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Wise video streaming lessons from the world of video games

video game consoles for watching videosSome of the most popular types of online videos these days revolve around video games. You’ll find walkthroughs (step by step guides), reviews, tournaments, and just plain fun videos on virtually every title and video game system in existence.

Twitch.tv is a streaming service that specialises in video game streaming, both live and on demand (though the gamers seem to prefer live on Twitch). Being a bit of a geek, with children who are even geekier about video games, I’ve been researching Twitch before my kids get too carried away. I came across an article claiming someone on Twitch boosted their video views by 380% – literally overnight. That, I thought was worth looking at.

And it turns out that what this one group of gamers is doing applies to anyone looking to get more out of their video investment. Here’s an overview of what they did, and why you might want to do the same.

Find an event and create great content around it that coincides with the event. And by great content, I mean content that provides value to those you want to watch it. The video gamers timed their content and live stream to the release of a major sports title. They had received a preview copy early, so held their event the day before the public release of the game. Since they were the only ones streaming the game prior to release, all the fans tuned in to see what it was like before they could buy it. The gamers also answered questions and gave tips to viewers. The same strategy can work for any industry or sector. If your audience is aware of an event, take advantage by offering exclusive content surrounding the event.

Use live streaming if possible. There’s something about watching live events that gets everyone excited. People are more engaged and interested, right when you want them to be. The gamers in the example above noted that it took a lot of planning ahead so they could execute a 15 hour live stream (yours doesn’t need to be that long). They made sure they had invited guests to play and comment on the game. They kept the content changing so people would keep watching and not get bored just watching two guys play the same game all day. So if you do decide on a live event, make sure you’ve planned it all down to the last detail with interesting, related, and ever changing content.

Reach out to both influencers and your target audience. Prior to the event, find the main influencers in your industry and reach out to them with ideas on how to participate. Maybe they could do a guest spot, commentary, or maybe just announce the event to their community. Depending on your relationship with them (if you have any at the time of the event) you might get different people to agree to different things for a variety of incentives. Some might refuse you altogether. But if you’re offering something of value to the industry (and not just running a marketing ploy), then you might be surprised how many actually say yes to helping you. During the event (and when advertising it before hand) include the audience as much as possible. Offer free giveaways, or exclusives only during the event. Build the excitement and keep it going during and after the event.

Understand why you are doing the event before you start. Even though you will offer value to the viewers, you will obviously have the intention of getting something out of the streaming event. Maybe it’s more Twitter followers, or website visitors, or sales. Whatever it is, make sure you include that call to action somewhere in your content. The last thing you want is to look at the impact your event had on website traffic and discover it had none. Then you realise you never gave the website address out during the event or you never suggested the viewers go see your website for more information. If you don’t tell them, they won’t do it. Be clear yourself before starting, then be clear (but not pushy) in your content.

In the end, the video gamers on Twitch went from about 162k followers to over 784k followers literally in a single day. That kind of proof is hard to argue with so why not try it out for your business?

Oliver Burt

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