9 Steps To Start A YouTube Gaming Channel – 2020 Guide
Felix Kjellberg has almost 110 Million subscribers. He has earned millions playing games and uploading vids to YouTube. Yes, he goes by the name of Pewdiepie. You probably know him, and got inspired by him to start your Gaming channel on YouTube.
I remember seeing Felix’s first videos on YouTube. A lot of Happy Wheels, Slenderman, and Amnesia back then (Stephano, anybody?).
Right now, he’s a superstar. Even more popular than most musicians and movie stars.
But of course, he started from the bottom… And now he is, well at the top.
But, how did PewDiePie and so many YouTubers get started?
Was it easier to start back then than it is now?
Is it even worth trying?
Is it Worth it to Start a Gaming Channel on YouTube?
Yes, is it still worth it to start a gaming channel on YouTube. And no, it isn’t too late to do it in 2020, or 2021 for that matter!
Getting paid to play videogames on YouTube was something your family and friends could have laughed at about a decade ago. But nowadays, you probably would get a lot of support and praise.
That right there is a big reason why it is worth it. And a way of saying: Just do it!
Indeed, Gaming, whatever the platform, is a hugely competitive market to get in. To give you an idea, two of the top-five YouTube channels are gaming-related.
But that’s why you’ll try your best to differentiate yourself from the rest, right?
Here’s more data to convince you that it is worth it to start a YouTube Gaming channel in 2020: Gamers worldwide (18-25 yo) spend an average of 3 hours and 25 minutes per week watching other people playing.
Isn’t that enough? I bet some green numbers ($) could finally make you go for it.
How much does a Gamer Make on YouTube in 2020?
Most gaming channels tend to cash between $1 to $10 for every 1,000 views. Your type of content and audience’s country is what makes the difference here.
Take into account that this Advertising CPM (cost-per-thousand) model isn’t the only way to get paid to play. There are many other monetization methods to go for:
- Brands Sponsorships
- Affiliate Marketing
- Merchandise sales
- Donation support
If Video Ads are still your go-to choice in the meantime, be aware that you must first hit 1,000 subscribers to join the YouTube Partner Program.
Of course, all of it seems like a foreign language when you’re first starting.
If it gets too complicated, consider joining an MCN (Multi-Channel Network)… Or not.
These are promoted as helpers and resources-providers for newborn YouTubers. Those that work cover most of the technical aspects that you wouldn’t know how to handle.
But those that didn’t work out (as Machinima and DEFY) could sink your young YouTube career, pretty fast. It’s better to network with other creators and keep 100% of your revenue.
But hey, I guess that you don’t want to start a YouTube Gaming channel just for the cash.
You can simply do it for fun. After all, that’s what makes it so appealing.
If that’s the reason you’re here, then congratulations!
You are probably going to start a successful gaming channel in 2020.
At least you’ll do it if you take into account the following guidelines.
9 Steps to Start Your YouTube Gaming Channel
The steps you’re going to see are best-practices, tips & tricks ordered so you can keep track through each step. I can guarantee you that you will take a big shortcut if you reach the end of it. So keep reading.
What do you say… Let’s get started?
1) Pick your Niche
Remember when I told you that you should try to differentiate yourself?
Well, that’s the best way to start.
Gaming is too big, and it keeps getting bigger every year. You have hundreds of different platforms to play on, besides all the thousands of genres to choose from.
You definitely can’t create content about everything gaming-related. And if you could, I wouldn’t recommend it. First and foremost, you would go crazy. Besides, how could someone experience or even recommend your channel?
“Look at this channel that publishes…Gaming stuff!”
Yeah, not so appealing.
So, you wouldn’t stand a chance against all other channels who have more time on the platform. But you can find your spot by choosing a small, unique angle inside one platform, one genre, and, if possible, one game that you’re genuinely passionate about.
As in the case of little-known Indie games, the competition there is very little in comparison.
But hey, who am I to tell you what to play?
2) Content Types and Ideas
Playing the game is just a small fraction of the process to have your Gaming channel. Most of it is about the content you produce, edit, publish and promote later on.
You can also jump on the gamer one community (g1.gg), to learn, share, and chat with fellow gamers who have setup youtube channels, or those just starting out. There is a lot to learn within this community. A highly recommended resource for all those just starting out.
These are the different types of gaming content you’ll find when browsing through YouTube:
- How-To’s: Guides, Tutorials, and Walkthroughs are probably the most-demanded type of content on the Internet (not YouTube alone).
- Funny Montages: They involve taking gameplay clips and editing them to make a funny version of it. Comedic Skits would be included here.
- Gameplay (Let’s Plays): They have existed for a long time. Works well because it mixes an entertaining personality with the game’s fun. While PewDiePie didn’t come with the idea, he got a lot of attention, thanks to this format.
- Game Reviews, Essays, and Opinions: Mostly related to new game releases or significant updates. I search for them before buying a new game, or when I love one so much that, I seek to learn more about it from different experts.
- Esports Content: It’s evident how fast this industry has grown in the last decade. That’s why Matches Replays, Tournaments Analytics, and Player Insights can be considered its type of content.
- Vlog & Talk-shows: I wouldn’t recommend starting with this type of content, but do not take your eye off it entirely. Go for it once you’ve gathered an engaged audience.
- LIVE Streams: They don’t require editing and are a powerful SEO booster if done correctly. This is our guide for Videogame Streaming.
Remember, you are free to experiment with each of them, to see which one you like the most. Watch other’s content types and get ideas to tweak with your voice.
Maybe you want to offer a sense of community. Or in-game expertise. Maybe laughter?!
If you think about it, the game itself isn’t the main attraction. You could get massively popular with a crappy Flash game, even more than with a AAA title everyone’s talking about.
Here’s a Frequently Asked Question: Commentary or No Commentary?
To be honest, it depends entirely on the content type you would choose and how comfortable you feel with talking.
Do you like it a lot, or you don’t?
There’s your answer, my friend.
Don’t forget about having a Google doc, memo pad, or pen and paper always at hand… Because there’s plenty more brainstorming to do from this point on.
3) YouTube Channel Name
Now, here it comes the fun part…. Creating your channel name.
All articles suggest the same: short, memorable, and relevant to your audience.… Which is not a foul tip!
But if you’re here, it is because you aren’t satisfied with the answer. Instead, you would like a list of ideas, or even a name generator, don’t you?
Well, you can click on the link above to get the 2nd.
And for the ideas, I can tell you for sure that:
- It’s good to embody a fictional character you feel comfortable with (it doesn’t have to be 100% you if you don’t want to).
- Whatever the idea you choose, it’s a good one (unless it’s insulting, or harmful to anyone!).
So go for it!
4) Gaming Logo and Cover Banner
Once you get to choose the right name for your YouTube channel… It’s the time to create yourself or pay someone to make a bad-ass logo and cover banner!
Why? Because a brand without a logo or banner is like you without clothes on.
These represent the front-face of your channel. Your channel’s personality.
To be exact, I refer to the logo mark thumbnail and the bigger background area.
If you decide to do your own, you could use your graphic design skills (if you have any) or just skip that part and jump to Canva or PlaceIt (they offer templates for gaming logos). And often for free!
5) YouTube Descriptions (Channel & Videos)
Have you ever seen the “About Us” section inside any YouTube channel?
As you can imagine, that’s where you summarize what your channel is about.
You only have 30 seconds or close to 3 lines of text to do so, so give it fair use!
Now, in the case of video descriptions, you have around 1,000 words to add not only what explanation text, but hashtags, time-stamps, and links to social media channels or websites (affiliate ones are supported: Video was sponsored by [brand].
Here’s also where channels who use others’ material as part of their content (music playlists, reviews, and reactions) place the credit to – Example: Composed and mixed by [artist].
6) Video Intro & Outro
There’s a long debate between placing or not an intro and outro into your videos.
I can tell you for sure that it’s a good idea to do it… But also that nobody appreciates a 5-minutes introduction. 10 seconds would be enough.
Our attention span is ridiculously low, so the first part of your video should hook with excitement.
Now, the Outro is your best chance of sending that viewer to subscribe, see another video, or even to purchase something relevant from you.
And on the contrary to what you might think: there’s no need to pay for expensive software nor for a production team to get them ready.
Here’s a list of 13 free online YouTube Intro and Outro makers.
For thumbnails, I mean those billboard-like preview images for your video.
There’s a high chance that at any given time, you’ve clicked on a YouTube video just for how attractive its thumbnail was. It doesn’t even matter if you were looking for that video, because it hooks you up as soon as you saw it recommended.
That’s precisely what you should look to replicate for your videos.
The best ones use bold text and bright colors, along with surprising headshots.
While most people say that thumbnails don’t affect your ranking performance, it indirectly does. Because a well-made thumbnail triggers enough curiosity to increase CTR.
And the higher your CTR, the most you get suggested by YouTube’s algorithm.
8) Hardware Equipment & Software Program
Let’s never forget that playing games and creating gaming videos are highly different.
So, you must consider taking a moment to check if your set-up can also capture gameplay, editing, and streaming in-game data, besides just running the games.
Besides the computer itself, there are several other elements to mark up on your checklist: Mechanical keyboard, High DPI gaming mouse, headset with integrated microphone, 720p camera (minimum), decent lighting source, and somewhere to back-up your content.
Of course, if you’ll spend most of the day sitting, then a comfortable chair is a must.
Now, believe it or not, there’s no need to burn your head out thinking about which software to use and how much you’ll end up paying for it.
Audacity is free, easy to use, and compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux systems.
With everything, you’ve learned so far… I’m pretty sure you can start uploading your first videos to promote them to your viewers.
9) Uploading and Promoting your YouTube Gaming Videos
You will soon find out that each video takes a good time producing, editing, uploading, and promoting…
But in the end, it is all worth it.
It would be great if you could produce one video every single day. But don’t worry if you don’t. Even one video per week or month is great to start with.
This is not about quantity, but quality.
So, if you can get into the daily/weekly routine with the help of a calendar, you already have the lead.
Once again, don’t forget to link up your Gamer One profile to your YouTube channel. As it allows you to share with your followers your latest videos, as well as promote across all your socials from one single location. This saves you heaps of posting, editing time, and even better, it’s pretty much free to use!
Well, let’s stop talking about what to do, and let’s jump on how to do it.
How to upload a video to YouTube Channel:
- Sign in with your Google account (or create one right away).
- Once inside, click on the video camera icon with the “+” inside.
- Then click on the “Upload Video” text that will appear (above “Go Live”).
- The “Youtube Studio” instructional process will pop-up, and once you fast-forward…
- Drag and drop the video (preferably HD with 1920×1018 or 1280×720 dimensions) you want to upload. Or, instead, click on the blue button to explore your device’s files.
- While your video is uploading, you can edit the information to make it discoverable. This can be achieved mainly through Video SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
You can optimize 3 elements of your videos to improve the rankings:
- its title,
- the meta description,
- and the tags (although this last one doesn’t work as much as it used to).
Then, add a brief description, of the benefits to get after viewing the video, and a call-to-action to a relevant link source.
If you have followed every process so far, you should have a new YouTube Gaming channel loaded, with its first video uploaded.
To be honest, you should be proud. There’s just one step left to finish what you’ve started.
What could the last one be? Promoting your channel, that first video, and the rest of them.
The first thing you can do to get new viewers and subscribers is to see what’s working in your niche and do something 10x times better (with your unique angle). Using similar keywords and tags on it highly increases the chance of getting suggested right there.
Even better, if you can produce this optimized version on a related holiday or trendy event.
You could even make a series out of it. That would be, one video that can (and should) be seen after another one relevant to its topic. Playlists are among the most powerful tools to use on YouTube, because it stacks the SEO of individual videos, and multiplies efficiency.
Yes, I know… I’ll use this outstanding example of the Minecraft channel to perfectly explain my point. If someone searches for a guide to “Survive the first night,” then it will probably be looking for “how to upgrade your starter house.”
The playlist works as a one (with 345 videos, it probably has 345 times more chances to get discovered than videos alone)… Almost no-one seems to do it.
Cross promoting your channel with social media is also an easy way to multiply your discoverability. It is as easy as dissecting parts of your video into smaller ones (1 max, preferably) and adding a link to your channel to “watch the rest.”
Differently from what others say, the go-to social media platform depends on where your audience is… And not just where you like to be in.
That’s why they also assume social media as a whole doesn’t work.
Now, because YouTube is silently becoming a social network of its own (with its “YouTube Community” feature), then you should know that it is also possible to promote your video inside as a post. Just click on the + icon, and click “Create post“ instead of “Upload Video.”
But of course, these can only be seen by your subscribers… And you don’t have any right now. How can you get your first subscribers?
Easily, by interacting with comments on other channels.
If you’re like me, you spend a good time reading the comments while or after you finish watching a video.
Have you noticed how some of them reach hundreds and thousands of likes? Yeah… That’s a lot of people giving thumbs up. This translates into a lot of people finding out who’s the genius behind such a comment.
Imagine if that’s you, the one who types interesting and or comments, and that gets all of the attention. Without a doubt, it will take some time to execute, but it’s your best option while you don’t spend on Ads (it can be through YouTube Ads, that works with Google Ads).
Besides, another organic promotional method is to upload your videos to blogs and Q&A sites, besides forums that you enjoy being in.
Here’s a list of the 30 most popular gaming forums for taking this route.
Remember, it’s not spamming, but adding some type of entertaining/educative value.
Once you get some traction (views and subscribers) going on, it will be very possible to receive or go after other content creators to work together. Everyone on YouTube seeks collaborations, and gaming channels are no exception.
A frequent and funny way to do this is to have a group of YouTuber friends play along.
Vanoss Gaming and his friends H20Delirious, Moo, Mini Ladd, and I AM WILDCAT have been playing together for several years in almost every video they’ve uploaded.
You are probably seeing this from channels who upload Among Us with other YouTubers.
All of these are possible ways to promote your YouTube gaming channel in 2020.
I can tell you for sure that it will work… If you do this and take great care of what your audience wants. You can easily find out by reading the comments, poll answers, and messages they leave.
You can also learn a lot by watching the stats: the likes and dislikes, the number of views, the drop-off rate, their geographical location, and many more vital metrics inside your channel.
Social Blade is a tool that most YouTubers use to see stats from their own and other’s channels.
You will also grow fast (and keep it that way) by following the Terms & Conditions.
There are so many reasons why your videos could get demonetized, and your channel suspended because its landscape it’s more like a minefield right now.
The idea here is to avoid getting strikes on your channel.
As in the MLB, if you get to three strikes inside 90 days, you’re out. And by out, I mean: your videos will be removed, and you won’t be capable of creating a new channel.
Esports Marketer. Marco is the Founder of DFY Gaming. He types for a living but writes awfully on pen and paper.