When we’re talking about your goal for reaching 1,000 subscribers on your gaming channel, we really need to consider the focus that’s going to take. The focus is on the games in particular that we’re covering, the way we’re covering them, and then how we present that through our content. So today I’m going to share my strategy for staying focused as you reach for that 1,000 subscriber goal on your gaming channel. Don’t forget to subscribe newsletter below, the YouTube tool and channel that helps educate you along your YouTube journey. And my question for you today is this. How long do you typically strive to make your game play content, a typical game play video on your channel? What’s the length of that video? And if you’re not in a gaming channel, just your run-of-the-mill video you like to post on your channel regularly, how long do you make that content? And the reason I bring that question up in particular is because today we are specifically going to start by talking about watch time.
INCREASING WATCH TIME
The reason 1,000 subscribers is such a coveted goal is because that is one of the requirements YouTube has for monetization on your channel. That and of course, 4,000 hours of watch time. Now, the point I want to make today is that the 4,000 hours of watch time is something you could be working on throughout your entire YouTube journey on your way to that 1,000 subscribers. So at this stage in the game, I would say it’s very important to focus on making videos that are going to get you some decent watch time. And in game play, we know that could be pretty easy to do because well, what it takes is just playing the game longer which can be a lot of fun. But when it comes to watch time, I want you to think about that for a minute.
YouTube is measuring your channel based on the amount of time somebody sticks around and watches your content, correct? The reason I love this metric so much is because it’s YouTube’s way of going, “Okay, people stuck out through the majority of your video.” They watched the whole thing just about.
“This must mean your video is high quality,” and because of that, we are going “to be pushing it more and more.” So simply making your let’s play video 10 minutes longer than it probably needs to be doesn’t mean you’re going to get 10 extra minutes of watch time from each person who watches it. And that’s the very reason you’ll hear me stress quality over quantity every time. Uploading daily is certainly a thing you can do, but how is that going to look for your watch time if your daily 20 minute let’s play videos only get about on average two minutes of audience retention? My point is you can’t force videos to become longer simply to improve your watch time.
You got to put in the work. I’ll give you a great example. There was a few nights ago where my family was sitting down to play a board game. It was “Sheriff of Nottingham. “We had played it before, but we kind of forgot the rules. So I wanted to pull up a video real quick. Instead of us all gathered around reading the instruction manual, I thought I’ll pull up a video on this and we’ll see if people just lay out the rules really quick so we can start playing. If you search for “Sheriff of Nottingham,” what comes up?
Well right at the top we have two videos. A tutorial that goes over the game rules in six or so minutes and another one that goes over the game rules in about 20 or so minutes.
Now as viewers who were just trying to learn something kind of quick, which video do you think stood out to us? There’s likely nothing wrong with the 20 minute tutorial, but if that information has been condensed into a more bite-sized format, I’m probably going to click that one, and in fact, I did that day. So as you can see, not every video is going to be able to be 20 minutes long and have people click on it and watch the entire thing. However, there are plenty of other videos that would make good long-form content. You could do a listicle of perhaps the top 10 “Cities: Skylines” mods. During that listicle you could cover each one in a bit of detail and that itself could be a pretty decently-sized video, but jam-packed full of valuable information. In “Cities: Skylines” you could cover the best strategies for setting up your road network so you don’t ’cause a bunch of traffic jams.
Videos like this where there’s multiple strategies, multiple ways to tackle a problem, it’s a bit more forgiving in terms of length. You can make these videos longer. Always consider your audience when you’re making the content that you make. Consider what you would like to watch, just like I had to consider when it came to my “Sheriff of Nottingham” conundrum.
INVEST IN UPGRADES
If the physical quality of your videos has been a problem for a while, it’s going to be a bit tough to increase that watch time and reach 1,000 subscribers without first investing in your channel a little bit and coming up with some upgrades. And the first upgrade that any YouTuber should be looking at is of course, a microphone. Now since you have a gaming channel, you’re likely already using a PC that can play and handle the games that you’re recording, I would assume because you are recording those games. So, do your PC upgrades later on as needed as games continue to improve and you naturally need to upgrade your PC anyway. Invest in a good sound setup. People like to hear nice crisp audio. I use an AT2020 Condenser mike.
I really love this microphone and it also has a USB version. This is, as you can see, is an XLR, it’s kind of at the bottom here and I don’t want to, the arm creaks, it’s terrible. But XLR microphone, there’s a USB version of it. This is not sponsored. I also recommend the Blue mikes, Blue Snowball, Blue Yeti, things like that, this is the one I went with.
And I think it sounds pretty nice. You can let me know in the comments if you feel otherwise. But just don’t forget to invest in your sound setup. Microphones are not as expensive as you would think. Other than microphones, if you’re still recording using software that has a watermark perhaps at the top of the video, it’s probably time to upgrade that too. Luckily for you, programs like OBS and Stream labs OBS, are free, they are screen-capturing software that record at a very high quality and just about anyone can learn how to use. And the last software recommendation I have for you when it comes to recording would be Nvidia ShadowPlay.
I recommend this one because a lot of people may not know they even have this. If you have an Nvidia graphics card, check and see if it’s compatible with Nvidia Shadow play. It’ll record your screen for you off of the video card. It gets really high quality recordings this way and it’s very customizable.
BUILDING A COMMUNITY
On your way to 1,000 subscribers you should be looking to build your community. You’ve probably already started doing this by answering comments that you’re getting on your videos, and if you’re not doing that, I would really recommend you start doing that. Comments are a fantastic way to engage with your audience and get feedback on how your videos are doing, how individuals view your content, how they’re enjoying it, what they like and what they don’t like.
Before you reach 1,000 subscribers, I feel like you should really be focusing on growth within your YouTube channel itself. You could worry about maybe a discord later, promoting a lot on Twitter and Instagram. You’ll kind of get a feel for all of that stuff as time goes on, but you don’t want to get too wrapped up in managing a lot of different community platforms.
I believe this is going to take time away from making high quality content and engaging with the audience already engaging with you in the comment section. This engagement is important because people are following to your channel because of you. You are the star of your channel. They may have clicked on one of your videos for the first time because you addressed a need that they had in a game they were playing, but they subscribe because they had a connection with you.
And after they hit subscribe, I would recommend keeping them coming back by setting up a content schedule. You don’t necessarily even have to make a public announcement that you’ve set up a schedule. Just upload consistently. If people know where to find your videos, they’re going to come back on a regular basis and watch. I would also recommend looking at what types of videos you post. Perhaps you just do let’s plays on Monday. And then tutorials or reviews on Wednesday. These are likely already methods you’re experimenting with at this time and you’re probably going to keep experimenting even after you reach 1,000 subscribers.
I would at least hope so. As you get closer and closer to 1,000 though, I will look to tip the scale a little bit. When you start YouTube you’re probably going to be experimenting 80% of the time, and then uploading regular content that people are used to seeing all the time 20% of the time. But as you start to learn more and more the types of videos people enjoy coming back to on your channel and you’re doubling down on that content, you want that scale to tip closer to 80% of the time doing those regular videos and 20% of the time experimenting. As YouTubers, no matter who you are, you should always be experimenting and trying to do different things to stay versatile and grow your channel. But as your audience grows, it’s probably not necessary to experiment so heavily.
KEEP YOUR PERSPECTIVE
So we do talk a lot about growth, and strategy, and numbers, and that’s all very exciting. And I’m not discouraging that at all. But don’t forget why people start YouTube channels in the first place. It’s very likely that they have a passion for something and YouTube just happens to be the platform where they feel most comfortable sharing that passion. In my case that passion happened to be playing video games.
Hypothetically speaking, if I start a channel all about city building games like “Cities: Skylines, “it’s more than likely it’s because I feel I’m pretty good at “Cities: Skylines” and I have a lot to share, and I want to show people new ways to play the game. The point is the goal of creating the channel wasn’t to get rich and famous, it was to share my passion with an audience. So keep track of those numbers and celebrate the milestones every step of the way. As you reach those milestones use our achievements tool.
Generate a certificate and share with us and your audience, celebrate those achievements certainly, but never forget that your YouTube channel is about you and the subject matter that you’re covering.
The reason it is very important to stress that is because as you make a content schedule, you may get into territory where you start to burn yourself out a little bit. And as a gamer, I’ve done this too.
I was on a good trajectory and things were going awesome, but I didn’t want to stop uploading, even though I was starting to feel a little bit burnt out. I was editing a lot and recording a lot, and then my voice hurt, and I was getting tired. But my schedule was Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
I had to upload, so I recorded anyway. This isn’t a healthy habit to get into because you’re worried about the numbers too much at this stage. Just remember quality over quantity every time. Your audience will understand if you need to take a break along the way. Getting 1,000 subscribers is super exciting, but it doesn’t all happen at once. In fact, in most cases it never all happens at once unless you have kind of a viral success. So to recap, quality over quantity.
This can happen by upgrading your setup. Build your community, make that content schedule. Most importantly practice good, healthy habits. Do not burn out making a gaming channel because I can tell you from experience, it’s easy to do. I wish you luck on getting your first 1,000 subscribers. And don’t forget to let me know in the comments, I want to know how long your average game play videos tend to be. Thank you so much for reading. Don’t forget to subscribe newsletter, we’ll see you next time.
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