Today, we’re going over niching down your content. I’ll begin by asking you this question; feel free to answer it in the comments. What kind of gaming channel are you? I would start taking notes because this one will be a biggie.
Why niche down?
We all know that YouTube videos get discovered through searches and recommendations. The more you can specialize in one thing, the more your video gets recommended over somebody else’s because you’re seen as the expert.
Effectively, you become an authority on that game or subject. As your videos get views and decent watch time, YouTube sees that and understands that, “hey, this person is an expert on Animal Crossing”.
So this is essentially a very basic way that channels grow and get discovered on YouTube. And when it comes to gaming, I always like to tell people, if they can, to niche down to just one video game. After you’ve picked one game, you can niche down even further because if you’re a newer channel, just playing a game through probably isn’t enough to get it discovered.
So instead, you can niche down within a niche and discover tips and tricks, mods, and different community aspects that help get your channel more traction as it starts to grow. But that advice doesn’t really apply to every single gaming channel that there ever was.
For example, if you’re a channel that does game reviews, reviewing one game over and over doesn’t really make a lot of sense. Maybe you just play a game from start to finish, but how many times can you really do that before it kinda gets old for everybody? Perhaps your thing is every time you turn on a game, you discover bugs and glitches and crazy things, and you like to show those off, no matter what the game is.
These are just some hypothetical examples, but they’re examples that I’ve seen all over YouTube. But you’ll be happy to know that there is a way to niche down in all of these cases. This should seem obvious, but when trying to find your niche, it’s always good to play things you already enjoy, things you love or have a passion for. So let’s say, for example’s sake, that you’ve been covering Halo, and you’ve been doing it for quite a while. You’re starting to feel like maybe it’s time to jump on a different trend, pivot a little bit, and play a different game.
And right now, as an example, Animal Crossing is huge. But swapping over to Animal Crossing just because it’s kinda trending, you think it’ll get some views might not be the best move for you and your audience. If you don’t even really like Animal Crossing, then you definitely shouldn’t play it. Even though Halo isn’t as popular right now, you’re good at it, and you’re equipped to answer those questions and bring that value to your audience as a fan of the game. So for this hypothetical YouTuber,
I wouldn’t suggest playing Animal Crossing. I would instead suggest moving on to a first-person shooter game that happens to be new, and the closer it relates to Halo, the better. Think of it this way. Let’s say your favourite car mechanic channel decides one day to start making workout videos in their garage instead of fixing cars. Even as the viewer, if you support their decision, you’ll likely click away until their next car video. And that’s exactly how your Halo audience is going to feel. Eh, I’ll just wait until my favourite YouTuber decides to pick up Halo again or at least a game kinda similar to it.
How to get discovered within a niche?
Of course, it won’t be enough to simply play Animal Crossing, even if you do love it. Simply doing an episodic play-through of a game like that, that’s been covered by a lot of other big YouTubers is going to make it impossible to stand out. But don’t get discouraged because you can still grow to cover the game, but just in a different light. The strategy you need to be taking on is niching down within the niche itself. Using Animal Crossing as an example, what could that mean?
Well, you could be making tips and tricks guides on how to earn money in the game. You could teach people how to breed flowers or use Animal Crossing as design tools. There’s always going to be time to do those big, broad play-throughs later on, but as you’re trying to grow as a new Animal Crossing channel, you need to establish some authority and credibility, and in doing that, you need to help the community out with questions they’re asking about the game.
If you struggle to do that, you’ll find that most games out there these days have a whole community of passionate players, and they typically hang out in the game’s Discord forums; what have you. I encourage you to join these communities and learn from the players within them. Learn the things that they’re excited about, the things that they’re frustrated by. And make videos around that because that is a gold mine for content.
How to start a gaming review channel?
Now, that’s all great advice if you’re just trying to be the Animal Crossing channel, the go-to for all things Animal Crossing. But what about the channels that cover games a bit more broadly? Channels that do gaming news and reviews? Yes, it is possible to niche these channels down, and I would highly recommend it. Now is probably not a great time to be doing a review of this game.
If you’ve been following this at all, you probably know, but a lot of creators got this game early. As a review channel, you have to compete with that. So if you can’t get the game early, the next best time to review it is on the day that it releases. If you’re covering major titles, this can get very expensive very fast. So instead, why not start small? Like YouTubers, game developers are on their own journey to grow their business. So I recommend looking at sites like Steam and itch.io and checking out their massive catalogue of indie games.
I recommend looking at games that you actually enjoy. It’s not enough to just play indie games, but what type of indie game? I could tell you that for me, the genre of indie game I would cover is life simulation and farming because those are the ones I know the most about, and I can bring the most to the table. It may seem less exciting to cover an indie game that doesn’t quite have an audience yet, but if you’re the first to the party, as that game markets itself, you’ll also benefit from people searching for it and going, what is this game? Let me look for a review.
Can you cover more than one game on YouTube?
I don’t want you to feel discouraged or boxed in by any of this advice by any means. One day, you would like to become a YouTuber with 100,000 subscribers, and you would like to think that whenever you pick up the latest, greatest game, thousands of people are gonna come and watch. And that can still happen for you over time.
What’s really unique about video games is that you can scale your channel by playing games that are a smaller size, just like you are right now. And as you grow your channel, reviewing these smaller games or playing these smaller games, you’re going to establish a lot of credibilities. And eventually, you’ll be able to pick up one of these big releases and get people to watch it. As you grow your audience, there’ll be plenty of time to niche up, if that’s a thing.
For example PewDiePie, he started almost exclusively playing horror games, and it took him a lot of time to start playing different things and establishing his authority and credibility and bringing his voice to even other game genres. Niching down your content really means something different for everybody. Cover subjects that you’re excited about, that you’re passionate about, and that you have some expertise in.
Don’t be afraid to test the waters occasionally. But if you are going to do something different, just be sure that you have something to bring to that conversation. Thank you so much for watching.
Don’t forget to let us know in the comments what kind of gaming channel you run here on YouTube, and we’ll see you next time.