“Firm handshakes,” everyone…
I’ve spent an uncomfortable amount of time watching Twitch streams over the years.
99% of the time, if I’m gaming, I have a stream open in the background.
Simply put, I love streamers and streaming has been my #1 source of entertainment for close to 10 years now.
For these reasons, I thought I’d examine how content marketing can help new, and not so new, Twitch streamers to grow their streams and, ultimately, go full-time.
Without further ado, let’s jump in…
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the most powerful force in marketing.
Simply put, content marketing is the process of publishing content with the marketing intent behind it.
This process is so powerful that it doesn’t require you to actively sell to your audience.
You simply provide value to them and, if you have a product, they will find it and buy it.
For example, your goal as a streamer is to entertain your audience and if they like your stream, they will follow and/or subscribe.
That’s just what happens when you provide so much value to people that they, almost uncalled for, want to give back.
In this article, I’m not going to try to tell you how to “be a good streamer.”
I respect you as a reader too much to try to do that.
What I am going to try to convey is how to use the force of content marketing to expand your reach and give yourself the best possible chance to find YOUR audience.
You can’t teach streaming, but you can teach content marketing.
How can content marketing help you grow your Twitch stream?
Like I said, content marketing can help you find your audience a bit quicker.
Be it your side-gig or your full-time gig, getting to the point where streaming starts paying for your bills is probably one of your goals.
Logically, goals can be accomplished quicker and slower, depending on what you do along the way.
Since you’re already putting in countless hours into your stream, why not reach success quicker?
Have you ever heard about the saying “death by a thousand paper cuts?”
In this context, the paper cuts are pieces of content and the ‘death’ represents your ultimate success on Twitch.
Okay, not the greatest analogy of all time…
What I mean is, even the smallest of steps can compound into significant results over a long period of time.
Sure, you could stream 16 hours a day for years and hope that one giant piece of content a day will carry you to success.
But you can go about it in a much more strategic way.
Content marketing strategy for streamers
No one can deny that becoming a successful streamer from scratch takes mental fortitude and a lot of effort.
Luckily, you love what you do which helps with the long hours.
Content marketing strategy enables you to get the most out of the content you produce during your stream sessions.
And to produce content at the scale I’m going to suggest requires focus.
Things you should consider as parts of your content strategy are:
- Streaming schedule
- Content creation schedule
- Content publishing schedule
- Content marketing channels
Because creating content requires time and effort, it’s a good idea to milk the content you produce while streaming for everything it’s got.
This requires you to not overthink things too much and not to be a perfectionist.
10/10 content pieces simply don’t exist and pursuing them is a waste of time.
It’s better to create three reasonably good pieces and move on with your life.
I’m not suggesting you publish garbage, but speed does play a role.
The goal is to get into the habit of creating a lot of content fast.
This will automatically refine your skills and, ultimately, make you a formidable content creation machine.
Content marketing channels for streamers
In this section, I’m going to suggest content marketing channels used by successful streamers as well as channels that I think are underutilized by streamers.
I’m going to concentrate on the content marketing channels that:
- gamers are known to hang out in
- are evergreen content platforms
- are blowing up in popularity
- fit into the philosophy of creating as much content as possible with as little effort as possible
Youtube is a no-brainer for streamers.
You’re already producing a ton of video content on your stream.
Why not use it on Youtube as well?
Another benefit of Youtube is that it’s a search engine on top of being a social media and entertainment platform.
People are actively searching Youtube for solutions to their problems.
Simply pull videos from your stream sessions and upload them to Youtube.
“Oh but nothing ever happens on my stream…”
How-to videos, funny moments, reactions, skill shots, fails, let’s plays, walkthroughs, reviews, rants, opinions… odds are a lot of these nuggets of content happen on your stream every day, no matter what game you play.
Don’t overthink it and let your audience decide what content they want and don’t want to consume.
A good strategy would be to simply make a quick note when something interesting happens on your stream.
That way you don’t have to waste a lot of time finding the good clips after the stream.
Quickly pull them and only do the bare minimum of post-production before uploading to Youtube.
Twitter is a great place for streamers to connect with their audience.
It can serve you in a few different ways:
- it gives your audience a bit more access to your off-stream life
- it gives you direct access to your audience when they’re not on Twitch, and vice versa
- you can announce on Twitter when your stream is about to begin
- you can share thoughts on gaming-related news on Twitter
- you can engage and connect with other streamers on Twitter, etc.
Lirik shares his opinions on games he plays on stream, features stream highlights, shares cat pics of Nayna and Nomu, etc.
Asmon usually comments on World of Warcraft and Blizzard-related news, occasionally posts glimpses into his off-stream life, and mostly memes around.
As you can see, there are no rules.
Share whatever you feel like sharing.
Again, it’s really important not to overthink what you’re posting in terms of what you think your audience might or might not like.
Don’t try to fit into boxes and be yourself because that’s the biggest thing that differentiates you from other streamers.
Podcasting is underutilized not just when it comes to streaming and gaming in general, but in most other industries too.
Consumption of podcasts is rising year by year and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.
Podcasts are here to stay because they enable us to consume the type of content we like while doing other stuff.
You could do anything you want with your podcast.
Make it a game-centric podcast where you talk about a single game, or a variety podcast if you’re a variety streamer, for example.
You can have a different guest each episode, have guests occasionally, or never at all.
You can also partner up with other streamers and form a co-hosting team.
Another example of an amazing gaming podcast was the Co-Optional Podcast hosted by the legendary, one and only, late John “TotalBiscuit” Bain.
RIP TB, you’ll always be remembered.
Co-Optional Podcast had two more co-hosts (Jesse Cox and Dodger) plus a new guest each week, so 4 people in total.
They talked about what games they played the previous week, various gaming industry topics, new game releases, etc.
A beautiful thing about podcasts is that you could even do an episode while streaming.
You could invite a fellow streamer and discuss whatever’s on your mind.
It doesn’t have to be heavily scripted and fully thought out.
In fact, that’s the kind of content Twitch audience loves because it’s different and, more importantly, interesting.
The most powerful thing about podcasts is that they allow you to network and connect with other streamers.
Think about it…
You will get a lot more Yes’s and collaboration opportunities if you invite people to be a guest on your podcast than to just hang out in the stream.
Instagram’s a toss-up.
Its organic reach is dwindling and it’s hard to build an audience there from scratch these days.
It’s still possible, but you have to engage with a lot of people to gain traction.
However, Instagram doesn’t require much effort in terms of content creation and it could serve you as an outlet to further connect with your audience on a more personal level.
You could simply pull clips from your stream with zero post-production and add some context to them in the descriptions.
Here are a couple of examples of how streamers are using Instagram.
Sodapoppin doesn’t post frequently, but he uses Instagram to post both meme-y pics and share some personal moments.
Ninja is definitely using Instagram the right way to promote his stream and connect with his audience.
He posts a variety of selfies and cool moments from his streams, as well as his off-stream activities.
TikTok has exploded in popularity lately.
There are 1.5 billion users on the platform and, contrary to popular belief, it’s not all 12-year-olds.
For example, 60% of monthly active users in the United States are 16-24-year-olds.
‘Grown-ups’ are slowly but surely getting on TikTok just like they did on Facebook and Instagram before that.
TikTok is perfect for building an audience from scratch because the content consumption on the platform is much greater than content production at the moment.
This forces the algorithm to organically share posts with a large number of users.
There are many success stories where people have literally built larger audiences on TikTok in weeks than it took them years to build elsewhere.
You don’t have to dance and lip-sync to succeed on TikTok.
Simply post your stream highlights overlaid with popular tunes and you’re done.
Remember, you don’t have to follow trends and compete for the audience that likes that kind of stuff.
You can do ‘your’ thing and build ‘your’ audience with the help of huge organic reach the platform is experiencing right now.
Check out these gaming-related accounts where gamers are having fun on the platform:
- @kyskevin – 340k followers
- @7yla – 760k followers
- @tomfool_ – 350k followers
- @mullenslays – 3.1M followers
- @flyingcow_02 – 210k followers
I get it, TikTok definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
But before you write it off, at least consume an hour or two of content other gamers and streamers are publishing there and see if you could see yourself doing something similar.
You won’t find a more rewarding platform when it comes to organic reach anywhere on the Internet today so it’s definitely worth your consideration.
How to publish as much content as possible
Let’s do a fun little exercise that will, hopefully, help paint the picture of how many content creation opportunities are lost by streamers every day.
I’m going to come up with a hypothetical stream session and try to break it down into content opportunities.
The goal of this exercise is to maximize the number of pieces of content and minimize the effort it takes to create them.
I’m not going to base this on any particular game, or even genre of games because I don’t want to create any excuses like “Oh, but I don’t play Fortnite and I can’t be uploading headshots all day long so this doesn’t apply to me…”
No, I am confident that this applies to all streamers.
Important: do not concentrate on the specifics of this imaginary stream session.
For example, I’m going to assume that you have a podcast.
The only goal here is to illustrate how to recognize content opportunities when they happen.
One 6-hour streaming session, 7 steps, at least 18 pieces of content published
So, you just finished a 6-hour long stream session where you did your usual stuff for 5 hours and you invited a fellow streamer for an hour to do a podcast episode.
The stream just ended and you go straight into content production mode.
Step 1) First, you’re going to look for long-form content opportunities.
Pull the 1-hour conversation you had with your podcast guest or co-host.
If the conversation was smooth, you don’t have to do any post-production on.
If it wasn’t, spend a bit of time and cut out the awkward silence (don’t spend too much time on this though, speed is your friend).
Upload the content to your stream highlights, Youtube and your podcasting platforms of choice.
Content count: at least 3 pieces of content
Step 2) Quickly edit together an image of yourself and your streamer buddy to post on Twitter and Instagram to promote your podcast episode and/or Youtube video.
The Twitter post has to be short, of course, but you can add a few sentences to the Instagram description mentioning the most important points of the conversations, etc.
Content count: at least 5 pieces of content
Step 3) That conversation must have fleshed out a few opinions on what’s going on in your main game, or anything else really.
Maybe you don’t like this change that was recently introduced or you have a suggestion on how to improve some aspect of the game.
Or, this one’s a classic, maybe you think something’s overpowered or underpowered.
Pick an opinion and post it on Twitter, no images needed.
Content count: at least 6 pieces of content
Step 4) Now, you’re going to look for medium-length content opportunities.
Did you pull off something hard to do during today’s stream, did you answer any questions from the chat that helped someone out, did you do something funny or meme-y, did you rant about something, etc…
Let’s say you only pinpointed a single content opportunity which was a 7-minute clip from your stream.
Upload it to your stream highlights and Youtube.
Content count: at least 8 pieces of content.
Step 5) Let’s now look for under-a-minute long bits of content from this stream session.
Let’s continue with the conservative estimates and imagine you only found two bits of short-form content worth pulling.
Immediately upload them to your stream clips as they are.
Content count: at least 10 pieces of content
Step 6) Take the same two clips and add captions to them if there was something relevant being said during those clips and (this next part is optional) do some post-production so they fit the verticality of the mobile screen if possible.
If this destroys the clips and makes them unusable, leave them horizontal.
Upload the clips to Twitter and Instagram (remember, you can make the descriptions longer on Instagram).
Content count: at least 14 pieces of content
Step 7) Finally, take the same two clips and TikTok-ify them.
Add some popular beats to them and maybe do a tiny bit more post-production to make everything fit together.
When you’re done, upload them to TikTok and your Instagram stories.
Final content count: at least 18 pieces of content
That’s probably 15-17 pieces of content more than most streamers put out that day.
I am confident that this approach would amplify your reach and help you achieve your Twitch goals faster.
Although streaming is still at its infancy stage, things have gotten a bit more competitive lately.
For this reason alone, you’ll do yourself a favor if you come up with a fully fleshed-out content marketing strategy.
You’re going to have to put in a lot of time and effort into your stream so why not make the most out of the content you produce on Twitch?
Build up your presence on a few different platforms simultaneously using your stream content and streamline the potential viewers to your Twitch channel.
None of this is easy or fast, but it gives your audience more opportunities to find you.