Gaming Channel Must Knows | Channel Checkup ft. Alyska

Gaming Channel Must Knows | Channel Checkup ft. Alyska

January 31, 2020 100 By Sebastian Fry


Hi, I’m Sarah.
I’m a gaming strategist here at YouTube and today we’re doing a channel check-up
with Alyce from the channel Alaska. So, Alyce, can you tell us
a little bit more about your channel and what type of content you make? So, my channel’s currently about gaming,
and I mostly do gaming walkthroughs that are around 40-minute
to one-hour-long episodes. Sometimes I throw in
a review or a gaming blog where I go to gaming
conventions, like E3 and gamescom. Cool. So, do you have any particular goals or things you’re aiming to
accomplish with the channel, right now? I feel like my two main goals, currently are definitely to
appeal to a broader audience and my second is to, at some point in the
future, have a complete channel rebrand. Awesome! We can
definitely talk about that. Do you have any strategies
when it comes to writing your titles? With my titles I always want
to include the game and the part of the series, in case
people want to search for a certain part if they’ve finished watching part 16,
and they want to find part 17. So I include that in there. So that’s great. One of the things
you’ve done well in the past is looking at your Monster Hunter series the first episode of that you
have a really broadly appealing title which is: ‘This is my
new favourite game’, I think. – Yeah.
– Right? So I, as someone who doesn’t
play that game, wouldn’t necessarily need to know anything about the
game to want to click on the video. I know it’s going to give me
some level of intro about the game I’m going to get your opinion. For your highlights, lean more
into those broadly appealing titles. And I would also say, for your episode one also try to lean more into
those broadly appealing titles. The other thing I’m happy you said,
is you included the game title which sometimes people forget to do. And the reason this is really important is we will tag that game
alongside your content. So the cool thing about it
for you, as a creator is, if I’m really interested,
as as viewer, in this game I can find the game page and, potentially,
find your content from this game page. I had no idea that existed. Yeah, so it’s a great thing; it’s
super easy to discover content this way and to discover new creators. So, just making sure that you have some
level of titling around the game in there or even if it’s in your description it’s enough for it to be
picked up by the system. – Okay, cool.
– Yeah. So, tell me a little bit about
your thumbnail strategy, right now. Honestly, my thumbnail strategy has
varied so much through my time on YouTube because I’ve just,
obviously, tried different styles realised it hasn’t worked,
and then gone to something else. So I’ve tried to make mine
stand out a bit more where I’ve cut out the main focus
of the game and put a highlight around it and made my image of myself bigger
without seeming like I have an ego. It’s the perfect balance, right? So I think that’s a really good point,
and I think you do a really great job at having a consistent theme
across your thumbnails. And that’s something
we definitely recommend. There’re two ways to think about it,
especially in the gaming space. It’s thinking about having
consistent branding in your thumbnails across your series. Also, doing it among games:
so my thumbnails for Bioshock are going to look very different
from my thumbnails for Sekiro. And you do have
those similar themes there. But, the one thing that also
tends to come up a lot in gaming, is it’s really easy to have
a thumbnail that is overwhelming. Any thumbnail you’re making, take it
and shrink it down really, really small and see if it’s still visually
appealing, and it’s still clickable. Even in the gaming space, we see most
viewers are watching on mobile devices. So, although these thumbnails
look great to us on desktop… Yeah, on Photoshop when they’re huge! We want to make sure that
those are also going to look good when I’m sitting on a bus,
scrolling through on my phone. Yeah. So the next thing we want to jump into, is
we want to take a peek at your analytics and look a little bit more
into click-through rate. So, do you know what click-through rate is
and do you ever look at it? No, I’ve never really
been on this page, so, no. Okay, cool. So,
what we’re going to look at is we’re going into the
‘Reach Viewers’ tab of your analytics and we’re going to
look at click-through rate. What click-through rate is,
is it’s showing you, essentially, the amount of people
that are clicking on your video after they’ve been
exposed to the thumbnail whether that’s on search, or on suggested,
or in their subscription feed. And click-through rate
does a lot of great things. One, it tells us a lot
about how appealing a video is. So, if we come in here, if we
click on this, we click on ‘See More’ it’s going to give us
a list of your videos with their associated
click-through rate. Use high click-through rates
as an idea of: ‘These are appealing videos from
both thumbnails and title perspectives’. When you’re looking at this too,
kind of vibe out your baseline. So, when we were on
your main page, we saw that your click-through rate for
the last 90 days was about four percent. So, as you’re refining
your titling and your thumbnail strategy see if your have videos that really
exceed that normal baseline for you. And, when you do, look into that
and see: ‘What did I do well here that really resonated with an audience
and made them click through?’ So, your channel name,
are you trying to rebrand there as well? Yeah, completely.
I rebranded around eight months ago. My channel name was just my normal name and I felt like, in the gaming community,
you need to have a nickname – It’s pretty standard.
– …to be well known like a catchy one, that people
could easily mention to their friends. So, I changed to Alaska.
I didn’t really think about it because, obviously, Alaska is a state. So, obviously, trying to
find me in the search bar is going to be more difficult than
someone with a really unique name. So I think I definitely want
to change my channel name. Okay. Totally fine. That happens a lot with creators,
especially in the gaming space. There’s this tendency to make
your gamer tag your channel name. And then you grow up for ten years
and you’re like, “What have I done?” Yes, that’s what I’m scared of! “I’ve made a terrible mistake!” So, do you have an idea of
what you’re thinking, name wise? I don’t want to change it too much because
when you completely change your name then your search might go down completely,
and you have to build it all over again. So, I was going to change it to Alyska which is a mix of my first name
and the current channel name. Yeah, I like that. That’s a good one. So, the reason I like that is, oftentimes when you’re making a big
channel name change like that the main concern is
it’s going to confuse your viewers they’re going to log on one day, like:
“Who is this person? What’s this content?” That’s what happened last time.
They were like, “What?!” “Who have you become?” So, what is nice about that name is
it’s not that different from your actual name so you’re not going to worry too much
about alienating your audience. That being said,
definitely let them know that it’s coming. Through a video, or community tab? I would say a mix, totally a mix.
So, a community tab’s a great one to do. Mentioning it in some of your upcoming
videos is also a good thing to do. Just get them in on what’s going on and make them feel like
they’re a part of the change. But, if you’re making a really big change,
like from Alaska to Wyoming or something in the interim, as you’re
making that branding transition have both names that live on the channel. And then, after a couple of months,
get rid of the other one. That way it’s not as much of a shock. I don’t think that’s as necessary
in this case, because it is so similar. Okay, I guess you’re right. So, it looks like right now you’re
uploading mostly walkthroughs. Is that something
you want to continue doing or do you want to bridge out
into other content as well? I think I actually want to go through
a channel rebrand at the moment because I’ve been doing
walkthroughs for so long and it takes so long
to get through one game. I want to get more creative
with the content I’m making. What type of gaming content
are you thinking of bridging into? Are you thinking about more highlights,
or are you thinking about how-tos, or…? I wouldn’t do how-tos,
because I’m not that great at games! But I definitely want to do game reviews. I’ve done a few in the past,
but these videos take so much time. To go through all my footage,
make all the points, script a whole video it takes a lot longer
than doing a walkthrough. So I feel like it’s hard to balance
entertaining my current audience and then also bringing in new people, and
doing what I want to do and what I enjoy. Yeah, absolutely. So, have you heard anyone ever talk about
the ‘Hero, Hub, Help’ framework? – Yes.
– You have, okay. So, in case people don’t know what that is ‘Hero, Hub, Help’ is a way of
thinking about your content strategy. So, Help content is going to be
your content that is really searchable. It’s generally evergreen. We then have Hub content. For you, what that’s going to be is
your bread and butter, your walkthroughs. That’s what your audience is there for,
and that’s what they subscribe to watch. And then, the last thing that we
want to think about, is Hero content. Traditionally, that’s content
that has a lot of mass appeal and is broadly appealing, and
generally takes a lot of time to produce. But, what I want to re-frame that for,
in the gaming space, is going to be content that, again, is broadly appealing,
might not take that much time to produce but it’s going to help you
bring in a new audience. So, for you, for these bigger walkthroughs that’s not necessarily going to
be those big shareable moments but, taking a live stream and
cutting it down into a highlight would be a best practice
to appeal to a broader audience. I’ve actually done that in the past
with videos, and it’s taken some time but my audience reaction
was, honestly, so worth it and sometimes they even still bring it up
now, about my past highlight videos. Oh yeah, that’s awesome;
definitely lean into that one. So, we had a long conversation today. What do you think you’ll take away and
incorporate on the channel moving forward? I’m definitely going to
make more short-form content. Any live streams I’m doing,
I’m going to edit and make into highlights as I feel that really appealed to
a new audience and my current audience. I definitely want to do a channel rebrand; now we’ve spoken about it,
I feel way more confident doing it before, I was a bit unsure,
but now I definitely want to do it. And, check out my analytics more. The click-through rate
thing was really helpful. I didn’t know about it, so I’m
definitely going to use that in future. I’m sure you’re not the only one,
so it’s a good thing we touched on it. – Thanks for hanging out with us today.
– No worries, thanks for having me. And thanks everyone for watching. Be sure to subscribe to
the YouTube Creators channel and let us know what you
thought about this video below. Thanks for hanging out,
and we’ll see you guys later.