What is the best way to earn money as a streamer (Twitch, YouTube, etc.)?


QUICK ANSWER: The best way to make money as a streamer is to diversify your marketing, stream delivery, and monetization. That way, you can be sure that people are finding you in many different ways, you are building an audience where they assemble, and you are using multiple methods to monetize that audience.

Making money from streaming is like making money from any business.

You need to:  

  • Market your stream through a diverse set of digital channels that you know your target audience uses.
  • Your stream needs to solve a problem for the audience (for example, entertainment while playing the latest RTS games), and that problem needs to be delivered to them through diverse channels to maximize reach. So, for example, you should stream through Youtube, Twitch, and Facebook simultaneously, as that means different users on different platforms have access to the service you offer.
  • You need to effectively monetize that audience using various monetization options such as products, ads, or subscriptions.

Check out the video below for a quick primer on the importance of diversification:

Below I’ll take a look at marketing, distributing, and monetizing your stream in more detail.

Marketing your stream

To succeed as a streamer, you need to be marketing your channel using a diverse array of marketing channels to grow awareness for your stream. 

Without a marketing and awareness growth plan, you effectively rely on luck to grow your stream. Luck is not a strategy. Think of several places where you can consistently promote your stream. Below are several marketing channel examples that you could use to help grow your stream.

  • Twitter
    • Twitter is home to over 300 million active tech-savvy users. This makes it a great place to grow a following where you can Tweet out daily while streaming. You’ll grow your Twitter following quickly if you also try to help other Twitter users.
  • Facebook
    • Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, with over 2 billion active users. If you are not already signed up to Facebook, sign up now, and make a page for your stream. Start actively posting useful content on your Facebook page to attract followers. Then you can message followers to let them know when you are streaming.
  • Other social media
    • You can use other primarily writing/graphic-based social media such as Instagram, LinkedIn, and such to promote your channel. However, you should make sure your target audience actually actively uses that channel to absorb the sort of content you are offering.
  • Blogs/Quora/Medium
    • Blog-style websites are a great way to grab attention by creating great content people are already searching for. For example, I first use Quora to discover new topics in areas that are within my expertise. I then write answers to these questions. Finally, I redistribute those answers to my blog and other marketing channels. This is an excellent way of grabbing attention for your stream. Especially if you include a call to action at the end of the article’s to visit a Google Calendar showing when you are online.
  • Video marketing channels (Youtube, TikTok, Snapchat ex.)
    • Video is an extremely powerful way of growing awareness of your stream. Video, unlike a stream, “works” for you 24/7 after it has been uploaded. That video you upload grabs views and grows your brand every second of every day after it’s been uploaded. And the great thing about streaming is that you can easily repurpose your video content onto these platforms if you capture it. Remember to include a call to action telling people when you stream.

Stream delivery channels

Most people, when they stream, often only stream on one platform, usually, Twitch. However, you should consider streaming on multiple platforms simultaneously if possible.

Why?

Because it means you are delivering your service to where people want to consume it.

Imagine you made t-shirts but only sold them in one country, the UK. The problem is that a massive portion of your market lives in the USA and Canada. Some people from the USA and Canada might go to the UK to buy your shirts. But most will not buy because the product is not distributed where they do their consumption.

You need to put your product where people want to consume them.

For some people, that is Twitch. For others, it might be Facebook or Youtube. If you only stream on one channel, you are massively decreasing your streaming business’ growth potential.

Monetization 

Finally, we touch on monetizing a Stream. And there are hundreds of ways to monetize a stream. However, there is one golden rule:

  • Diversify.

You must, as often as you can, diversify your monetization.

You must diversify because:

  • You get protection against low performance in one area of monetization. For example, if ad revenue dropped off, you could still make lots of money from affiliates or products.
  • Multiple ways of monetizing protect you, somewhat, against market crashes.
  • Different people want to support you in different ways. One person may want to buy a hoody. Whereas another person might want to buy a mug.
  • Different people can afford different levels of product. Yes, you might often sell a $100 limited edition t-shirt. But 99% of the time, people will buy things for under $5. So it makes sense to have lots of products at different price points.

The future is always coming up with surprises for us, and the best way to insulate yourself from these surprises is to diversify. 

Robert J. Shiller – American economist, academic, and best-selling author.

There are multiple ways to monetize:

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Print-on-demand products.
  • Subscription payments through websites such as Twitch or Patreon.
  • Donations using either money or other currency such as Twitch bits.
  • Selling physical products
  • Selling digital products
  • Selling your time (People can play games with you online for a price)
  • Affiliate marketing (Selling other people’s products for a cut)
  • Advertising
  • Sponsorships

Generally speaking, you want to, at the earliest opportunity, start to use as many of the above money-making methods as possible.

In summary, you should

  • Aim to diversify your marketing channels so you can grow awareness of your channel quickly and effectively.
  • Diversify the methods through which you deliver your stream.
  • Diversify your monetization methods.

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Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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