How to start a successful YouTube gaming channel
Learn everything you need to know about managing and growing a gaming empire with some easy to follow steps and real-life examples.
How to Start a YouTube Gaming Channel
1) Finding your Niche
Gaming is a broad term. And the industry itself gets bigger and bigger every year. You have PC, console and mobile gaming. Each of these platforms has tens of dozens of game genres, and with that, different types of people that enjoy those games. First-person shooters, MMOs, RPGs, sports, puzzles, survival, simulators – just to name a few. So if you would create a gaming channel right now, what should be your focus? It goes without saying, but you can’t possibly cover everything. Or better said, it’s not smart to do so.
This is where the terms niches and target audience come into play. A niche simply means a smaller segment of a market – in this case, the gaming one. Before starting your channel, you should really think about the type of content you want to publish. Because your audience will vary depending on the games you stream. That’s why it’s critical to cover some basics when it comes to finding your niche. The big fish, small pond – small fish, big pon analogy comes real handy. It means that low competition niches are more favorable, and carry a better chance to stand out, and succeed.
The first step is to consider what you’re passionate about. What types of games can you see yourself covering, streaming or reviewing? For example, if you like playing indie games, then it’s safe to say that creating content for such games will come to you more naturally. Second is market analysis. Basically, whether you’re going to succeed or not depends in large on the competition in that niche on YouTube.
Popular titles like Dota 2, Fortnite, League of Legends and CS: GO in the eSports genre are all the rage nowadays. This means that the competition for eSports games is very high – as there are thousands of videos getting published. This implies that joining the crowd of gamers that stream these games can potentially be a bad call for the growth of your channel. Even if you’re set on this niche, it would be smart to approach it differently – by publishing something fresh and more unique.
The Indie genre, however, has less competition and a higher potential for success. This is because there are less mainstream games and a more focused audience with a more specific taste in watching gaming videos.
2) Think of a unique channel name and create your website
Now comes the fun part, creating your channel name. We suggest a name that’s short, sweet and is relevant to your audience. Some names for a YouTube gaming channel could be: gamingwith[your-name], [first-name]plays[game] or if you’re still stuck try using our channel name generator for some inspiration.
Once you have a channel name in mind, it’s time to get your website set up. Don’t worry, this is much easier than it sounds and can be easily done in less than an hour! Checkout our full guide on the best and easiest way to setup a WordPress blog here.
3) Get the essentials
Now that we know about niches in the gaming world and how to set up a personal website with WordPress, it’s time to talk about the essentials. Everyone that plays games already has a solid PC or a laptop that can support high graphics details and decent gaming experience. But what most people forget, is that playing games and creating videos about games are two different things.
The computer is using significantly more resources when you’re actually producing content. That’s why you’ll need a powerful dedicated machine that’s capable of running video editing software, capturing gameplay and streaming data while in-game.
It’s also good to have a dual or even triple monitor setup for better productivity. Nowadays, YouTubers that create content go beyond the Full HD resolution to a 2k or even 4k gaming. That’s something to have in mind when buying monitors and a gaming machine. The higher the resolution, the more intensive it will get resource-wise for your PC or laptop.
Here are some other computer peripherals to consider:
- A mechanical keyboard
- High DPI gaming mouse
- Good microphone
- High quality (at least 720p) camera
- Back up hard drives for storing raw footage and production content
Other than the computer setup, you should consider getting a comfortable chair as you’ll spend most of the day sitting and streaming games. And last but not least, having a high-speed internet connection is crucial for uploading videos to YouTube.
Let’s talk about the software you’ll need. A video editing software is a must. If you’re on Windows, check out Adobe Premiere Pro – as its one of the best commercial tools for editing videos. Mac users can get iMovie or Final Cut Pro. Screen recording is another vital aspect, and while there are bunch great of free tools like OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), you can also check some commercial ones like Camtasia.
What content do YouTube gamers create?
YouTube gamers create all types of gaming content. From gameplay series, to live streaming and tournament overviews – there’s a lot of ways you can create gaming videos. Most people stream what they enjoy playing themselves. But some, especially in the eSports world, that are experts and share their professional opinion on games, player performance, etc. Here’s a list of videos you’ll see on
YouTube when browsing through the gaming category:
- eSports matches, tournaments analytics, player insights
- Gameplay videos from popular titles like FIFA, Dota 2, LOL, Call of Duty, etc
- Playing indie games
- Game reviews
- Funny moments videos
- Walkthrough series
- Tutorials and HowTos
- Personal Opinion videos
Create engaging and relevant content
One of the most important things to know when starting your own YouTube gaming channel is that you’ll have to produce relevant content. Your niche and audience should overlap, and the games you play need to be appealing to the viewers. Finding inspiration for videos can be quite easy when you know what your goals are. It’s just a matter of keeping the content engaging and entertaining while providing some kind of value to the target viewers.
Here are some tips for coming up with video ideas and creating interesting content that transcends your passion for games:
- Keep up with trends from the gaming industry on Google Trends
- Find inspiration from successful gaming channels
- Make your videos consistent and on point
- Keep SEO practices for videos in mind
- Optimize your titles, meta descriptions and thumbnail images
- Create a branding for your channel
- Come up with a catchy intro and outro for your vides
- Never fade to black
- Use a call to action methods to engage viewers into liking and sharing your content, and subscribing to your channel
How to grow your traffic
When you have a general idea about your niche, equipment and how to create your content, it’s time to talk about ways you can grow your traffic. So how would you go about getting the channel noticed and gaining your first subscribers? Being consistent with publishing videos and having traffic that increases steadily over time are the most important things about running a YouTube gaming channel. Let’s find out how you can do just that!
Video SEO is essential to getting organic traffic. Growing a new channel can be challenging, and making sure you’re sticking to YouTube’s best SEO practices is a key priority. You’d want to create a strategy and find keywords that are relevant to your theme and niche. Opmitized videos get recognized and rank much better. Plus, they provide steady traffic – which is a must for the long run.
So, what are the most important things to consider when doing SEO optimizations? Each video on YouTube is composed of 3 vital elements: the video title, the thumbnail image, and the video meta description. The title needs to be engaging and catchy, with the keyword that you rank for placed in. The thumbnail image should describe the video and what it’s about – giving potential viewers a rough idea of what’s ahead if they watch it. YouTube gamers often use in-game screenshots with captions to attract the viewer’s attention right from the beginning. And the description should be a 1 sentence overview of what’s the video is about, and it must contain the keyword that you’d like to rank for – just like the title.
Social media marketing is another excellent technique for growing your channel and subscribers. That’s why it’s a good idea to create profiles on social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc., and share your videos. Make sure to mention to people who view your videos to like your social media pages. That way, you’ll get to stay in touch and be more close with your followers.
One other method for getting your channel out there is by reaching out to game studios, indie developers and channels in your niche to do collaborations. For example, if your channel does reviews about Indie games, then, getting in touch with some developers who create those types of games can be a great way to start a collaboration. You can post video content with their games, and they will give you credit on their channels.
How to make money with your YouTube Gaming Channel
There are a number of ways to make money with your gaming channel. The first and most popular one is by serving Google Ads. You can enable monetization through the Video Manager, and then integrate your Google Adsense account. There are plenty of Ad options you can choose to include in the videos, from video ads to text banners that show up at a specific time. Depending on your traffic, you can have decent monthly earnings with the Google Adsense program.
Another way to monetize your channel is by having a media package for reviewing products from companies that are looking to advertise on YouTube directly through the channels. Creating dedicated sponsored videos or including a 20-second ad in your regular videos can be very profitable. As your channel grows in traffic and subscribers, you’ll see people reaching out and asking about advertising rates.
Top #3 YouTube Gamers
#1 Tfue (7.2 million subscribers)
Tfue is a professional eSports athlete for the FaZe Clan – the CS GO team who joined YouTube in 2014. With more than 7.2 million subscribers, he’s also one of the most popular YouTubers who create gaming content on the platform. On his YouTube channel, Tfue uploads all types of videos about Fortnite. Many people say that he’s the most talented Fortnite player in the world.
#2 DanTDM (20.5 million subscribers)
DanTDM joined YouTube in 2012, and his videos have generated over 14 billion views. He has 20.5 million subs and uploads video content primarily about Minecraft and Fortnite. DanTDM mentioned more than once that posting videos about Minecraft made his channel what it is today.
#3 Jacksepticeye (21 million subscribers)
Jacksepticeye is a YouTube gamer that creates daily gameplay videos of all types of popular games like Hitman, Just Clause 4, Life is Strange, Spider-Man, etc. He joined YouTube in 2007, and his content has over 10 billion views. He’s undoubtedly one of the most influential gamers on YouTube.