If you’re trying to improve your stream, don’t get distracted by thinking you just need to upgrade your equipment.
Your biggest competitive advantage is…
When everything else is even, your ability to entertain, communicate and captivate an audience is what will set you a part from every other streamer on Twitch.
Your ability to market and network is what will dictate the growth of your audience.
You need to invest in becoming the best version of yourself. The best streamer, marketer, networker, and hustler you can possibly be.
Here’s a list of 7 books that will help you do just that.
Crushing It! by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the leading influencers when it comes to modern-day personal branding. He exploded his Wine & Liquor store up to 60 million dollars in revenue off the back of creating entertaining niche videos and social media for the Wine industry. He grew an audience of viewers in an industry where video content was non-existent. Since then he’s built a personal brand and marketing agency that has gets him 6-figure event appearances fees, a 7-figure book deal, and millions of dollars in revenue.
This book is a roadmap that will give you strategies to grow your audience and your personal brand. It’s filled with real life case studies and examples of how to navigate the world of social media marketing. If you aren’t utilizing social media you NEED this book. If you ARE using social media – you could still probably find a handful of take-away’s from this book to implement immediately.
One of the key takeaways for streamers: Document, don’t create. Let people learn who you are and watch as you develop into who you want to become. A lot of streamers struggle because they aren’t as skilled, or professional as they want to be. Remember it’s a journey and you should showcase that to your audience. Don’t fake it. They’ll fall in love with you and your story.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini
This book is an absolute classic and it’s a must-read for any entrepreneur. So many people equate persuasion with selling. But we use persuasion in every area of our lives. Want to convince your friends to see that movie, or check out that restaurant? Want to convince your audience to stick around, smash that follow button, and eventually subscribe? Want to build a relationship with that other streamer and get them to host you? It’s persuasion.
This book isn’t training you to be a gimmicky car salesman. I know the gaming industry gets all riled up as soon as they hear the world “selling”. It’s not as “evil genius” as you might think it is. It’ll teach you the six principles of influence that give you the ability to be more persuasive and how to use them. (Reciprocity, Scarcity, Liking, Authority, Social Proof, and Commitment/Consistency) Each of these 6 principles should be a tool in your streamer tool belt. (Did Twitch release those yet?)
Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries, and Jack Trout
In a crowded gaming niche where there’s dozens, hundreds or even thousands of streamers playing the same game – How do you stand out? Every time you go live you’re battling to be top of mind for each individual gamer tuning in.
I know you might be saying: “Yuck. Branding? Dude. I just want to stream games.” And I hear you. But whether you like it or not, if you want to grow your audience you have to fight for your market share, or a piece of your audiences mind.
Positioning is more of a higher level discussion of how to position your personal brand and differentiate it in a busy marketplace to where YOU stand out.
Trust Me I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday
This one will easily be the most controversial in my list. I can’t say that I agree with everything in this book, or that I’d go to the lengths that the author did to get my content attention. But it’s important to understand the field we’re all playing on and how we can use that to our advantage as content creators.
For me it was a wake up call. I was very aware of all of this going on around me. But I forgot that I could use it to my advantage. Granted, I take a much more ethical approach. But especially in the world of entertainment, getting media attention is important and this book will give you a few new strategies, or at least an understanding of what it takes to get the attention of bloggers, news media, and your audience.
Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences by Joe Pulizzi
We’re in the content business. Bloggers, Youtube Gamers, Twitch Streamers. Everything we produce is some type of content and we have to figure out how to leverage that to grow our audience so we can entertain and educate more people.
Content Inc. sets you on a path to develop “next-level” content, build a base audience to distribute that content to, how to go out and find new members to add to your audience, and how to develop content for them. It also includes different examples of how companies are leveraging content so you can get an idea of what’s working to tweak your own content or delivery strategy.
Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger
Ever wonder why some content goes viral and yours never seems to take off? Contagious answers that by taking years of research on the topic of why some ads, youtube videos, songs, and other pieces of content catch on, while others are left collecting dust.
The books explains why “word-of-mouth” is so important and six elements that can help improve the “virality” of your content. Using these 6 elements (Social currency, Triggers, Emotion, Public, Practical Value and Stories) will help give your content more legs. Berger even says “regardless of how plain or boring a product or idea may seem, there are ways to make it contagious”. And his book shows you how to do it.
The best part is that our industry is full of exciting stories and pieces of content. Each time you stream there are probably a handful of clips that your audience would love if you just frame it the right way. Using the elements in this book will help get your content to “stick” and get shared more.
Long Story Short by Margot Leitman
Story telling is the most important skill you can have as a streamer. You’re entertaining your audience and one of the most captivating ways to do that is through story telling. Sharing your journey in a game is a story. Sharing your story as a streamer. Doing interviews. Each piece of content is a mini story. So it would be wise of you to really develop your story-telling muscles.
You’ll notice that a lot of the great comedians and entertainers are all top-notch story tellers. It’s because it’s human nature to love a good story.
This skill was something that I knew I wanted to develop so I bought a ton of books on the topic and this one stood out. The next weekend I attempted to put it into practice by using some the concepts from the book when I went out to the bar.
I told one of my boring “famous” stories but restructured it based on what I learned. I told the story to a group of friends, and they we’re completely captivated. I was thrilled by the results. But then someone new joined the group and that’s when I heard something I’ve never heard before. “Derek! You have to tell him that story.” So I delightfully shared my story again. Just imagine how shocked and happy I was that by the end of the night when I had shared my story 12 different times as people were recommending it through the bar. (…you see how easy it was to get sucked into that story? Buy the book)
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