How to Stream on Twitch – The Complete Guide [2018]


Streaming services have grown in popularity in recent times. Millions of people stream music on Spotify, or TV and Movies on Netflix.

While platforms like Facebook and YouTube offer live video streaming options, Twitch is the big player in this market – particularly when it comes to gaming.

Most of you hopeful gaming personalities know that you should stream on Twitch. What you’re probably less certain about is how to stream on Twitch.

That’s why I’ve written this guide. And that’s why you should keep reading 😉

 

Step 1: Tools for Twitch

Before you even consider the actual act of streaming, you need to make sure that you have what you need.

Thankfully, you don’t need to break the bank. In fact, you probably can get by without spending a cent.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A Good Computer
    • If you don’t have a fairly good computer, you’ll struggle to stream without noticing substantial FPS losses in-game. Twitch recommends at least an i5-4670 with 8GB RAM.
  • Good Internet
    • If you internet is unstable or slow, your stream will be laggy. Would you watch a laggy stream? I thought not.
  • Broadcasting Software
    • You’ll need special streaming software to stream with. There are a variety of options, but I recommend OBS. Luckily, these streaming softwares are free!
  • Microphone [Optional]
    • I say optional, but unless you’re an absolute beast at your game, you’re unlikely to get very far without talking. You can use your headset microphone, but you’ll know from voice coms that they’re often poor quality. A popular option is the Blue Yeti. For a cheaper option, try the Samson Meteor.
  • Webcam [Optional]
    • You’re more likely to get away without a webcam than without a microphone, but having one is definitely preferable. Try the Logitech C920, or the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 for something cheaper.

That’s about it! Once you’ve got your tools, it’s time to move onto the next step.

 

Step 2: Set Up a Twitch Account

If you’ve already got a twitch account, you can skip this step. If you haven’t got one yet, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Visit twitch.tv
  2. Click on Sign Up in the top right hand corner of the page.
  3. Enter the details that you’re asked for.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be prompted to choose 3 or more games you’re interested in. Once you’ve progressed past this task, you’re set.

(PS: Don’t forget to check your emails and verify your email address)

 

Step 3: Create Your Profile

Once you’re a Twitch member, it’s time to pretty out your profile.

  1. Click on your username on the top right hand corner of any twitch.tv page.
  2. Click on ‘Settings.’
  3. Upload the relevant images and write the relevant content on this page.
    [The Profile Picture option will display as your thumbnail image on your channel]
  4. Click on username on the top right hand corner of the page.
  5. Click on ‘Channel.’
  6. Scroll below the video frame and click on the ‘Edit panel’ toggle.
  7. Edit these panels. These panels will display to all of your viewers, so include things like a bio, your social media links, and perhaps a streaming calendar.

 

Step 4: Set Up Your OBS Settings

I’m going to assume you’re using OBS. If you’re not… you should! It’s pretty rad.

After installing OBS, you need to set it up. It can get pretty complicated, so rather than have me spell it all out for you, why don’t you walk through this process with perhaps the biggest guy on Twitch in 2018 – Tyler “Ninja” Blevins.

A couple of key pointers:

  • Your stream key can be found at https://www.twitch.tv/YOURUSERNAME/dashboard/settings [Where YOURUSERNAME is replaced by your personal username]. Click on Stream Key at the top of this page.
    (Note: You must be logged into Twitch to do this)
  • Ninja makes a great point about streaming on lower quality as a new streamer. Until you’ve received affiliation, your users won’t be able to choose the quality at which they watch the stream, so setting the quality too high could mean that some viewers can’t watch your stream without consistently buffering. Since your initial goal should be to reach as many people as possible, ensure that they can all actually watch your content smoothly by lowering your bitrate.

 

Step 5: Take Your Stream for a Test Drive

Now that everything should be in order, it’s time to check whether your stream is working correctly. This part is simple – start a stream on OBS and check if everything is working correctly on a different screen. Alternatively, hit up a mate and ask them to watch your test stream.

If anything isn’t quite right, go back and fix it. Once you’re satisfied, it’s time to begin the streamer journey!


Hold on.

It’s tempting to jump into your first broadcast, but I recommend that you develop a streaming strategy first.

Step back and think about things.

Firstly, how’re you going to get your initial audience? Twitch does list all streams in each game’s directory, but these streams are ordered by viewer numbers. If you’re starting out, you’re going to be starting with virtually no viewers. Good luck getting people to watch your stream organically.

You’re going to have to try something else. Here are some suggestions:

  • Join relevant forums and websites that will provide you the opportunity to promote your new stream
  • Post your stream on social media platforms
  • Let your fellow gaming mates know that you’re going to be streaming, and ask them to share this news with their friends.

 

Note: do not visit other streamers’ streams and post your stream link. Besides being poor etiquette, it’ll likely result in you getting banned from these channels’ chat rooms.

Social media really is a fantastic way to promote your stream. Use hashtags on Twitter and Instagram that prospective viewers are likely to be searching for. Additionally, once these people follow you on your social media profiles, they’ll see your ‘I’m streaming’ post every time you post one. The key to becoming a successful streamer is growing a loyal base of fans – one-off views aren’t going to be particularly useful.

Conclusion

Twitch is already huge, and while you shouldn’t expect to hit the level of superstars like Ninja, Imaqtpie and Lirik any time soon, it is a powerful platform that you can use to build your personal brand. As gaming culture continues to hit the mainstream, don’t be surprised to see platforms like Twitch grow substantially in the coming years.

 

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