Gaming Life

How to gain a following and start earning on Twitch

With the increasing popularity of video game streaming, this guide can help you get started.

Dinner was over. I walked downstairs, turned on my PC, opened my favorite game, and I made    the easiest $10 of my life.

Twitch is a website that gamers use to broadcast their gameplay–or anything going on in their life–to the world. There are millions of streamers and even more viewers watching those streamers play and create content. More and more people join the Twitch community everyday to start streaming and try and gain a fanbase while playing their favorite games. If you focus up, you can start making some serious money.

Game streaming has grown progressively over the last few years. What used to be a pastime, for some, has become a full-time career. Ninja (Richard Blevins) is a prime example. He went from getting little to no viewers back in 2009 streaming Halo, to averaging 100,000 viewers while raking in a solid $500,000 to $1,000,000 a month. Who wouldn’t want a lucrative career playing video games? But with money like this comes a lot of work and dedication to his dream. Ninja wakes up every morning and streams 10 hours a day. Long hours and patience is mandatory. Keep in mind everyone starts somewhere. With patience and time people will start to come and you might strike gold like he did.

If you want to get noticed out of the hundreds of thousands of streamers trying to make it, you want to appear as high up as possible on Twitch’s charts so new viewers won’t have to scroll as far to come across your stream. You’ll rank higher once you are a part of the Affiliate program, and even higher if you make it to the Partner Program. Only by being on one of these programs can you start getting paid. Streamers get invited to the Affiliate Program once they gain 50 followers and average 5 viewers a stream, which is actually a lot harder than you think. Twitch is not like other social media sites–it is a lot harder to get a following and consistent amount of viewers per stream. I am lucky to have been able to stream for just about three months now and have successfully gotten my account into the Affiliate Program, which gets me anywhere from $50- $100 a month. It may not seem like much, but we are talking about playing video games here. Then there is the Partner Program. The Partner Program is when you average 100+ viewers every stream for up to 30 days. Reaching that achievement will probably take me a couple years depending on the rate or the growth of my viewers.

On Twitch, there are a ton of people trying to stream the most popular games like Fortnite, or PUB G, and I will tell you right now if there is any game category that has over 10,000 viewers total it will be next to impossible to get people to notice you. They would have to scroll down until their finger hurts to find you. That’s where social media comes in: you can make an Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube account to get yourself out there and to let people know when you are going live and what is in store for the stream. If you are extremely active on social media, you will grow a lot faster then just winging it.

You can also gain followers by cooperating with others. When you are done streaming for the day you have an opportunity to “host” another streamer. Hosting is when you broadcast another person’s stream on your account, so they have more of an opportunity when streaming to gain viewers and followers. Doing this lets the other person know who you are and most of the time they are super genuine and follow back and even host you when you are streaming too.

Game popularity is another big thing to consider before you start streaming. As of now the Fortnite category gets the most views in North America with 150,000 to 200,000 viewers at a time, and the League of Legends category is right behind it averaging 100,000 viewers at the same time. Those are the two biggest games on the scene right now and if you want to become well-known while streaming, I recommend streaming a less popular game. It is hard to process because you might want to stream Fortnite or League because they appeal to you, but since there are lots of popular accounts streaming those games, people will see a beginner’s lower follower number and pass. Why would someone want to watch you with one viewer versus someone like Ninja with 75,000 Viewers  Starting off with a game with a little less competition will get you more noticed as people don’t have to scroll down a lot to find you.

I started my Twitch account a few months ago and have gained 300 followers in that time. I got into the Affiliate Program (they email you with an invite once your stats qualify) but that is just the start. The program gives you a ton of different widgets–for example a tip jar, a follower goal, and features like direct links for donations–that help you earn money while streaming. When you reach Affiliate you also get a subscription button that people choose to sub if they enjoy your content.

There are different sub options like linking Amazon Prime with Twitch to create Twitch Prime, which grants you a free subscription you can use towards your favorite streamer once a month which gives the streamer $2 if they are not a partner, and $5 if you are. Being a Twitch streamer, you want to shoutout Twitch Prime as much as you can giving your audience more motivation to get Prime, and more of a reason to support you–if you convinced them to get it, there’s a good chance they’ll use their free subscription on you.

It takes a while to get more than two viewers a stream and a lot of hard work, so don’t expect it to come overnight. But it’s worth it to try, because if you can break through and start making money by doing what you love, it’s great! When your mom gets mad at you for playing video games, you can tell her, “I’m working!”

If you have any further questions or want anymore tips, don’t be afraid to follow me on Twitch and whisper me, or join chat while I stream!

Image: C.Carlos

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