This will be the first in a series of articles surrounding casting, whether it be on Twitch, Hitbox, Ustream, Youtube or wherever, and how to improve various aspects of your channel to get the greatest level of response. While I make no promises to get you 1000s of followers overnight or to make you the most entertaining caster on your service of choice, following the tips here and in the articles that follow should hopefully give you some uplift in viewership.
So, who am I to advise you? For those that don't know me, assumably most of you, I am not the most prolific streamer out there. However, I've been watching, interacting and taking part in casting for several years now and I've probably learned the advice I can impart from some of the best and most entertaining casters out there. Don't worry, I will be name-dropping them as we go through so you can follow them up and leech some of their collective knowledge for yourselves.
As this series goes on, I will be reaching out to some of these casters for comment, tips and general thoughts so you can get a handle on what they're all about. I will also be inviting you all to share anything you may have come across in your experience that have helped you out as well. These will be featured throughout with linkthroughs to your channels for the best ones, so make sure to speak up!
Well, I think this is as good a time as any to begin.
Forget the games. Forget the graphics. Forget your timeslots. If you want to be moderately successful within streaming and your skills aren't quite 'MLG' enough to watch alone, your interactivity is key. In fact, even if you are amazingly skilled at your game of choice, interactivity is still a big bonus to a viewer. If you get this right, you can quite comfortably have a crowd of 100s watching a splash screen (an intro/outro/break graphic for your channel if you didn't know) while you chat away.
Now, this is something that is scaled depending on your popularity and ability. If you are relatively small (sub 50 or so viewers per cast), I would strongly suggest responding to EVERY SINGLE COMMENT in your chat without fail. This will make everyone watching you feel valued and as if they have genuine input into your channel.
If you have a larger number of viewers per cast, it might well be impossible to keep up with each and every comment made. This gives you the ability to cherry pick your responses a little and engage with those that are most interesting to bounce off of. However, I would still say trying to keep up is more than worthwhile.
The more you keep your chat flowing by providing interaction and continuing the interaction your community provides, the more appealing your stream appears to the casual and new viewer. While you can't anticipate when the next person will drop by (and typically viewing figures don't update fast enough for you to see) you do have the power to engage them passively by having a good chat going.
Putting it into simple terms. Which group of people would you rather hang around with? The group that are all chatting away about a common interest you all share and love or the group that are struggling to get a conversation flowing because the person they're talking to is all but ignoring them. I know which I prefer.
This subject will be discussed in further detail in a later article but some great examples of this are King_Foom and Spamfish. Drop them a follow, check them out when they are casting and you will see exactly what I have been talking about above. Despite having viewing figures in the 100s and 1000s, they still manage to keep up with their chats and feel all encompassing and involving.