Video game streaming is a newer career path, but it’s proven to be an extremely viable one for many young content creators. Still, the competition for viewers can be fierce, especially if you don’t know much about how to build a streaming channel and attract an audience. Not only that, but the equipment required to build a streaming setup can be pricey and it can be hard to find the best products at a reasonable price. Still, streaming can be both incredibly fun and incredibly profitable if you’re willing to put in the work. If you just started streaming or you’re thinking about diving in, read on for five important tips any new streamer should be aware of.

1. Get a good gaming headset.

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Unless you plan to play only single-player games, you’ll need to be able to communicate with your teammates and other players online in order to stream. That means a good gaming headset is essential for any serious streamer. What type of gaming headset is best can depend on what type of console or computer you use, though some wireless headsets can be used across a variety of platforms.

The HyperX Cloud II Wireless headset remains a bestseller and is considered the best gaming headset for serious players. This headset offers surround sound, a comfortable headband, 30 hours of battery life, and compatibility with consoles like the PS4 and PS5—in addition to PCs. The Logitech G Pro X headset is another great option. The microphone on the Logitech stands out even above the HyperX Cloud II. Overall, your headset needs will depend on what games you play and what your personal style is, but make sure you invest in high-quality gear, it’ll be worth it.

2. Moderate your community.

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The community you create as a streamer can be one of your biggest assets, but you need to make sure it’s well-moderated if you want people to keep coming back. While you might have friends who will volunteer for the job, it’s never a bad idea to find professionals with experience and offer wages or some type of stipend in exchange for their help. One good moderator is more effective than ten bad ones, and any rule violations in your chat or within your community can end up getting you in trouble.

3. Invest in building your brand.

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Having a visual identity is an important component when it comes to creating a brand, so don’t neglect graphic design for your channel and your social media pages. Your brand is more than just visual though, it encompasses everything about the way you present yourself. Consider talking to a brand-building professional if you need help improving your image and the consistency of your marketing.

4. Create a streaming schedule.

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One of the most important things a new streamer can do is set a consistent streaming schedule and publicize it. Think of your channel like a TV show that you want your fans to be able to plan to watch. While surprise streams can be fun, it’s a good idea to pick a few time slots a week where everyone knows you’ll be online and can drop by and check out your stream. Cultivating repeat viewers is a requirement for any successful streamer, and the best way to do that is to make sure people know when and where they can watch you.

5. Seek out collaborations.

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Working with other streamers and creating content together is a great way to grow your audience. Talk to other streamers about having gaming sessions together on stream or making videos to upload on platforms like YouTube and Facebook. You can start by reaching out to gamers who play the same titles as you, but don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things too. Sometimes the best streams and the most interesting content can come from going outside your comfort zone.

Even though streaming can be fun, making a career financially viable requires a great deal of hard work, commitment, and responsibility. It also requires an initial investment in equipment that can be prohibitive. Still, if your goal is to be a streamer, there are a lot of things you can do to help yourself out. Whether it’s streaming on a consistent schedule, buying the best hardware, or finding collaborators to share an audience with, you have the power to improve your visibility and your brand in a meaningful way. If you’re willing to put in the time, build a brand, and invest back into your setup and equipment, you’ll be on the road to success as a streamer.