With that said, I see a lot of newer streamers fall into the trap that is a streaming schedule. While the idea of a schedule that notifies your viewers on when they can expect you to be live is a great idea in concept alone, it does have its flaws. Today, I want to go over why new streamers should wait on putting a schedule together.
One of the main points I made in the The Essentials of Streaming: The Basics was that the number one priority of your stream should be for you to be having fun over anything else. Obviously growth is something every streamer wants, but if you’re not having fun, why stream?
One issue I see with schedules/X Amount of year streamer challenges is the fact that there are going to be days that you don’t feel like streaming. You have to ask yourself on those days, is the benefit of streaming just to stay on a schedule or complete an arbitrary challenge worth me streaming while I’m not feeling it, sick, or in a bad mood? The answer should be no. If you’re in a bad mood while streaming, you’re more likely to react to things in a negative way that you normally wouldn’t if you were yourself. How many first time viewers that have never been to your stream before will get the first impression that you are always like that? First impressions are everything, and you’ll never get those back.
That’s not to say schedules are bad and you shouldn’t use them. I personally have a schedule on my stream, but it’s definitely not the end all be all when I’m going live. I also didn’t start using one till well over a year of streaming. If you intend on using a schedule, just keep your viewers informed on days it changes. Alerting your following on Twitter and changing your Twitch title on days you’ll be gone is an excellent way of keeping your viewers informed that you won’t be streaming on that day.
One huge recommendation I would HIGHLY recommend to avoid scheduling when you're going to play certain games. Do not schedule in what games you are going to play more than a week in advance. All you will do is alienate the viewers of those games and here’s why. Let’s say you promise you’re going to play X game on Tuesday and Y game on Wednesday. Wednesday comes, and you don’t feel like playing that game, so you don’t. All the people that were expecting you to play that game are now going to be disappointed, and now you've alienated a % following of your stream. Just play what you feel like and don’t over promise unless you can stick to it. Remember if you're forcing yourself to play games you're not enjoying your viewers won't enjoy it either.
If you’re a new streamer I would say your focus should be on just streaming regularly rather than deciding on a set time on when you’re going live. Streaming consistently a few days a week with good content when you’re in your best mood is going to do a lot more for your stream than a schedule.
I recently did a poll of my followers on what is the primary way they find out when certain streams are live, and the results make for some interesting information. Of the 447 people that filled out the poll, only 8 users (2%) listed a streaming schedule as the primary way they find streams that are live. While this poll only allowed users to choose one way to find streams, the fact that only 8 users chose schedules speaks volumes. While the data is small, my gut tells me that a lot of viewers don’t pay attention to that schedule on your stream. Something else to note here is that more than 50% of viewers are finding streams they like based on their following page. Realistically, viewers follow hundreds of streams. The likelihood that they have all of the schedules of these streams memorized is next to none, and something you need to keep in mind when you’re deciding if you should stream on a day you don’t want to.
At the end of the day, whether you make a schedule for your stream is up to you. Just don't let the schedule dictate when you stream if you're not feeling like it. Schedules are great, but you have keep your viewers informed that they are more of a guideline than a guarantee. Focus on streaming consistently and viewers will come.