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How to be a better Shoutcaster - CODcasting 101

Building your audience

Now that you know how to get your stream up and running, it's time to start building your audience. Creating these fine works of broadcasting art is great and all, but it helps to have viewers that will enjoy the fruits of your labor. This may seem intimidating, but there are several outlets to go through that you probably already use on an everyday basis. Chris Puckett (Major League Gaming CoD/Halo4) recommends that you use social media and network with the community (pros, players, casters, etc.), but to also make sure that everything matches your gamertag. It's much easier to follow someone if they're easier to find.

It's also important to be consistent, and "publish videos regularly, at least once a week [so] your fans will always know when a new video is coming will train them to visit your page daily/weekly." Think of how hard it would be to follow your favorite show if it aired at random times throughout the week. You don't want to put your audience through that!

Maintaining your audience

Shoutcasting is a skill that you grow and develop over time. Like in gaming, everyone was a noob at one point--even professional casters. Focusing on self-improvement is the best tip that Nick "Axslav" Ranish (Major League Gaming Starcraft II) can give any new shoutcaster, so keep at it. If you're unsure how to improve, your audience is the easiest resource to tap when it comes to getting feedback.

Looking through comments on YouTube and asking for opinions on Twitter and Facebook are a few options that Chris suggests; and, most importantly, "listen to feedback and adjust to cater to your fans." This goes hand-in-hand with the television comparison: Good shows generally get better the more you watch them.

Keeping your audience entertained

There are many shoutcasters out there, and they all have their own distinct styles. Nick's forte lies in strategy and analysis, so his shoutcasts revolve around discussing the high-level thought process on display. Playing to your strengths is an easy way to keep your audience entertained. Talking is one thing, but the ability to showcase the action is another skill in itself; both are essential to quality shoutcasting.

One of the most difficult things to do while shoutcasting FPS games is finding the right players to follow throughout a game. Chris provides some excellent advice: "Find the player who is on a hot streak, follow the objective when possible, always show the start and end of an objective play, and show the player using the power weapons." he says. "Power weapons can turn the tide in any game."

Things to avoid while casting

Once you've garnered an audience, regardless of how big it is, the last thing you want to do is alienate your viewers. Both Nick and Chris agree that lacking game knowledge can be a serious turn-off, so don't spread yourself too thin. Focus on one game or genre that interests you, and master it. Nobody wants to watch someone talk about what's going on in a game they know nothing about.

Attitude is a huge factor as well, so be genuine. Also, don't force excitement, and don't be overly critical. It's natural that you'd want to discuss how you would do things differently from the pros [or any player for that matter], but Chris recommends that you avoid it entirely. "No one cares what you would do. If you did things better than the pros, you would be a pro player, not casting."

Now that you have all of the tips you need to get started shoutcasting, it's all up to you to sharpen and perfect your craft. Get in some practice, share your videos, and listen to your audience. In case you're looking for a few more pointers on creating a successful shoutcast, we've included our interview with the aforementioned professional shoutcasters Nick Ranish and Chris Puckett on the next page. Enjoy!