If you want to make an impact as a gaming content creator, this is a challenge. TubeBuddy helps gaming content creators stand out, but there’s not a lot of room for gaming generalists at this point. It pays to pick a sub-niche. The sheer number of gaming content creators is a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity; there are a lot of lessons to be learned from other creators.
With that in mind, below are the top things we see gaming creators doing right, and doing wrong, as they try to make a name for themselves in this competitive content niche. We’ve also included some ideas and lessons that every YouTube creator — not just those battling it out in gaming — can use.
Use the comments to let us know what you think we got right, what we got wrong, and your own thoughts and tactics. When creators work together, we all achieve better outcomes.
You Have a Dream
You pick up your favorite title, plug in, and start streaming. The fans come rolling in. soon, you’ve amassed a following; millions and millions of views. Lucrative brand deals soon follow. You’re making money with superchats. You’re selling out of merch. Every time you stream, people pay attention. Life is good.
Except that’s not how it works. More likely, you seem to have hit a wall at 125 subscribers. Your content is not that different from any of the hundreds of other people streaming the same game on YouTube or Twitch.
So how do you stand out? What can you do to set yourself apart and make yourself known? Even in today’s saturated gaming content market, there are things that you can do in order to get ahead.
Gaming is fun. Gaming content is fun. Making gaming content requires work. A lot of work. Possibly more work than any other content niche, just given the numbers.
Understand the Algorithm
MrBeast’s advice is to create for an audience, not an algorithm is good advice. Still, it pays to understand the YouTube algorithm, which is not as hard or complex as some would have us believe.
The biggest problem creators face is that they want to be successful but they don’t take the lessons the algorithm has to teach them.
This can mean cutting parts of a video that perform poorly, or avoiding curse words, for example. Though a little swearing is apparently OK. And no, we’re not entirely sure how much swearing is “a little” swearing.
The fact remains, if you want your content to be found, you need to take a serious look at the analytics and make data-driven decisions. TubeBuddy can help there.
The lessons YouTube analytics has to offer might mean changing the way you edit your videos. It definitely means considering SEO in your video descriptions and optimizing your channel page.
Pick a Game
Pick one game and go deep. Not only will it help you connect with an engaged niche audience and reduce your competition, it’s also so much easier for YouTube to understand channels that focus on one main topic.
If a user is looking for Stranded Deep videos, and you make exclusively Stranded Deep videos, YouTube wants to connect you two. If you make random videos about games, and one of your videos happens to be about Stranded Deep, the chances of your video being the top recommendation are necessarily lower.
Give YouTube and viewers a single, tight topic to focus on. So when someone searches for Stranded Deep videos, YouTube is like ‘hey, I know a channel that has tons of Stranded Deep content!’
Consider the Other Game
The hot new GotY is here. In our hands. We can FINALLY start playing it and making videos and growing our channels!!! Right?!
Don’t get me wrong here. We believe in moonshots and swinging for the fences… but we do have a reality to contend with.
Hundreds of creators have the same idea. The market is saturated. Don’t let that get you down. Look at the opportunity: with everyone talking about the same thing, maybe it’s a chance to stand out. Viewers are probably looking for something new and different. Now is a great time to go out and make it. Find an underserved niche. Use the TubeBuddy keyword research tool to uncover games that people are searching for with little competition. Make the kind of content you want to see.
Be An Authority
This is tough! You need to be the best at the game, or the best at talking about the game. You need to be an authority, maybe even an oracle.
Do playthroughs, for sure, but be the person people think of when they want insight or to share a theory about the game.
Farket is a great example of this idea in action. He started making videos about The Forest, and while he did videos on other games as well, he found an early, cult audience and pivoted to make The Forest his channel’s main focus.
He did several playthroughs, but what really set him apart was the detailed and thorough videos he made about how the game works. He became the authority on The Forest, on YouTube and elsewhere.
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. He went all-in.
This level of energy and passion can be tough to find. And frankly, it can take the fun out of the game. But as we said, being a successful gamer on YouTube takes a lot of work. It’s not all fun and games. Even when fun and games are your subject matter.
Keep it Healthy… And Keep ‘em Entertained
So not only do you need to put in the work to get viewers, you need to keep those viewers entertained. You need to keep it fun. You need charisma. Even when you have been streaming for six hours, you’re tired and you can think of 100 things you’d rather be doing. You’ve got to smile, and you’ve got to engage.
Don’t sacrifice your mental health, it should go without saying. But recognize that there will be good days and bad days. You need to balance it all.
Being entertaining means getting creative. People respond to faces. It’s biology. So channels that feature the gamer’s face while they play fare better. Seeing the streamer adds another layer of interest to the game because it gives a narrative.
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 other filler words. Yeah… that’s more work. But it’s all part of the gaming content… game.
Edit Your Videos
We’ve said this a few times already but it deserves to be a tip on its own.
People are so accustomed to seeing a game being played that it behooves you to do something to set yourself apart. Next-level editing is a great 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 lot of viewer appeal. Add cutscenes, memes etc. There are so 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 that anyone grinding for YouTube needs to hear. When I started I was serious about making a successful YouTube channel. Very serious. I gave up television, gaming and the radio for two full years (and then some).
All that time was spent learning what it takes to be 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.
As a gaming creator, you’re going to have to sacrifice some time with the games you love for the cause.
Getting creative is the difference between a good channel and a great channel. Maybe it means supplementing 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 a fckjoshy). Get together with your friends and have a brainstorm session, see what fun things you can come up with.
Go Create Stuff
We live in interesting times. Technology continues to evolve and open up new horizons. 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.
After all, as Wayne Gretzky said (or as Michael Scott said Wayne Gretzky said): “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
So take your shot!