Tag Archives: tips

5 Common YouTube Mistakes To Avoid

These tips are written with Let’s Play channels in mind, but apply to most other formats as well. This article is part of my YouTube Guides & Articles series

Too much text in your thumbnails

I see this problem with a lot of gaming channels, especially when they are starting out: Including too much textual information in your thumbnail. The thumbnail’s job is to intrigue the user and catch his eye. If the user wants to know more of the contents of your video, he can find the title and (depending on the platform) description right next to your video.

I often see thumbnails that try to contain too much information with the text: Title of the game, the name of the episode, episode number and even the name of the channel. Not only is this too much information, but it also requires you to cram a lot of text into a little space, resulting in too small fonts. If you design a thumbnail, always zoom out until it is approximately the size, the user will encounter it on YouTube. Often, you can avoid mistakes in the design process, by asking yourself if you would be able to quickly gather the necessary information if you would look at it for a few seconds in that small size.

All information can be found next to the thumb, some of the text can't even be read.

All information can be found next to the thumb, some of the text can’t even be read. Episode number can make sense for easier navigation, but this thumbnail is squeezing a whole lot of information into the thumbnail.

Sometimes it can make sense to highlight a word or two and put them in the thumbnail as well. If you are playing a crazy mod, that can make cows fly (and you don’t happen to have an interesting and unique enough thumbnail), putting “FLYING COWS” in huge letters over the thumbnail CAN make sense.

Thumbnail

I think you get the idea.

Keep in mind, that this is not a golden rule that has to be followed no matter what, but if you have the option to choose between a lot of text in your thumbnail or focus on a visually appealing motif instead, I would always pick the interesting picture.

Not using or not maintaining your playlists

Playlists are a very convenient way for your user to follow along a series and help you keep the retention up. Instead of having to look in the suggested videos for the next video in the series or even having to search it with the YouTube search or on your channel your viewer can have the video suggested automatically. When you have a busy upload schedule or have a similarly bad memory as I do, you might forget to keep your playlists up-to-date. Spend a minute or two each day to check if all your videos are listed correctly, and it will pay off. If you don’t leverage playlists yet, take some time to set them up! Also make sure to set them as an official series, if feasible.

Using Twitter Account to just auto-post your videos

Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media platform can help you grow your channel and engage with your community. When your channel is just starting out, you won’t see a whole lot of activity on those outlets, given your small reach. You can grow your YouTube channel through engaging other users on Twitter, for example, even getting to know other creators for possible collaborations. But often I only see Twitter feeds that primarily consist of the automatically created video posts from YouTube. Your social media outlet is a way for your fans to engage in conversation with you and get more invested in your channel, but also to learn more about you. Using social media just as a shitty billboard for your newest uploads does the same thing as YouTube’s subscription feed and doesn’t give your viewers any incentive to follow or even connect with you.

Promoting your videos on Twitter is highly encouraged, but make sure you put some time into the social aspect of social media.

Never looking into the camera

This tip is obviously geared towards YouTubers, using webcam footage for their gameplay, but it also applies to VLOGs and anything else with your face in it.

I often caught myself over the years, not looking into the camera. Not only does this seem distant, but it is also a missed opportunity to make your viewer feel you address them directly. Of course, you have to look at the screen to play a game, but take a moment at the beginning of your video to look straight into the camera and greet them. How would you feel if you met someone and they didn’t even look at you when they greeted you, not taking their eyes off the screen they?

It is also a good idea to look into the camera during your gameplay if you want to convey a particular reaction or make a joke. I used to put a post-it note on my monitor to remind me of that, in case I forgot.

Not editing pauses out of videos

I know, you are tempted just to upload the video as-is, but chances are, unless your commentary is just pure auditory gold, you’ll want to cut out awkward pauses. YouTube is first and foremost a platform for entertainment, especially Let’s Plays aim to be entertaining. If a viewer is not entertained and gets bored by what he is watching, he can switch to another video of the same game with one click. Everyone has a moment, where they are looking for the right solution or have to think about the next step. You can fill these moments with commentary if you are good at it, but every once in a while, you will be quiet, and nothing exciting will happen on the screen. If it doesn’t disorient the user and the gameplay not enjoyable by itself, cut it out. Your retention time and your users will thank you.

I hope these five quick tips will help you step up your YouTube game. I will be participating in NaNoWriMo in November, so I won’t have too much time that month, but I would love to hear your questions, suggestions, and tips about YouTube in the comments below!

How-to: Request a Game Review Copy as a Gaming Channel / Outlet

This article is part of my ongoing YouTube Articles and Guides series.

If you are running a gaming focused YouTube channel and want to cover newer games, you will have to shell out quite a few dollars. Especially in the beginning, when you won’t see anything remotely close to a mentionable income, buying a game to cover on your channel, might just not be feasible.

Yes, there are plenty of free games released every day, and they can generate a lot of views as well. Finding free games can be tricky and often they are hit and miss, sometimes they create a lot of interest due to them being available for free (see Happy Wheels), but in many cases, a lot of anticipated titles are released on Steam (or other platforms) and you’ll have to buy them. Since new releases don’t have a lot of reviews and can sometimes be misleading, buying them as they release is not only expensive over time, but also risky. The game might be too buggy to cover or just not interesting enough for you.

You can find a link to the developers homepage on the Steam store page.

You can find a link to the developers homepage on the Steam store page.

This is where receiving review copies comes in. Requesting review copies or keys is common practice and the best way to discover and cover a broad range of games; especially smaller indie developers are very thankful if you play or review their title since it provides them with exposure, which is getting harder and harder to get. So how do you get in touch with these developers? You write them a mail, usually to their designated press mail address. They are available on their websites, which is often linked on the Steam store page. If the developer doesn’t have a website or a way to contact them, you should see if they have a publisher and contact them. Getting in touch with a publisher and building a relationship with them will open up more opportunities in the future.

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You want to start YouTube? Have some tips!

This article is part of my ongoing YouTube Articles and Guides series.

I received a question on ask.fm recently: “Any tips for a starting youtuber?” and decided to make a short post about this. If you have things that should be added to the list, leave a comment! These tips are based on my personal experience after over doing YouTube every day for over two three years.

I also recently made a video about this list, to share these tips with my YouTube audience and also to delve deeper into the individual tips:

  • Don’t let anyone tell you, you are too late to the game. It’s not true.
  • Watch Tutorial by other YouTubers and read up on the topic. Learn how to edit your videos.
  • Always try to improve your commentary. Avoid fillers like “eehm”.
  • Play what you enjoy; switch it up with smaller, less popular games.
  • Don’t spam your link in comments (or anywhere).
  • Don’t do a sub for sub or anything similarly stupid.
  • Don’t obsess so much over sound insulation and hardware before you got your commentary down.
  • Treat every other YouTuber with respect.
  • Treat your viewers with respect. A happy viewer is worth those few seconds you spend replying to him.
  • Try something different – don’t always do what everyone else is doing.
  • Don’t take mean comments to heart.
  • Don’t ignore constructive criticism, you will need it to grow.
  • Don’t take it personal if a YouTuber does not want to collab with you. We are busy people and less social than you might think.
  • Don’t get into fights in the comments, be the bigger person. Delete insulting comments and ignore.
  • Remember: People subscribe for you. If they sub for a game, they are not here to stay anyway.
  • Help other people that want to start YouTube / Twitch / anything in life.
  • Don’t expect the same enthusiasm from your friends that don’t do YouTube – they will probably not get it. Find a group online to have other YouTubers to chat with and grow.
  • Watch your video after recording and ask yourself “What can I do better next time?”.
  • Learn how to make engaging thumbnails. Don’t be lazy: Write your descriptions and tags.
  • Be consistent and upload on a schedule. If you can’t keep to the schedule, do less – but stay consistent.
  • Don’t expect anyone to give you shout outs, they won’t help anyway if your content isn’t good.
  • Use Social Media to your advantage. Don’t just auto-post your videos there – engage with your audience.
  • Expect to spend a LOT of time on your new hobby.
  • Unless you are very, very good or have a very unique idea, don’t try to do a Minecraft-focused chanel. There is way too much competition to gain traction. If you want to anyway, make sure to switch up the content with other games to gain new subscribers.
  • You are not your subscriber counter or your views. Don’t obsess over numbers, it’s unhealthy.
  • Growth in the beginning is slow, don’t get discouraged. It can take years, but you can do it!
  • Never buy subscribers, Twitter followers or any of that. It will just hurt you.
  • Don’t overexert yourself too often – it will burn you out. Get some sleep instead.
  • Don’t sign the first network that contacts you. Most of the time you don’t need a MCN in the beginning.
  • Don’t sign a contract that locks you in a year. Also a 60/40 cut is not a good deal. Don’t believe outrageous claims by small networks.
  • You should not expect any money from YouTube in the beginning. It takes time. Don’t even think about going full-time unless you already make money.