We’re just over three months into our YouTube channel, and have just barely clawed our way past 100 subs (at the time of writing, we’re currently at 119). This has been simultaneously easier, but also more difficult, than we went into this expecting it to be.
In the three months (and 13 days) since our first video was posted on Feb 15th, we’ve gotten:
304.5 watch hours
It helps to have an existing community.
We’ve spent the last two and a half years building up a community on Twitch – and a lot of our viewers are super loyal, and will follow us anywhere. They were a huge part of our initial boost in numbers! Combine that with a (not amazing but definitely decent) pre-existing Twitter and Instagram following, and I can definitely say that the fan base we’ve built up over the years helped – at least a little bit.
People have to be convinced that they’ll enjoy your content.
I’ll likely write some articles about Twitch and our ongoing journey there at some future point, but one thing we’ve noticed there is that people really have to be convinced that they’ll enjoy your content. This takes time, and repeated exposure.
We have so many people who are solid community members and even close friends, who found our channel through a raid or browsing on Twitch, and didn’t really stick the first time around. It wasn’t until the third or fourth time that they ended up on our channel that they realized, “Hey, I actually like it here,” and became a more solid part of our community.
The same goes for our YouTube videos. We’ve gotten a ton of subs from our Twitch community, but since the content is completely different (cooking on Twitch vs. gaming and programming on YouTube), the majority of them didn’t really watch more than one or two videos. But we continued being consistent and uploading every day, and three months in, we’re starting to see people get into a habit of watching our videos, and even get hooked on the different series of games we’re putting up.
Long-term consistency is key.
About that consistency…
For the last month or so, we’ve posted a video to our YouTube channel every. single. day.
We’re a little nuts.
You definitely don’t need our posting schedule (although it is VERY manageable for us – I’ll write more about our filming and editing processes in a future post!), but consistency is very important, no matter what sort of content you’re creating.
You want to become a habit for people. If you can have a consistent time and place that you post things, people will get used to that and start to show up before you do.
People are always asking, “what time should I post/stream/tweet?” And while I don’t doubt that there’s all sorts of data and such that will tell you exactly what you want to know… I will still insist that it doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.
Post once every few weeks or so during PRIME TIME? Cool. You might get lucky and get a little attention. You might not.
Post every single week at a consistent day and time, even if it’s not the “perfect” hour? Even better. Now people can make you a habit.
You know what makes it easy to be consistent? When you’re having tons of fun doing something!
Gaming on YouTube may be SUPER FREAKING SATURATED and totally not our path to success. And that’s okay. Even if our programming videos take off and our gaming videos keep getting meh numbers… we’ll keep doing it, because we have so much fun.
But part of fun, for us, is making sure that it’s fun for our viewers as well. So a few things we’ve learned:
• Don’t take the games too seriously. We’re not amazing gamers. Nobody should be watching us for speedruns, or perfect playthroughs of new games, or game tutorials, or anything like that. So do things “wrong,” play the game weird, try out things that make absolutely no sense!
• Don’t take yourself too seriously. I credit our Twitch streaming experience for teaching us how to be goofballs. Both of us used to be afraid of looking ridiculous, or doing something wrong. Two years later, we’ve learned to give no shits! (But in a non-asshole sort of way.) We’ve both sung horribly, ugly laugh-cried, said the most off-the-wall things, and it will all be on the internet FOREVER… and we’re hardly ever self-conscious about any of that any more. I’d like to think we’re funnier, or at least more entertaining for it!
• “Yes, and…” This common phrase from improv classes means, don’t shut the other person down. If you react negatively to a bad joke, or close off, it makes the video uncomfortable and awkward to watch. If one person does something completely ridiculous, go along with it and see where it takes you… and you’ll have more fun!
The best games for our YouTube channel ended up being the ones we didn’t expect.
We FOR SURE thought Overcooked 2 was going to be a hit. It’s a hugely fun game, there’s constant chaos, it’s colorful and entertaining to watch, and we can both play… an easy win, right?
Turns out, while it wasn’t terrible, it also wasn’t the game where we shined the most in our videos.
On the other hand, Last of Us is dark and depressing and only a single-player game. We figured we’d try it since we already owned it and Son’s been wanting to play, but we weren’t expecting much from it.
It ended up being the sleeper hit of the year for our YouTube. It may be an old game that tons of people are already familiar with, but the combination of a great story, Son’s frenetic playing, and my irreverent commentary (who knew Last of Us was a comedy?) is not only super enjoyable for us to play, but our viewers are also loving it.
There have been some games we’ve really wanted to play that ended up being total disappointments, and others that we had low expectations for that turned into a whole series (A Short Hike and Aegis Defenders were two games that we didn’t realize we’d love!)
A few weeks ago, we decided to add in the Epic (and occasionally Humble Bundle or Steam) free games that are out every week, and post them on the weekends. While we do skip games if they don’t seem great for our YouTube channel (GTA V would be a great game, but would need to be a long-term series, not a single episode. Civilization VI seemed like it would be a bit too slow, and we’ve skipped horror games as well), viewers seem to LOVE it when we try out a new game (and who doesn’t love free shit?)
We’ve definitely noticed that single episode games or the first episode of a playthrough tends to get the highest viewership numbers. But we also really do love playing through a whole game, and some of our viewers are really into that as well. So our plan lately has been to try to find a good balance between the two – longer series on the weekdays, and shorter or single-video games on the weekends.
We also went into this expecting that multiplayer games where we could both play together would make the most sense. However, we’ve found that single-player games tend to work better for us! If we’re both focused on the game, it’s more difficult to perform for the video at the same time. But if only one person is playing, then the observer can commentate, guide the player, make jokes, and generally make the video more entertaining!
We’ve also discovered that I’m the better commentator – which is a total surprise, since usually Son’s the talkative one in this relationship! And while we’re about equivalent in gameplay skills, I tend to get super focused when I’m playing, while Son is better at joking around and doing silly stuff. This is why you’ll more often see him playing single-player games than me, for now at least… but we’re consciously working on this! I WILL GET MY TIME TO SHINE AS A GAMER… eventually.
But we’re a programming channel too!
… not that you’d know it from our current video list. 😅
The one devlog we’ve posted is our most-viewed video, and the most popular with comments as well. (Not to mention, the video I’m proudest of!)
We’ve always intended to do more programming content, partially because it performs WAY better than our gaming content, but also because I’ve always loved creating educational/informational content (and, obviously, showing off the cool shit we’ve done!)
We actually did record a second devlog MONTHS ago, but those are a ton of work to edit, so we haven’t quite finished it yet. (Don’t worry – it’s on the todo list!)
Instead, we’re turning our focus to more manageable content (because as we learned from our SushiDay YouTube, if the content is TOO much work to make, then it’s impossible to be at all consistent!)
Our new eXcess Reality podcast is super easy to make (although MAN were we both nervous going into it). Too soon to say if people are into it yet, since as I’m writing this we’ve only posted the intro and first episode! But hopefully next time I write a post like this, I’ll actually have something more to share.
We’re also brainstorming ideas for super simple, really short “programming tip” videos we can make. 5-10 minutes max, just a quick tip that’s easy to record, and quick to watch. Longer-form tutorials are definitely on the todo list as well, but really, how many of us have a whole list of hour-long tutorials that we mean to watch, but never quite get around to… so I’m hoping these little programming bytes (heh) will be easier for people to watch as well!
We’ve only just made it past 100 subs, 2000 views, and 50 videos. 1000 subs HERE WE COME. (Heck, let’s shoot for the stars. 10k by the end of the year? LET’S DO THIS.)
More gaming videos, absolutely – they’re the easiest for us to film, and so much fun. (We actually have an excuse to game now!) We’re doing our darndest to finish up Last of Us (heh) before Last of Us 2 comes out (which we’ve already pre-ordered). Son’s suggested that we try out Minecraft Dungeon (although so far it’s a total fail, because everyone’s getting locked out of the game!), and he’s SUPER excited about Ghost of Tsushima. We bought Table Manners a while ago, and Totally Accurate Battle Simulator is on our todo list as well. And of course, if Epic keeps giving out free games, then we’ll keep trying them out (along with our HUGE backlog of all the Epic Free Games we got before we started filming them!)
The podcast is a wee baby right now, so we’ll be continuing to film/record episodes of that, and see where it goes! We’ve been wanting to get into AR/VR forever, so this has been really interesting, enlightening, and fulfilling for us.
More devlogs! Now that we’re funemployed, we (hypothetically – LULZ) have more time for game dev. We started prototype #2 way back in Feb, and then never had the chance to get past modeling. But we definitely want to finish our second prototype, so expect to see some devlogs… hopefully soon. Oof.
And lastly, educational programming content! We’re trying to start small – tips, advice, retrospectives about things we’ve already created (like the article you’re reading right now!) As I mentioned, eventually I’d love to do more in-depth tutorials as well… because as you can see, I don’t have nearly enough on my plate as it is. 🤪 We’ll get there.
What do you want to see?
Is there a game you want to see us play? A programming or dev-related question you’re curious about? Let us know! We may not get to everything right away, but we always love to hear what you want to see from us.