**Originally published April 11th, 2019. Updated December 17th, 2019**
The word gaming is actually quite multi-faceted when you think about it. Everything from vintage consoles to first-person shooters, smartphone time-passers to fully-immersive VR, gaming covers a spectrum so wide, nearly every human being plays a game of some sort it would seem.
YouTube – the media powerhouse that it is – has evolved into the keystone platform for gamers to share their skills. YouTuber’s from around the world have been turning their passion for gaming into a viable career in content creation. And we aren’t just talking about the PewdiePie’s of the world. Millennials and enthusiasts alike all seem to share the same dream of one day being a famous YouTube gamer. Or at least making a comfortable living from their gaming endeavors. And it 2019, that dream is more possible than it ever has been. Here are some tips to get started on YouTube, for the die-hard gamers looking to go from enthusiast to entrepreneur.
10 Tips on How to Be a YouTube Gamer
Tip #1. Know Your Purpose
Before you have even typed your gamer handle into the text field to create your channel, you should have a goal in mind. Ask yourself, “Do I want to build a community? Do I want to tell my story? Is there an area of gaming you think deserves more attention? Am I looking to make this a creative outlet for my passion, or am I aiming to make this a career?”
These are crucial decisions to make before embarking on the journey to become a YouTube gamer. First and foremost, be honest with yourself. Channels whose focus is solely on making money can be a complicated enterprise, mostly because the gaming audience on YouTube is often hostile towards channels they feel are too “commercial”.
Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the old saying “There’s nothing new under the sun” is somewhat true. No matter what your particular goal with your YouTube channel is, there’s a good chance someone out there has tried something similar. This is not to deter you from your ambition, but rather provide an opportunity to learn from their experience.
Tip#2. Choose Your Niche
Though it’s become somewhat cliché to use the term ‘niche’, it has become synonymous with marketing and self-promotion, particularly as we see a rise in popularity with micro-influencers. But the context of which we use the term in this instance is more in gaming terms, meaning to focus on a particular kind of content or a specific genre/series of games. Though niche channels don’t always have the widespread popularity of the heavy hitters on the platform, working in a small niche is advantageous for initial growth and collaboration with other YouTubers – another effective method to growing your channel. This can also help catch the attention of an influencer marketing agency.
We have the honor of representing the hugely-popular Youtuber TDBarrett and recently had the opportunity to sit down with him on LinkedIn Live to discuss this very topic. Check out his insights below on how he found his niche, and other tips on how to grow your brand on YouTube.
Tip#3. Create A Unique Profile
When you really want to get a particular job, you dress up for a job interview, don’t you? Of course, you do. That is because as professionals, we all put a certain value and focus on presentation. How you present yourself on your channel should be no different – albeit without the requirement of a suit and tie. After you have chosen your niche as mentioned above, build your profile around that chosen focus. Your content and your profile should be fluid, and your channel should have a nice avatar and banner that fits you and your content style. Remember, presentation matters.
Tip#4. Establish Your Own Voice
This tip also somewhat ties into our number#2 tip we touched on above about finding your niche. Let’s elaborate. It’s best to keep in mind that even if you share a niche with other YouTubers, you must also make it unique enough to stand out from the crowd. YouTube is an ultra-competitive platform, especially if you are looking to build enough traffic to begin monetizing your channel at some point.
Learn and take inspiration from other successful YouTubers, but when it’s all said and done, you need to be unique enough on your own to earn loyalty, build subscribers and attain viewership. So always think about ways to be engaging your audience.
Tip#5. Develop a Consistent Content Schedule
When we interviewed influencer Jacob Berger, he told us “you kinda gotta look at yourself like a TV show. People are gonna want to see you at the same time every day.” YouTuber’s are often advised to maintain a definite schedule for their posts so the exact reason Berger outlined above. It’s incredibly difficult – if not near impossible – for your channel to be successful if you only post one or two videos and then tail off. Popularity demands consistency, at least on YouTube.
Develop a routine around the types of games that you may want to update in your content, and follow the schedule to a tee. Depending on your vertical, some aspiring YouTuber’s make it a goal to post at least 400 or 500 videos a year in order to generate traffic on their channel. While this cadence isn’t a necessity, it’s a notable symbol of the sheer volume of content available on the platform, and the level of ambition required to attain success.
Tip#6. Create content based on a single keyword or topic
We know, it sounds so obvious it’s almost not worth mentioning. But you’d be surprised how many people completely ignore this basic concept, and wonder why they aren’t generating any momentum behind their channels! Similar to a blog post or a webpage, when you’re planning your content, you need to identify keywords that you want to target in your efforts.
Tools like KeywordTool.io can assist you in discovering the most searched keywords in your niche.
So why is it important to pick a keyword before you create your content? For starters, it allows you to better plan your content. You can search your selected keywords on YouTube to see what kinds of videos are ranking highly at the moment and analyze what makes them stand out from the crowd. Secondly, when you create content that is centered around specific concepts and keywords, it helps you build an audience that may garner opportunities for partnerships built around creating branded video content.
Tip#7. Choose The Right Thumbnails
Thumbnails are the static image that accompanies the description of your video. Think of them as the cover of a book or a movie poster. It’s what catches your eye and draws attention, letting viewers know what they’re about to see and whether they would be interested in watching.
Here are some tips to make your thumbnail stand out:
- Make it as big as possible.
- Have a photograph —preferably with a very expressive face.
- A close-up photograph of your own face may become the “branding” that people will recognize on all of your videos and social media pages. YouTube stars like ElRubiusOMG employ this tactic.
- Pay attention to lighting.
- Include the title and keywords.
- Follow the suggestions and requirements on YouTube.
- The better your thumbnail is the more likely it is that people will actually click on it. YouTube gives strong recognition to click-through-rate (CTR) for improving the ranking of videos.
Tip#8. Consistently Brand Your YouTube Gaming Videos
Getting people to come back to your gaming channel for more content is your main goal, but you also want them to associate your videos with your channel’s brand whenever they see them shared on social media and embedded in other sites. This is where branding comes into play and why it is so important.
A simple way to brand your content is to use an in-video graphic of your logo at the beginning of your YouTube videos (an opening sequence) and/or add a watermark of your logo in one corner of your content. You can also add in-video graphics of your branded hashtag, and also consider branding your background with a banner or poster as well. YouTube also offers options for watermarking your videos, as well as ‘subscribe’ buttons and widgets.
Tip#9. Use Playlists to Group Together Relevant Gameplay
Let’s face it, you won’t always create content around the same games, so your audience might have some trouble thumbing through your channel for the type of gameplay videos they’re most interested in. You want your content to be as organized and accessible as possible. And the best way to organize your content on YouTube is by creating playlists.
For example, you could make a playlist of all of your Call of Duty videos, one for your Minecraft videos, maybe one for your blooper reels, and another perhaps for your most popular videos. Grouping your YouTube gaming videos in this fashion can give every audience member exactly what they want – without making them dig through your channel feed in order to find what they were looking for.
In addition, YouTube playlists will also start the next video automatically. This makes it more likely to get more views on your content then it would if your video is being consumed outside of a playlist. Food for thought.
Tip#10. Content, content, and more content
To both become and stay relevant on YouTube, consistently producing content is not just a suggestion; it’s a contingency. YouTube’s algorithms work in a way where you become more popular based on the amount of time people spend watching your videos. Center your focus towards creating highly engaging content that can be released relatively regularly, and stay consistent (as we mentioned in tip #5). Smaller channels sometimes start at a weekly cadence. But as your channel grows and you begin to build viewership and subscriber counts, it’s best practice to release at least two to three pieces of content per week.