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YouTube Tips A Guide for Gaming Channels on YouTube

Stanley | Team TB

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Disclaimer: Gaming is pretty much the single most saturated niche on YouTube, to the extent that it even has its own platform (Twitch). The tops below are my list of things that cover what I see people doing right, what they are doing wrong, things that we don't see and they will work equally for any platform. That having been said I am not a gaming-channel authority and as such I request/encourage readers to include their opinions as well as their criticism of my article. By working together we all become better.

Gaming; it is the new American dream. You pick up your favorite title, plug it in and start streaming. As you play the fans come rolling in, you amassed millions upon millions of views as well as hundreds of dollars in superchats every time you hit record. Life is good.

Except you are not that guy. You are the guy with 125 subscribers clawing and scratching your way through an endless field of gamers all making what feels like the exact same content. So how do you stand out? What can you do to set yourself apart and make yourself known? Even in todays market there are things that you can do in order to make it as a gamer, but understand that it is going to come at a price. It will require work. Let me say that again... It will require work. This can not be overstated.

Pick A Game
The YouTube algorithm is not as hard and complicated as people make it sound. Honestly, the biggest problem with the algorithm (I'm going to call it Search and Discovery form here on out as 'the algorithm' is a misnomer and SDS is easier to type) is that so many people want to be successful but refuse to bend to the wills of SDS. It's not as fun cutting out the parts of your video that you like when they perform poorly. It inhibits your artistry and right to free speech when you have to cut the curse words and it is a PAIN to make those tedious, time-consuming edits to your videos. But if you want to be found you need to take a serious look at your analytics and make data-driven decisions. You are going to need to take the time to edit yours videos. And I highly suggest you start by making it simple for the SDS to put your videos in front of people who want to see them by niching down. Pick one game and be a master. be an authority on that game. It is sooo much easier for YouTube when they know that you make Stranded Deep videos. Not video game videos, not random videos about games that some people care about but not everybody cares about... give YouTube a single, laser-focused thing to focus on. You make Stranded Deep videos. So when people type Stranded Deep YouTube is like 'hey, I know a channel that has TONS of Stranded Deep content!' Believe me, if you make content for 5-10 different games and someone searches Stranded Deep YouTube is not saying 'Hey... I know a channel that makes a bunch of random videos about various games one of which is Stranded Deep.'

Be An Authority
This is tough! This is sooo hard! You need to be the best at the game. You need to be an authority. You need to be able to answer ALL the questions. DO playthroughs, that is fun and entertaining and we all enjoy that. But you also need to be the guy to talk to. A great example of this is Farket. He started making videos about The Forest... and while he did videos on other games as well (he found an early, cult audience with The Forest) his main focus was on The Forest. He did several playthroughs, but what really set him apart was the detailed and thorough videos he made about how the game works. He made videos about the map, how to find all the weapons, which weapons were statistically better, which weapons were better versus enemies, which weapons were better versus buildings, what was the fastest route to find all the weapons... every week was a new, data-driven tutorial on things he had discovered. He took over the wiki page and created Reddit and Discord pages for the game. His knowledge was encyclopedic.

This level of energy and passion can be daunting. It can take the fun out of the game. But like I said, being a successful gamer on YouTube comes at a price and the first payment is often your enjoyment of the games you play. Be ready for that.

Be Entertaining
So not only do you need to put in the work and lose your enjoyment of a single game... you need to be entertaining when you do it. You need to be fun. You need charisma. Even when you have been streaming for six hours on your third day of the week and you are tired and your eyes hurt and all you want to do is run to a friends house and do anything that isn't this video game you MUST put a smile on your face and entertain your audience. Don't get me wring; I am a HUGE proponent of mental health. And this is why. Because these days happen. You will get burned out and you must prepare for that. But you need to be able to balance mental health with your ability to remain entertaining. When you lose your ability to entertain your channel is dead.

Being entertaining isn't as daunting as it may seem, but it will require you to get creative. I don't have specific statistics to refer to but I believe that channels who feature the gamer's face while playing fair better. It adds another layer of interest to the game because it gives a narrative to the events that are transpiring... so while you are not required to show your face if you really want to succeed it is advised. Practice talking to the camera like it's your best friend. Practice explaining what is happening in the game. As mentioned above you should be editing your videos to get a leg up on your competition, so you can edit out the dead space and the 'ums' and 'uhs' and any other stupid thing you say. Yeah... that's work. But all part of the game. Also... did I mention this will require work. That means putting in work being a personality. Don't fake it (unless putting on a mask and being a character is something you want to take a crack at). Normally I would advise you to be 110% you. Be you on your best day... just do that every day. Or at least when you are recording.

Pick the Other Game
Cyberpunk 2077... there you go. After a heinous eight-year production process the game of the year is finally here! It is in our hands and we can FINALLY start playing it and making our videos and growing our channels!!! Right?!

Nope.

Don't get me wrong, you can take all the advice above and just swing for the fences, there is nothing wrong with that. But let's be realistic; there are probably 100 people streaming that game as we speak. While the odds of you performing for Cyberpunk search/suggested are improved with the information here the fact of the matter is that the market is as saturated as s physically possible with this game. Which is EXACTLY why right now is the time to make content about something else. Go and serve an underserved niche. Use the TubeBuddy keyword research tool to uncover games that people are searching for with little competition.

Edit Your Videos
I know I mentioned this twice now, but it deserves a moment as it's own specific tip. People are so accustomed to seeing a game being played that it behooves you to do something to set yourself apart and your editing is a REALLY good way of doing that. Cut out the boring parts of the game. Add overlays. Create your own game related graphics, maps, HUD, use your own music... anything you can do to customize the experience is going to add a TON of appeal. Add cutscenes, memes etc. There are soo many options that are available in the editing bay.

Say Goodbye to TV and Hello to Nick Nimmin!
This is kind of a universal thing I say to anyone grinding for YouTube, but it fits here equally as well. When I started I was serious about making a successful YouTube channel... like SUPER serious. I gave up television, gaming and the radio for two full years (and then some). That was all time spent NOT being successful on YouTube. Instead of watching TV I watched Nick Nimmin videos. Instead of listening to the radio during my 45 minute work commute every day I put on a Roberto Blake playlist. My time spent gaming was replaced with Dee Nimmin and Daniel Batal videos (and yeah, as a gamer you are going to sacrifice gaming time to your channel).

Get Creative
No, I don't have any tricks for this. But getting creative is the difference between a good channel and a great channel. Maybe it means supplimenting your videos with the occasional niche-related prank or recording your dad's reactions to the game as you play. Maybe it means setting up your system so that you play the game at the beach every day or find a deli that is willing to let you stream from one of their booths as a means of free advertising. The more out there you can get the more eye-catching and attention grabbing you can be the more likely you are to be seen (just don't be f***joshy). Get together with your friends and have a brainstorm session, see what fun things you can come up with.



We are living in a different world right now. The evolution of technology continues to take us to new levels in everything that we do. These advancements bring us amazing games; works of art that stand historically alongside greats like Michaelangelo and Van Eyck. They also give us unparalleled access to people in a way we've never known, and this can make for stiff competition when you are trying to stand out. Make your content great, put in the work and make data-driven decisions. It can be crowded... but crowded isn't impossible.
 

Damon

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Oh, don't get me started on gaming channels. Michelangelo and computer games should not be put in the same sentence. The best thing anyone can do for their YouTube channel is go live life. Life is not lived in a computer game. There is so much more to see and do, a whole planet to explore. Go learn to climb a mountain or something, do tricks on a skateboard, actually do some backyard camping, build a fusion reactor or something.

For instance: It greatly bothers me that someone thinks they know about fishing because they played a fishing game, or that they know about a certain riffle because they played it in a game. It's almost a pornographic approach to life. Yet, they expect their YouTube channel to instantly take off like pushing a button in a game. What I see missing in most YouTube channels is life. There simply isn't enough hard-knock-knuckle-busting-knee-scrapping life behind many of these videos. It's just a simulated existence via a game.

As long as simulated life is the basis of a channel, then there will always be something missing. No algorithm or keyword can ever make up for that. That is not to say all new gaming channels are doomed to fail. My point: We are "connecting," resonating with people who have similar life experiences.

For instance: An airline pilot on furlough using a flight simulator to try and keep his flight skills up during the pandemic, to me, is far more appealing than just watching someone blast through a Star Wars game just because it their favorite game.

That is not to say that a person has to have lost a job or have some tragic story behind why they are doing a YouTube channel. My point is that on some level, there has to be something relating to real everyday life. What I see with many channels is pure fantasy and wishful thinking.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

Stanley | Team TB

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Oh, don't get me started on gaming channels. Michelangelo and computer games should not be put in the same sentence. The best thing anyone can do for their YouTube channel is go live life. Life is not lived in a computer game. There is so much more to see and do, a whole planet to explore. Go learn to climb a mountain or something, do tricks on a skateboard, actually do some backyard camping, build a reactor or something.

It greatly bothers me that someone thinks they know something about fishing because they played a fishing game, or that they know about a certain riffle because they played it in a game. It's almost a pornographic approach to life. Yet they expect their YouTube channel to instantly take off like pushing a button in a game. What I see missing in most YouTube channels is life. There simply isn't enough hard-knock-knuckle-busting-knee-scrapping life behind many of these videos. It's just a simulated existence via a game.

As long at simulated life is the basis of a channel, then there will always be something missing. No algorithm or keyword can ever make up for that. That is not to say a gaming channel can't make it. My point is ultimately we are "connecting" rather resonating with people who have similar life experienced.

For instance an airline pilot on furlough using a flight simulator to try and keep his skills up during the pandemics, to me, far more appealing than just watching someone blast through some Star wars game just because it their favorite game and they want everyone to watch them play their favorite game.

That is not to say that a person has to have lost a job or have some tragic story behind why they are doing a YouTube channel, my point is that on some level, there has to be something relating to real everyday life. What I see with many channel is pure fantasy and wishful thinking.
This is really good advice. If someone is going to do a gaming channel I say go for it. Nothing wrong with that (as long as you are realistic about what you need to do in order to make that work). But if you do you are kinda eliminating gaming as your pasttime and you are likely going to have some adverse physical reactions due to being stuck indoors. About the best thing a gaming channel could do for themselves is to pick up an outdoor hobby AND a gym membership.
 

Spanglish | Team TB

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@Stanley Orchard How dare you walk into my genre and have an opinion? :joy: Sorry, had to make this joke before I read your post. Gonna go read it now to see your thoughts on this. ;)

For a guy who doesn't have a gaming channel, you have us gamers down to a science. This is a well-written explanation of what it takes to be a gamer on YouTube. Success is not simply playing a game, recording yourself playing it and expecting people to watch it simply because you made it. It takes more than a video about a popular game. It also requires character, entertainment and a real person behind the mic. And when I say a real person I don't mean not being under character like Dr. Disrespect. Dr. Disrespect is a real person. He's a persona but he's real, believable, alive. He's not a robot or an AI pretending to be real. He's the real deal.

So basically if you're uploading just to upload and care more about subs, even if just fake subs for the number, you'll never succeed no matter the genre.

Also, another YouTuber that has made a name for himself is WachyJacky. He dedicated his channel mostly to PlayerUnknown's Battleground. He made videos based on teaching people how to play the game, how each gun works, what's the best attachments for different guns for different situations. He even went so far as to stay on top of every update that made changes to the game and made videos showing the update differences between the previous settings and the new changes. His detailed videos on this game are amazing. He uses actual game measurements and real-life calculations to explain every detail from bullet drop to damage based on body parts hit and armor used. And his character is enjoyable, lovable and memorable which is what you want if you want people to come back for more of your content. Thanks to this he's been able to branch out into other games because he went from getting attention because the game was the main focus of his videos to getting attention because he's now the main focus of the video.

Oh, don't get me started on gaming channels. Michelangelo and computer games should not be put in the same sentence. The best thing anyone can do for their YouTube channel is go live life. Life is not lived in a computer game. There is so much more to see and do, a whole planet to explore. Go learn to climb a mountain or something, do tricks on a skateboard, actually do some backyard camping, build a fusion reactor or something.

For instance: It greatly bothers me that someone thinks they know about fishing because they played a fishing game, or that they know about a certain riffle because they played it in a game. It's almost a pornographic approach to life. Yet, they expect their YouTube channel to instantly take off like pushing a button in a game. What I see missing in most YouTube channels is life. There simply isn't enough hard-knock-knuckle-busting-knee-scrapping life behind many of these videos. It's just a simulated existence via a game.

As long as simulated life is the basis of a channel, then there will always be something missing. No algorithm or keyword can ever make up for that. That is not to say all new gaming channels are doomed to fail. My point: We are "connecting," resonating with people who have similar life experiences.

For instance: An airline pilot on furlough using a flight simulator to try and keep his flight skills up during the pandemic, to me, is far more appealing than just watching someone blast through a Star Wars game just because it their favorite game.

That is not to say that a person has to have lost a job or have some tragic story behind why they are doing a YouTube channel. My point is that on some level, there has to be something relating to real everyday life. What I see with many channels is pure fantasy and wishful thinking.
I understand what you mean. There was a time when I became obsessed with gaming to the point I lost all track of time and started ignoring my family. Mainly my wife who held it against me for a while. I'm not much of an outgoing person. I don't like fishing, like the ocean even less. I've never been camping and I rarely go out unless I have a need to and I usually set it so I go and come back based on how long I know it will take for me to get there, do my thing and come back. Hell, it took me nearly 20 years for an actual vacation though granted money had more to do with that than anything else.

These days I actually want to do more outdoor things, but I already raised my kids to be indoor people like me and it's hard to get them to budge on that. I plan on restarting my 2 channels, including a gaming one, and I will likely need to follow these guidelines if I want it to succeed. But 44 years has given me enough wisdom to figure out a way to have my cake and eat it too. I believe I can balance both a gamers world and a life outside my home.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

Stanley | Team TB

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@Stanley Orchard How dare you walk into my genre and have an opinion? :joy: Sorry, had to make this joke before I read your post. Gonna go read it now to see your thoughts on this. ;)
lol that made me laugh. Awesome feedback to, I was a little nervous that I was about to get scolded for being out of touch! I don't do much with gaming, but my guilty pleasure is watching a few gaming channels and I have a weird thing about binge-watching channels like Gameranx. It was actually a gaming channel that got me into YouTube in the first place!
 

TubeBuddy

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As someone who has successfully ran both kinds of channels. Remember the value you are given to the person watching. If it's entertainment find what you can do for the specific game of your choice. Remember games have a life span, and find ways to NATURALLY transition your audience over. Gaming channels follow the same type of advice I give to normal, it's just a bit easier to have mass output, so remember to balance that with the content your delivering.
 

EvaWar

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Nice post @Stanley Orchard!

My kid is 8, and only after the first few months did he actually realise that there is work involved and it's not so easy! Even though I do pretty much everything else, he still needs to put the effort into his recordings.

I'll probably print this thread off for him to read. While we aren't at this level of seriousness, and I don't want him to burn out from it, there is a learning experience to be had from the whole process.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

Stanley | Team TB

Amazingly Decent and Not-At-All Terrible Fishing
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Nice post @Stanley Orchard!

My kid is 8, and only after the first few months did he actually realise that there is work involved and it's not so easy! Even though I do pretty much everything else, he still needs to put the effort into his recordings.

I'll probably print this thread off for him to read. While we aren't at this level of seriousness, and I don't want him to burn out from it, there is a learning experience to be had from the whole process.
Man I totally respect not only the learning process you are going through but the attention to mental fatigue. That is a for real thing that needs to be monitored. Glad it helped!
 

NeggiHorrorParty

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Hey there,

I am curious about something with the niche down. Most videos state specifically to niche down to a specific genre rather then game. So can you make it work with your specific genre or should you maintain the course and stay with a singular game?