Lydia Sweatt is a writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.
8 Killer Tips for Creating a YouTube Gaming Channel in 2021
Starting a gaming channel on YouTube is no easy feat. Playing video games is an activity millions of people enjoy, so naturally, the competition is stiff.
You have famous creators like PewDiePie, Mumbo Jumbo, and DanTDM dominating the space with billions of YouTube views, plus hundreds of thousands of smaller channels that focus on every game imaginable.
That makes it difficult for new creators to cut through the noise on YouTube, let alone go viral. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Growing a gaming channel gets much easier when you focus on what matters - your audience, trending opportunities, and the best YouTube tools for earning more views.
In fact, growing a gaming channel requires just 8 essential practices. They’re so monumental that we carefully explained each one in the video below:
Think you’re up for the challenge of playing games, growing an audience, and dominating YouTube? Don’t skip these 8 powerful steps on your way to the top.
1. Focus On One Game to Grow Your YouTube Channel
When you start your YouTube channel, it’ll be tempting to play every game you own. You may upload some Among Us videos because of the game’s insane popularity in 2020. Two weeks later, it may seem like a good idea to sprinkle in some Minecraft content.
But heed our warning, creators. If you want to grow your gaming channel, choose just one game to play on YouTube.
From a technical perspective, this is solid advice. YouTube’s algorithm is sophisticated but seems to reward a simple content strategy. If it knows you’re a gaming creator making videos about Zelda: Breath of the Wild, for instance, it’ll have no problem recommending your videos to like-minded viewers.
To prove that, we asked the vidIQ community about their recent gaming experiences. We were happy to learn that in 2020, several creators grew their channels fast while playing one game.
The list includes channels like:
Playing one game is about more than satisfying the YouTube algorithm. It's also about having a strong focus and resisting the urge to follow all of your passions at once. You don’t have to stop playing your other games, but you should play just one for the bulk of your content. Then when you feel like unwinding, play a different game during a weekly livestream.
2. Upload at Least One Video to YouTube Each Week
Consistency is important on YouTube. However, there's no need to upload daily gaming content as a new creator. Instead, aim to post at least one video each week to YouTube.
Why this number? Well, YouTube has gotten really good at serving content to the right audience. So whether you post four videos a month or one video each day, YouTube will repeatedly recommend your content to viewers.
When you begin your YouTube journey, don’t burn out by following the posting schedule of veteran creators. Take it slowly. That way you’ll understand how YouTube fits into your life, whether that’s striking a balance between school, work, or family time.
3. Make Your Video Introductions Brief and Entertaining
On YouTube, audience retention is everything because low retention sends a negative signal to YouTube’s algorithm. It’s a key indicator that your video may not be delivering on its promise, and therefore, shouldn't be recommended over someone else's video.
To make sure this never happens, have a strong introduction to each video. Instead of showing your game’s menu screen as you talk, get to the meat of your content. Move your character(s) around the game’s landscape as you explain the point of today’s video.
The goal here is to make it impossible for someone to click away. The title of your video makes a promise to viewers, and you should deliver on that promise early and often.
4. Create Enticing Thumbnails and Titles For Your Videos
Video titles and thumbnails are what truly bring in viewers. They convince people to click on your content, so this powerful pair should be optimized 100% of the time.
On YouTube, a video title isn’t just for display; it can also help you climb YouTube search results. This happens when people search certain keyphrases, see your video on a results page, and decide to click on it. Oftentimes, the phrases they type will become valuable keywords for your video’s title.
If you can find popular keywords on YouTube that aren’t too competitive, you’ll be one step closer to creating awesome, click-worthy titles.
But reaching the top of YouTube results is half the battle. Once you’ve done that, your video’s thumbnail should carry you to the finish line.
To do your best in this area, keep the graphic simple but eye-catching. It should be easy for viewers to understand in less than one second, like this one:
Before you publish a video, use vidIQ’s thumbnail preview tool to see how eye-catching your graphics and titles look. This tool will instantly help you:
- Preview your thumbnail in YouTube search results
- Compare your thumbnail to those uploaded by other creators in your gaming niche
- See what your thumbnail looks like on various devices, such as mobile, iPad, and desktop
- Compare your video title to other videos using similar keywords
To get started with the tool, install vidIQ here.
5. Before You Press Record, Research Your Video's Topic
Before you try to make a video, brainstorm some prospective titles for it. This may seem a little weird at first because naturally, you can rework a title to fit the final video, right? It’s not a bad assumption at all, but that strategy won’t get your video seen by thousands of viewers. You’re better off brainstorming a title and then doing keyword research to see how well that topic will rank on YouTube.
This forces you to make the best possible video without even knowing it. First, you’ll optimize your content for YouTube’s algorithm by finding valuable keywords. Then you’ll put yourself in your audience’s shoes by running a few dozen searches on YouTube. When you’re done, you should know whether the video is worth making or not.
It’s super disheartening to make a video and then have zero people watch it. But if you work backwards by understanding how your video will perform, you’ll save lots of time.
6. Join an Online Gaming Community to Find Video Ideas
Coming up with fresh video ideas is probably the most challenging part of YouTube. This is why so many gaming channels resort to just picking their favorite game and playing it over the course of several videos. They’ll do a let's play series with episodic video titles, such as “Minecraft Survival Episode 12.”
There’s nothing wrong with let’s play videos, but on YouTube, you have to be strategic about them. Most of the time, viewers are searching for specific aspects of a game - not an episode of gameplay.
For better content ideas, join a Discord community. Find one that focuses on the game you’ve chosen to play, then pay close attention to what people are saying. You’ll probably hear about:
- Big updates coming to the game
- Which aspects of the game excite the community
- Questions newcomers have about the game
These three points can lead to exciting video ideas, especially the last one. If newcomers have questions about a game, you can answer them on YouTube with several video tutorials.
Also, don't forget about the gaming communities within Reddit and Steam!
7. Turn Trending Gaming Topics Into YouTube Videos
A trending topic presents a huge opportunity to get more views on YouTube, especially as a new creator. You can take advantage of pop culture, holidays, gaming news or anything that adds something positive (but still focused) to your content strategy.
And once again, we’ve got a tool for that!
After you’ve downloaded vidIQ, check our most viewed videos tool within the extension. It’s a helpful little gadget that lets you see topics trending in your niche and home in on the best opportunities.
In the vidIQ extension, you can quickly access the tool via the real-time stats bar. Here's what that looks like:
If you click the drop-down menu and select Most Viewed, this window will open in your browser:
When you think you have your next video idea, input some of the keywords you might rank for in this tool. You may discover that no creators have posted about the topic in months. Depending on how many views per hour the topic is getting, you may have an opportunity to compete with older videos on YouTube.
8. Post A Few YouTube Shorts to Get More Views
You’re familiar with YouTube Shorts, right? These vertical, less-than-a-minute videos are earning smaller creators millions of views on YouTube.
If you haven't caught on already, read our previous blogs about YouTube Shorts and how they work.
To quickly summarize though, Shorts are for people watching YouTube on their phones. They appeal to viewers who want a quick laugh or brief explainer of certain topics or issues. In many ways, Shorts are perfect for people who don’t want to watch longer, traditional videos.
They’re also perfect for the gaming community. YouTube Shorts can quickly capture the hilarious moments that occur in gaming - a character falling off a tall ledge, getting obliterated by the competition in mere seconds, unexpected glitches. And even when you don’t have a funny video to share, you can film tutorials for viewers craving short content.
When you’re ready, post a few Shorts to your YouTube channel. We've seen gaming channels grow by posting short videos, and we’re not talking about small spurts here and there. It’s very possible to start with a few hundred subscribers and gain 1M in just three months.
If you want to stand out on YouTube, take all of this advice to heart. Create awesome titles and thumbnails, give your channel a strong focus, and get serious about researching topics before you press record.
That may sound like a lot of work, but it’ll pay off in the end. You’ll skip months of confusion about how to dominate YouTube and head straight to all-star status (a.k.a. more views and subscribers.)