Streaming and content creation are all the rage these days. Everyone wants to get a slice of the “going live” pie in hopes that they one day can turn it into a viable source of income. Because of how popular this career is, though, it’s becoming harder for a brand-new channel to get a turn in the limelight.
Some will say that you just need to stick to it. Others will state that you don’t have the right equipment or graphics. Either way, there’s one thing that all successful streamers out there have in common:
They have developed a phenomenal brand.
Don’t confuse branding with promotion. Although promotion is part of it, your brand encompasses every single thing you say and do both inside and outside your live streams. Furthermore, it includes the way you design your channel, profile, custom Twitch emotes, and other assets. All of these elements formulate your streamer brand.
Building a brand may sound like a daunting and expensive topic, but I can assure you there are a few ways you can develop your own with little to almost no monetary investment.
Why Build Your Brand?
The majority of streamer “gurus” and experienced creators out there all shout it from the hills; building a personal brand will help you grow. But why is that?
To put it simply, brand equals consistency and recognition. For example, think about one of the most popular, albeit infamous, streamers on the planet, Dr. Disrespect. Even if you don’t watch his stuff, you still likely have a clue of what he’s all about. That’s because he’s developed a phenomenal brand for his stream and himself.
Whether by infamy or admiration, this recognition is the most important reason why building a brand will help you grow. Not only does it give your current viewers a way to share with others what you’re all about, but also it tells potential followers who you are and what to expect from you. Through your brand, viewers are more likely to keep tuning in because you’ll quickly become a constant in their lives.
You can’t buy a brand. What you can do, though, is develop one through work and reflection. Let’s start with the fundamentals.
Know Yourself as a Streamer
I have seen new content creators make the same mistake time and again. They try to emulate popular creators or act on advice about what is considered the best way to grow their channel. All the while, without thinking about the most important questions, such as what kind of streamer they want to be and what makes them stand out.
The foundation of every brand lies in the core message they send. Dr. Disrespect is a personality streamer who uses an obnoxious alter ego to get his viewers riled up and excited. At the very beginning of your journey, you must figure out what kind of entertainer you are. You don’t necessarily need to make viewers laugh or get angry. Alternatively, you can educate or inform. You could even be a calming presence. Whatever the case, your brand won’t have any direction without knowing yourself as a streamer. What kind of message do you want to send?
A big part of that is also having a pivotal message to deliver. It doesn’t have to be something grandiose or world-changing. Your message could be something as small as your love for pineapple on pizza to something as big as ending world hunger. Whatever the case, your message needs to permeate across your stream and content. It’s the rallying cry your viewers will want to tune into your stream to support.
Try to make your message apparent immediately, whether that’s through your graphics or username. The more consistent you are with your messaging, the stronger your branding will be.
Develop a High-Quality Stream
Now that you know what type of streamer you are and what message you want to send to the world, it’s time to look at your stream from a technical and design perspective.
For starters, your number 1 priority is to iron out any technical hiccups you may have with your stream, starting with your audio. What I’ve found, and you’ll likely agree with as well, is that I’m more likely to leave a stream or a piece of content that has a terrible sound that’s peaking and comes out distorted. You don’t need fancy mics to fix these issues, either, so find out what methods you can employ to get your audio on point. After that, you’ll want to make sure the rest of your stream is also running smoothly.
Next up, you’ll want to put some focus on the design of your stream, channel, and social media. For some reason, most streamers tend to believe they have to pay an arm and a leg to have beautiful graphics. This isn’t the case though, due to the amazing free and low-cost tools out there that are available for streamers.
The primary focus of your designs has to be consistency, elements that your viewers will recognize across the spectrum of your content. Start by picking your colors. Select 2 or 3 that match your personality and the message you’re sending. Your next step will depend on whether you’d like to design your own graphics or have a professional take care of them for you.
If you’d like to design your own graphics, we highly recommend Canva , a free and easy-to-use design tool. Design yourself a logo, banner, and some simple overlays. Remember to stay consistent with your colors.
Contrary to popular belief, getting yourself an amazing custom stream package isn’t as expensive as you might think. Having a professional work on your graphics will give you a significant boost when it comes to developing your own brand.
You can use this free tool to design yourself some free profile panels.
Finally, you’ll want to start focusing on the value you bring to your viewers every time you go live. This may sound like a big word but believe me, it isn’t that difficult to nail. At the heart of your stream must be your viewer’s time. From the moment they join your stream, they’re expecting to gain something. It could be a laugh, it could be information, or it could simply be your attention. Streaming is an interactive experience, and it’s what live viewers are there for, so make sure you’re addressing chat, making people feel welcome, and delivering on whatever promise you’ve set.
Be Creative & Challenge Yourself
Now we’ve come to the genuine fun part about building a brand. Once all of the above is where you want it to be, you’ll want to start focusing on adding some flair and creativity to your streams. But, again, the sky’s the limit here, and your choices will significantly depend on the kind of streamer you are and how you want to interact with your audience.
You’ve likely seen streamers have their viewers give them punishments or challenges, such as eating spicy noodles and doing pushups. These types of viewer interactions are great to experiment with as you grow your brand because you can add your own spin to each. Some streamers even do community reviews where they rate their audience’s creations. If you’re already affiliated, make sure you have some custom emotes available to increase the sense of community. The ideas out there are truly endless.
The daunting part is actually doing them, but that’s where the challenge lies. As you go, though, you’ll find particular challenges, skits, and other creative elements that your audience will favor. You can bring those back regularly, and slowly make them a part of your personal brand.
At the end of the day, branding is all about how much effort you put in. Instead of streaming for hours every day, take one day off where you focus exclusively on your branding. You will be amazed at the results.