For many small streamers on Twitch, making money purely on views is almost never enough. Sponsorships, donations (after Twitch’s cut), and other channels are essential for generating the income needed to turn streaming into a full-time job. In this guide, we’ll focus solely on sponsorships, outlining the key steps you can take to attract potential sponsors and start earning money from your stream. If you’re a small streamer looking to boost your income on Twitch, read on to learn more!
The reality check and why sponsorships are needed
There are 7.6 million active Twitch streamer accounts as of 2023, with an average concurrent viewership of 2,400,000 and an average 90,000 channels live at any given moment.
By doing some simple maths that is a 26 viewers per streamer if they were spread equally. We of course know that they are not spread equally and most viewers are hoarded by a small number of streamers, leaving in excess of 90% of streamers getting 100 viewers or less.
While sponsorships can be a tricky source of income, they can also be incredibly valuable for small streamers looking to turn their hobby into a career. Many brands are willing to sponsor streamers for what may be a small amount to them, but a significant amount to the streamer. Even if you only have a modest following, regularly getting 100 viewers or so, you can still be attractive to some brands.
Ads alone don’t make much, and more and more viewers try to block them, anyway.
The reason for this is that brands are often looking to target specific niche audiences, and your stream may be the perfect fit for their product or service. For example, if you primarily stream games in the strategy genre, a gaming peripheral brand might be interested in sponsoring you because your viewers are likely to be interested in their products.
It’s important to note that sponsorships aren’t just about the number of viewers you have, but also the engagement of your community. Brands are often looking for streamers who have an active and engaged audience, even if that audience is relatively small. If you have a loyal community that is actively engaged with your content, you may be able to attract sponsorships even if your viewer count isn’t through the roof.
Ultimately, sponsorships can be a valuable source of income for streamers, even if they don’t have a massive following. By identifying the right brands and focusing on building an engaged community, small streamers can attract sponsorships and start earning money from their streams.
How To Start Getting Gaming Sponsorships For Your Stream – The Guide
Prepare your channel – get the basics right
When it comes to getting sponsorships, the first step is to ensure that your Twitch channel is up to par. This means having a clean and professional layout that is easy on the eyes and reflects your brand. Take some time to think about what kind of vibe you want to give off to potential sponsors and viewers, and try to incorporate that into your layout and branding.
Don’t pretend to be something you aren’t for sponsorships. This is a slippery slope that can end up with you not enjoying the experience.
In addition to your layout, your profile should be complete and descriptive. This means including a bio that accurately describes what kind of content you create and what viewers can expect when they tune in to your stream. You should also have a profile picture and banner that represent your brand and are visually appealing.
Relate – Add panels to Twitch bio
Having a professional-looking channel not only makes a good impression on sponsors but also on viewers. It shows that you take your channel seriously and are committed to producing high-quality and engaging content. So, take the time to get the basics right and create a polished and professional Twitch channel that accurately represents your brand.
We’ve got more in our article ‘how to grow on Twitch‘.
Attract an engaged viewership
This is not a guide on how to get viewers, but the fact remains you will need them to get sponsors because it’s all about getting potential sponsors products and service in front of as many viewers as possible. But, we wanted to highlight how engagement is much better than outright numbers – we want viewers that chat, donate, subscribe and continue to interact with you outside of Twitch on platforms such as YouTube (you are uploading VODs there we hope), Twitter, Instagram and so on.
The objective here is to make your content something worth sponsoring.
Define your target audience
Defining your audience is crucial as a streamer because it helps you tailor your content and engagement to the people who are most likely to appreciate it. Knowing who your audience is can help you make decisions about what games to play, what topics to cover, and how to interact with your viewers.
To define your audience, start by looking at your existing viewership data. What demographics do they fall into? What games or types of content do they enjoy? What are their interests and hobbies outside of Twitch? This information can be gathered from Twitch analytics or even from polls and surveys conducted within your community.
If you have no viewers ask yourself who would you want to watch your content or who is most likely to enjoy it? Consider age, gender, language and so on.
Once you have a good understanding of who your audience is, you can use that information to attract potential sponsors. For example, if your audience is primarily interested in gaming and technology, you might want to reach out to brands in those industries. Knowing your audience can also help you create content that aligns with the interests of potential sponsors, making it more likely that they will want to work with you.
Consider this, if you stream Modern Warfare or Fortnite then gaming mice and keyboards could be an avenue to explore. Stream retro? Merchandise such as branded goods and so on.
Overall, defining your audience is essential for building a successful Twitch channel and attracting sponsorships. It allows you to create content that resonates with your viewers and shows potential sponsors that you have a loyal and engaged community.
Networking with other streamers and industry professionals can be incredibly beneficial for streamers who are looking to secure sponsorships. By connecting with other streamers who are at a similar level or have existing sponsors, you can learn from their experiences and gain insight into what sponsors are looking for in a streamer.
Networking can also help you grow your own audience and increase your visibility within the industry. Collaborating with other streamers and participating in community events can help you reach new viewers and build your brand.
In addition, networking can open up opportunities for sponsorships. Sponsors often work with multiple streamers within a specific niche or genre, so building relationships with other streamers in your space can increase your chances of being noticed by potential sponsors. Collaborating with other streamers on sponsored content can also be a great way to demonstrate your ability to work with sponsors and showcase your value as a partner.
Overall, networking with other streamers and industry professionals can be a valuable tool for streamers looking to grow their channels and secure sponsorships. By building relationships and collaborating with others, you can gain valuable insights and opportunities that can help you achieve your goals as a streamer.
To build relationships with other streamers and industry professionals, it’s important to engage with them in their streams, participate in their chat, and connect with them on social media platforms like Twitter and Discord. By doing so, you can start building relationships and possibly collaborate with them in the future. Additionally, attending gaming conventions and meetups can be a great way to network with other streamers and industry professionals in person.
Stream teams are also an excellent way to get a leg up.
Build a streamer CV
This step is more geared towards new and micro streamers and can be passed for those who think they have the following and viewers but are missing the next step.
When looking to secure sponsorships, it can be helpful to treat your streaming career like a job search. One way to do this is by creating a streamer CV, which highlights your skills, experience, and audience statistics.
Your streamer CV should include your stream’s name and URL, as well as your personal details and contact information. It should also list your gaming experience, the type of content you create, and any unique features of your channel.
Your audience statistics, such as average concurrent viewers, total views, and follower count, should be prominently displayed. Consider including a highlight reel of your best moments or a portfolio of your work to showcase your abilities.
In addition to your streaming experience, you can also include any relevant education or work experience that could demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to your craft.
When approaching potential sponsors, you can use your streamer CV to show them why you would be a good fit for their brand. It can also help them get a better sense of your content and what you have to offer.
Remember to keep your streamer CV up to date and tailored to each potential sponsor you approach. It’s important to show that you’ve done your research and understand how your content can align with their brand values and messaging.
Including details about your streaming schedule and the frequency with which your audience will see or hear the sponsor’s product or service can be incredibly valuable for potential sponsors. This information can give sponsors a sense of how often their brand will be promoted and to what degree.
Additionally, providing information about your other social media channels, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Discord, can help sponsors understand the scope and reach of your overall audience. For example, if you have a large following on Instagram, a sponsor may be interested in leveraging that audience as well by incorporating product placement or sponsored posts on that platform.
Including all of this information in a streamer CV can provide potential sponsors with a comprehensive overview of your audience, content, and promotional capabilities, making it easier for them to evaluate whether a partnership with you would be a good fit for their brand.
Not only will the details be handy but it also shows sponsors how serious you are.
Start talking about brands
Something we picked up on and many of our connections have mentioned is how in the early days of their streaming careers they would start name dropping brands in their stream. At this point, they were NOT sponsored but would enthusiastically talk about their stream set up – capture cards, processors, graphics cards, chairs, desk and so on and briefly explain why they use them and how they feel about them. This, along with your CV can help potential paid sponsors get a feel of how you would showcase their products.
Another pro tip? Unhappy with a product or desperately need a new one? Mention it in your stream, this may attract a sponsor (and can be used when you reach out to them – later) or maybe even a couple of donations so that you can actually buy it.
I suppose what we’re saying here is to act like you are being sponsored before you actually become sponsored. A variation of “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”.
Reach out to brands
There are a plethora of websites out there with lists of brands who are active in sponsoring streamers, we would start with those lists and then start curating them to ones relevant to you.
The best way to reach out to brands for potential sponsorship is to be proactive and do some research beforehand. Start by identifying brands that align with your channel and content, and reach out to them with a personalised pitch or proposal and of course your streamer CV.
It’s important to be clear about what you can offer the brand, such as the size of your audience, engagement rates, and the type of content you create. Make sure to highlight how a partnership with the brand could benefit both parties.
Consider creating a media kit or sponsorship proposal that includes all the relevant information about your channel, including audience demographics, reach, and engagement rates. This will give brands a clear idea of what they can expect from a partnership with you.
Keep a record of your outreach efforts in a calendar of spreadsheet software so you know who’s been done, who’s replied and who hasn’t.
Another approach is to attend industry events and conferences, where you can network with brands and industry professionals. This can be a great way to make connections and showcase your content to potential sponsors. If you’re a speed runner, there is GDQ, for example.
It’s also worth noting that some brands may have a dedicated email address or contact form specifically for sponsorship inquiries. Do some research to find out if the brand you’re interested in has any specific requirements or processes for sponsorship pitches.
Getting your first sponsor
When it comes to getting your first sponsor, it’s important to read over the financials and the contract carefully. While it can be tempting to “follow the money” and compromise your integrity, it’s crucial to ensure that the deal works for all parties involved. Be willing to accept small sponsorships, even if they may not have a big impact on your income, as they can be a necessary first step towards bigger opportunities in the future.
Read here about a streamer who didn’t read StreamElements contract fully and was stung and here’s an article about the real danger of losing authenticity with sponsors, here’s also an article about the shady world of crypto sponsors.
It’s also important to remember not to compromise the quality of your content for a sponsor. While it’s important to do a good job of meeting their requirements and promoting their brand, don’t overdo it and sacrifice the authenticity and entertainment value of your content. This will ultimately hurt your relationship with your audience and may even turn off potential sponsors in the long run.
An example here is working with a company known for a poor stance on LGBT issues knowing full well you have a good LGBT following on your channel. This would not be a good move.
In addition, it’s important to maintain open and transparent communication with your sponsor. Be clear about what you can offer and what you expect in return, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or address any concerns you may have. Building a strong, mutually beneficial partnership with your sponsor can lead to long-term success for both parties.
Working with the sponsor
Once a streamer has landed their first sponsor, it’s important to maintain a professional and respectful relationship with the brand. The streamer should ensure they fulfill any agreed-upon sponsorship requirements while staying true to their content and style. It’s important not to compromise the quality of the content or the audience’s trust in the streamer just for the sake of a sponsorship.
The streamer should make sure they are transparent with their audience and let them know when a sponsored segment is occurring. It’s important to be honest and not come across as deceptive.
It’s also crucial to keep up communication with the sponsor, providing regular updates and reports on the performance of the sponsorship. The streamer should be open to feedback and willing to make changes if necessary.
While it’s important to meet the sponsor’s requirements, it’s equally important not to overdo it. The sponsored content should be natural and organic, rather than feeling forced or overly promotional. The streamer should aim to strike a balance between fulfilling the sponsor’s needs and maintaining the integrity of their content.
In conclusion, making a living as a streamer on Twitch is a dream for many, but it takes talent, planning, smarts, time, and a whole lot of work. It requires streamers to understand their audience, network with other streamers and industry professionals, and build a strong presence on social media. Getting sponsors is a great way to monetize your channel, but it’s important to maintain your content quality and not compromise your integrity. It’s also important to remember that success doesn’t happen overnight, and even small sponsorships can be a step towards something bigger. With dedication and persistence, anyone can make a career out of streaming on Twitch.