The Importance of a Consistent Schedule
When building a community around your content, one crucial step is to maintain consistency. This rule applies across the board for content creators, but it becomes especially vital in the realm of live streaming.
Live streaming thrives on the 'live' factor, which means you depend on your audience to tune in at specific times. Managing your live streaming schedule consequently entails accommodating a range of variables. Imagine, if you stream daily at 7:00 PM EST and then abruptly change that time slot one day, you risk disappointing viewers who have adjusted their schedules to catch your stream.
Inconsistency, however, can occasionally have benefits. For instance, if you've amassed a following and then pause your content posting for weeks or even months, the audience might anticipate your next update more eagerly. But striking the right balance between posts requires both art and science, and the interval between posts ultimately depends on the type of content you create.
Choosing a Stream Schedule That Works for You
It's important to consider a schedule that suits your lifestyle as a streamer. If you're not a morning person, don't compel yourself to stream at 6 am. Similarly, if you're an early bird, don't force late-night streams.
If you're new to streaming and aiming to build an audience, experimenting with different schedules can prove beneficial. Perhaps a mid-afternoon stream will bring more success than an evening one. Remember, experimentation is key.
Don't lose heart if you don't immediately amass an audience. Streaming is about exposure—it's not just about gaming! With patience, you may see your audience grow faster than you anticipated.
The Role of VODing
Many streamers resort to VODing—Video on Demand—when they're not streaming. VODs are recorded streams that viewers can watch at their convenience.
Most streamers broadcast for a few hours at a time, using VOD content to engage fans who can't watch them live. VODs not only capture new fans outside your timing window but also let dedicated followers catch up on anything new they missed.
VOD content is less useful for long-haul streamers who broadcast for 8 or more hours a day, as very few people can consume that much content at once. So our advice to new streamers is to start with shorter live sessions and experiment with longer ones as your following grows.
Quality Over Quantity: Building a Community
New part-time streamers should focus more on quality than quantity. You want viewers to tune into your stream because it's entertaining, not simply because you're streaming in their free time.
Start with a modest stream schedule and expand it as you build your viewer base and your confidence as a streamer. Instead of committing to 4 hours of broadcasting time, consider spending that time creating great content that will attract viewers.
Balancing Competition and Audience Availability
Getting your streaming schedule right can be complicated. It involves considering when your viewers are online and what your competition is doing. Your ideal streaming time is a perfect overlap between these two factors—when the most viewers are online and the least number of streamers are competing for attention.
Also, try scheduling your streams to start just after larger streamers finish theirs. This strategy might provide an excellent opportunity to introduce yourself to a new audience.
Staying Engaged Even When Offline
Even after establishing your schedule, it's essential to keep your viewers engaged when you're not streaming.
Life happens. You might fall sick or get swamped with work commitments, but having backup content prepared for your audience prevents them from feeling abandoned.
For instance, if you're going out of town when you were planning to stream, prepare a "best of" video with clips from previous streams. Include a short intro explaining why you're away from the stream, and you're set. If you can anticipate a break and prepare for it, that's even better.
Stream Frequency: Finding the Right Balance
Finally, while consistency is crucial, it's equally important not to overwhelm your audience. The key lies in maintaining a consistent, yet non-intrusive, content release schedule.
Decide how frequently you want to post—ideally once a day but no more than three times. Make sure this frequency remains consistent across the week. If you decide that posting twice a day works best, do so every day—not just on selected days.
Lastly, ensure your posts are released at the same time daily. If your audience is used to seeing your content at 3 pm, they'll stop checking in after 3:01 pm, assuming there won't be anything new. Don't risk losing their attention—be there when they expect you to be!
Remember, building a community is a journey, and with consistent effort and patience, you'll make your mark. Happy streaming!