Well, straight to my point: I'm an avid gamer. I play a lot of Minecraft, many hours per day in fact, and I've started recording my gameplay and doing videos called "Let's Plays" for YouTube. I spent about a year watching some of the most popular players on YT, listening to what they did, watching how they did it, and even taking notes on their strategies for content, personality, etc., before I struck out and started doing it my own.
The first thing I did was to buy Mirilis Action!, which is what my favorite LP'er uses. He has over 1/4 million subs, so I figured that was pretty safe, and it was. I love the software. It's very simple to use, and I get the exact results I'm looking for.
Next up is video editing software. I'm still searching for this. I downloaded HitFilm 4 Express, which is a free version of their product, but I can't get it to produce the results I'm looking for. No matter what I do, if I combine 2+ gameplay clips, it always makes the sound "off" by a second or so. Can anyone recommend any free or cheap software that's easy to use? I tried to get Windows Movie Maker, but it looks like Microsoft dc'ed it and won't be releasing something else until April of this year. Until I find something that I can use, I've adapted to taking my videos all in one take, just pausing the recording in-between action or building sequences. I really want to figure out editing, though, as there are graphics I'd like to add and sequences I'd like to show in 2x speed.
After the video is produced, uploading is no big deal, but finding traffic is. I've taken all of the steps I can find for getting attention. Here's what I'm doing for every single video:
- Branding - I've branded my channels with my avatar and username across Twitter, YouTube, Curse, Twitch, and Discord. I've not yet used Facebook, but after reading through this forum today it looks like something I need to look into. I'm also keeping my channel family friendly. I don't curse in my videos and a lot of the people on YouTube do. I'm hoping that my stance will help parents to encourage their kids to watch my channel versus some of the more foul-mouthed ones.
- SEO - All of my videos' titles contain my username, so as my brand builds people can search for it and find it. (It's not The Article Pros btw LOL...it's a gamer tag.) I also optimize the title, description, and keyword box using very specific features first for Minecraft, then for the modpack I'm playing, then for the specific activity I'm doing in each video.
- Social Response - I view every single comment left on my videos and reply back to any of them that can be responded to. Even if it's just someone saying they enjoyed my video I'll leave a "thank you!" as a reply. I'm also active in a Curse community, and the others in that community help to spread my videos across their social media spheres. In addition to this, I'm active on 2 extremely popular Minecraft forums as well as on the FeedTheBeast subreddit, and I've got a good reputation across all of that. On the 2 forums, my signatures contain links back to either a specific video or playlist on my channel.
- Playlists - I'm playing through several modpacks (versions) of Minecraft, so I've divided the videos into playlists to further my SEO efforts.
I started uploading videos the week before Thanksgiving here in the US (mid-November). Since then, I've posted just over 60 videos, each at roughly 30 minutes, and I've gained 60+ subs. I finally managed to integrate my ancient AdSense account with my YouTube account this past Saturday night, and I've made a whopping $0.05 in profits. That's nothing at all, but I'm still really excited about it because it shows me money can be made at this.
So here's why I'm posting: I need to know what else I can do. I'm bootstrapping this entire thing, and I've already dropped $200 of my own money into equipment and software. I don't have anything else I can put into it, so paid YouTube advertising is not an option. How else can I grow my channel? I'm not impatient, and I know it'll take time, but my goal is to turn YouTube gaming into my primary income over the next 18-24 months. Obviously I'll expand out past Minecraft as time progresses, but I need to get more subscribers. What other avenues are out there that I can use to freely advertise my videos, playlists, and channel, in order to gain more attention and to help grow this thing organically?