We know you’re the best League of Legends player out there. We know you’ve got all PlayStation’s Hogwarts Legacy trophies in no time. We know you got into Hearthstone before it was mainstream. The thing is — sometimes it’s not enough.
If you’re struggling to grow your gaming channel despite all the effort, hard work, and, most importantly, your love for video games, you're not alone. Building a successful channel takes time, patience, and dedication. And even then, there are still some nasty common mistakes standing in the way of your success.
From falling into the ‘Let’s Play’ trap to underestimating the community’s impact — here are 11 reasons you may be struggling to get your gaming content to the next level.
Equipment: Skipping on the quality armor set
Just as quality armor and weapons are essential for slaying your Dark Souls bosses, quality equipment is essential for creating high-quality content. Invest in a good microphone, camera, and editing software to ensure that your videos look and sound professional.
Many gamers start with cheap or low-quality equipment, thinking that they can upgrade later. However, this can hinder your growth and turn off potential viewers who are looking for top-notch content.
SEO: Not leveling up your skill tree
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for getting your videos seen by a wider audience. Use relevant keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and tags to increase your visibility on YouTube.
When you start using SEO techniques, views, and subscriber count increase significantly. It's a simple yet effective way to attract new viewers to your channel.
And yes, we actually know someone who did a whole ‘Skyrim’ playthrough without investing in skill trees. Spoiler: they did finish the game but suffered all the way through.
Consistency: Missing on daily quests
Consistency is the key to growing a successful YouTube gaming channel. Stick to a regular posting schedule, and make sure you upload new content frequently.
Trust us, when you start posting videos more consistently, your subscriber count will start growing too. Viewers appreciate reliability and are more likely to return to your channel if they know they can expect new content on a regular basis.
Promotion: Not taking it to r/gaming
Promoting your videos on social media, gaming forums, and other relevant platforms can help you reach a wider audience. We know it sounds obvious, but you won’t believe how many people actually skip this step.
Lots of successful gaming channels started by promoting their videos on Reddit, Twitter, and other gaming-friendly platforms. This helped them get noticed by new viewers and build their brand.
And speaking of viewers, remember that communicating with them is basically the pillar of your gaming content’s success, — notes the head of AIR Gaming Roman Belousov. That’s why it’s so important to make the most of your interactions with fans. Connect to them via Community and social media, reply to their comments (and get some bonus points by doing so during streams), launch giveaways. In other words, keep them invested.
Thumbnail: Not using skins
Your video thumbnail is the first thing viewers will see when browsing YouTube. Use eye-catching thumbnails that accurately represent your content and entice viewers to click.
And don’t forget it has to be lit and correspond to the target audience. After all, you’re a gamer, not a financial observer.
Falling into the "Let's Play" Trap
The "Let's Play" format has been around for a long time and can be a tempting option for new gaming channels. However, simply recording and posting gameplay without any added value can be a trap that limits your growth and audience engagement.
When you start the channel, it’s easy to fall into the "Let's Play" trap, thinking that just posting raw gameplay footage is enough. But soon, you’ll realize that viewers want more than just gameplay; they want insights, commentary, and added value.
It’s one of the core mistakes that most gaming creators make, actually — not having a plan. They just record and upload random gameplay footage, which makes it difficult to attract a loyal audience. And nothing changes until you sit down and make an actual content strategy.
You need to have a clear idea of what kind of content you want to create, what your niche is, and how you want to differentiate yourself from other creators in your field.
Focus on creating content that is unique, informative, and engaging. Add your own personality, humor, or insights to your gameplay, and make sure your content stands out from other creators in your field. This will help you attract a loyal audience and build a successful YouTube gaming channel.
And if you’re wondering whether you now have to quit Lets Plays for good, the answer is — no. Just remember to find the right balance and not to overfocus on the format.
Intro: Choosing the wrong dialogue option
Your video introduction is crucial for capturing your viewers' attention and keeping them engaged throughout your video. Making mistakes in your intro can quickly turn off viewers and limit your audience engagement.
Some of the common mistakes include starting with a long-winded introduction, not introducing yourself or your topic clearly, or starting with irrelevant information.
A successful gaming channel's intro should start with a clear and concise statement about the game they will be playing, followed by a brief introduction of themselves and what they will be bringing to the table in their video.
Practice your introductions and make sure they are clear, concise, relevant to the video topic, and engaging. Capture your viewers' attention from the start, and set your channel up for success.
Research: Not grinding for resources
Creating high-quality content that is both interesting and informative starts with researching your video topics. Otherwise, you can end up with videos that are irrelevant, uninteresting, or already covered by plenty of other creators.
We know it’s tempting to just jump into it and start streaming ‘Elden Ring’, but trust us — it’s better to do your homework first.
Spend time researching video topics. Look for trends in your niche, read blogs, watch top creators' videos to understand your competitors better, and engage with your audience to find out what they want to see. This will help you create content that is interesting, relevant, and informative.
YouTube Shorts: Ignoring DLCs
YouTube Shorts is a (relatively) new feature on the platform, and perhaps you’ve been thinking it isn’t particularly game-y. However, ignoring Shorts can mean missing out on a new audience.
Use Shorts to showcase your best moments in a game, offer short tips and tricks, or showcase new releases — it’s a great way to attract new fans, keep existing ones excited, and, well, increase your revenue.
By the way, we already talked about how Shorts monetization works here.
Community: Not joining a party
Joining a gaming community can help you grow your YouTube gaming channel by connecting with like-minded individuals, sharing your content, and learning from other creators.
Consider joining social media groups or forums focused on gaming, attending gaming events (like this one) or conferences, or collaborating with other creators in your niche. This can help you build relationships with other creators, share your content, and grow your audience on your YouTube gaming channel.
Name: Messing up in the character creator
Your channel name is one of the first things viewers will see, so choosing the right name is crucial for building a successful YouTube gaming channel. Meanwhile, wrong choice can limit your growth and audience engagement.
Avoid names that are difficult to spell or pronounce, not relevant to your content or niche, or simply too similar to other channels in the niche.
A successful gaming channel should have a name that is relevant to its content, easy to spell and pronounce, and memorable for its viewers. Consider your niche, the type of content you will be creating, and what’s more likely to capture your target audience’s attention.
Direction: Dumping your playthrough
Okay, so if we were rating mistakes gaming creators make, this one would totally top the list. So please, — and we can’t stress this enough — do not abruptly switch to a new game or content type after establishing your channel’s focus on another one.
It doesn’t mean you should stick to Final Fantasy XIV forever, though. As Roman explains, changing your channel’s direction is all about pace — try doing it step by step, slowly introducing the new format or the new game, and monitoring your viewers' reactions.
That said, if you really want to do a 180-degree turn, it’s better to start a brand-new channel for your new content, — Roman adds. That way, you’ll be able to move forward without putting off fans or getting on YouTube algorithms’ bad side.
Growing a YouTube gaming channel can be challenging, but avoiding these 12 common mistakes can set you up for success. Remember to have a plan, invest in quality equipment, be authentic, engage with your audience, and stay patient.
But most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy what you’re doing. You may be past treating gaming like a mere hobby, but it doesn’t mean you should just chase revenue non-stop and create videos 24/7. After all, it’s your love for video games that brought you this far. Pace yourself, take breaks, and find time to play just for fun. This way, you’ll reach the balance between joy and profit.
Good luck on your YouTube gaming channel journey in 2023! And don't forget to check out our MeetUp on gaming channels — where we discuss how to overcome some of the niche's common challenges and expand your content's reach.