One of the newest, and most fun, ways for podcasters to grow their audience is through Twitch
Twitch is best known for being a place where people stream themselves playing video games. A surprising amount of people tune in to watch. What you may not know is that Twitch has broadened its categories to include a variety of topics that are unrelated to video games.
As an example, TWiT has its own Twitch Channel with a detailed schedule. TWiT stands for “This Week in Tech”. It is a network run by Leo Laporte. The podcasts on that network do not have anything to do with video games. Even so, TWiT has over 31,000 followers on Twitch. Podcasters on Twitch tend to use the “Talk Show” category when they go live.
First, you need to make a Twitch channel that is dedicated to your podcast. Twitch is free to use, so there is no financial investment required. Use the name of your podcast as your Twitch channel name. Put your podcast's logo and banner onto your Twitch channel. Doing so makes it easy for fans to find you on Twitch.
Personally, I use OBS (which I found based on Twitch's suggestions). I like OBS because it is free to download and use, and also because it works on both PC and Mac. There was a bit of a learning curve to tackle before I fully understood how to use OBS with Twitch. Your experience may vary.
One reason I chose OBS is because it can not only stream but also record what I am streaming. This feature allows me to post videos of what I stream on Twitch later that night or the next day. When I post a new video, I make sure to mention it on my social media. Those who missed it when I was live can view the video on demand whenever they want to.
Post a schedule on your Twitch channel – and stick to it! Consistency is just as important on Twitch as it is with podcasting. Fans will want to tune in on Twitch when your podcast goes live. Sticking to a schedule helps them not only find your podcast, but also direct friends to go check it out.
One of the fun things about Twitch is that (almost) everything is being done live. This can be exciting to your loyal listeners, who want the opportunity to see and hear you. In addition, it is not unusual for people to on Twitch to randomly decide to check out a streamer who they are unfamiliar with. This makes it super easy to pick up brand new listeners and grow your audience.
Make sure to use social media to announce when you are about to go live on Twitch. In general, people who are enjoying what they are watching on Twitch will let others know about it. They can easily do that by retweeting, reposting, or sharing your announcement. The fact that the podcast is live – right now – brings a sense of urgency. Those who are curious about your podcast may feel compelled to stop what they are doing and tune in. Twitch can evoke a “FOMO” (fear of missing out) feeling in people.
The absolute best part of podcasting live on Twitch is the Chat function. People who watch your live podcast can post comments about whatever subject you are discussing. In general, it seems to me that most streams on Twitch are slightly delayed, which means the people in your chat are going to comment on something you said a little while ago.
That's ok! It gives podcasters time to start discussing a topic. A podcaster can stop at any time, view the chat, and respond to comments and questions. Twitch makes it easy for you to provide quick feedback – and to bring listener's thoughts and opinions directly into the show as it is being live streamed. The experience makes your audience interested in coming back for your next live show. People like to feel included, and there is no quicker way make that happen than to acknowledge them in your Chat.
There is some Twitch etiquette to be aware of. Some people will happily watch your live stream without ever typing anything into the chat. These people are “lurking” - which is entirely acceptable. Lurkers want to watch your stream – from a comfortable distance. Don't call out the “lurkers” by saying their Twitch name while your stream is live. Instead, you can do a general “welcome to my stream” at the start of your show.
If you read a comment from someone in chat, it is good etiquette to say their name. This gives them credit for their contribution. You might have problems pronouncing some Twitch names because people get very creative with them. When in doubt, give it your best try and then ask if you got it right.
Twitch highly recommends that streamers use some kind of moderation in their chat. The purpose is to prevent situations where people are making inappropriate or harassing comments. One way to do that is with AutoMod. Another is to ask a trusted friend to moderate your Chat.
People who check out your Twitch Channel want to feel comfortable chatting with you (and with the other viewers). Moderation helps make your Channel a welcoming place for fans and also for brand new listeners. People who had a good time will return, and potentially bring friends.