be and it’s better but not such a big upgrade I wish i started with it. Do yourself a favor and use what you have and what you like because it’s going to be better. Nothing removes all background noise. Trust what I say just get things you find comfortable for your use. If you want to use a headset mic then do it. Do whatever you want to do but more money doesn’t always mean more viewers. What I would do is invest what you make from the stream back into the stream for better hardware.

“price doesn’t matter as long as it gets the job done.” — idk who said it but they’re smart

What you need to do is find a mouse, keyboard, headset, mic, and webcam. If you have them great, if not start searching around for something that works and you feel comfortable with. $20 mouse, $20 headset, $60 webcam (this can come a bit later than everything else,) and $40 keyboard. Nothing fancy. Once you build up then invest in better gear. I have always done competitive gaming and have had Razer as a sponsor so I’ve had Razer gear for a long time now. My current setup is as follows:

  • Mouse: Razer Naga or Razer DeathAdder
  • Keyboard: Razer Black Widow Ultimate
  • Headphones: Astro AS50's
  • Mouse Mat: 3 foot Razer Mat
  • Webcam: Logitech C920 (highly suggest to start with (1080p 30 fps))
  • Mouse Bungee: Razer Mouse Bungee (if you don’t know what it is google it. They sent me one so I use it and like it (not required & I wouldn’t start with one))

If you need more detail on what makes a good peripheral ask and I’ll answer quickly.

Computer

Quick disclosure if you are wanting to console stream a lot of this “hardware” stuff won’t be a lot of use; however my suggestion to you is look at ElGato Gaming for their Game capture devices.

When it comes to hardware two things are your big factors from what I see. First is CPU (Central Processing Unit) and second is GPU (Graphics Processing Unit.) I don’t want to go into a lot more detail on these things because that’s not the purpose of this just to touch the surface of it all. All you need to know is your GPU & CPU quality closely reflects your quality of streaming. I suggest and i7 (CPU) minimum and around a Nvidia 980 Ti (GPU) as this should allow bare minimum 720p streaming as long as your network speeds allow it. Beyond that 8–16 Gb of ram depending on how much you find yourself using. Power supply around 800 watts should allow room for upgrade all the way up to a 1080. Make sure you have an external drive for any edits you want to do or streams you download. It helps keep them in the same place. That’s enough computer hardware talk. I run a single desktop instead of a dual pc setup even though dual is superior. This is what I use in my system:

  • i7 CPU (6th gen)
  • Nvidia GTX 1080
  • 16 Gb RAM
  • 600 Watt power supply (needs to be upgraded to support the 1080 fully)
  • 128 Gb SSD (Solid State Drive) & a 1 Tb Mechanical (traditional) drive

If I forgot anything you’re interested in let me know and I’ll reply quickly.

Just play & stream

Software

There is plenty of software you can use to stream. You’ve got SLOBS (Stream Labs Open Broadcaster Software,) OBS (Open Broadcaster Software,) and Xsplit (paid for.) All options are good. All options are good for certain people. Some people love SLOBS while others prefer OBS. I used Xsplit for a very long time and I thought it was very simple to use and setup. That being said I’m now using SLOBS and I love it so far.

Quick list for reference:

  • OBS (Open Broadcast Software)
  • SLOBS (Stream Labs Open Broadcast Software)
  • XSplit

I would suggest if you’re new to streaming to try SLOBS. The company, Stream Labs is very good at what they do; they’re on the forefront of growth when it comes to streaming tools. I am currently using their OBS and their Chatbot (which we will get to in a minute.) Both are free and work exceptionally well. For this I will focus on SLOBS because that’s currently what I use when I stream. I will not go into depth for setup on any software in this however; I may write a guide on that later if readers want one. My goal is to share my experiences, suggestions, and tips with you. I would suggest looking at the docs for each of the software you decide to use. All of the sites will tell you how to setup their software for optimal usage. I suggest setting up either a simple overlay for your stream or no overlay at all and just a webcam.

Play what you love

Games

A very common question I get daily and I’ve seen asked to so many times is “how do I grow in a popular game?” or “what game should I play to grow?” so let’s answer those questions really quick.

how do I grow in a popular game?

To address the first question, the simple answer is it’s very difficult to grow quickly at all streaming a popular game. Truth is the first 30 or so games on Twitch (the most popular ones) are highly saturated with streamers and their streams. If you decided to stream WoW (World of Warcraft) you’d be on what’s known as the “0 viewer list” where you don’t have anyone watching yet. That means you’re about the 600th result in a result of about 625 streams. Do yourself a favor and do what you love but know that if you play a highly saturated game like Overwatch, Fortnite, even StarCraft II that you’re not going to grow fast unless you’re extremely talented at the game.

What game should I play to grow?

Time to address the 2nd question. The answer to this is very simple; play the game you enjoy. I can’t stand League of Legends and it’s been the number one game on Twitch for years now. That said now it’s second to Fortnite and sometime to Overwatch when Overwatch League is live. All things considered LoL (League of Legends) holds around 100,000 consistent viewers total. If you played LoL because it gets you viewers and you hate the game otherwise then first and foremost viewers will be able to tell in a few minutes of watching you and secondly you’re going to do nothing but burn yourself out because you’re playing a game that you don’t enjoy. Play what you enjoy, that’s the key to streaming. Play what you enjoy and build a community you love and do what you love. If you don’t enjoy streaming when you have zero viewers and zero followers then you won’t enjoy it if you are as big as Summit1G or even Ninja. If you don’t love it you won’t want to do it for a long time. I know that’s hard to believe but that’s the truth with anything in life at least from what I’ve been told and experienced myself. If you’d stream for free then you’re in the right place. If you haven’t tried streaming I would highly suggest it. A lot of people who try streaming for the first time enjoy it a lot and are hooked. They don’t care about the money. If you’re like that then you have a future in streaming. If all you care about is money and building a career your mind is in the wrong place; you can still stream but it will be far more difficult.

Personality

This is an interesting one because there’s not a lot you can do to alter your personality but that isn’t the purpose of this portion. The purpose here is to make you think about your personality and hopefully see how large of an impact your personality truly makes on your streams. If you’re boring and seem tired then viewers will not stick around. Personality is the key to a good stream. If you notice any large streamer has a good personality. Ninja is high energy and funny. Summit1G is funny, has a unique voice and is good at a lot of games. You’re the entertainment; that’s the purpose of streaming. You’re becoming an entertainer who plays video games for an audience.

Fabricated/Facade

A few streamers decide to take a different route and instead of their own personality they assume a facade like Dr. Disrespect. As most of you know him; Dr. Disrespect is one of the largest streamers on YouTube and also plays an evil villain while streaming. He’s arrogant but very funny. His chat plays along with it and he does an amazing job. This isn’t for everyone but if you can pull it off it’s usually successful and a lot of fun.

Reduce annoyances

Chatbot

All good streamers, and most bad ones, have a chatbot. What a chatbot is if you’re unaware is a program employed to monitor your twitch chat (or discord server or both) and limit people from spamming or using profanity or posting links. It simply deletes the link and issues a warning. You can set it up to ban people or time them out in chat for X amount of minutes for repeat offenses.

Evolution of Chatbots

Chatbots used to only sit in your chat and monitor it. Now with a program like StreamLabs Chat Bot you can actually take song requests, make lists, have channel specific currencies, monitor chat, and much more. I use mine to push a notification to discord when I go live as well as tweet out the link. The sky is the limit!…not really but they build functionality into it on a daily basis. I do want to make one thing clear. I am not endorsed by StreamLabs to push their software; however, they have the software I have been using recently and it’s free, easy to setup, and makes the backend of streaming pretty simple! If you don’t like StreamLabs Chatbot then I suggest MooBot or NightBot as alternatives!

Push yourself to be what you know you can be

Tips From me to You

There are many things I could tell you that might help you here. I want to go over just a few things that I haven’t seen anywhere else that I feel will greatly impact your first days of streaming.

  1. The golden rule to live by: Keep It Simple Stupid, also known as KISS. Don’t use overcomplicated UIs or anything like that. Make things work and go from there.
  2. Don’t look at viewer count, just have fun. If you put an emphasis on viewer count you’ll be discouraged if your expectations aren’t met. Best suggestion is to just not look at viewer counts until after your streams.
  3. First 100 followers are the hardest to obtain. That’s the saying anyway.
  4. Consistency is the key to Twitch (or YouTube) because it allows your viewers to see when exactly you go live and for how long. Find something that’s comfortable for you. If you want to stream daily then do it. If you can do 2x a day broken up then do it. If you can do one day a week then do it.
  5. If you play video games then stream. I don’t mean you have to I mean if you get in the habit of streaming any time you play a game even if its for an hour you’ll see growth.
  6. Make a schedule. If people know when you go live then they will show up…pretty simple, right? Well it’s also very true! If you say you’re going to stream four days a week and you do then you’ll grow. Very simple yet very important.
  7. The best time to start a stream is today. No excuses. I used to say “I don’t have a good overlay or brb screen or the right game.” Terrible excuses, start streaming stop making excuses; Trust me.

In conclusion, I hope that I’ve given you a small amount of insight on what you need not only for your first day of streaming but also to obtain your first 100 followers. This is very vague for a reason; you should be able to google search many of the things I’ve talked about like SLOBS or OBS and figure out how to set those tools up so you can stream in under an hour from finishing this. I hope you all enjoyed and have a blessed day!

Knowledge is everything. Software Engineer, Coach, Writer. Helms Media Founder. Much love.

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