Keys to Success Part 2: Being Relentlessly Positive

Is Positive

Positive Cat Is Positive

So last week I Introduced a topic that I’ve been looking at closely over the last couple of weeks – How have people like Lethal Frag, Swifty, Cobaltstreak, Seananners, and Day[9] become successful on Youtube or twitch.tv? Specifically, what are they doing differently than everyone else who claims to have good quality content, commentary, consistency, etc. So far, I’ve determined that:

  • They’re overwhelmingly positive.
  • They’re enthusiastic about what they do.
  • They’re dedicated.
  • They give back to the community.

Today I want to talk about being overwhelmingly positive.

This is a subject that’s become increasingly important to me personally. Those of you who watch me regularly (particularly when I livestream) know that I don’t always like my current RL job. Despite the job’s upsides I end up having to deal with a huge workload, not-so-helpful coworkers, and the ever oppressing retail push. Couple that with the difficulties of trying to get a graduate degree and your typical RL troubles and I find that I am carrying a negative attitude most of the time. Sometimes I’ve let that negativity creep into my videos and streams. I figured it was fine because I was “being real”. After watching Day[9]’s video about being positive I’ve had to really reconsider my position.

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Yeah. So it turns out that I haven’t been as positive as I thought. (His followup video is equally fantastic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQICtwDKmzE) This isn’t the only time Day9 talks about being positive. The guy oozes positive attitude. Just watch any of his daily casts or backlog of recordings and you will see that the guy just can’t help smiling and laughing. When combined with his quirky nerd humor, that kind of positive energy is really contagious. Day9 is truly the definition of being relentlessly positive.

Day9 isn’t the only person being overwhelmingly positive. Take a look at Lethalfrag: It seems like this man can put a positive spin on anything. When twitch.tv came out with their turbo feature a lot of the biggest casters on twitch were up in arms about potential lost subscriber revenue. You see, livestreamers on twitch rely on a combination of ad revenue and subscriber revenue to make money. When a streamer plays an ad it pays a small amount of money for each impression.  In addition, some streamers have access to subscriber buttons which allow viewers to support the caster more effectively by paying $5 a month. In return the viewer sees no ads for that caster and gets access to a couple of unique emoticons to use in chat. As far as I’m aware the best way for a streamer to make consistent money is to have people subscribe. The new turbo feature allows viewers to pay twitch (not the casters) $8.99 a month to not see ads for the entire site but casters still get ad impressions. Naturally, some viewers are going to pay only $9 to block ads across the entire site rather than subscribe to one or two streamers. TLDR: Streamers were losing subscriptions from people who elected to get turbo.

Frag is one of those streamers who has a subscriber button. When viewers asked Frag about his opinion about the new Turbo feature he said it was great! He went on to describe the turbo service as great for the viewer, great for Twitch.tv (his employer essentially), and still beneficial to the caster due to the impressions the viewer generates. In his own words: “It’s better that I take a small, short term dip in revenue to better equip Twitch to grow and expand than to hold on to the few subs I’ll lose in the process. Twitch can’t pay anything if it goes under.” The ability to put a positive spin on something that so many people were seeing as negative is invaluable I’m sure. Frag also sports an amazingly levelheaded outlook on life and really patient approach to streaming. I don’t know how someone can die for four hours on I Wanna Be the Boshy and still chuckle about it.

All of this could be said about Cobaltstreak, Seananners, and Swifty. Go look at their content – you will be hard pressed to find a single video where they aren’t smiling, laughing, and generally having a good time. When difficult situations present themselves they always seem to put a positive spin on it.

So what does that mean for the rest of us when it comes to making videos or livestreaming? We have to be positive! And not just a bit – I’m talking overwhelmingly, sickeningly positive about everything. I’m beginning to realize that what draws a viewer to watch any particular person isn’t just the content, the game, or the quality. The ability to develop long time viewers (dare I say fans?) with your content hinges on developing a deep connection with the viewer. There are a lot of ways to do that but one of the first steps is to create a viewing environment that makes the viewer comfortable and happy. What’s the biggest way to turn off a potential viewer? Besides having an unwatchable video/stream, being a dick is second. Any sort of yelling, raging, belittling people in chat, or general trolling is going to get old fast.

But it goes even deeper than that. I don’t know about everyone else, but I watch youtube/twitch.tv to relax and enjoy myself. If I’ve had a particularly bad day I’ll often turn on a Day9 daily and watch him giggle and smile his way through an analysis of TvZ. I have only the faintest clue about what he’s talking about but it doesn’t matter. By the end of that hour I can’t help but smile when he compares losing a ZvZ to losing Felicity or does the fusion core dance. The same could be said for Seananners and his stupidly funny CS:Source videos and cooking advice, Swifty and his love for coffee and cats, or Cobalt’s Loki dance. Knowing that I can turn on a stream at any given point and expect to not just be entertained, but to have a streamer’s positivity rub off on me goes a long way towards making me a repeat/long term viewer.

Anyways that was much longer than I expected. Hopefully you find this information interesting and insightful. Next week I’ll tackle enthusiasm and it’s various benefits. (Spoiler alert: it’s a good thing.)

Keys to Success Part 1: Introduction

Idea Cat

Those of you who know me pretty well know that I tend to take this whole Youtube thing pretty seriously. That is, I like to analyze numbers, trends, and approaches to content. It’s just the way I’m wired – I love to analyze things. Naturally, I’ve always tried to In the past I’ve always thought that you needed to have an edge – an angle of attack for what you’re doing. With the gaming scene on Youtube (and to a lesser extent on twitch) so saturated, how are you going to get noticed if you are doing what everyone else is doing? So for the past six months that has been my focus. Gotta find my niche. Gotta have good quality content. Gotta be consistent. Gotta engage the audience. Gotta annotate, tag, network.

Turns out this approach is crap. Everyone is trying to find their niche. People making videos and livestreaming have probed damn near every orifice of video game content. Everyone has good quality video, audio, and commentary. Everyone’s grandmother can be consistent. Everyone says “comment, like, subscribe”. You think of it and everyone’s doing it. Surely there was something simple I was missing.

With this new push to really apply myself (last week not included due to Sony Vegas troubles …)  I’ve been taking another long look at some of the people who I think have accomplished a lot both on Youtube and Twitch.tv. These are people I turn on to watch time and time again. Here’s a short list:

  • Day[9]
  • Lethalfrag
  • cobaltstreak
  • Seananners
  • Swifty (specifically his IRL channel)

At their most basic level what do they have in common? I gone back through their old and new content and figured out exactly what makes them tick. I don’t know if I’ve found all the answers but I have found some similarities across the board:

  • They’re overwhelmingly positive.
  • They’re enthusiastic about what they do.
  • They’re dedicated.
  • They give back to the community.

All these things are pretty basic but I think a LOT of people miss them when creating their content. Now that I’ve actually thought about it I can’t believe how essential each of these things feel when it comes to being successful making gaming content. IMO these are even higher priority than almost anything else a commentator can do.

In an effort to refine my thoughts on this I’ve decided to post a small series of thoughts on each of these points. Hopefully you’ll find some of this as thought provoking as I have. I’ll have a new post in a couple of days and will update this introductory post as I post additional parts.

Cheers!