How to Brand Your Live Stream and Channel
Written by Paul Richards on November 16, 2020
Branding Live Streams & Channel
Are you just starting out on Twitch, YouTube or Facebook? Or maybe you’re thinking of starting a brand new channel? If that’s the case you might be trying to work out how to make your channel stand out from the crowd, after all the growth in the number of Twitch channels has been exponential in 2020.
So if you’re looking to differentiate your channel, how can you go about it? There are three main ways:
- Give your unique take on existing topics or create content not found anywhere else
- Deliver an incredible amount of value in your content (more than anyone else)
- Create a unique and memorable brand for your channel
In this article, we’re going to cover the third part of the equation – how to brand your channel and live streams to give yourself the best chance of building a unique and successful presence on Twitch.
Why should you focus on branding?
It’s vitally important to make a good impression on Twitch, you rarely get a second chance at making one.
When a new user comes to your channel or one of your live streams for the first time, how you’ve branded it can play a huge part in whether they stick around, subscribe, or move on. Creating an attractive brand and more memorable experience for your viewers and subscribers also helps build a stronger connection, differentiates you from the competition, and can bring people back to your channel and streams more regularly.
Twitch is such a huge opportunity so why not give yourself the best chance of success?!
Part 1: Planning & Preparation:
Before you begin creating the brand for your Twitch channel there are some things you need to understand and plan out first:
Before you start a Twitch channel (and brand it) you’re going to need to know what topic you’re going to create content on.
To choose the best possible topic for you, you need to first understand yourself to know what content you’ll thrive in creating (we know it sounds cheesy, but it’s important).
Answer the following questions and this should help give you some ideas:
- What do you consistently show an interest in and research often?
- Are you an authority on any subject?
- Have you worked in a specific job role or industry for a long time?
- What streams or YouTube channels/topics do you find yourself often watching?
- What are your major passions in life?
- What do you feel like your purpose is?
If you can answer those questions you’ll have a fuller understanding of the unique experience and value you can offer and parts of your personality that you can use to create a unique channel and stand out from the crowd.
All of this information will also give you some topic ideas that you can build your channel and brand around. Once you have some topics you can check to see if they are viable.
Before you invest a whole bunch of time creating a channel and a brand on Twitch, it’s vital you check that the topic you plan on creating content on is actually a viable one. Meaning that there’s actually an audience you can reach.
To check this you can look at the following:
- The competition – if there’s a good number of streamers already covering the topic it means it’s likely a solid topic (you just need to find your unique angle). If you’re a gamer you can see which games are getting the most attention on Twitch here.
- Keyword research – is there search demand for the topic? You can use a free tool Google trends or similar tools to see if people are searching for your topic
- Related YouTube channels & blogs – If there a YouTube channels and blogs on your topic it’s also a good sign that there’s a good level of interest in it
- Forums/Message Boards/Groups – Are groups forming around your topic, and are people getting involved in conversations around it? If the answer is yes then that’s a good sign!
Once you see that the topic is viable the next step is to research your target audience.
Understand your (target) audience
The best Twitch channels target a specific audience and create content and brand elements that are aimed at attracting them, helping them solve their problems (or entertaining them in a way they want to be entertained).
If you’re just starting out then here’s how you can get a good understanding of your target audience, and work out how you can provide some unique value to them:
- Competing Twitch channels – Look at the discussions on competing Twitch channels to see what questions, comments, etc. appear in the chat.
- Relevant social groups (Discord, Facebook, etc.) – Check these to see what discussions are being had to see how you can create a channel and brand to attract them
- SubReddits – See what discussions are being had in relevant SubReddits, what questions and issues come up often with your target audience?
- Amazon Reviews – Amazon is a great place for audience insights. If there are relevant products to your topic on Amazon you can check out the review and comments sections to get a fuller understanding of your target audience
- YouTube channels and videos – For further insights into your target audience check out the comments section on relevant YouTube videos. It’s a great place to see the kind of problems, questions and requests that often come up.
Building a brand takes time, effort, and experimentation and can evolve as time goes by, so don’t expect to nail it from day one.
At the very least thinking strategically from the start can help you avoid having to make any major changes later on. Which is why having a brand strategy, even a simple one to start off with, is a good idea. At this point you should have some good intel on your target audience so you can map out what content you can create to give them value.
You can also plan out what stream graphics you are going to need to bring them to your channel and engage them. So the next step is to create a branding strategy to inform the creation of these graphics.
When you’re creating a brand strategy you need to think about ways you can differentiate yourself from the competition but also attract your target audience, to do that you’ll need to at least plan out some of the basics including:
- Brand (Stream) name
- Color palette
- Core message (e.g. a short phrase that can describe what you’re all about)
- Your general style (e.g. Playful, futuristic, minimalist, etc.)
Once you’ve planned out these things it allows you to create your stream graphics and ensure they have a consistent brand look and feel across all your platforms and profiles.
Research the competition
As part of your branding strategy you should also look into your main competitors or your favourite streamers (or both) and take inspiration from how they’ve designed and branded their channel.
Things to look out for are:
- Logo design
- Profile picture
- Main messaging
- Use of color
- Twitch panels
- Overlay design and features
- Stream transitions
- Anything else that stands out to you
When you’re just getting started with your channel there is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other streamers, just make sure you’re not copying them. Get inspired and create a unique brand for your channel.
Keep up with stream design trends
Another thing you can do to inform your branding strategy is to look at the latest stream design trends, and use them to inspire the initial (and continued) development of your brand and stream graphics.
Try and keep up with trends to ensure your brand on Twitch is evolving in the right direction.
Part 2 – Make an attractive channel page:
Your channel is the home of your content on Twitch so you’re going to want to make it as welcoming and attractive as possible to visitors. A clean and professional looking channel page can make a huge difference in encouraging people who visit your channel to smash that subscribe button. So how do you create a great looking branded channel? Here are the most important areas to focus on:
The first thing to do is to create a memorable and eye-catching logo for your channel.
When it comes to logos, the vast majority of Twitch streamers go with one of the following two options:
- Lettermark – this a logo where the main feature is the initial(s) of your stream name. Check out Method, Summit1g, and Nadeshot for inspiration.
- Pictorial – this a logo with a graphic element that represents the feeling you’re trying to portray with your channel. Good examples are Riot Games, Lirik, and Ninja.
Whatever route you go down, make sure your logo captures the feeling you’re trying to convey with your brand, and also that it looks good across all the different places it’s going to appear such as on your channel banner, scenes, social media profiles, and several others.
A good number of streamers also use their logo as their profile picture, so if that’s what you want to do as well, be sure that it looks good there too.
Many streamers go with their face as their profile picture with the idea that this helps make more of a personal connection with visitors to their channel. As we already mentioned you can also go with your logo here. This may give you a more “professional” look for your channel, and help with brand recognition. There’s isn’t one option to fit all here, so just go with what you think works best for your channel and brand.
Your Twitch channel banner sits at the op of your channel page. So when someone visits your channel page it’s likely going to be one of the first things they notice. This is especially the case on mobile devices, where visitors can see all of your banner. On desktop devices your channel banner isn’t quite as prominent due to the fact that the video reel now sits over it. Regardless it’s still a good opportunity to build familiarity with your brand no matter what the device so make sure to create something that looks good cross-device.
Twitch panels are not only a good branding opportunity on your channel page but also are essential for providing visitors with crucial information about your brand and your channel.
Here are the essential Twitch panels to use:
- About me
- Social profiles
- Channel Rules
- Subscription benefits
- Merch store
Channel welcome video
Not all streamers utilize this branding opportunity, but it can be a powerful way to introduce new visitors to your Twitch channel to you and your brand. In your channel welcome video you can let visitors get to know what kind of content you produce, and hopefully get them interested in watching more of your content and subscribing to your channel!
Here’s a good example of a welcome video on this channel.
Design resources for channel page graphics:
When it comes to getting all the different graphical elements for your channel page you have a few options:
- Make them using online design tools such as Twitch panel makers, Banner makers, etc.
- Design your channel elements yourself if you have the design skills
- Get a designer via a site like Fiverr to make them for you
- Buy premade designs from sites like VBI or OWN3D
Part 3 – Live stream design and experience:
You should now have your channel branding sorted, so now you can look at how to brand and add graphics to your live streams.
No matter what OBS you are using there are several live stream elements that can have a big impact in creating an awesome branded experience for your viewers and subscribers:
The most important element is of course the content you produce. This is also a reflection of your brand so whatever you put out there on Twitch is going to define your brand. Make sure it’s as good as you can make it!
If you can maintain a high level of content quality then people will start to associate that with your channel and your brand. This is one of the key aspects of building a strong brand on Twitch.
If you can develop a consistent and recognizable format for your live streams this can go a long way in creating a loyal audience.
People love to watch TV shows because they have a very consistent formula. They get new entertainment, surprises, and sometimes new lessons from each episode but they keep coming back because they like the consistent format (and quality) of the show.
This is the same for your Twitch channel and live streams. If you can build a format that your audience loves and keep it consistent this can be a hugely important factor in building a highly engaged fanbase for your channel and brand.
Your on-camera style
How you present yourself on camera also has a big effect on how people will perceive you and your brand. This mainly includes the following:
- The way you communicate e.g. do you speak fast, slow, calmly, excitedly, etc.
- Your personality – does it come across well on camera?
Twitch overlays are graphics that sit on top of your stream footage e.g. webcam frames, stream information, chat boxes, etc.
There’s a huge number of different styles and overlay features to choose from. The important things to think about here are your branding, is it consistent with your channel (e.g. color palette, style, etc.), and most importantly your audience experience. Make sure your overlays enhance the viewing experience and put a focus on the content.
You can make your overlays as simple or as complex as you see fit but always make sure you have your audience experience in mind. Delivering a great stream experience will help build a loyal audience for your brand.
Create your own overlays with a Twitch overlay maker or buy premade designs through sites like OWN3D.
Stream screens are mainly used to make sure that viewers know what is happening with your channel or stream when you’re not live on camera.
There a few different ones you can utilize for your stream:
- Offline screens
- BRB screens
- Starting soon screens
Again, make sure these are kept on brand. You can also use them to promote your social profiles so your audience can follow you and engage you on those platforms too.
If you want to create a unique community feel for your channel and brand you should invest in creating custom stream alerts for when viewers follow, subscribe, or donate to your channel. It helps your channel stand but is also a great way of engaging viewers and making them feel part of your community.
Engage your audience
To build your brand connection with your audience you should make sure you’re engaging those viewers that are active in the chat of your live streams. Answer their questions, respond to their comments and this will help solidify the relationship and make them feel part of the community.
It’s also a great place to get to know your audience better. You can find out what they think of your content, they can even suggest topics that they’d love to see you cover on your channel.
Choose your partners wisely
Once you’ve established a decent audience size on Twitch there’s a good chance you will have opportunities to work with sponsors and partners.
If you go down this route you should only work with partners that fit with your brand and match the method and values you’re pushing for. A partner mismatch can have a negative impact on your brand!
Build a real community
Your channel and brand is what it is only because of your audience and the community you build with them.
So if you can create awesome content and a solid branded experience then your audience will not only become brand advocates but they will also support your channel. Here’s some ways you can enhance your channel’s community:
Be genuine – People can tell when someone is being fake. So just be yourself and also give your audience some insights into who you are as people bond over things they have in common.
Doing this helps you build a community of like minded people and can deepen the connection with your channel (and your brand).
Create unique emotes and sub badges – Using unique and custom Twitch emotes can help people feel part of a unique community as they can access emotes that are only available through your channel.
If you can make them relevant to your audience too (e.g. ones that represent inside jokes or common sayings in the community) then this can help build the sense of community and also fun around your brand.
To get custom emotes, you can use emote makers or hire a designer to create some unique ones for your channel.
Subscriber badges are custom graphics your subscribers get for being loyal and long term followers of your channel. Creating custom badges is a great way of showing appreciation to your followers, and can give them ‘status’ in your community. It’s another great way to build a community feel for your brand.
Part 4 – Analyze & keep improving:
The last part of the whole process to building a successful Twitch channel and brand is to keep on top of your analytics to make sure you have a clear understanding of what is and isn’t working. When you have those insights you can create more of what your audience loves and responds to.
You can get some great insights from your Twitch channel analytics into what content performs best on your channel in engaging your audience. Also be sure to keep track of your performance when you introduce new or updated graphic and visual elements into your stream to see what impact they’re having.
Always look at what’s working and invest in more of that for your brand and your audience. That way everyone wins!
You can download this presentation on Slideshare below!