How to kickstart your streaming career: 7 things you need to know

Alan Bernal

Broadcasting on platforms like Twitch, Dlive, Mixer, and others is just one small step to jumpstarting a thriving career as a streamer.

While there’s routine tips like setting up your layout, making flashy banners, integrating notifications/alerts and the like, that’s more eye candy that helps retain viewers you already have instead of gaining brand new ones.

Small-time streamers still looking for their big break are probably hurting their chances by not taking full advantage of what the internet offers, so following some of these tips could be the difference between streaming to 0-3 viewers and organically growing your viewership.

1. Restream or bust

Throwing up a stream onto other platforms might not make you an overnight success, but it could start getting more people familiar with your face.

Former CLG CEO and thriving streamer Devin Nash explained in-depth why a small time broadcaster needs to get used to restreaming their content on multiple sites.

For those who have already achieved Twitch Affiliate status (or similar agreements) and are locked into exclusivity, go to the next step, since this one isn’t for you. Instead, this is for broadcasters who are stuck at four viewers or less per stream.

Restreaming can get you a much higher exposure with content you’ve already invested time in.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of at this point in your career, since you’re probably only streaming on Twitch for a few viewers. While your numbers on Dlive, Facebook, YouTube, etc. might be similar, even after restreaming, it’s exposure for your content that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Which leads into…

2. Don’t be married to one streaming platform

Unless you’re locked into an exclusive program, then there’s literally no harm in searching for other avenues to expand your stream’s audience.

If you’re looking to “kickstart” your streaming career, you’re likely not under the limitations of just one site. Huge streamers like shroud, Pokimane, Disguised Toast and more are on their respective platforms because they have lucrative deals or partnerships in place.

You don’t.

After restreaming on different platforms, if you’re getting much more engagement on other sites on a consistent basis, maybe it’s worth making that your primary platform.

Experiment by going live on the other platform that’s been getting higher engagement, see how well your numbers do after a week or so, and figure out which is the best place to develop your community.

Don’t just grind on Twitch for years on end just to get discouraged that your viewers aren’t increasing. There are other options out there.

3. There are other options out there

Laugh all you want at Twitch’s competitors, but if you’re consistently averaging low viewers, then you might have to start looking at other places to help kickstart your stream’s growth.

No question that Twitch is the streaming site of choice for millions of viewers at the moment, but streaming sites like Facebook Gaming, YouTube, and Caffeine are bankrolled by huge names and companies in hopes of potentially dethroning them.

Whether that happens or not isn’t a concern for someone looking to jumpstart their stream. What you should consider is how this affects your viewership.

Ninja didn’t take viewers away from Twitch; rather, he introduced viewers to a site they probably weren’t familiar with before he moved there.

Even though there might not be a ton of spill in terms of viewers who are actively looking for other streamers on new sites, if your numbers are growing on these competitors, then it could be a crucial indicator to make a change.

4. Be your own advertiser

Shroud uses his Instagram to post personal updates and streaming highlights. If you want to make streaming a career, you need to advertise it.

Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, Facebook, Discord, or your favorite online forums; These are just a few examples of social media sites that you haven’t used to tell people you’re going live.

Reading these tips won’t get you over your internet-anxiety of self marketing. Small time streamers can sometimes feel like they look “desperate” when posting their streams on these sites.

But the funny part is, not doing it almost guarantees that no one on those sites will look at you at all.

Yes, Tik Tok is new and a mystery to many. But learn it. Then use it to your advantage for growing your stream.

Don’t be nervous to post on a social account where your third-grade teacher still follows you. Who knows, they might like your stream enough to show someone else, and that other person could be a consistent viewer.

Use these platforms to not only connect with a new audience but to show them that they can expect a funny TikTok or an awkward Instagram post just before you’re going live – thereby strengthening your connection with your potential audience.

5. Identify your brand

Nash also made a point to say that if you have 0-3 viewers, it doesn’t matter what your schtick is, you don’t have a brand. He gave examples of streamers working off their brand like xQc’s accent and shroud’s god-tier FPS skills.

It doesn’t hurt to stick with what you love to stream – but if you’re incredible at a game and don’t enjoy streaming it, find something else to hook your viewers.

You might not be a fan of xQc, but if you see a Twitch clip with his face as the thumbnail, you can already start hearing his voice. He’s effectively leaning into his brand.

Whether that means giving bad takes on the game, making music out of your gameplay, being known for a donation-triggered catapult that flings hotdogs to your face; be known for something.

It could be cringey, it could be fun, it could be informative, but make sure your audience knows what they’ll get when they tune it.

6. Compete with yourself, not others

Services like Streamlabs send you an email after you’ve wrapped up your broadcast to show you the stats for your last stream.

Don’t look at those numbers and compare it to the stats that summit1g would typically pull in. If you’re trying to kickstart your stream, you’re the ant at the bottom of Mount Everest. Climb, but at your own pace.

You’re not going to blow up in your first stream, so be proud of the smaller achievements.

Instead, if you have a stream that pulled in a 7% increase in viewership and 15% increase in chat’s activity, then for your next stream, strive to beat those numbers – even if it’s a marginal difference.

Be proud of those numbers. Refer back to tip #4 and post those results on your socials to get your 1-3 fans hyped about your slight growth. Doing so could be the difference in getting other people to notice, too.

7. Remember you want this to be a career, not a hobby

Streaming can 100% be a fun thing to do on the side, but if you’re reading this, it’s because you want to kickstart a streaming career.

Careers in most industries take time, investment and sacrifice to make them flourish; streaming is no different.

Take the time to post on socials while refining your stream schedule or layout. Sacrifice your favorite streaming platform for another if you’re having more success there. Invest in equipment and finding the right audience for yourself to build a community.

If you try something in your stream but fail, try something else until it works. That’s what you do with careers.

Pokimane is the leading female streamer on Twitch, but that didn’t happen overnight. Persistence and experimentation while staying true to yourself will help you more than trying to be a viral sensation.

Kickstarting your stream could take adaptation to try new things and persistence to keep going when your gameplan eventually doesn’t work out.

Get creative and stay true to yourself, but make full use of the tools that the internet provides. If you have 0-3 viewers per stream, you have little to lose, so why not try something that could make a big difference.

About The Author

Alan is a former staff writer for Dexerto based in Southern California who covered esports, internet culture, and the broader games/streaming industry. He is a CSUF Alum with a B.A. in Journalism. He's reported on sports medicine, emerging technology, and local community issues. Got a tip or want to talk?