Dan got his start on YouTube in August of 2011, recording gameplay videos as a fun hobby while attending school for video production. Joining the vidIQ team in 2020 allowed Dan to combine his hobby and professional talents to now help others grow their own YouTube channels.
How to Start a Gaming Channel On YouTube The RIGHT Way!
We recently published a video and a post around starting a YouTube gaming channel in 2020, and in that video, I discussed playing just one game. But what if you don't know what game to play? What if you don't know which is the one game for you? This method could help you find out exactly what that could be.
Wait. I just spent all that time telling you to play one game, and now I'm telling you maybe there's another way. Just hold on. I still think sticking to one game is a good strategy, but what if you play lots of different games? What if you play games that have to be kind of similar?
The Benefits of Sticking to One Genre on Your YouTube Gaming Channel
Let's first discuss why it's important to play one game in a lot of cases. And, mainly it's because YouTube is going to understand what your channel is about. That will lead to the platform suggesting your videos among creators who make kind of the same stuff, and among search results for people who are looking for that content.
So, if you play Stardew Valley, then you want YouTube to recommend your videos when someone types in "Stardew Valley." But if you play Stardew Valley and a hundred other games, YouTube doesn't really know where you're at, and it's going to be a little bit harder for the service to put your videos out there for people searching for Stardew Valley.
Now if that sounds like something you're doing right now, let's talk about narrowing down your content a little bit. Let's not dive right into one game so fast. What if we at least dive into a genre? What is Stardew Valley? Stardew Valley is a couple of things. I consider it a farming game, or an RPG.
For hypothetical purposes, let's focus on farming. I like farming games! I like Stardew Valley, I like Farming Simulator, I like games that feature farming. So let's just say that my channel is going to be a farming game channel. Now, that's pretty specific, right? There's probably not a lot of channels that just focus on that one type of game.
Even if you don't play Stardew Valley, you might be thinking to yourself, "Okay, I don't like farming games at all, "but I do like to play a lot of Call of Duty, "so what does a strategy for that look like for me?"
COD is a first-person shooter game, so, now that we know that, now that you have your genre, here's what I suggest doing: Take that game that you like, take that genre that you like, pick one of the games out of it, and go in, and make five videos on it. Make ten videos. Make as many as you're comfortable making.
After you publish ten videos on one game, you're probably going to come away with some pretty decent stats, which is good. Data is always good for testing purposes like we're about to, you know, theoretically do.
So for me, that game happened to be Stardew Valley. Let's say I make ten Stardew Valley videos, and I'm like "Okay, I finished the Community Center, "and I got a bunch of money, "and I'm pretty happy with my progress in Stardew, "I'm kind of tired of it right now. "I'm going to swap over. "I'm going to make ten videos on Farming Simulator."
Now, after every Farming Simulator video I post, I'm going to be looking to see what my numbers are doing, and how my audience is responding to that content. In the comments, are they saying, "Aw man, I really miss Stardew Valley"? Hey, it's still good that they showed up, right? They like you, they're watching your Farming Simulator video and they came in to say, "Yeah, I kinda liked Stardew better," but at least they came in! Maybe they'll stick around, maybe they enjoy the farming games as much as you do. Or maybe you notice a whole bunch of people commenting on your video that weren't there before! Hey, okay! People really like this Farming Simulator game.
I know I'm just using two games as an example, I'd probably recommend trying this with a wider spread of farming games in this case, but I just happen to really like these two farming games, and if I'm being honest, there's not a lot of farming games that I really play. So, maybe not a perfect example. But, play as many games as you need to play in your genre.
If it's MMORPGs, then play the various MMOs that you like to play. If it happens to be first-person shooters, play those. If it happens to be games like Minecraft, survival games, building games, play as many as you can get your hands on that you'll enjoy. The most important thing is to upload these videos regularly. So, I want to stick to a schedule, and I want to upload games that are at least similar to one another.
Know Your Gaming Genre and Find New Opportunities
So I've hypothetically made my videos about Stardew Valley, I got tired of it, I made my videos about Farming Simulator, and I'm noticing some trends. Let's take a look at this.
Now obviously I didn't record any Stardew Valley or Farming Simulator videos, these are all kind of hypotheticals to get you thinking. But let's just say I did. What I want to know is what's going on in Farming Simulator? All right, so if you were to record farming simulator videos you'll see that your volume and competition look pretty good. This is actually a pretty decent search term - but is it though?
There's a lot of people playing Farming Simulator on YouTube, what if playing Farming Simulator won’t get me discovered? What if it's the word "simulator" that’s the key?
As somebody who plays a lot of games, I know that the simulator genre is actually really popular. Competition is pretty high, but there's a high search volume for people looking for the word "simulator".
Now, what have I just discovered about my content? So far as I can tell, this is not a bad idea! What if people like simulator games as much as they like farming games? What I've just done is given myself an opportunity to explore a whole genre of games that I didn't even think of at first!
Now don't get me wrong, I know this is a very specific example. We're talking about farming games, now we're talking about simulator games, and if this isn't anywhere near your genre, just know that there's a lot of different ways we can categorize games.
Games are cool because they have more than one genre, they're more than one thing a lot of times. Take Fallout, for example. Fallout 4, you could argue it's a first-person shooter game, but you could also argue, because it has a currency system built in it, and quests, it's actually an RPG. So as you're playing Fallout 4 on your channel and you're starting to get kind of tired of it, what if you played another RPG?
What if you were tired of first-person shooters at that point, but you thought, "Man, I could really go for some "Stardew Valley!" Well, Stardew Valley isn't just a farming game, it's an RPG. It has a currency system, it has quests you can do, and in some ways, Stardew Valley is similar to Fallout 4, believe it or not.
Niche Down on Your Gaming Genre
So by now, I assume you kind of get it, right? You don't have to play just one game on your channel, you could be playing all these random games. And people might ask you, "Why do you play so many random games?" And you can go, "I don't play random games. "I play simulator games! "I play Farming Simulator, I play Truck Simulator, "I play Thief Simulator." These are now your genre. Now you are the authority on simulator games.
But for those of you sitting there going, "Okay, but I actually kind of like playing just one game, "I was on board with your last plan, "what are you doing to me, you're driving me crazy!" And to those of you who are thinking that, I want to say, there is always an opportunity to niche down your content and be just the Truck Simulator person.
Or, let's say you feel like Farming Simulator has so much more depth than all the other simulator games, and that's all you want to play from now on, that's probably a smart move if your audience has really been taking to it very well. Maybe, if you're lucky, Farming Simulator has some of the best views on your channel and that's more of a reason to just stick to that one game.
The point is, there's no wrong way to do this, and every channel is going to be different, and there's never one secret sauce that I can give you that's going to work for everybody watching. I just want to get you thinking. I just want you to think about games in terms of genre.
Maybe that is a way for you to play multiple games, or at the very least test to see which one game happens to be the best for you. We talk a lot here on this channel about getting discovered, a lot of our videos and advice is to that end. You want to be discovered by people out there on YouTube, looking for things.
But when we're talking about video games, it's even more important to stress this one thing: Please play games you actually enjoy. The most important thing that you can do on a gaming channel is to play games that you enjoy, because your audience is going to sense when you're not invested in the game, and in turn, they won't be invested in your video.
So to those of you out there playing games and trying to find yourselves on YouTube, I hope this was helpful. I hope I managed to kind of enlighten you to a new strategy or two for finding not only your game but your audience.
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