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Viewers’ attention towards a stream is very volatile before you actually have made them loyal to your content. In the first few encounters they will have with you, a viewer will have a very similar position as an interviewer, who is waiting to be convinced or will move on to another channel.
In order to maximize this “interview” time you have, there are 2 keys we need to understand and use to our advantage. The first one is the basic psychology that makes someone pay attention to something or not, mostly working on your first impression to maximize the image and credibility someone will perceive when only watching you during a short period of time.
The second important thing to factor in is the stream itself, and the volatile media that internet can be. One where people have very short attention spans and can move on to something else at any time they feel like it.
Although the streaming universe was built upon a foundation of positivity, it is in our nature to judge what we see, even if it’s as basic as “I like it”.
Unconsciously this judgment is very important for the rest of a viewer’s experience. Someone who has their mindset to “I like that” is much more inclined to be receptive to what comes next compared to someone who has labeled you as not interesting.
While some specific targeted audiences would require a specific visual setup, there are some basics everyone should follow.
Viewers need to be able to see your eyes when logging on to your stream, eye contact is the most used way for humankind to establish contact with one another.
Your background should be clean, neutral when it comes to showcasing controversial opinions (like politics for example), and gaming-oriented.
The screen should be organized in a way that the viewer’s eyes go where it is important for you and in a convenient way for the content you are showcasing. For example, an action-packed game with tons of details doesn’t need to have a huge webcam covering a third of the screen.
Audio sounds are key to a good streaming experience, especially as a large portion of viewers use streams as a background rather than invest themselves in an active viewing experience.
There are 3 things to balance properly: the tone of your voice, the music you are playing, and the sounds coming from the game you play.
The game is the main part of the image, it usually is the base that will impact the music (if we play any) and the behavior we choose. It is possible to play without game sounds and replace them entirely with music, for example, in shooting games when the repetitive sound of the weapons could be quickly bothering.
Not every viewer likes the same thing, and it is impossible to appeal to everyone on the internet. In order to make a positive impact on someone who sees you and your content for the first time, that person needs to find something they like in your content.
It can be your attitude, the game you play, the way you deliver your story, or something as simple as the clothes you wear, but you have to tailor the content to the people you want to attract to your channel.
Similar to the saying “Dress for the job you want“, a streamer should “produce for the audience you want“.
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The best way to grab someone’s attention and make them feel good about you is to establish a connection, whatever it might be.
To create opportunities for a viewer to connect with your content, you have to use everything as your disposal, whether it is audio or visual means.
Especially for newer viewers, creating a connection will entice them to come back and become regular viewers.
The biggest dealbreaker when you are trying to grab someone’s attention is to look like you do not care. If you are doing something on your phone, checking something viewers can’t see on your screen, you are leaving a lot of people out of that moment, so they are likely to direct their attention somewhere else.
Instead, if you are looking passionate and having an intense moment that viewers can understand and be a part of, they will give you their full attention.
Humans pay attention subconsciously and automatically to certain sights which impact how much attention we pay to things.
In order to prolong the attention one person can give to something, it is important to stimulate that person in several ways.
Hearing and eyesight are the 2 most used senses when it comes to streaming, but finding creative to activate other senses from your viewers will increase their implication.
Cooking streams, for example, are at their best when the host is capable of describing in great details what is the smell or taste of the food he is preparing, so precisely that the audience can actually picture it mentally.
In order to relate to your content, people need some references to connect and be completely invested.
Being able to provide a context and create a meaningful background will change the whole understanding someone has of your story. It will help them get involved in the story while also being able to attach it to some of their personal experience, making the story much more impactful in their mind
Unless we are repulsed by something, people are curious animals. We pay attention to the things that don’t correlate with our expectations of the world, meaning that when something makes us rethink our conception, we are unconsciously drawn toward it.
While we aren’t talking about playing only mystery-based games or turning your stream into a magic show, challenging the beliefs of your viewers (in a playful way, do not purposefully attack anyone’s belief) usually has a positive impact on your audience.
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People usually connect attention with how pleasing the content is to consume, while it is about how much they desire it. This means that in order to fully grab someone’s attention, you should offer the possibility of obtaining a form of reward, in order to create said desire.
These rewards can range from announced perks, like the possibility to win something material to more subjective matters like sharing knowledge.
For someone to consider your arguments valid, there is a lot to do with their perception of how credible you are on that matter.
In gaming, pro players attract a lot of audiences because they are showcasing recognized skills that serve to establish their credibility to the world.
While not everyone can rely on being a pro at what they stream, showcasing why your opinion is worth being believed in will establish credibility and increase the attention paid to your word.
Research has shown that you have about eight seconds to capture people’s attention. That’s the length of the average attention span, and if you fail to capture the audience in that time, you’ve lost your chance to convert a potential viewer.
A stream with the same tone over long periods of time can be a good thing once you have an established audience and know what they are into.
But if you are looking to catch the attention of viewers, you need to give them a roller coaster experience so their brain doesn’t get used to what they see. Because once they do, they usually see it as more boring than what it felt previously.
If viewers keep wondering what might happen next, they will be much more engaged in their viewing experience, giving more attention and more time to turn them into regular viewers.
A hook is something to catches the attention of someone that still is wondering if you are worth their time. It is something interesting that will appeal to them and make them stay to see the rest of the story unfold.
It can be anything really, ranging from a surprise element to starting a new activity. It’s important to have a few of those prepared so the stream doesn’t feel dull.
Use a hook whenever you start a new period in your stream, like when you change the game you play or after you had a break.
When someone enters your stream, you should give them a direct path to what you want them to focus on.
If you have too many things happening, or too many distractions available for them to consider, they will likely miss the important part of your content and be less engaged in their overall viewing experience.
Be mindful of this when creating your scenes and thinking about what you want people to see first when they log in to your channel.
A lot of the time, repeating yourself is seen as boring and useless when creating content. In the streaming world where it happens live and people come and go onto your channel, repeating isn’t so bad.
It is important to repeat useful things though, and ones that actually have a special meaning to both your content and your viewers.
For viewers, rewards and special incentives tend to be well received. For your content, repeating special events happening soon is a big yes, otherwise as long as there is support for it through what is happening in your gameplay, it usually is accepted.
Internet is a place where one is bombarded with content, making a lot of it be forgotten as fast as it appeared on their screen.
This phenomenon is especially prevalent among mobile users. According to Facebook, when pressing on a video on a mobile phone, the average user spends as little as 1.5 seconds making up their minds on whether they will watch the full video or not.
Basically, your whole video will be judged on whether the first seconds were good enough or not.
Our brains have a Reticular Activating System (RAS) that acts as a filter for unnecessary information. It blocks useless content, only keeping on what is necessary to our physical and emotional needs. Studies have shown that our brains respond to novelty, topics directly related to us, emotion, and immediate impacts on upcoming decisions.
Because we don’t control the flow of arrivals onto our stream, it is hard to know when to deliver our point so it reaches most people. Hence the need to repeat the most important parts of your content.
A simple technique is to have a waiting screen at the start of your stream so that you give your regulars enough time to log into your channel and get comfortable watching your stream.
Once you actually take the stage, people will be ready and awaiting you, giving you the perfect setup to get to your main point immediately and grab their attention
Finding an original idea in today’s world is extremely difficult, but offering a new perspective is most of the time appreciated.
While we aren’t telling you to plagiarize anyone, you will more often than not talk about topics others have discussed, or showcase talents that can be found in other popular figures. The whole point of this is to find your originality through your content, even if you are doing something that, on the surface, already exists on the internet.
Streams usually aren’t connected with people being fully focused, the general vision of a viewer being someone who does something else while having a stream serve as background noise.
In reality, in order to become someone’s background noise, you have climbed several steps on their attention ladder. It is because they don’t want to miss something you might have that they picked you as their preferred background noise.
Creating that desire to be connected to your content even though they are doing something that should require their full attention is a very powerful skill. One that requires successfully completing the interview that the viewer unconsciously had you go through, analyzing you from the first impression he had to how well you could hook him to your content for a long period of time.
Getting viewers is hard, keeping them even harder. It takes around 21 days to keep habits, so get ready for the long game. Ask extra questions, make polls and other interactive content and change the streaming topics from time-to-time.
Five seconds is often enough for viewers to make opinion about you. Keep your voice up, make sure you are passionate about what you are streaming and communicate all the time with the audience.
Being yourself is the number 1 advice you hear most of the time. On top of that, personalise the stream to your audience and make sure that you don’t thank your audience too often. Something being very generous is’t very natural and your viewers can spot it.
To keep the attention of your viewer, you have to create an imaginary plot of your stream, which doesn’t the attention to slip. Keep the conversation going, adjust the stream with different scenes and break it with FAQ section.