One of the most common things I get asked is how to become a streamer. It's hard to visualize everything you need to do before you can go live, especially if you're a beginner. To make things easier, I put together this article to guide you through the process!
5 Steps To Your First Stream
#1: Pick your platform
Consider the type of content you plan on streaming. Do you play a lot of family friendly games, or do you tend to swear like a sailor when you get sniped from across the map while you're in a hot tub?
If you're raising your hand for the second group, Twitch could be the platform for you as it skews towards more mature content.
Being a streamer on Facebook Gaming is great if your content is family friendly, you'll end up attracting a lot more viewers because that's what most users are looking for on the platform.
YouTube on the other hand is a good option if you have a tough time keeping a schedule. Their platform is set up for VOD, shorts, and live, and if you're having trouble streaming regularly, you can post offline content to help boost your channel.
Having trouble deciding? Another option for those of you just starting out is to multistream. A few things to consider before diving in: these programs will cost extra. Multistreaming services like Restream is free for their Get Started plan, but their Standard plan will run you $16/month and their Professional plan quickly jumps to $41/month. Some of the streaming programs below like SLOBS also allow you to multistream, but you'll have to pay to unlock the feature.
You should get a sense of whether or not you should try multistreaming based on your comfort level with technology and using different applications at the same time.
If you've never streamed before, reading 2-3 chats at the same time can be intimidating and challenging. However, if you're good at multitasking, and you're comfortable with the tech, you might want to look into it.
Protip: When you're first starting out, you can also try streaming different days on different platforms. It's a great way to simulate multistreaming until you decide which platform you prefer the most.
#2: Set up your account
Choose a name
Go ahead and pick one out for yourself. Most streamers will change their names many times as they try to find their niche and refine their branding. It's always better to go ahead and start with a name you like, rather than putting it off until you find a name you love.
Save the name on all platforms
You never know where you'll end up in the future, and it'll be helpful if I already signed up for a YouTube account under Snoopeh if I want to migrate there from say Twitch or Facebook Gaming. Make sure you link it to your business email account (see below.)
Set up social media accounts
While you're at it, sign up for all the social media accounts (even if you don't plan on using them right now.) This includes Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and anything else you might possibly use in the future. Make sure they're all linked to your business email account below.
Set up business email account
Having a way for people to contact you via email is incredibly important, and a lot of streamers overlook this point. Setting up a business email gives you credibility with brands and potential sponsorship or advertising partnerships. It's also a great way to connect all your socials and streaming channels in one place.
#3: Choose a streaming program
All broadcasting softwares below are completely free and open source (with the exception of Xsplit) so you can download them and give them a try!
This version is the original open source cross-platform streaming program. Founded in 2012, this project is a collaborative effort maintained by the OBS Project. It's simple, reliable, and produces excellent results. You don't need a fancy set up to run OBS Studio because it has lower system requirements. However, it's not as user friendly as other options out there, and you need to do your research to understand all of the settings and how to use them.
If OBS Studio was an operating system, it would be: Linux.
This version is OBS Studio combined with a StreamElements plugin called OBS.live. The layouts are much more customizable than SLOBS, but it is more complicated to navigate. They also have an overlay builder that allows streamers to build a scene and add it as a single browser source for increased stability, being far more efficient to run on your PC.
If OBS Live was an operating system, it would be: Windows.
Streamlabs took OBS Studio and changed it to create a broadcasting platform made specifically for gamers. The best thing about SLOBS is how user friendly it is, and how easy it is to set up. When you link your account, it takes away a lot of the difficulty of setting up your stream software for you since it has Streamlabs already integrated into it. Unique features include remote control, which turns your phone into a Stream Deck, and selective recording which makes it easier to use your content for editing clips. It also has tons of premade overlays and widgets when you subscribe to "prime," which will run you $19/month or $149/year.
If SLOBS was an operating system, it would be: Mac OS.
If you're not technologically savvy, check out Xsplit. The output quality is high, but the free version has much fewer features and customizations available. It's like purchasing an app on iPhone or Android, you have to pay to unlock additional features. Subscriptions are $20/month, $70/annually, and purchasing the software outright will cost $230.
If Xsplit was an operating system, it would be: iOS/Android.
#4: Set up streaming program
Optimize mic and camera
Check your settings for mic and camera before going live. Make sure audio and visual is set up correctly on whichever streaming software you're using. If you have multiple microphones, check to make sure the audio and visual input matches the one you are planning to use for stream.
These three steps are completely optional--you do not need to do these things to become a streamer. You can go live without them and work on setting them up later.
Invite a bot to your channel
OBS Live and SLOBS both have their own built-in bots that you can invite into your channel. Having a bot in your channel will allow you to send automatic messages, as well as allow your followers to use !commands to trigger preset actions. You can also use bots such as Moobot and Nightbot. Their base version is free, and with a small subscription fee you can unlock bonus features.
Set up channel alerts
When you connect your account to a streaming program like OBS Live or SLOBS, you can set it up so that when something happens in stream like a new follower, new sub, or a raid, it will also push out an alert automatically. You can customize these alerts to be graphics instead of using their preset standard message with emotes.
Set up PC overlays
Overlays are great if you're a just chatting streamer, but not necessary if you're starting out streaming games. They help to add a personal touch to your channel, but depending on your content, you may not want to crowd your screen and just keep things simple. SLOBS has pre-designed overlay packages for paying subscribers, while StreamElements offers free generic templates for overlay packages.
StreamElements also has free generic templates for overlay packages.
#5: Go Live!
You did it! You now know how to become a streamer. So what are you waiting for? Hit that live button and start streaming!