A guide to hobby & social media – YouTube (Part 4)
With my social media series now well on the way its time to mix things up a little. YouTuber Tactica Imperialis kindly offered to give his top tips on setting up a YouTube channel for hobbyists. Without further delay I shall hand you over….
Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Michael, a Warhammer 40k/Warhammer Fantasy YouTube channel. I’ve been in the hobby for 6 years now, and on YouTube for 8 months.
So, what have I learned from my time on YouTube? Well, a lot of things. I’ve learned how to talk more confidently to people, how to choose interesting topics, how to hook an audience, and even what style to make a Battle Report in! Some of these are just personal tastes, but many are useful hints. So, these are my Top Tips for YouTube and the Hobby.
1. YouTube Name & Channel Design
This is massive. If you pick a name that doesn’t look like it belongs in the hobby, or your channel logo/banner is bland, people who visit your channel will likely move on and not subscribe. It’s harsh, but it’s true. So think carefully about your channel name: Google won’t let you change it more than once, and it’s the first thing people will think of when recommending you. If you’re good with Fireworks or Photoshop or other image creation/editing software, use it, and make it memorable!
This covers everything about how your video looks, from what you put on screen to how much editing you do. Most of my videos are a “Sit and Talk” type of thing, where I sit in front of a camera and discuss topic X at length, with minimum editing. This is a very easy way of doing things, and I recommend it to anyone starting out. If you’re not comfortable being on screen, record yourself talking and overlay it over an image instead. Examples would be my main friend on YouTube, Commissar Warwick, or Fritz 40k.
When it comes to editing, how much or how little you do is completely up to you. If you’re skilled in iMovie or Movie Maker, then use it as much as you like. If not, you don’t need to, though a little here and there can’t hurt (see my September 2014 News and Rumours if you want an example).
Every channel I watch does different things, so what you want to do for your videos is completely down to you. But every channel often has a unique feature, a staple series; for channels like MiniWarGaming, it’s their narrative campaigns, for me, it’s News and Rumours and Codex Analysis. So pick a series that you can commit to and run with it. It might be tactics, it might be painting guides, it could be something else entirely. The main thing is to play to your strengths and do what you like to do. But there’s one thing a hobbyist on YouTube can do that those in the other forms of media cannot..
4. Battle Reports
If you have the opportunity, do Battle Reports. No questions asked, just do them. They allow you to show off other armies as well as your own, to test out tactics you discussed or have seen, and to explain the rules to viewers who may not know them (this applies especially for smaller games like Infinity, Malifaux, Warmachine/Hordes and possibly even Warhammer Fantasy). Plus, they are amongst the most engaging videos we make, so it makes sense from a promotion standpoint!
You need to balance how much game time you show with how long the video is. If you have too much gameplay the video drags, especially if there’s no editing. However if there’s too little, the viewers will miss out on key things. MiniWarGaming Battle Reports are an excellent balance, though a detailed end of turn review can also suffice. I’ve done many different types in the past, so if you want some examples I have a playlist.
Eventually there will come a time where you will want to grow your channel. For me there are three big ways to do this. The main one is to work with other hobbyists who are on YouTube. Comment on other people’s videos, try and interact with them (this is how I met Warwick, for example). Make videos alongside them (again, Battle Reports are amazing for this, though discussion videos are good too if travel is difficult) and support them in their videos.
The other one is Twitter. Cadian Shock has discussed this at length, so I’ll be brief: there are so many hobbyists on YouTube, it’s easy enough to interact and work with a few (it’s how I got this job for example!). As a side point, make sure to interact with your viewers in the comments, encourage them to interact with you as well. Finally, work hard! It takes a lot of work and content to get going, especially early on, and sometimes you may not see the results. But give it time, keep working hard, and you’ll get there; people will find you and recommend you. The more you put in, the more you get out.
So that pretty much covers it. If you want to discuss things with me or Cadian Shock either comment on this post, tweet me @TacticaImperial or comment on one of my videos, I’m happy to talk to you!
Thank you for reading, my name is Michael, and I will (possibly) see you again…