Valkia is on the way up on Twitch. He only started in 2015, but he has over 75,000 followers who watch his Overwatch streams. He continues to build his audience by collaborating with other Twitch streamers, creating YouTube videos and also appearing at events such as Insomnia, where he recently played Overwatch on stage and hosted an AMA with fellow Twitch streamer OnScreen.
Following his victory in our rising stars of Twitch poll, Valkia gave us his top tips for budding streamers. As Valkia has proved, you don’t need to have been there at the beginning – you just need dedication, an engaging personality and to care about your community.
1. Choose a game to specialise in
I started off as a variety streamer, so I’d stream a different game every week, but what happens with that is that you’ll get people who come and watch you for the game, but once you switch titles, the viewers will go to somebody else because they want to carry on watching that game.
It’s different if you’re a big variety streamer like Lirik – he can play whatever he likes and still have the same amount of viewers, because people watch him for his personality.
I stuck with Overwatch after it came out and I’ve been able to quadruple my viewers. Now, if I switch games from Overwatch I will drop viewers, but still have more than if I was to do variety, because all these people who watch me every day have become familiar with me and even if they came for Overwatch, they will stay afterwards.
2. Have a contingency plan
There are a lot of big streamers who died because their game died. Overwatch is only a year old, but eventually what I’ll do is that I’ll have one day a week when I play variety. If I do that one day, and then move up to two days, eventually I’m going to wean people on to that I’m going to be more variety in the future, because eventually Overwatch will go downhill at some point.
3. Be dedicated – it’s hard work, but it’s fun
Twitch is very young compared to YouTube, and when I started it was four years old, but I decided to put everything into it as if it had just come out.
I decided to put everything into it as if it had just come out.
When I was a smaller streamer, I worked from 8:30 to 5:30, then I would come home and start streaming at 7pm, so I would have a break, during which I would challenge myself to improve one thing on my stream, whether it be a graphic, chat or something else.
Now, I start streaming at 3pm, Monday to Thursday. Friday and Saturday, I have a sponsored stream with Nvidia which lasts from 11am until 2pm, and I stream from 5pm for a couple of hours. I stream on Sunday, too – I vow to have a day off but I can’t do it right now.
On a good day, if I’m really enjoying myself I could stream for 10 hours, but an average day is between five to eight hours. I typically make a YouTube video in the morning.
4. Promote your stream everywhere
When you start the channel you have 0 followers. I have a few friends, so I asked them to come into the channel and hang around and once you have 5-10 viewers, depending on what game you play, that puts you on the Twitch category.
When I was a bit smaller, social media was very important. I have Facebook, but I don’t use it that much as I’m not a fan of it, but I did pay for a couple of Facebook adverts for my streams. I paid for Twitter promotions as well.
One thing that helped me was having a Discord account. Discord is like a forum, and you can announce to everybody on your server that you are live and they can join the stream straight away.
When Overwatch came out, I started a YouTube channel and that was one of the factors for my stream’s growth. Posting on the Overwatch Reddit as well…
5. Get to know your followers to build your community
It’s a live show where you can read what people are saying, so make sure that you respond to comments and questions as much as you can. When it was small, I would be able to recognise all the people who came to my stream individually, and I would try and remember one thing about them and ask them about it. For example, if they had an exam, I’d ask them: 'How was your exam today?' They’d think that this guy really listens to what I said, and cares about my life, and that’s what I felt helped build up the numbers from being smaller to a little bit bigger.
Make sure that you respond to comments and questions as much as you can.
6. Get some good kit, especially a microphone
You need a computer with good enough processing power to stream and play the game smoothly and code. Some people run two systems. My PC was from Overclockers UK – I worked there before I became a streamer, which was a bonus as it enabled me to have a great stream.
You need a good microphone – it’s so nice to be able to listen to someone talk properly in high quality. I’d rather see a bad webcam than hear bad quality audio. I have a HyperX Cloud II headset. For price performance, it’s quality – I used them before they sponsored me.
Collabing is a good idea as you can share communities – at the end of each stream you can host each other so after you’re done you can send all your viewers to a different streamer. Some of the people I play with are from North America, so they’re finishing when I’m starting, so when they’ve finished they drop me a host over.
Collaborating is a good idea as you can share communities