Twitch Panels are where you can communicate with your community about your streams - but how important are panels, really? And what’s actually useful to include in them?
Why Should I Care About My Panels?
I know some streamers will tell you that panels don’t matter and no one reads them. That’s not entirely incorrect - if there’s anything I’ve learned about copywriting (not to be confused with copyright) during my time working in marketing, it’s that people don’t read. That doesn’t mean they don't matter though - it means you need to be strategic.
Panels are a great way to introduce yourself to new viewers and set clear expectations of your stream. It’s also a place where potential partners and sponsors can find your contact information. So maybe instead of those 3 paragraphs about your life story (I am guilty of this) - make space for information that you know people will seek out.
Setting The Tone of Your Streams
Your panels, much like your other graphics, set the tone of your channel - if the way your copy is written and the visual design of the panels match up with the tone of your streams and your personality, your panels will add value to your content and attract your dream audience! Yay!
I know that maybe sounds too good to be true - but let’s look at the opposite situation. Let’s say you’re shopping for a calming stream to watch while doing work. You find an Animal Crossing streamer - but their panels look like this:
They may be the coziest, most soft-spoken streamer, but these panels don’t communicate that at all, so you may bounce before the preroll ad is finished since the panels are all you have to base your decision off of.
What Information is Useful?
How you talk about yourself is a huge part of your brand. If you don’t put any information at all in your panels, it comes off like you either just started streaming today or you don’t care enough to write anything.
Your panels should communicate a few things:
Who are your streams for?
What are your streams about?
When are your streams?
Where else can I find you online?
Why should I stick around?
There are sneaky ways to communicate all of this without outright saying it. For example, if you have a Rules or Values panel, you can signal who your streams are for. You can answer “why should I stick around” with your panel about an event you run or any fun incentives you have.
What Panels Do I Need?
If you’re looking just to get started or looking to simplify and need a practical list of useful panels, here’s what I recommend at a bare minimum:
About Me - talk about what you stream, what your content is like, and any fun tidbits that might resonate with your target audience. If you have an elevator pitch, put it here!
Rules or Values (or both) - set clear boundaries and expectations for your community. This is also useful for your mods!
Schedule - if you have one! Otherwise a general idea of when you tend to go live is helpful and/or where you post when you go live (if you do).
Socials - where else can I find you on the internet if I’m on mobile and can’t easily see the profile bio
Contact - can be combined with Socials if you want to declutter! This is where you’d put your business email and maybe a bit about what kind of opportunities you’re looking for.
Credit - it takes a village to build a stream, so give credit where credit is due! Even if it’s YOU - if you made your panels, let the world know!
I hope this post helps you on your streaming journey and that you’ve maybe even learned a little!
One last thing before I wrap up - if you’re looking to make your own panels - they’re always 320px wide with no restriction on height. It may be tempting to put your panel text in your panel image, but I advise against it due to accessibility concerns (until Twitch has panel alt text) and because it’s a much bigger hassle to edit the text.
If you’re looking for some instant download panels - I have a shop full of them! Check them out here :)