How To Grow A Small YouTube Gaming Channel FAST 2018 – The Ultimate Guide To Growing A Gaming Channel
Are you struggling to grow a small YouTube gaming channel?
I’ve been there too. I’ve gone through the same process of uploading video after video and getting little to no views or subscribers.
I want to help you stop that cycle right now - just like I did on my own YouTube gaming channel.
First of all, I need to warn you. It is VERY unlikely that you will have overnight success or grow your channel to 1,000 subscribers in a week. However, if you work smart and hard, you will see a drastic improvement in your channel over the next few months.
This ultimate guide to growing a YouTube gaming channel will give you the 10 most important steps that you need to kickstart your growth.
I also wrote a book “A Gamer’s Guide To Greatness” that goes into more depth and also teaches you how to turn your YouTube gaming channel into your career/business, but this post will definitely put you on the right track.
So let’s get into it and start teaching you how to grow a small YouTube gaming channel FAST in 2018.
1) Define Your Value Proposition
Ask yourself this difficult question: Why should anyone watch your content?
One of the biggest mistakes I see new YouTubers make is they only think about themselves. The problem with this is that your potential viewers and subscribers are thinking “What’s in it for me?”
Nobody cares about you when you’re starting out with your small YouTube gaming channel, that’s the harsh truth.
You need to make people care. You need to think about how you can provide value to potential viewers instead of begging people to watch your videos and subscribe to your channel. You must bring something to the table before you get invited to eat.
So what kind of value do you have to offer?
There are 3 different types of value that good content generally provides:
I predict that you probably think you’re providing number 1 - entertainment. I want you to forget that. Get rid of that naive thought right now.
Well, entertainment is very subjective and when you start out on YouTube your videos are probably much less interesting than you think they are. We’ve all been there. We thought we were uploading a sick video that would blow people’s socks off, only to look back in a few years and cringe at that same video.
Also, it’s much harder for people to find your “entertaining” content in the sea of the of other aspiring YouTube gamers who are generally doing the exact same thing - flooding the market with let’s plays that nobody cares about.
So what should you do to grow your small YouTube gaming channel?
Focus on number 2 - education. Educational content is much more objective and this is the kind of content that people are actually looking for (more on that later). If you decide to make a tutorial on the game you’re playing on your channel, then all you need to do is make sure that tutorial works. Does it help people do what you said you would help them do? If the answer is yes then congratulations - you’ve made a video with objectively good content.
Don’t forget to think about who your channel is for and what value they would get from subscribing to your channel. Another thing to consider is : who is your channel not for?
If you can communicate both these answers effectively and clearly, you will get more subscribers because people will know if your channel provides something they want or not.
2) Niche Down
The easiest and fastest way to grow your YouTube gaming channel is to focus. Focus on one game, genre or type of content and upload a bunch of videos around that.
If you want to grow the fastest, you should pick one game. This is very specific and if you have a lot of content around one game then people who are interested in that game are more likely to subscribe to your channel.
Focusing on one genre can also work e.g. focusing on FPS games. This will allow you to play multiple games while still building a targeted audience, although this will lead to slower growth than focusing on one game.
Lastly, you can focus on one type of content e.g. tutorials. This is the least effective of the 3 suggestions, but it’s still much more effective than uploading a bunch of unrelated videos without any overarching strategy.
I personally have a variety channel (that means I upload a variety of videos on different topics etc.), but everything I do on the channel has an overarching theme. This has led to slower growth and lower view to subscriber ratio on my channel, but I love the freedom of being able to upload what I want and I couldn’t care less about growing my channel and getting more subscribers at this point.
However, even with a variety channel, I have still strategically niched down many times on my channel when I wanted to play different games, experiment with strategies or try different things. I generally will focus on no more than two games/types of content for a few months in order to build a catalogue of videos around that content and build a base of subscribers interested in that content.
Niche down - it works
Video SEO is the secret weapon all small YouTube gamers should be using. Most people don’t have a clue what video SEO is or are too lazy to use it effectively.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and, in my opinion, YouTube Video SEO is the most important tool for smaller YouTubers who want to grow on YouTube. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and SEO is the process of communicating what your video is about to the YouTube search engine gods so that people searching for a video like yours can find your video.
SEO is basically how you use your tags, titles and descriptions so you can rank on the first page of YouTube. Video SEO requires more than the few words I can share here for you to fully understand it and use it most effectively. That’s why I created a FREE video course that will show you everything you need to know about using SEO to grow your gaming channel.
4) Create A Content Plan
A content plan is simply a plan for your content. A good content plan is one that works towards a specific goal and specifies the type of content you will be putting out.
For example, if your goal is to grow your YouTube gaming channel fast, then you should plan to consistently release content that helps you achieve that goal. Instead of focusing on let’s plays and livestreams which will grow your channel incredibly slowly at best, you should focus on creating searchable content that people are actually looking for already.
Here is a basic content plan for you to use to grow your channel:
- Help content is searchable content that solves a problem e.g. how tos, tutorials etc.
- Hub content is content that helps build a deeper connection with people who are already subscribed to your channel e.g. let’s plays, livestreams, vlogs etc.
Monday: Help content
Tuesday: Help content
Wednesday: Help content
Thursday: Help content
Friday: Hub content
5) Create Channel Art That Communicates Your Channel Value Proposition Within 5 Seconds
Don’t make it hard for people to understand what to expect from your channel. Most people will just click away from your channel if they don’t have a clear understanding of what to expect from your content.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that people care enough to look through each of your videos and click multiple tabs to better understand your channel - they don’t.
The more work you make a potential subscriber do to find out if your channel is for them, the less subscribers you will gain.
You want to make this process as easy as possible so that people who are interested in the value you offer know they’re in the right place within 5 seconds and people who aren’t interested in your content can leave quickly.
The best way to do this is to clearly communicate the type of videos and value you provide in your channel art. Don’t just put your channel name in your channel art - that’s redundant. Use that real estate for effective branding!
Also, I suggest you add your upload schedule to your channel art too so people can know when they should check back for new content.
As you can see in my channel art, I clearly communicate that my channel is about teaching you to be better. I also let potential subscribers know that I will be releasing tutorials, reviews and videos covering entrepreneurship.
But it doesn’t stop there. I’ve also communicated this in my channel trailer and my about me section, so potential subscribers know what to expect from me. That’s the basics of branding.
6) Use Playlists To Organise And Get More Watch Time
The playlist feature is often overlooked by new YouTubers.
Playlists are so underused by a lot of YouTubers. New YouTubers especially ignore playlists causing them to miss out on growth opportunities.
Playlists are important for organisation, increasing watch time and helping your channel be recommended by the YouTube algorithm.
Ignore playlists at your own peril!
The most common way you’ll use playlists is to organise your videos on your homepage.
On your YouTube homepage you have the ability to showcase your playlists. You need to use this opportunity to show viewers the type of content you release on your channel.
If you plan to be a variety channel, use these playlists to showcase the different games you’re covering on your channel.
Create a playlist for each game you cover as well as each type of coverage. For example, create a separate playlist for both your game tutorials and your let’s plays/livestreams.
For niche channels you can create really specific playlists that cover different aspects of the game your playing such as Ark Survival Evolved PVP Tips, Ark Survival Evolved PVE Tips and Ark Survival Evolved Tribe Management Tips. These would be good ideas for niche playlists if your channel was focused on Ark Survival Evolved.
Organise the playlists on your channel in order of importance, putting your most important playlists at the top of your homepage so people see them first when they land on your channel.
Here are some of the playlists on my homepage:
Playlists can also be used to help you organise your content to improve a viewer’s user experience. Create playlists that include videos that are similar and compliment each other. This will help viewers find the type of content they like and allow them to easily binge-watch your videos.
Creating playlists like this will encourage viewers to watch more of your videos and have longer watch sessions on your channel. This will lead to more watch time for your channel, which will help your channel get recommended in the YouTube algorithm and help you grow your channel.
Whenever you share one of your videos, make sure that you share it within a playlist. This will lead to you gaining more watch time and views on your channel as it will introduce potential viewers to other videos that they may not have seen otherwise. Video playlist links are pretty long, so I suggest that you use a link shortener like bit.ly to clean up your video link and make it more presentable.
You should also think about what playlists your videos can be added to before you even create that video. This will help you create a cohesive and optimised channel that is easy to navigate and understand.
7) Make Better Thumbnails
If your thumbnails are bad, similar videos with better thumbnails will outperform yours. People judge books by their cover, that’s just the way it is.
If you see a terrible thumbnail that looks unprofessional and undesirable, you are likely going to assume that the video behind that thumbnail is unprofessional and undesirable
Think of your thumbnails as the packaging of your content. Your packaging needs to be attractive and inviting for people to click your video and become a viewer.
You have 3 choices:
- Learn how to make better thumbnails (I will try to make a video on this soon). Try to keep everything as simple as possible. Trying too hard and adding too many elements is what often leads to cluttered and unattractive thumbnails.
- You can get my book “A Gamer’s Guide To Greatness” which will teach you how to turn your gaming passion into your career and it comes with a free thumbnail template as well as a variety of bonuses worth over £199.99.
- You can buy a library of thumbnail templates like the “YouTube Starter Kit” created by Roberto Blake.
- You can hire a designer to create your thumbnails for you (you can use social media sites like Twitter or freelancing sites like fiverr etc. to find a designer).
Whichever choice you make, do not ignore the importance of a good thumbnail!
8) Get Rid Of Your 20 Second Intro And Anything That Doesn’t Add Value To The Viewer
Too many YouTube gamers make the mistake of thinking that a 20 second intro is a good idea - it isn’t.
If you do not have a website, if you are not promoting something specific then you do not need an intro at all. Having a graphic that displays your channel name for the sake of displaying your channel name does nothing for you, nothing for the viewer and it actually hurts your channel.
People will just click away from your video if you take too long to hook them and give them a reason to watch more. If instead of delivering value straight away, or confirming a viewers expectations (letting them know that you will deliver what you said the video would deliver in the title, thumbnail etc.) you show a graphic displaying your channel name, you will push away many potential viewers.
An intro should be 5 seconds max and, even then, it should only appear after you have confirmed your viewers expectations. You can watch one of my videos for an example of this:
I clearly let viewers know that I’m going to deliver what I said I would deliver in the title and thumbnail, then I have a short intro promoting my website before a pre-roll ad with the purpose of generating more income and introducing the viewer to a valuable product/service they may be interested in.
If your focus is to grow your channel and you are not trying to generate revenue etc. then you should immediately get into the meat of the content. Get rid of your intro if its only purpose is to serve your vanity. Also, remove anything from your videos that do not provide value to the viewer.
Don’t try and stretch your videos to the 10 minute mark in order to make Adsense money etc. Focus on making your videos as long or as short as they need to be in order to deliver value.
9) Focus On Making Evergreen Tutorial Content
If you only take one point from this article, let it be this one.
Focusing on making evergreen tutorial content (help content) will build a successful channel. These videos will bring you subscribers and views for years to come.
If you focus on making trendy content and attempting to go viral, those videos will die within a few weeks and people are unlikely to watch them in a few years.
Building a catalogue of content that people are actively searching for will give you freedom. Instead of you having to make your next video bring in a bunch of views and subs, you will have a variety of videos that bring in people on autopilot.
You should still create hub content in order to build a personal connection with your viewers and grow your community, but don’t forget the importance of creating a catalogue that you can reap the benefits of in the future. It’s just smart business.
10) Be Patient And Play The Long Game
Most people who start a YouTube channel end up quitting. It’s harder than it looks and most people do not have the patience, perseverance and discipline to see it through.
You may work extremely hard, follow all these steps and you might not see the results you were hoping for within a month or even a year (if you actually implement these steps and learn about SEO etc. you will almost certainly see results in a year).
Some of my biggest videos got under 100 views in the first week I uploaded them. If you create multiple videos around one topic (make 50 videos), do your keyword research to ensure you’re making videos people actually want and you optimise your videos correctly using these SEO tactics, you will see results.
Consistency, discipline and working smart will bring you success, but you must also remember to not expect anything.
A video that did terrible in its first week can still become a successful video eventually and bring in a bunch of views and subscribers. That happens to me constantly - it’s actually the main strategy I use to approach my YouTube content.
I don’t care if a video gets 100 or 1,000 views when I release it because I know that video will be useful forever and people will be searching for it 6 months from now.
Try to look at the bigger picture and think about how the content you’re making now will benefit your channel in a year. It can take a lot of time to get the ball rolling, but you will see your results compound and continue to improve if you keep at it and you play the long game.
Too many aspiring YouTube gamers give up far too quickly after not putting in nearly enough smart work. If you have under 1,000 videos, you should not be moaning about your growth. I have over 2,000 videos on my channel - that was over 2,000 opportunities that I created for myself, over 2,000 chances to be discovered and rank in search etc.
Creating all those videos also allowed me to get better at creating content, marketing and building a successful channel.
And even after all that work, I am just under 24,000 subscribers at the time of me writing this post. But I learned a lot from my experiments, failures and successes and that knowledge has allowed me to help other YouTubers like you grow their channels.
I distilled a lot of that knowledge into my book “A Gamer’s Guide To Greatness” to help YouTube gamers like you benefit from the time I spent learning and experimenting instead of going through that long process yourself. In the book I’ve included everything I wish I knew when I started out on YouTube, so you can grow your small YouTube gaming channel FAST in 2018 and turn your passion into your career instead of it taking many years.
If you’re serious about growing your small YouTube gaming channel in 2018 and you want to turn your channel into a business so you can do this full time, you need to get this guide.
Or you could check out all the free content I’ve put out, but that will take you considerably longer to achieve your goals and it’s just less convenient.
Whatever you choose to do, I hope that you take this information and put it to use! I wish you the best of luck and success. You can do this for a living if you REALLY WANT it. However if you’re half-hearted, no amount of strategy and information will help you stick through the struggles and emerge with a YouTube gaming channel that allows you to pay the bills and do what you love.
Also published on Medium.