When you're trying to build a community around your content, one of the most important things you can do is be consistent. Of course, this applies to all content creators, but it's especially true when you're talking about live streaming.
Because live streaming is live, you're relying on your audience to come to you at specific times. This means there's a whole host of other variables to consider when building out your live streaming schedule. For example, if you stream every day at 7:00 PM EST, but one day next week your schedule gets busy and you don't stream at that time, people who have made room in their day for your stream might be upset that they missed it.
That's not to say that there aren't upsides to inconsistency. If you manage to build a following and then go weeks or months without posting new content, people might start looking forward to the next time they get new content from you. But that doesn't mean there isn't an art and a science behind how much time should pass between posts—and it really depends on the type of content that you're creating.
Consider the schedule that works best for you as a streamer. If you're not a morning person, don't force yourself to wake up at 6 am. Likewise, if you like to sleep early, don't push yourself to stay up into the wee hours of the morning.
If you're new to streaming and trying to build your audience, it doesn't hurt to try different schedules until you find something that works for both you and your viewers. Who knows? You might be more successful with a mid-afternoon stream than you would be if you streamed in the evening! Experimentation is key.
Try not to get discouraged if you don't have an audience right away. Streaming is about putting yourself out there—it's not just about gaming! Give it some time, and your audience may grow more quickly than you'd expect.
For many streamers, when you're not streaming, you're VODing. What's VODing? It's the practice of putting up videos on demand—aka, recorded streams that viewers can watch whenever they want.
Most streamers only broadcast for a few hours at a time, and use vod content to help satiate fans who can't watch them live. Not only does this help you capture new fans who don't overlap with your timing window, but it can allow you dedicated followers to catch up on anything new if they miss a stream.
Vod content is less useful for long-haul streamers who broadcast for 8 or more hours a day. Very few people have the time to watch that much content all at once. So our advice: save your energy and stick to briefer live sessions if you're just starting out in streaming! Then as your following grows, you can start experimenting with longer sessions.
Most new part-time streamers would be better off spending their time somewhere other than an eight hour streaming session. Obviously this will depend on the demand for your content, but streaming for eight hours a day to no viewers is far less productive than streaming for two hours and then spending the remaining time researching and creating off-stream content.
When you start out, it’s important to focus on building a community. This means quality over quantity. You want people to watch your stream because it’s entertaining, not just because you happened to be streaming when they had free time.
Start with a small stream schedule and grow it as you build up both your viewer base and your confidence as a streamer. There’s no point in committing to 4 hours of broadcasting time when you could be spending that time creating great content that will eventually bring in viewers.
Getting your streaming schedule right can be complicated.
When you're figuring out when to stream, it's important to look at what the competition is doing. It's also important to look at when your viewers are online. Your ideal streaming time is a perfect overlap between those two things—when there's the most number of viewers online, and the fewest number of streamers available to entertain them.
When a larger streamer is online, their audience will definitely be watching them. That's not to say you can't grow if you stream at the same time as they do, but if you schedule your streams for just after theirs, you may have a perfect window to introduce yourself to their audience.
Your viewers will always prefer to have an idea of when you're coming online than having to guess. Commit to streaming in the same window consistently each week, and make sure your bio has your streaming schedule so your viewers know when they can expect you next!
Now that you've set up your schedule, don't forget to keep your viewers entertained when you're not streaming.
We're going to get straight to the point: life happens. You might have a work commitment come up, or be sick, or just need a day to rest and recharge. No matter what happens, it's good to always have something prepared for your audience so they don't feel like you've left them hanging.
For example, let's say you find out you're going to be out of town on the weekend when you were planning on streaming. You can prepare some clips from previous streams and package them into a "best of" video and do a short intro explaining where you'll be and why you'll be away from the stream this week (a work thing, visiting family… whatever the reason). If you've gotten in the habit of keeping track of funny moments or cool highlights, this should be easy for you!
If you know in advance that an extended break is coming up and can plan for it, even better—you can prepare content and release it in advance so your fans know exactly when new content will be coming out. This way they can look forward to it instead of wondering if/when they'll see something new from you.
There are times when you will be more creative and productive than other times. Use those times to build up a backlog of evergreen content that you can schedule at later times for you to maintain consistency and either give yourself a break or keep up the level of quality that your followers expect. If you’re sick and lost your voice, you may be better off posting a high quality vod than having a poor quality stream.
Your streaming schedule should include all of your streams, including IRL streams. If you are only streaming live, then this is also true. When you're setting up your schedule, make sure to think about how often you would like to stream per week, in addition to which days and times work best for your audience.
It's okay to take breaks from streaming! Sometimes it's necessary to do something else so that you can recharge and come back refreshed and ready to go with new energy!
You know it's important to be consistent. But you don't want to overwhelm your audience. How do you find a balance between the two?
It's all about keeping your content release schedule consistent—but not overbearing. Here are some tips for how to start:
The first thing you need to do is decide how frequently you want to post. You should aim for posting at least once a day—but not more than three times per day.
Then, make sure that whatever frequency you chose stays consistent across the week. So if you decide that posting twice a day is what works best for you, then post twice on Monday, and Tuesday, etc.—not just on Mondays and Thursdays.
Finally, make sure your posts get released at the same time every day. If people have come to expect that you'll always post at 3 pm, they might stop checking in after 3:01 pm because they assume there won't be anything new yet. If they don't see something they like right away, they'll just skip over it and go on with their day.