This post is primarily for gaming YouTubers but the information included can definitely help YouTubers of other genres. If you do not have a gaming channel, you can just substitute the word ‘game’ for ‘theme” or “subject’.
Choosing which game to play on your YouTube channel is a very big decision. This will determine what kind of community you attract and how quickly you can grow your channel, as well as how much content you put out and how much fun you have.
In this post I’m going to let you know how to choose a game to play on your youtube channel in a way that maximises your growth and long term sustainability.
Niche Or Variety Channel?
The first question you have to answer before choosing your ‘home game’ (the main game you play on your channel) is: do you want to create a niche channel or a variety channel? Both have their pros and cons and you need to pick the right choice for you.
A niche channel focuses on one game and puts out a bunch of content about that game. If you decide to go down this path then you should ensure that you pick a game that has longevity. Multiplayer games (Rainbow 6 Siege), MMOs (World Of Warcraft), game series with dedicated fanbases (Call Of Duty) and open ended games that you create your own narrative in (The Sims) are generally the kind of games you should be looking for.
If you’re planning to create a variety channel then you still need to find a home game that has the qualities I discussed before, but you can also play another game (or multiple games) in addition to that home game. I strongly suggest that you don’t play more than one game in addition to your home game if you can help it. You need to be thinking about the time commitment needed for you to create content for each game and the content output you can comfortably manage. The additional game could be something that you can complete within a month and then move onto the next game.
Your home game will build most of your community, but playing other games on your channel will open your audience up to the idea of you playing different games on your channel.
Niche Channel Vs. Variety Channel Overview (Pros & Cons)
- Faster channel growth
- Higher view to sub ratio
- You might get bored and want to do something else
- You can play multiple games
- Lower view to sub ratio
- Subs may not want to watch you play a new game
- Slower channel growth
I’ll likely make a post or video diving deeper into the pros and cons of a niche channel versus a variety channel, but the above information should give you the insight you need right now.
In my opinion, you should start your channel by niching down and picking one game to focus on. After you’ve built up at least 1k subscribers you can start expanding into playing other games on your channel. Remember that focused effort will lead to more growth, and splitting that focus between different games will slow down your growth.
Choosing Your Home Game
Research the game name (and platform you’re using to play it) using a tool like the Tubebuddy tag explorer or the Google Adwords keyword planner. These tools will show you the search volume and competition for your key words. The best case scenario would be for you to find a game that has low to medium competition and medium to very high search volume. That is what you’re aiming for although exceptions can be made if you have a lot of passion for a game that’s not too competitive and are willing to put in a lot of hard work and pump out content regularly.
2. Think Of Content Ideas
Think of 5 different video ideas for that game and use the tag explorer to find out the search volume and competition volume of those video titles, looking for the same factors as before.
3. Choose A Game You Love
Playing a game that you love matters. You want to make sure that you don’t get burnt out and enjoying yourself is the best way to prevent that. You also need to create a lot of content around this game for a long time (at least a year preferably) so you really need to be sure that this a game you enjoy playing and are willing to commit to. The truth is that if you enjoy the game you’re playing, you’ll naturally put more effort into your content and your channel.
4. Consider The Game’s Fanbase
Think about the community surrounding the game and whether it’s something you want to be a part of and engage in. Some communities are overwhelmingly toxic and may bring a bunch of trolls to your channel.
5. Think Long Term
Is this a game that will die down soon? Story-focused games generally die down within a month of their release. You want to be involved in a community that thrives into the future.
But I’m A Live Streamer And You’re Talking About Videos!
For live streaming, the points mentioned beforehand are relevant when choosing your home game, but you also need to do some research on the average stream numbers on YouTube Gaming.
- Go to gaming.youtube.com
- Search for the game you want to research
- Click on the live tab
- Screenshot or write down the amount of people that are live streaming and the time
- Screenshot or write down the amount of people watching the top 10 – 20 streams and the bottom 10 – 20 streams
Do this around the times that you plan to stream and check the results over 2 – 7 days.
The best possible scenario is a low amount of streams (under 700) and high viewership in the top 10 – 20 streams (20 – 100+). This would be a good opportunity to grow.
If there’s low viewership (0 – 5) on the bottom 10 – 20 streams then that is also good as that means you only need 6 people watching you for you to rank above those streams.
Use these same principles to pick the other games you play if you want to have a variety channel, but playing short lived games that you can cycle through rather than games with longevity is okay.
Some Additional Advice To Get More Subscribers And Make More Money With Your Channel
Review your home game! Reviewing the game that your channel is focused on can help you draw in traffic to your channel if you can rank in the search results. A lot of people, including myself, watch and read reviews of a game before they decide to buy it. If a prospective buyer sees your review and then they see you have much more content focused around that game, that will help them with their purchase decision and potentially turn them into a loyal subscriber.
Make sure you also have an affiliate link to purchase your home game in the description section of your review video and in the description every video playing that game. Using affiliate links like this is an easy way to generate a little additional income and it helps people who want to buy that game and support your channel at no extra cost. I will make an in-depth video on affiliate marketing eventually, but for now you watch that part of my How To Make More Money With Your Gaming Channel live stream below.Click Here For Your Free SEO for Noobs Checklist!
Also published on Medium.