8 Straight-Up Steps for Growing Your Gaming Channel on YouTube (and for Getting Your Indie Game Reviewed)
Today I woke up to a spammy email from a 17 year old in eastern Europe who is trying to get word out about a video game he developed. He sent the generic email to over 450 YouTubers. The email was followed by a still-ongoing flurry of replies. Some were complaining about the spam, but advertising their own channels. Others told their stories about their game-review channels, but left off their YouTube channel information.
The gaming genre is an overcrowded space. There is an overload of low-quality, noisy content as well as an overload of extremely well-produced, well-researched quality content. Since the origin of this article is gamer-related, I’m going with that theme, but these are practical suggestions that came to mind as I replied to the email. Let me know if this is helpful to any of you.
The 8 Suggestions:
1) If you’re going to email me, tell me about your brand, product or channel. Give me a synopsis right up front so I can decide if I want to spend my time going on to read your SHORT summary. Include a picture of your game, product, channel, etc.
2) Don’t try to fool me into thinking the email was only for me. Use my name and something that shows you have some clue who I am or what my brand is. Publicists get lazy with this all the time, even after I’ve sent a reply to the person with his/her name! Put the time in and write custom emails. YES, it takes TIME and work. You’re not laying bricks…it is NOT hard work!
3) MANY of you complain that you don’t have a lot of subs. YouTube is getting harder and harder to find an audience. The cream doesn’t always rise. There’s a s- ton of very good content that doesn’t get discovered because of all of the noise. There are also lots of MCNs using click-farms and driving fake subs. What can you do? FOCUS on your CONTENT! Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Think about what you like to see. There will be thousands of others who would like to see that kind of content too.
4) Connect with your audience. We communicate with our viewers. EVERY reply gets read and a very high percentage (over 90%) gets a reply. We’re also putting content on iTunes, Twitter, Instagram (not just pics, but native videos), Snapchat, Facebook, Pinterest, Musical.ly…everywhere. Be available. Be omnipresent.
5) Be patient. I guarantee you that we’re putting more work into every minute of content than you. If we went by YouTube numbers, we would have quit years ago (our genre is particularly tricky on YouTube). Yet, here we are in our 9th year of production. Our YT numbers alone aren’t big (no click-farming or buying subs), but the entertainment industry knows very well who we are. You want the right people watching your content. Our focus has been long-term…very long term (we started in 2007). We’re just now spreading our wings, after dominating our field (and being the first online in the genre) and showing what we’ve been working on quietly for years.
6) Just because your putting in the time, doesn’t mean your content is worth coming back for. I could sit here and film myself playing video games all day and just pour out raw content. I’d get views and subs…maybe even more than we have…just like everyone else doing the exact same thing, only because people searching for gameplay videos will stumble on the content. I’m sure this will aggravate a bunch of you…good! Bring better content. As I mentioned in the intro, gaming channels are overdone…lots of junk and lots of premium content.
7) Establish what makes your content or brand different. There are also so many really good gamer channels that have already perfected their craft that there’s little white space. Do you see some?…then stop reading and go get it. What makes YOUR gaming channel stand out? What makes your game worth reviewing when nobody will search for it (hence, lower views) and there are endless known games? What makes YOUR content different? Do you have a great gaming channel niche that nobody’s taken on? Great. Do you have a niche that’s big enough to get views? Even better.
8) Don’t let YOU get in your own way. So, it’s harder for you because you’re only 17 and from eastern Europe? There has NEVER…EVER…been a better time in history for a 17 year old to be able to get his name out there. Who would have listened to a 17 year old kid in the 80s or 90s where you had no Internet or social networks? You had to depend on old white guys back then. Not anymore! Being from eastern Europe (or wherever you’re from) gives you context. Not only does that make Americans curious (we love accents here), it means you have plenty of other eastern Europeans who can identify with you. Tell your story. Spend a few dollars on a Facebook ad and target gamers in your genre. Send your email one by one to gaming channels offering some kind of customization or something. I don’t know what you personally can offer. Figure it out. The age and geography is a misnomer. That’s just an excuse for inaction.