Home > Misc. > Finding Success as a Youtube Gamer – A Little Guy’s Perspective

Finding Success as a Youtube Gamer – A Little Guy’s Perspective


I’m a bit down right now. For a few weeks I’ve been uploading one video per day to my youtube gaming channel, while at the same time trying to research what makes a person able to get big. The other day, I discovered Reddit isn’t really a scary place–if you know where to go. So I posted one of my videos in a small subreddit, and got a pretty good response. At least relatively (it’s a really tiny subreddit. The top posts have upwards of 5 points). Specifically, I usually get about 10 views on my videos, and this one I’m up to 55 so far. Good right? Something to celebrate?

Well, no. Because I think I’ve finally discovered the primary “secret” to making it big. I think it’s pretty simple, but it’s also something a lot of people don’t want to acknowledge. And before you say it, it’s not luck.

At first I was happy about the extra views. It seemed to confirm to me that the whole problem is exposure. But then I realized that despite all the extra views, I hadn’t gotten any new comments or subscriptions. Which tells me that even though they viewed my video, they didn’t like it enough to want to see what I was going to post next. And that’s where the realization set in.

What do we know the “big youtubers” out there all have in common? Good content, at least in the sense that people enjoy watching it. How do they have good content? Because they are skilled and able to make good content. And unfortunately, these are skills I just don’t have. I’m pretty good at editing, but I’m awful at graphics, not that great at commentary, and not very good at improvising funny stuff to say either. I don’t necessarily think my videos are bad, but “not bad” isn’t the same as “good.” A good sitcom, for example, not only needs to not have bad jokes, but it also needs to have some good ones.

I recently became active on a great little youtube community called yttalk. And every day or two, a new post pops up asking “how to make it big” or something similar. People respond discussing exposure, advertisement, uploading consistently, etc. But I’ve come to think these are just scapegoats. The real key to growing a channel is getting people to want to see what you have to offer. You have to build up a base of people who will keep viewing your content every time you post it. If you have 10 views on one video but none of them come back for the next one, what do you have for the next one? Nothing, until some new people happen to give you a chance.

But if your content is good, at least some of those 10 views will subscribe, and watch your next video. So you’ll be starting with them, and new people will come and hopefully subscribe as well. By the second video you may have 5 returning views, then the third will have 5 plus however many new ones you got from the second video, and so on. You’re not starting over with each one. And so in that sense, even if your videos get only a few views, you should eventually see your viewership go up, even without much advertisement (except what you did to get those initial viewers). If your content is good.

Marketing is important, don’t get me wrong. But turning attention to poor marketing makes it too easy to say that’s ALL the problem is. As if regardless of your content, if you only had better marketing, you’d make it big. After all, there’s lots of youtubers up there that have crap content, right? They made it big, and I’m much better than them. I don’t scream all the time, and I’m actually good at playing games.

Well, let’s look at that a different way. Why does Pewdiepie have almost 15 MILLION subscribers? Did they all just jump on the bandwagon after Pewds hit 1 million? Even if that were so, how did he get ONE million subscribers in the first place? It’s because people think they’ll like his future videos, because they liked his old videos, so they subscribed to him to be notified when he posts future videos. Would you subscribe to a youtuber you didn’t like? Why should you think other people would do that? And which is more likely, that 15 MILLION people have bad taste, or that our channels just aren’t good enough (yet) to deserve repeat viewership?

None of this is to say that we should quit, or that it’s impossible, even now when youtube is so saturated with gaming channels, to be successful. But you have to do what others aren’t willing to do. You have to be willing not just to keep creating content, but also to not JUST keep creating content. In other words, you have to keep yourself out of the mindset that “All I have to do is put up more stuff and eventually people will discover me,” and get yourself into the mindset that the POINT of continuing to create content is to get better. We need to keep going so we can IMPROVE. We need to not just note dejectedly to ourselves that our videos are flopping, but to take a long hard look at what we’ve created already, honestly decide where we went wrong, and make a conscious effort to fix it in later videos. We need to practice commentating, both off and on camera. We need to actively look for ways to break out of our comfort zone, do riskier and more difficult things that takes more work, and post it for the world’s criticism. And we need to learn to swallow our pride, recognize that lack of viewership isn’t always just a function of bad luck, and take control of our youtube destinies. I’m going to go start doing that right now.

You can’t grab a star if you don’t reach for it. I’m not good enough yet, but I will be someday, and I hope to see you rise up along with me when it happens.

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