Carla Marshall has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, and SEO. She was previously Editor in Chief at ReelSEO.com, and as a journalist and video marketer, she's covered news stories, creator journeys, and digital-first publishing initiatives across all the major online video platforms. She is YouTube Certified and a judge for the Shorty Awards, as well as the UK, US, Canadian, Global, and EU Search Awards.
How to Start a Gaming Channel on YouTube
Making content around video games on YouTube has to be some of the most fun you can have on the platform, but getting discovered, maybe not so much.
It's not going to be as easy as hitting record on your next Minecraft building session or wiping the floor with everybody in Fortnite. So the purpose of this post is to help you get discovered on YouTube playing games in 2020.
6 Tips for Starting a Gaming Channel on YouTube
But even if you don't have a gaming channel, don't fret because a lot of this advice I can be applied to several different genres of video on YouTube!
#1 Gaming Channels on YouTube: Find YOUR Niche
Let's first discuss the types of gaming content getting discovered in gaming in 2020. In order to figure that out, we have to ask ourselves, well, what is YouTube? Ultimately, YouTube is a search engine. Now, that may seem obvious, but have you ever made a video titled Bob plays Minecraft episode 12? That's what I'm talking about. Nobody is going to search for the words Bob plays Minecraft episode 12, and the next thing we have to ask ourselves is, well, what are we doing with search engines?
And the answer is answering questions. Whenever we think of something we need to know, we type it into YouTube and try and find a video that's going to answer that question or cover that need. Perhaps it's just to find something funny to watch to get you through your lunch break. With that in mind, the types of content that I want you to be focused on when trying to get discovered in gaming on YouTube would be tips and tricks, reviews, tutorials. Like this one:
Cover a glitch that you found in a game or an Easter egg that you found. Maybe nobody else has found it. The next time the game you're playing has some DLC that drops, pick it up right away, review it, and let people know if they should spend their money on it. Maybe you bought it and it was a terrible mistake, but that's a great video right there.
#2 Find Ideas for YouTube Gaming Content
If you're struggling to come up with ideas on what you could be covering around your game, check out VidIQ's 'Most Viewed' tool. Type a search in for the game you're playing, and see what people are watching in real-time. What videos are getting the most views right now?
Not only will this help you figure out what your competition's doing, but it'll also help you figure out what questions people may be asking about your game which brings me to the second topic we need to cover, and that is focusing your channel on just one game.
#3 Get Laser-Focused on One Video Game
The best thing you can do for your channel is to become an authority on the game you're playing. If you like to play Call of Duty, then you need to be making Call of Duty videos so YouTube views you as the Call of Duty authority. The more videos you make on one game, the more data YouTube has to focus on when it's trying to figure out what videos to recommend to people when they type in Call of Duty.
Now, for a lot of gaming channels, that's a huge ask. Hey, one game per channel, that's it. If you don't want to make a new channel every time you play a new game I totally understand, and there are plenty of examples of people who didn't have to make a new channel whenever they played a game that they don't normally play. However, I want to stress two things:
- One, play a game through and through. Make sure that game is the primary game on your channel at least for a time.
- Secondly, when you do finally pivot be sure that the next game you're playing is at least similar to what you were playing before. If you're a Minecraft channel, it'd probably be best if you played another survival, building, crafting game. If you're a Call of Duty channel, it'd be best if you played another first-person shooter. These changes will help you keep your current audience from going and finding somebody else because they already like games similar to the one you're playing.
#4 Keep a Close Eye on Your Competitors
If you're playing a game that's relatively popular and you're just having some trouble coming up with ideas, maybe check out vidIQ's Competitor’s Tool.
Type in specific channels and see how other people are covering the games that you're covering. Based on how your competitors' videos are doing, you're probably gonna get some good insights into what you should be doing next.
#5 Don’t Upload a Single Gaming Video Without Doing the Work
The next thing we need to address is upload frequency. It is tempting, especially in gaming, to record hours on end of content and break it up into several videos so you have something every single day, and I understand that temptation. However, don't do that.
Since we already have you thinking about making tutorials and reviews, those videos are going to take time, and I would highly recommend spending that time crafting each video to perfection.
Make sure your YouTube custom thumbnail is on point, make sure your titles are researched as are your tags and your description. Do the work because that's going to pay off.
Every new video that you post is going to be a new opportunity for somebody new to discover you, so make sure every video is helpful to that end. If you would like to play a game through, make a long-term let's play series, that's okay, but I want you to do that knowing that what you're doing is helping your current audience stay engaged, which there's nothing wrong with doing that, but it does take time away from crafting those more discoverable, searchable videos.
#6 Become an Active Part of the Gaming Community
So, I've told you to stick to one game. Do tutorials, do reviews, and try not to upload ‘Let's Plays’ every single day, but how do we expand and how do we discover different types of content we can make to not only keep our audience engaged, but keep us engaged with the game as well?
And that's where the community comes in around a game. When covering games on YouTube, try to immerse yourself in the community around it. If the game has a modding community, that's great. You can make a video that just kind of showcases different mods every week. If it's a building game like Minecraft, try and find servers that feature amazing builds. Tour them, show people new things they've never seen before.
You'll find once you're discovering different communities within a game that people are creating challenges and playing the game in ways that no one ever imagined. Try to do one of those challenges on your channel or better yet, come up with a way to play your game that no one's thought of before and you make the challenge for someone else to do.
The easiest way to grow any channel on YouTube is to provide value. Although it's tempting to record four hours of gameplay footage and break it up into eight 30-minute videos, that's not going to get you discovered.
Become an expert in your game and answer the questions that people are searching for around it.
Want To Get More Views on YouTube?
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