TwitchCon 2018 is a convention held yearly hosted by Twitch, the broadcasting website that allows users to create content via live streams. The site itself developed from live streams of daily life as Justin.TV, to gaming, and has now opened up to things like talk shows, Pokemon marathons, and yes, they’ve made it full circle back to In Real Life (IRL) streams. Once a year, users of the platform gather to celebrate the Twitch community and the content broadcaster produce, eSports, and much more.
I attended my first TwitchCon in 2016, the second year of its existence and one of the very first panels I attended was Where’s Waldo: Creating Your Unique Space in a Sea of Sameness. This was the first of the Waldo panel series about branding, valuing, and understanding yourself and your community. This set of panels has been put each at TwitchCon since 2016 on by Dr. Patricia Todd, Jessica Manrow, and George Depree along with some guests over the years. The first in the series focused on starting out as a streamer, what a brand and branding are, and the evaluation process about yourself and your future brand.
In 2017 the Waldo panel series returned with Beyond Waldo: Strengthening Your Brand and Engaging Your Community where the panels creators wanted to focus more on building yourself and your brand. It offered ways to make your community and brand, bigger, better and more engaged, working with the audience under the assumption that since 2016, they had grown built a community. Since I was unable to make it to TwitchCon 2017, I didn’t get to hear this panel first hand. But thanks to panel creator and moderator, Jessica Manrow, I was able to get a copy of the pamphlet they put together. You can read all about their panel from pamphlet they provided to attendees, which can be found in PDF form HERE.
This all leads to TwitchCon 2018 and the third installment of the Waldo series called Farewell Waldo: Understanding Your Value and Pitching Your Story. The panelists this time included the panel series creators Dr. Patricia Todd, Jessica Manrow, George Depree, who were joined by Timbre Webb and AJ Arends. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the room was that they had pamphlets laid out for attendees to look and follow along with, and they even included a dedicated notes section. This is something that I thought was very unique and an experience I had not had before at a panel.
I don’t want to say that it’s something that has never happened, but it was the first time for me that a panel had pamphlets. I learned that they had done it the previous year as well and it is an idea that I wish more panels would do. I am a person that takes note in almost all the panels that I attend. so having a pamphlet was such a tremendous help, not only from a note-taking perspective but for referencing the panel at a later date. The PDF version of the pamphlet can be found HERE.
This year at TwitchCon 2018 they wanted to expand on branding and talked about how now that you have a brand established, how does this translate to possible sponsorship deals and other opportunities. I thought the panel was a very informative and well-ran. It worked for people first experiencing this panel series and for people who had attended previous sessions. The panelists did a nice job of explaining that this was part three of this panel series and summarizing the previous panels.
They did a great job of balancing between the importance of numbers and stats that your brand has, like followers, total views, subscriptions, the vanity numbers but also focused on the importance at the work you do outside of them. The take away was that although you may not be the largest of numbers, you are unique and have a personal touch that can’t be replicated. Learning how to harness that and use it for engagement with your community and brand is how you can gain recognition from sponsors that you might not have heard about.
Listening to each panelist and way they described value really drove home this point that numbers are important, but they are not everything when approaching someone about possible opportunities. The panel offered an important point for all content creators to take with them: you have value. Your value may be your numbers, it may be your 10 dedicated community members, it may be your personality, it can be many things, but every piece matters. No matter how large or small you are, telling your story and believing that you have value is one of the most important paths to success.