In this guide on how to start streaming, we’ll talk about all of the basics that you need to know in order to get started with your first stream as well as other advanced techniques to help grow a channel and make money.
Topics this guide will cover include:
- Choosing a streaming platform
- What software do you need to start streaming
- What equipment do you need to start streaming
- How to start streaming (Installing streaming software, linking to the streaming platform, etc.)
- How to create good content and grow the channel.
- How to make money live streaming.
By the end of this guide, you should have everything you need to start streaming.
What streaming platform to use?
You should stream on Twitch as it’s the most popular streaming platform, however, you could have success streaming on Facebook or YouTube if you have an established audience on one of those platforms.
The most popular streaming platforms are Twitch, Facebook, and Youtube. All of these platforms have a good number of active daily users, and all have unique ways to help build an audience.
I recommend streaming on Twitch as it has the largest amount of daily users who are there to watch live streaming. Facebook and YouTube users are not necessarily on the platform to watch live streaming.
If you already have an audience on Facebook or YouTube, it might be worth streaming on their platforms to see if you can convert the audience into live streaming viewers which could give you an early boost in the growth of your live streaming channel.
I would recommend creating an account on all streaming and social media platforms to reserve your username for future use.
Twitch is the most popular platform with over 15 million daily active users, The Twitch community is very large so there is a lot of competition, which can make it difficult to stand out, but it also means there’s a built-in audience for almost any type of game or content.
Its main focus is on gaming content, however, in recent years has actively encouraged other types of content such as Music, ASMR, and the Just Chatting category.
If you are a new content creator and don’t have an audience on other social media platforms I would recommend you start streaming on Twitch.
Facebook Gaming is a fairly new streaming platform and is still growing, however, it still gets around 2.5 million daily active users. Facebook Gaming offers some unique features, such as the ability to stream directly to Facebook from your mobile device.
Facebook has a large potential audience, as anyone with a Facebook account can watch Facebook Gaming streams.
The main downside of Facebook Gaming is that the streaming community is still quite small, so it can be difficult to find viewers.
The platform mainly focuses on gaming content, however, different content can be streamed depending on the interests of your audience.
If you have a good size Facebook audience then this could be the platform for you.
YouTube Gaming is has a smaller but still active community and offers some unique features, such as the ability to live stream directly to YouTube from your mobile device.
YouTube also has a larger potential audience than Twitch, as anyone with a YouTube account can watch YouTube Gaming streams.
If you have a good size YouTube audience then this could be the platform for you.
Best software for streaming on Twitch
Streaming software or broadcasting software allows you to broadcast your gameplay or content live to Twitch or other streaming platforms.
check out our updated list of the best streaming software in 2022.
I recommend using OBS as it’s the most popular software. it’s completely free and has an active development community that keeps the software up-to-date.
Here are some popular streaming software options:
- Twitch studio
OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is a free, open-source streaming software that is popular among content creators. It has a robust set of features and a large and active development community. OBS is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Live streaming to Twitch, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms
- Streaming and Recording gameplay or content
- Webcam support
- Overlays and Alerts
You can also record the content from OBS for editing and uploading to YouTube.
You can download OBS here.
Streamlabs Desktop is a cross-platform software compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. The software is free, however, there are some features that are locked behind a paywall (Streamlabs Prime).
Streamlabs Prime is available for $19 a month or $149 per year.
The software has an improved user interface compared to OBS and has a number of features that make it popular among streamers.
Some of the features that are locked behind Streamlabs Prime include:
- No ads
- Access to premium themes
- Access to premium widgets
- Priority customer support
- Cloud storage for recordings
- Custom URL for streaming page
- VIP servers for live chat
Selective Recording is excellent as you can record only the parts of the stream that you want for editing and video creation at a later date.
For example, if you’re playing a game and don’t want to include your webcam in the recording, Streamlabs will allow you to do that without having to record the whole stream.
Streamlabs Desktop is not as popular as OBS, however, it’s still good to use if you like the additional features.
You can download Streamlabs here.
XSplit Broadcaster is compatible with Windows. The software is free, however, there are some features that are locked behind a paywall. XSplit Premium is available for $15 a month or $60 per year.
features that XSplit premium has over the free version:
- Access to premium themes and plugins
- 3rd-party integrations
- scene transitions
- Extended video playback support
- No watermark
- Priority customer support
XSplit also allows you to create multiple profiles for live streaming and recording which is very useful for recording only parts of the stream that can then be edited and uploaded to YouTube.
for example, if your playing a game on stream and don’t want to include your webcam in the recording, XSplit will allow you to use a different profile for recording that doesn’t include the webcam.
If you’re looking for premium software then XSplit Broadcaster is a good option, however, if you’re just starting out I would recommend using OBS as it’s free.
The next step is to gather the necessary equipment for your stream. You need to start thinking about the equipment that you’ll need for streaming on Twitch. The good news is that you don’t need a lot of expensive gear to get started; in fact, all you really need is a computer/smartphone and a solid internet connection.
If you want to take your stream to the next level, then you may want to consider investing in some additional equipment.
I’ve put together a list of equipment that you may want to consider for your stream:
Best PC or Laptop for streaming
You’ll need a PC or Laptop that is powerful enough to run your streaming software, play games, and run any other software while streaming.
some streamers use a two PC setup; streaming computer and gaming pc, however, this really isn’t necessary for new streamers.
We recommend that your gaming PC or Laptop meet the following specifications to run 99% of pc games at the recommended level of detail.
- Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit OS
- Graphics Card (GPU): Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 12GB Graphics Card
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i9-11900KF
- RAM: 16GB
- Hard drive: 1TB SSD
It is also recommended to have an Internet connection with an upload speed of at least 3 Mbps to avoid lag while streaming and playing video games.
Best Webcam to start live streaming
If you want to include your face in your stream, then you’ll need a camera. The camera doesn’t have to be expensive and there are a lot of good quality webcams available for around $100.
A popular webcam that is often used by streamers is the Logitech C922 Pro.
The Logitech C922 Pro has the following features:
- Full HD 1080p video capture at 30fps
- Built-in stereo microphones
- Universal clip fits laptops, LCD or CRT monitors
The Elgato Facecam is a more premium webcam that is good for live streaming.
Check out this list of the best webcams for streaming in 2022.
Best camera for live streaming
If you want to take your stream to the next level and use a professional-grade camera, then you may want to consider using a DSLR or Mirrorless camera.
DSLR cameras are often used by vloggers and YouTubers as they provide high-quality video footage.
Mirrorless cameras are a newer type of camera that has been designed to be more portable and lightweight than DSLR cameras.
Some features to look for when purchasing a DSLR or Mirrorless camera include:
- 4K resolution
- Live-view LCD screen
- External microphone input
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
When purchasing a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, you’ll also need to purchase a lens. The type of lens you’ll need will depend on the type of footage you want to capture.
For example, if you want to capture wide-angle shots, then you’ll need a wide-angle lens.
The Canon EOS R6 is a popular DSLR camera that is often used by vloggers and YouTubers.
The Canon EOS R6 has the following features:
- 20.1 megapixel sensor
- 4K video recording
- 10fps continuous shooting
- Built-in stabilization
The Canon EOS R6 is available now for $2,884.95.
Best Microphone for streaming
If you want to improve the audio quality of your stream, then you’ll need a microphone. There are a lot of different microphones available, so it’s important to choose one that is suitable for your needs.
USB microphones are popular with new streamers are they are easier to set up and are generally cheaper than XLR microphones.
The Blue Yeti USB microphone is a popular choice for new streamers as it’s easy to set up and use. The Blue Yeti has the following features:
- Four different pattern modes
- Headphone output
- Mute button
- Gain control
The Blue Yeti is available now for $119.99.
Other popular USB microphones for streaming include:
- Elgato Wave 3
- Shure MV7
Check out this list of the best USB microphones for streaming in 2022.
Best XLR microphone for streaming
If you want to use a professional-grade microphone for your stream, then you’ll need to purchase an XLR microphone.
XLR microphones are often used by podcasters and radio presenters as they provide a high-quality sound.
The Rode Podcaster is a popular XLR microphone that has some of the following features:
- Studio-quality sound
- Cardioid polar pattern
The Rode Podcaster is available now for $269.00.
Other popular XLR microphones for streaming include:
- Shure SM7B
- Rode Podmic
- Audio-Technica AT2020
Note: XLR microphones may need additional equipment to work including:
- Audio Interface
- Cloudlifter or FetHead
Check out this page for the updated list of the best XLR microphones for streaming in 2022
Best Lavalier Microphone for streaming
If you’re going to be streaming from outside or different locations, then you might want to consider using a Lavalier microphone.
Lavalier microphones are small lightweight devices that are usually attached to your shirt close to your mouth and are perfect for use when streaming on the go.
The Sennheiser ME 2-II is a popular lavalier microphone that has the following features:
- omnidirectional pickup pattern
- Automatic impedance matching
- Wide frequency response
The Sennheiser ME 2-II is available now for $99.95.
Other popular lavalier microphones for streaming include:
- Rode SmartLav+
- Movo LV1
- Sennheiser EW 100 G3
Best Audio Interface for streaming
If you’re going to be using an XLR microphone for your stream, then you’ll need an audio interface.
Audio interfaces are devices that allow you to connect your XLR microphone to your computer.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a popular audio interface that has the following features:
- 24-bit/192kHz resolution
- 2 inputs and 2 outputs
- USB bus-powered
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is available now for $149.99.
Some other popular audio interfaces for streaming include:
- GoXLR / GoXLR Mini
- Rode RODECaster Pro
- Elgato Wave XLR
Check out this page for an updated list of the best Audio Interfaces for streaming in 2022.
Best Lighting for streaming
If you want to improve the quality of your stream, then you’ll need to invest in some good lighting.
Good lighting is an essential part of getting the perfect shot for live streaming. It doesn’t matter if you are using a budget webcam or a high-end digital camera, lighting can transform the look and feel of the stream.
The best light for streaming is the Elgato Key Light. It has the following features:
- Amped RGB lighting
- Individual control of brightness and colour
The Elgato Key Light is WiFi enabled which means you can adjust the brightness and warmth via an app on your smartphone, PC, or Mac.
The Elgato Key Light is available now for $154.58.
check out the video below for a tutorial on setting up lighting for your streaming setup.
Best Capture Card for streaming
If you want to stream console games, then you’ll need a capture card. A capture card is a device that allows you to connect your console to your PC or Laptop and stream the console gameplay footage to your streaming software.
Elgato’s HD60 S+ is the most popular capture card and is compatible with different gaming consoles; Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.
Some features of the Elgato HD60 S+ include:
- 1080p 60fps capture for excellent video quality
- Stream and record your game footage in stunning HD without any loss in quality
- Directly stream to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, and more
- One-click streaming with Elgato Game Capture Software
- CLoud-based recording with Elgato Game Capture HD software
The Elgato HD60S+ is available now for $199.99.
Other popular capture cards for console streaming include:
- Avermedia Live Gamer Extreme 2
- Razer Ripsaw X
Other Streaming Equipment
Other streaming equipment that can be used to help enhance the quality of the stream includes; Green screens, Elgato Stream Deck, and additional room lighting.
These are not necessarily required to start broadcasting but can help to improve the overall look and feel of the stream.
A green screen can be used to create a virtual background for your live stream. This is helpful if you want to change the background of your live stream, and can create a high-quality clean looking stream.
The Elgato Green Screen is the best green screen for streaming and has the following features:
- Collapsible design
- wrinkle-resistant fabric
- Chroma key green colour
The Elgato Green Screen is available now for $154.58
Elgato Stream Deck
The Elgato Stream Deck is a must-have piece of equipment for any streamer that wants to take their broadcasts to the next level.
The device allows you to control various aspects of your live stream with the touch of a button. The Stream Deck can be used to control things like your webcam, microphone, audio levels, streaming software, and more.
The Elgato Stream Deck is available now for $129.95.
Additional Room Lighting
Room lighting is often overlooked when setting up a streaming station, but proper room lighting can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of the stream.
Good quality room lighting can help to minimize shadows and improve the colour quality of your shots. It’s also important to make sure that the light doesn’t create any unwanted reflections on your camera.
There are a variety of room lighting solutions available, however, we recommend the Philips Hue Play Light Bar as it’s an affordable and easy-to-use option that can be controlled via the Hue app on your smartphone.
The Philips Hue Play Light Bar is available now for $129.99.
How to start streaming
Once you have the streaming platform, streaming software, and equipment sorted, you can begin to start streaming.
In this example, we will set up a Twitch stream using OBS, however, streaming on the different platforms and using different software is basically the same process.
- Create and set up a streaming platform account:
- Create and log in to your Twitch account (https://twitch.tv).
- Update your profile picture, profile banner, and Bio.
Download and Install OBS:
- Download and install the most recent version of OBS (https://obsproject.com/).
- Connect OBS to your Twitch channel using either the Stream Key or Connect Account option in OBS; File->Settings->Stream.
Create scenes for different parts of your stream, an example of popular scenes to create include:
- Just Chatting
Add the sources you want for your stream include:
- Audio Input Capture (Microphone).
- Video Capture Device (webcam, camera).
- Game Capture
- Browser (Alerts)
Checklist to starting a stream
When you have the stream setup and you’re ready to start, you should run through your final checks, an example of a good start-of-stream checklist would be:
- Refreshments: Have snacks and refreshments such as water at hand so you don’t need to go to break as often.
- Plan what you talk about: You should plan ahead some subjects you’ll want to cover during the stream when chat is slow.
- Plan what content you stream: You should have a plan for the content you’ll be looking to stream. a lot of streamers like to start their stream in “Just Chatting” for the first part of the stream before playing games.
- Launch software: Launch the different software you will be using during the stream. some software could include; OBS, Twitch Creator Dashboard, Spotify, Discord, Chrome Browser, Twitter, and YouTube.
- Update Title and streaming category: Update your stream title and streaming category to reflect what content you will be streaming. Informative catchy titles can help generate new viewers while providing viewers with context to the content.
- Check Yourself: Not only should you check your hairstyle, but you should check your vibe. How do you want others to see you? this might be corny but try to be the best YOU, you can be.
- Social Media Post: Posting an update on social media will give your followers the notification that you are about to go live. you should use catchy informative posts to encourage followers to join the live stream.
- Testing the stream: Test your audio and video are working by recording a 10-second clip. Once the stream has started; check the audio and video are still working by viewing the stream on Twitch. You should also check that your chatbot is enabled and working.
- Start Intro countdown: Start the stream with a countdown timer intro scene, which will give your followers a chance to join the stream before you actually start. This helps you have viewers to talk to when the stream actually starts.
- Go Live: Smile, say hello, and start streaming awesome content. Try to be yourself and don’t take it all too seriously. If you can enjoy yourself and have fun so will your viewers.
Checklist of ending a stream
When you want to end the stream you need to think about how to end the stream in a positive consistent way that your viewers will want to come back to watch again.
Go through this end-of-stream checklist to make sure you end the stream the best way possible.
- Thank everyone: Thank your viewers for joining and spending their time watching you. strengthening your relationship with your viewers is key to a successful live stream. By showing appreciation, you let them know that you value their time and company.
- Shout Outs: Give a shout-out to any new followers and subscribers. Recognizing new members of your community helps make them feel welcome and appreciated. It also encourages others to join in the fun.
- Announce your next stream: Letting viewers know when your next stream is scheduled helps keep them engaged and encourages them to come back for more.
- End on a high note: Ending the stream in a positive mood can help make your viewers feel they have had a good time and will make them more likely to watch again.
- Raid another streamer: Raiding another streamer is a great way to make friendships with streamers who create related content.
- Turn off Webcam, Lighting, streaming software.
- Save your VOD: Download your VOD and upload it to YouTube (set to private). Although you might not initially have any use for the VOD; it’s handy to have it available for the times when you do want to use it.
- Social Media Post: Posting an end-of-stream update on social media can be very useful for concluding the stream, creating a buzz for the next stream, giving special thanks to people such as other streamers who had taken part in the stream or streamers that had raided the stream.
- Check-in with moderators: If you have moderators on your stream, be sure to send them a message thanking them for their help. You can also check to see if there were anything that needed your attention such as any issues during the stream.
- Check your inbox: Check your inbox and socials to see if you have any messages. Try to respond to all messages if possible.
- make notes: Make notes of anything you thought went good and bad during the stream. This can be useful to help improve your future content and streams.
How to create good content and grow the channel
Good content is essential to growing a streaming channel. It helps attract new viewers and retain existing users. if you create good content your channel is basically guaranteed to grow.
Here are a few tips on how to create content that people will want to watch.
- Find your niche: When starting out, it’s a good idea to focus on a specific niche and focus on streaming content that caters to that audience. This could be anything from gaming to creative content. streams based on a theme can be a great way to stand out from the crowd and attract new viewers.
- Plan your content: Having a plan for your content is essential if you want to keep your viewers engaged. Try to mix up different types of content throughout the stream and keep things interesting.
- Be interactive: Interaction with your viewers during the stream can be a lot of work, but it’s important to keep things fresh and engaging if you want to grow your channel.
- Stream what you enjoy: The absolute most important thing to remember is to stream content that you enjoy streaming. if you enjoy streaming it, there are definitely viewers who would enjoy watching it.
By following the tips above, you’ll be on your way to creating great content that people will want to watch which will help grow a channel that could generate an income.
How to make money live streaming
Making money streaming is possible when you have a good size audience. It will require hard work and dedication. There are a number of ways you can monetize the stream including; Donations, Subscriptions, Sponsorships, and Merchandise.
Given the number of viewers that block ads on twitch, ads don’t generate much revenue, so you need to explore other options for generating an income from your live stream.
- Donations: Viewers can support streamers by donating. This could be in the form of Bits (Twitch’s currency), PayPal, or other methods. see this page for more information on earning bits – https://streamergenie.com/guides/money/how-much-do-streamers-make-per-bit/
- Subscriptions: viewers can support streamers by subscribing to their channel. This gives the subscriber access to exclusive content and perks such as emotes, badges, and chat privileges.
- Sponsorships: Sponsorships are a great way for streamers to make money. This is when a company pays the streamer to promote its product or service during the stream.
- Merchandise Sales: Selling merchandise is another great way for streamers to make money. This could be anything from t-shirts to mugs, and it’s a great way to engage with viewers and give them something to show their support.
Unless you are doing a Subathon of some kind, you shouldn’t focus the content of the stream on making money. Instead, you should focus on creating the best content possible. This will automatically make you earn more money.
Streaming can be an awesome way to have fun and meet new people who are interested in the same things as you. If you are able to grow a following, you can also make money and turn it into a business.
You should now know everything you need to know to start streaming and creating amazing content.