There is no denying that for the past few years there has been a notable boom in the live-streaming and content creation industries. You can track it back to when Amazon purchased Justin.tv and launched Twitch, and it’s meteoric rise thereafter.
Or, you can point to the birth of other platforms, amidst the boom, such as Mixer (more on that later), Trovo, and Facebook Gaming, as an indicator of just how the industry has grown and becoming as profitable as it has. And with the large profits rolling into the platforms, creators are working even harder to reach the numbers that can give them just a small piece of the pie.
The competitive landscape of the streaming and content creation industry has grown significantly as well, and with more creators operating for those profits, the workload increases and more and more creators are falling into pitfalls that anchor down their success and growth.
2022 is at the doorstep, and yes 2020 and 2021 saw significant industry growth, but Gamactica is positioning for major changes in what will be one of the biggest years of content creation.
Why? Because the platforms themselves are shifting.
Twitch has inched and inched more towards mainstream content, as evidenced by their deals with the likes of Rolling Stone, the NFL, etc. While gaming will likely always be a part of the platform’s content curation, it is not the heavyweight that you may think it is. It is not as critical to the futures of Twitch or Youtube as you may want to think it is.
Mixer is/was proof positive that gaming-centric content platforms aren’t a failsafe formula to profitability and sustainability.
And let’s come to the realization that while there are other streaming platforms out there, such as Trovo, that may be positioning themselves as competing with Twitch and YouTube, both Twitch and YouTube aren’t exactly in that “game” anymore. They both appear to be positioning to jump into direct competition with Netflix, Hulu, and Peacock, and that should tell you, partly, about what you should be thinking about in regards to your brand in 2022.
Let’s go through some of the things to think about as the New Year kicks off:
Too often, we see so many creators deviate from their own creative identities and personalities to fall into trends, or mimic what they feel will get them attention, or clout. Be exactly who you tell people you are and you’ll build better communities, better audiences, and better connections more in-line with your brand and more apt to stay connected to your content.
There’s a toxic side to these disingenuous behaviors that anchors down progress, and it isn’t discussed openly as much as it should.
It’s those who say they are about positive communities and bringing their community with them on their path to success, only to switch once that success is met. It’s the creators who publicly speak up about combating harassment and toxicity, emphasize the importance of mental health and kindness, only to use their platform to harass, tear down, and try to “take down” other creators and brands. One cannot state one thing, and then vow to take down others in the next breath.
Being genuine in terms of your brand mission statement and who you want to be when you hit that live or record button does more than develop a strong connection with your audience, it helps you build brand value and position yourself for future opportunities because viewers and businesses will get exactly the person/content you told them they would.
Don’t pitch ice cream if you’re really selling mud.
And if you don’t think it matters, and it may not to your audience who cheers you on or piles on alongside with you, it will when a business, or potential partner, comes sniffing around your brand. Businesses like low-risk and high-reward, so eliminate the risk of volatility and more businesses will be inclined to work with you.
If you do need to address a negative situation with a brand or creator, be mindful of the potential impact. What may be immediately gratifying in ganging up to attack someone else, may eventually cost you much more in the long run. There is a difference between raising a concern and having a discussion vs. organizing a mob and going on an attack.
Improve Social Media & Focus on Networking
Social Media is an odd and constantly changing medium. I have personally been operating on Social Media since the AOL days, and have even been on the frontend of Twitter during it’s first few years of existence. The things that have worked back then, and even last year, may not apply now.
Social Media is challenging, and it can force people to want to fall into lazy habits of automation, not realizing there is no magic elixir to growth. Hard work and a true intellectual approach to how you utilize your social media profiles can help you understand how to succeed.
While that may seem broad, here are some things I see that do more damage that good for creators:
- Auto-DMs (Tweegr, etc) – I personally have no issue with people DMing me to say hello, even after we connect, and I feel DMing is a really solid way to build rapport with your followers. However, whenever you automate it with tools like Tweegr, etc, you immediately tell me that you’re not someone who is going to engage with me in a genuine way, and your account is on auto-pilot, meaning I won’t get any value from your page. If you really want to DM and build connections, eliminate automation first.
- Going LIVE Posts – This is an issue on all platforms, including something we have dealt with on Gamactica. Going LIVE posts. Yes, they are useful and needed, in some form, to let people know you’re going live. But, they can seem like a automated bludgeoning of your “marketing” when it’s all or the majority of what you do, regardless of platform. Focus more on generating solid content to get your viewers to opt into receiving notifications when you go LIVE as opposed to this method. Again, Going LIVE posts are important in letting your audience know when you’re live, but shouldn’t be clogging up their timeline, or yours.
Dive into Networking, and be diverse.
Yes, its great to connect with other content creators, as we all operate in the same space, but chances are that content creators aren’t going to translate into your core viewerbase (more on this next). Expand your networking to be more industry wide.
What do I mean by that?
The Gaming and Content Industry is so fractured; there are Gamers, Streamers, Content Creators, Esports, and Businesses, and even those sectors have hundreds of sub-sectors that branch out. However, if you go to a big CON, everyone comes together. These are where collaborations happen, and where viewerbases can grow and diversify.
Network more efficiently, especially if you’re stagnated in growth.
Educate Yourself on Discoverability & Visibility
Remember ‘G.I. Joe’ would always tell you that “Knowing is Half the Battle”? It’s true, knowledge is power.
Too many platforms and companies want to tell you they are addressing Discoverability and Visibility, but have you really done your research to see just what they are doing beyond telling you that they are? Are they doing something innovative? Something with a proven track record? Or, are they just creating a system where you, essentially, are in a cycle of farming views from a network?
Sure, getting a whole bunch of new viewers in your stream for a few moments is exciting, but are they just there to pop in for a minute? Are they there because they are being incentivized to do so? If so, does that number really provide any value? Or, are they no different than a bot view, simply there to exist but not there to stay or come back again.
The issue with a lot of streamers is that they join there cyclical systems of other streamers under the illusion that it will lead to sustained growth. The issue is you’re trying to build an audience and community from other streamers who are, let’s be honest, competing for the same attention you are. They likely aren’t going to be a continued viewer, or may not ever visit your stream again. Sure, you may get a social follow and that 1 view, but is it really worth anything at all?
Aside from the fact that this a rather hollow system, you may want to be careful that these little bursts of view bumps aren’t viewed by the platforms as view botting and/or gaming their system to reach Partner, Affiliate, etc.
All social platforms do, and should, have a way for your to advertise and boost your posts. It’s the core part of marketing and not necessarily a negative thing. However, if there is something in place that allows you to pay for a boost to viewers, this is NOT visibility, it is NOT discoverability. It’s not much different from a Follow Train, or a Pyramid Sale Structure, and what good is that to your brand?
Furthermore, those numbers may look great, but every business and brand will see through it when they see the lack of continued interaction. Yes, viewers can appeal to businesses, but they are most likely going to get their initial attention, the engagement and quality of content will be the things that sell them, ultimately.
So, What is the Solution?
Full disclosure, this is where I will come off a bit “salesy” and perhaps a tad biased, but I have operated and worked within a vibrant market for 15 years and it still, to this day, boggles my mind how minimally true methods are being utilized.
As a content creator, you are operating in a Digital Marketplace. You are in the Online Marketplace. So why are you NOT using or leveraging Internet Marketing, Digital Marketing, and/or Search Engine Optimization to grow your brand?
For those not fully aware of what those things are, essentially, it is optimized marketing that specifically operates in the realms of Search (think Google, Yahoo, Bing), Content, Websites, and Social Media. This brings you outside of the platform you may be streaming on, and provides you exposure in other mediums, thus opening your content up to new exposure pathways across a wider network, and a more national and global arena.
Now, these services are quite expensive. But, Gamactica provides this kind of stuff, on some level, free, for those in any of our directories and on our platform. If you jump into one of our Town Halls on Twitch (one coming up on New Year’s Day) I usually dive into the importance of this, and how it impacts you.
But, if you can’t wait until then, or just want to learn some stuff, here are some examples of it’s importance, and how it does work, across different platforms:
How SEO & Internet Marketing is working, not just for streamers & creators – Read Here
Gamactica Case Studies (statistical data) – Read Here
Article Interview with Influencers About the Importance (and lack of) SEO in the Industries of Content Creation, Streaming, Esports – Read Here
Interested in the SEO Basics? – Start Here
Want More Info? – Continue Here
Again, I may be biased, and no this isn’t to be misinterpreted as a “magic pill” to cure all ails, but this is proving to work, and not just on Twitch, not just on Youtube, across platforms and for brands as well. If your content lives online, then this can work. However, major disclaimer: utilizing any of this, including Gamactica, requires consistency and patience. SEO in itself is something that takes brands a long time to get the results that move the needle. It’s an art, not a shot in the arm, but the payoff is bigger in the long run.
Be Unique, Stop the Copy/Paste
Standing out in the world of content creation and streaming is always a challenge, and too often we can look at other’s success and want to mirror what they do, which is fine. What is problematic is when you completely clone the stream, personality or presentation of another creator and their content.
There is a fine line between following a trend or seeing a success path and completely losing your own creative identity in your content.
Too often one stream or piece of content can look identical to another. From the lighting to the engagement, to the humor, to the substance of that content, and you’re already anchoring your growth.
What would entice anyone to stay tuned into your content if they can get the same exact thing, in all forms, from another creator?
Yes, platforms such as Twitch have an issue with Discoverability, but that issue also falls on the creators, to some degree, partly because too many utilize the same, or similar, templates others do. This can, at first glance, seem like the same exact content to a viewer, that they see elsewhere. So, if they can get that content from someone else, and not miss out on anything special, ask yourself what sets YOU apart?
It’s always good to look towards successful creators for inspiration, ideas, and sometimes even creative motivation, but you need to ensure you’re not cloning it, and finding a way to take those ideas to implement your own personality and brand.
Content, Content, Content
Make this the year you make content the priority. Quality content. Prioritize it over the numbers, and while I am not suggesting that numbers and analytics aren’t important, they too often can take your attention away from the quality of content you are creating.
Take the information above and refocus your content to be the very best, and most creative, you have ever produced.
Don’t be afraid of your personality. Don’t limit your creativity. Remember, you have creative freedom to produce content you truly want. Very few mediums allow you such freedom, so embrace it, and immerse yourself within it.
We touched on this above but let’s dive a bit deeper into the importance of Professionalism, and while we discussed this at the very beginning, this also comes from association.
Make sure the communities and/or platforms you are part of, or tout, really are conducting themselves in a manner that is aligned with your conduct. Really dive into how these platforms conduct themselves publicly and ask yourself if you would feel comfortable being associated or tied to that brand?
Communities are great, and there are a number of communities and platforms that really stand out with the way they conduct themselves, but there is also an alarming number of such communities and brands who feel that the “competitive edge” means weaponizing their communities to attack and harass other brands, take down people, or use their own platforms as vehicles to bash others.
More often than not, these are the communities that do more harm than good for their members. They also aren’t likely attracting any business or partnership opportunities that can move the needle for them, or their platform. If you think a business is going to invest $ in a brand that can, at the drop of a hat, publicly turn on them and bash/harass them, they won’t take the risk, and you should ask yourself the same question.
If they have targeted other streamers and creators, and you have taken part in it, is that what you want brands to see? Are you immune to the ire?
Any brands you’re aligned with, do research. Scroll their socials, read their missions, and go past the pitch lines and read the substance. Is that where you want to house your efforts?
Put in the Work
Finally, the end. If you made it this far you have clocked in over 2,700 words, and that makes the final point of this article that much easier to drive home.
I broadly addressed several things in this article, and it amassed the word count you see, but I’m still just scratching the surface. The fact is very little of this means anything if you’re not willing to do the work, and put the work in.
The issue is, too many creators pour hours in to reaching lofty goals that platforms set forth in order for you to reach their milestones or partnerships, and too often the ROI isn’t worth what you put in. Which is why prioritizing the aforementioned aspects can help you position your brand and content for better future success, where you’re not taxing yourself excessively in solely content creation within minimal reward
2022 is the year of the Content Creator not only because the industry is growing, but it is also changing, and it’s not just fodder for this article, or a pitch for the Gamactica platform. It’s reality. Follow the business news trends, see what is happening on the business side of platforms. You’ll see a shift.
Watch your favorite creators and see what they are doing. It’s becoming more of a show and less of you just watching someone game for 4 hours. Quality is bubbling and, as I said before, while gaming will always have it’s part, it’s not going to be the sole driving force of content creation, nor is it King in the realm.
I’m not saying it to deter you from gaming streams, or telling you to stop doing what you’re doing, especially if you’re seeing success. However, diversifying your content, putting more emphasis on engagement and entertainment, and showing more of a creative flare will only help you grow.
I’ll be making more articles and doing videos as well, on these topics in the future. If what I discussed resonated with you, in any way, then I invite you to check out what we have been building with Gamactica.
Here is our About Page – https://gamactica.com/about-gamactica
My DMs are usually always open and I, like others in Gamactica, are usually really happy to discuss what we are doing. Gamactica is going to go through some major changes in 2022, but our impact will only grow, as well as the quality of our platform.
You’re also invited to join the Gamactica Town Hall, where we go over the platform and discuss more of these elements, LIVE in Twitch on 1/1/22 at 1pm EST – twitch.tv/gamactica
Cheers to 2022!