Streaming can be a great way to bring in an income by showing the world the things you love; whether it’s gaming, being creative or just talking about a subject you’re passionate about. However, like with most self-employed incomes, it’s worth diversifying how you earn it so here are fives ways to increase your stream income.
Affiliates & Partnerships
One really easy way to earn a bit of a side income is to seek out affiliate or partnership opportunities. These give you the chance to recommend products and services you like to your viewership then, if they make a purchase through your special link, you’ll earn a commission.
There are loads of potential affiliate opportunities and this is the best option, especially if you’re still relatively new to streaming, to start making some extra money. To get started I recommend seeking out affiliate programs for products and services that you already use and/or enjoy; such as subscription services or gaming sites. Many streamers opt for products they can easily show on streams such as energy drinks, coffee brands or snacks – these are easy to promote as you regularly use them throughout streams. However, it’s no use promoting something you don’t actually like so make sure you try before you advertise.
Other options include advertising the equipment you use, such as PCs, consoles and gaming chairs. You can do this by approaching the brands directly, most will have a “Affiliates” link in the footer of their website or an easy way is to use Amazon Associates which will allow you to generate a link for each product you wish to promote. As most gaming companies use Amazon to sell their products, it’s a simple way to keep all your earnings in one place.
Here are a few affiliate programs to consider:
Great ways to advertise your affiliate links include:
- On your stream panels
- In-stream chat using commands
- Through your social Media
- Start a blog
- Discord Community
Partnerships are slightly different to affiliates in the fact a brand tends to offer more for you to advertise them but they often want more from you too. You may be offered the product for free in exchange for advertising the brand to your viewership and you have less control over the terms and conditions.
For example, A company might send you their product but expect you to post to every social media channel you run, mention them in every stream, create an ad to run during your stream, have a chat timer go off regularly advertising them and so on.
Be careful before entering any partnership or sponsorship deals, make sure that you read your contract carefully as there might be clauses such as not working with a similar brand and always make sure you’re getting enough out of it. If a brand is offering you a £5 bag of coffee but expecting you to put hours of work into promoting it then it’s not worth your time. Remember, you’re trying to increase your income – not your workload!
Please Note: Disclosure
Depending on which country you live in, you will be required to disclose any affiliate or paid for links. This firstly is just good practice so your viewers know that using your links will generate income for you. Secondly, it gives your viewers the choice as some may choose to either avoid for their own reasons or actively seek you out for their purchase. Be clear with your disclosure so adding #ad in the middle of a bunch of hashtags isn’t good practice. Put your disclosure at the very beginning and make it clear, here are some examples:
- AD – Referral Link – This is great for disclosing product affiliate links. Using the word “Affiliate” is ok but some people don’t know what that is.
- AD – Sponsored – Explains itself really, it tells your viewer that the product you’ve just advertised has sponsored you to advertise it. A note, sponsored work is usually the brand that tells you what they want from you.
- AD – Gifted – If a brand has sent you something but you’re not expected to do anything in return.
*Streamloots is a fun way to encourage your community to interact with your stream. It’s a card collection service that allows your viewers to buy chests that contain cards they can collect and use to influence your stream. You can set the cost of the chests and will earn 80% of that cost (90% for those with Partnership), the rest going to Streamloots which funds the service. A single chest costs a minimum of $0.99 but you can increase the price for it as well as the five and ten chest options – keeping in mind you’ll probably want a multi chest discount to encourage viewers to buy more.
You can customise them however you want so you can have your viewers completely change your stream vibe, which is a lot of fun! Anything from jumpscares to switching to emoji chat only or even activating giveaways.
Like a proper card collecting game, you can set the rarity of specific cards or even fracture them so viewers need to collect a certain amount to craft the full card. For example, I hate Fortnite (though I’ve never played it), but I have a “Force me to play Fortnite” card which is fractured into four pieces and those pieces are rare so it’s very hard for my viewers to collect.
You also have the option to gift chests to your viewers without it costing you anything, obviously, you don’t want to gift them too often as it will prevent people from purchasing them. I give one free chest away to each of my subscribers so they can start their sub month off well with a card. You can also offer discount coupons which are great, however, it means you earn less per pack.
Alerts go off on stream via a browser source and you can set sound and gif alerts for each individual card or have a single overall sound effect. It’s extremely customisable!
Viewers are always looking for ways to get as much bang for their buck and there is a whole world of extensions on Twitch that allow your viewers to exchange their bits for stream interactions. Your viewers can play sound effects, time out other users, request songs via Pretzel Rocks, add stickers to the stream and more. It’s quite often an untapped world under the Extensions section of Twitch so if you’ve not already had a look then make sure you do.
There are mixed views when it comes to merchandise. Merch is a fantastic way to bring in some extra cash as well as being awesome marketing HOWEVER, you need to be very wary of the type and quality of the merchandise you are selling.
First things first…you are a streamer, not a band. It doesn’t matter how amazing you think your logo or emotes are, no-one bar the most dedicated of viewers, wants to wear a shirt with your logo on. I know I don’t want to wear my own logo…though I don’t really have one. Viewers want merch that looks unique and interesting, whereas you, as a streamer, want merch that gets a conversation going between the viewer who bought your merch and someone who doesn’t know who you are! This is what leads to more viewers and more merch purchases.
Secondly, you don’t have to dive straight into shirts, yoga pants and women’s swimwear! Start small and affordable. Stickers, badges, pins, maybe a tea towel? etc. If you plan to give merch away then definitely start small due to the cost to yourself.
Do your research into the quality of products before you decide who you get to print your designs. Many streaming services like Streamlabs and Streamelements offer merch printing but make sure you are happy with the quality that your viewers are going to pay for in order for them to return for more. I’ve personally had a t-shirt from Streamlabs and in all honesty, I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for it. I’ve yet to find a UK based one I’m happy with that offers to do the shipping too so if you’re reading this and know of one then let me know in the comments.
Lastly, if you’re no artist then think about hiring one to help you get the design you like. There are plenty on Fiverr or alternatively, you might find one who is also a streamer so knows what you might be looking for. Be prepared to pay well for a good artist and be confident that they’ll keep working until it’s right for you.
If you want an example of someone getting their merch right then take a look at Doodybeard from Twitch. His merch hits the right buttons for his audience who, like me, are 90s kids growing up with some of the greatest cartoon shows and completely on-brand for him!
Patreon and OnlyFans
I’ve grouped these two together because, although very different places, they both offer the same sort of income boost. Both platforms work on a subscription style service where you pay a regular amount for regular content; this can be videos, photos, art, or whatever other content you want to offer.
*Patreon gives you the option to charge different tiers while offering more and more perks whereas OnlyFans is a single subscription plan however, you do have the option to add additional perks for a cost.
Diversify Your Income
So, there are five ways to increase your streaming income. You don’t have to jump onto all these methods, it’s worth taking a look and deciding what works before for you but I highly recommend giving the Streamloots a whirl – they’re a lot of fun and cost you nothing to implement on your stream.
What are you working on to increase your income? Let me know in the comments.