Let’s take a break from case studies for today. I want to talk about a few things that have been bugging me, and that’s bad advice. I see it in a lot of places but mostly in the Twitch subreddit, and that’s sad since that’s the go to place for a lot of streamers. This is coming both from streamers and “professionals”. That it comes from streamers isn’t strange and isn’t their fault and in most cases they repeat what “professionals” have said or big streamer have said. And let’s be honest only because you’re a big streamer doesn’t mean you have the keys to success. The most common answer after all is “I don’t know” when asked about how they became successful.
- On the topic of “professionals”
- On the topic of bad advice
- Networking isn’t what you’ve been told it is
- No such thing as over saturated games and under saturated games
- There’s little to no luck involved
- Showing up is not enough
On the topic of “professionals”
As a general rule, if the person don’t feel like a professional, don’t act like a professional but keep on insist they’re professional, they’re most likely not professional.
As the scene is growing at a rapid pace. There are going, and already are, a lot of people that try to break into the “market” of Twitch. They call themselves marketers or branding experts, and they throw big words and complicated “solutions” your way, anything to make them sound as if they know what they talk about. In all ways possible they want to convince you that they’re professionals.
At the end of the day none of that should matter. Look at their history, who they’ve worked with and what they’ve done. Most of the time you will hear “I’m not at liberty to say”, well fuck that. If they’re not able to give you that information they’re either bad at doing business or they’ve done some very dodgy things.
However, it sadly don’t end there. They have a tendency not to actually know that much. Be it those that call themselves branding experts but in all senses is a graphic artist, in that case they’re bad at branding themselves since there’s nothing wrong with being a graphic artist but that’s not branding. Or the marketers that read a book on marketing, but fail to understand that the space shifts from day to day, and that they have to apply simple ideas with trends and fads (and that’s important thing in marketing) and then draw a new conclusion. To simplify, in a sense they’re “old school” and you don’t want that in a new school scenario.
On the topic of bad advice
This is more of a side effect of the things mentioned above. But also perpetuated by streamers of all sizes. They either give you insight into what they did, and that’s great insight but it’s not something you ever should take at face value. What worked from them have little to no relation to if it will work for you. You’re not them and you’re not you. If something starts with “this is what I did” then stop taking it as advice and start looking at it as a story and it might be a awesome story that can inspire you, but still it’s not 1:1 advice.
Be critical, you don’t need to tell them, but look at where they are (not the numbers), their community, their approach to streaming and how the interact with viewers. If that aligns with where you want to be and your approach to streaming. Listen, get inspired and network with them (the real type of networking, more on that later in this post).
If someone talks without constantly contradicting themselves, they’re not thinking. They’re not looking at things objectively and they’re not taking you into account. That’s why you should avoid stories as advice.
Let’s dispel a few misconceptions
Networking is not what people have told you it is[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#313131″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]”I assure you that the real takeaway here is to pay it forward first.”[/mks_pullquote]Networking IS NOT talking to everyone and networking and making friends are different things. Now there’s nothing wrong with making friends but don’t confuse the two. Why not? It can become very sleazy when you go into a friendship to start of with one of you having a end goal. That’s why it feels weird then you try to force it for the goal of getting something. Some of these posts are about reaching everyone and trying to reach that favor as fast as possible. That should never be a thing, find people that have the same goal as you, same professional direction and the same outlook on streaming, it’s then the both you can help each other the best.
“Connect with people who are on the same level as you or higher. Someone with more experience who is able to mentor you is ideal, but even if they are on par with you, they’ll at least be able to help you keep the right mindset and stay on track.” – Sean McCabe (Sean is a strong believer in The Rules of Reciprocity)
Like friendship let networking happen to you as well, be available but importantly give value. I’ve touched on it before but it’s all about you giving something to someone and hoping for a return, maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow and maybe not ever, and that’s fine. Yes you’re going to spend a lot of time and in some cases money, start seeing things like an investment, you’ve already invested in a microphone and only because you can’t physically touch networking or branding doesn’t mean it’s not a bigger thing.
“Effective networking is about reversing the game everybody instinctively plays. It’s about patience and buildup, not the close. We celebrate audacity and courage instead of patience and value. It’s backwards, and when you make an effort to buck the trend, not only will you be noticed, but you’ll be appreciated and remembered. Take that laundry list for what you will, but I assure you that the real takeaway here is to pay it forward first” – Gary Vayneerchuck
None of these “professionals”, that I mentioned earlier, will ever tell you the nuts and bolts, because they don’t know them. They won’t give you the very first step, they will show you the finished piece and tell you to get there. But you can’t get there with out that first piece. They give you the end destination but they never give you the map. That’s the reason why networking is getting a bad rep on Twitch because these “professionals” are making it something that it isn’t.
“When he negotiated with the UAW to create a different sort of workforce structure for his plant, it wasn’t so he could get more. It was so they could get more […] It’s been a consistent approach, and it sure seems to work. Consistent as in all the time, not just when it’s convenient. […] Now, more than ever, it’s easier to give even when it seems like you’re not going to get. The happy irony is that this turns out to be a very effective marketing approach.” – Seth Godin
If you want someone to help you, give them something first but. It will also remove the “favor” stamp, since while yes you’re getting a favor back you already gave something, maybe/hopefully even several times (be it a good conversation, advice, graphics, problem solving etc) and when that happens it won’t feel weird since it’s an exchange of whatever might come your way.
You can play both over saturated games and under saturated games
When you look at forums or listen to streamers they make it sound as if you can’t play a over saturated game. That it’s the end of the world if you do so. It’s not. However, it is EXTREMELY hard if you do it wrong, but doing it wrong is very easy to do, therefor the statement isn’t untrue it’s uninformed.[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#313131″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]”If you want to play a “big game” you need to niche within that game.”[/mks_pullquote]If you try to build your community around the game, that in this case is over saturated, then yes you won’t see any big numbers anytime soon. You can’t lean on the game to build it for you. You need to lean on what you do, what target audience you’re after and figure out where you can find that target audience. Main takeaway? If you want to play a “big game” you need to niche within that game.
For a smaller game, your already a niche. You can build on that by expanding people that can connect with you instead of connecting with the game. We’re playing the long game here, that means putting in the work and bring people to the game. You already have your niche now you need to find people that want to bond over it. Or you educate, and entertain, they can be done at the same time.
There’s little to no luck involved
You hear a lot of people say it’s about luck. Again even big streamer says it. Although they’re not trying to imply that it all comes down to a huge amount of luck or that it’s something you should rely on. In fact when you say that it’s luck based you’re minimizing the hard work that someone have put into streaming. In some cases you’re even minimizing your own hard work and putting the “it was luck” stamp on something you built yourself.[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#313131″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]”If you have a following you worked for it, be it 1 viewer or 1000 viewers.”[/mks_pullquote]Build your brand, community, target audience and understand networking and there is no luck. Don’t let your hard work be explained as luck, it isn’t. If you have a following you worked for it, be it 1 viewer or 1000 viewers. If you want to sit around and wait for a big host, then you’re waiting for an exception, then you’re waiting to get lucky, but then ask yourself why are you only waiting?
Showing up is not enough
I know the famous quote “90% of success is showing up”, that’s a cool quote but there’s a lot more to it. Instead of me I’m going to post something that Seth Godin posted recently on his blog:
“After you’ve written the best memo/blog post/novel/screenplay you can possibly imagine writing, after you’ve contributed your pithiest insight or gone on your best blind date… and it still hasn’t worked… You really have no choice but to do it again. To do your best work again, as impossible and unfair as that seems. It compounds over time. Best work followed by best work followed by more best work is far more useful and generous than merely doing your best work once and insisting we understand you.” – Seth Godin[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#313131″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]”You really have no choice but to do it again.”[/mks_pullquote]Showing up is not enough. Doing your best every time is what you need to do. If you don’t you lose your consistent of high quality content. As Seth says it’s generous and it’s all about giving that value over and over again. You need to spend your time not just showing up but actually doing something that is your best and gives value.
There are a few things that I wanted to get of my chest. It’s been bugging me that a lot of things are taken as true from people that aren’t professionals and blanket statements repeated like scripture. It’s bad for innovation and it’s bad for you.
To prove that even big streamers don’t always know what they talk about. On a recent episode of Dropped Frames CohhCarnage said that he wished for a road map towards partnership, where you can see the things you’ve checked off on a list. It was mentioned quickly so maybe there was more to it but I’m sure he knows it’s a bad idea as well. And that it would do nothing but hinder innovation on Twitch. Everyone would align themselves to the list and be the same type of streamer, that’s not what Twitch wants and that’s not what you should want either.
Alright that’s it for today. I have a bunch of things to do and on Tuesday we’re starting the LiveSpace Twitch Podcast. First out is a interview with StreamPro. I hope everything goes smoothly and that there won’t be any delays.
If you enjoyed this article I’m posting articles and case studies every Monday and Thursday. If you want even more then you can follow me on Twitter @visiblespeech where I post more Twitch stuff in smaller portions. There you can also ask me questions if you have any.