Is live streaming really for you?

Twitch Streamer getting de-motivated by low viewer numbers? Maybe Twich isn't the place for you!

Hello again readers! LauraK483 here, that person who keeps promising to write regular blog posts and then disappearing. It seems every time I think I’m about to get my life and my schedule under control, the world has other ideas.

Huge apologies again for the weeks between blog posts, long story short, a combination of working on an intense theatre show, moving from Europe to North America, and all while having a killer cold made streaming and blogging impossible for a while. Now that none of those are a factor, I am tentatively making that claim again that regular blogging will commence.

Today I have two things I wanted to talk to you about in today’s blog. The first one is about upcoming changes to our website (assuming they haven’t already gone live by the time this is published). The second one is my answer to a question I get a lot from streamers of varying sizes, and in all honesty I think half the people asking it need to take a good long look in the mirror and be honest with themselves about their content and their goals.

But we will get to that in a minute. First let me tell you about the new features coming to our updated website VERY soon. The main difference is that soon you will be able to create an account to sign in with and interact with our website, and this will come with WAY more features than our old account membership. You will be able to have a lot more customization setting up your profile and choosing/creating an avatar. You can also link itwith your Facebook account which will make commenting on these blog post and leaving reviews on games easier and more streamlined. My personal favourite feature, you can opt into receiving notifications when games or products you have been waiting for arrive on the site or come back into stock. Every time we sell a game we only have a limited number of keys available, so if you miss out on the first round of purchases this is a great way to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again the next time around. You will also get a notification when the price drops, a feature unique to us among other game key retailers. Our rewards system is also getting revamped, giving you multiple ways to earn coupons and rewards outside of just purchasing games (referring a friend for example). I am hoping to build my own PC within a few months (again, put on hold because of moving continents) and I can’t wait to start exclusively shopping through Xenom as much as possible and racking up the rewards.

Now we come to the saltier part of this blog post, and I’m only salty because only 1 in 3 people who I tend to hear ask this question are actually willing to hear the answer. Since Twitch introduced the affiliate program, and now achievements and stream summaries, so many streamers are suddenly looking at their numbers under new scrutiny. People are suddenly seeing the “path to partnership” as something much more attainable because it’s been broken down into more bite size pieces rather than some mysterious cool people club. All these analytics now at our fingertips are a useful and powerful tool, they are also shining the harsh light of reality onto the hopes and dreams of smaller streamers everywhere. Across my various stream teams and communities, as well as just general questions in my chat and Discord, I’m seeing more and more small broadcasters saying “I’m feeling really down and demoralized when it comes to my stream” or “I’m having trouble motivating myself, what advice do you have to get me back into streaming and boost my numbers?” For some small casters, it’s just a matter of time. Be patient, and give your unique content and personality time to grow and find its’ niche on Twitch.

HOWEVER, the real answer for most of the people who are lying awake at night wondering this question is this: MAYBE TWITCH ISN’T THE PLACE FOR YOU! One common factor across all the partnered streamers that I love and watch on a regular basis, they weren’t even THINKING about their numbers and partnership before they were already on the cusp of it. They were streaming because they enjoyed it, or they had an incredibly charismatic and unique personality or approach to gaming and wanted to share that. Or they just wanted to make people smile and create a friendly corner of the internet. Either way, none of them started streaming with their mediocre consoles or computers and their >50 followers thinking “I’m going to be a partnered streamer in a year.” It seems like nowadays people assume that having a Twitch account and having a handful of broadcasts under your belt entitles you to viewers. That’s not the case. Twitch gains hundreds if not thousands of broadcasters a day, and only gets more and more saturated. Nowadays it’s a harsh truth but you need to be more than just a pleasant human with a gaming hobby and an internet connection to grow a sizable following on the platform, especially if you want to do it quickly. So whenever I see someone looking for some magical words of wisdom from another streamer to bring their morale back up and make them excited about streaming again, I want them to take a long and honest look at themselves and their content in the mirror and ask yourself one question: why are you doing this? Here are the possible answers:

1) I have been told I’m funny/entertaining and I like video games so I might be good at this. Well great, good for you. You might be an incredible broadcaster, but it will still take time for your channel to shine out among the TENS OF THOUSANDS and give those viewers a reason to stay. Being a good talker or gamer doesn’t guarantee viewers, it’s that combined with some intangible spark, that something extra you can’t put your finger on but compels you to watch for ‘just a few more minutes.’ Or you need some super unique selling point, like being an incredible speedrunner, or being able to beet Dark Souls using only your feet, or maybe being a talented voice actor and giving every character unique and incredible voiceovers, etc. It’s a sad statement, but being good at streaming no longer guarantees partnership or the numbers you’re looking for.

2) I just wanted to bring people together and build a community where people can have fun and meet people they share interested with, or something along these warm and fuzzy feelings. Ok, great, then why do you care about numbers? Even if this community is only you and 5 or 10 people, you’ve done just that.

3) I know some people who make some money doing this and I thought it would be a fun and/or easy way to supplement my bank account. Oh man, could you not be more wrong! Every streamer that makes more than the occasional donation or sporadic paycheck from Twitch I guarantee busts their ass to do that. They probably stream a minimum of 15-20 hours a week, are doing a hell of a lot of networking outside of that, and have put a decent amount of that money they get right back into their stream in the form of games or equipment or giveaways. Even the majority of partnered streamers cannot make a living off of their Twitch income alone. It’s also so variable it’s quite dangerous to depend on that income, the generosity of your viewers could evaporate in a heartbeat if they fall on their own hard financial times or you say/do the wrong thing and turn them off. If you’re streaming for the money or that partner badge, then you will be constantly looking at your numbers.

4) I tried streaming to see if I’d like it, and I thought it was really fun. Awesome, if it was fun at the start when you had no or next to no viewers, that shouldn’t change as your numbers do. I personally have a blast 90% of the time I stream even if my chat is mostly dead or like 5% of my community regulars show up. If it was fun at the start, it should still be fun now.

So ask yourself, am I having trouble finding stream motivation because I am in this for the wrong reasons? If you are, then there’s nothing any caster, big or small, can say to pick you up and transform your stream and your numbers into whatever you’re looking for. Stop trying to find some quick and easy fix that will magically make you a “successful” streamer with whatever connotations that comes with in your head. If you constantly need to have people build you up and talk you into streaming, or you’re forcing yourself and you can feel that the content you’re putting out is sub-par, Twitch just might not be the place for you and that’s fine. It’s not for everyone, doesn’t mean you have to stop watching the streams you love, gaming with the friends you have made, or any of the other awesome things that are a part of your life because of Twitch.
HOWEVER, we are all human after all, and even the most successful streamers still have days where they are a bit emotionally down. Or their numbers might plateau or take a bit of a dip and if your livelihood is based on that then obviously it’s something you would want to change. So while I’m by no means an expert and my own content is highly variable, here are a few tips that might help get you back to enjoying streaming again.

1) Change your schedule. Maybe the time of day is when you are low energy or you aren’t getting enough sleep so a change in schedule could help get back to your regular content.

2) Buy a new game or a stream “treat” for yourself. Maybe some new headphones or a new mouse mat, something that will give you a bit of excitement and pull you back to streaming.

3) Ask your community for ideas. Is there anything they want to see? If there’s something that’s in demand it could boost your numbers and steam activity to what you’re looking for, and viewers always love feeling included and that you listen to their feedback.

I realize this was very long, but it’s been sitting in my head for a while and this seemed like a good place to vent. And that little bit at the end might be helpful to those of you who are looking for stream tips/motivation for the RIGHT reasons. The best thing you can do for you and your Twitch channel, be honest with yourself. What do you want out of this experience, and are you willing to put in the work to get it? At the end of the day, just be realistic. Everyone can stream, but streaming isn’t for everyone.