The dream of becoming a content creator is an exciting one. Think of it: visualise your videos and content, set goals for where you want to be by this time next year and beyond, and imagine how it’ll feel to achieve them. But the reality can be much harsher. There are many others with the same dream, competing with you for precious viewers on YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok. Without help, it can be a long, dispiriting process to feel your way to the best strategies through simple trial and error.
But that’s without help. We asked our community of new and seasoned content creators, as well as an expert panel at our live Creator Collab in London, for a few tips and tricks in getting discovered to give new creators the edge. For anybody just starting their journey, or who has hit a slump in bringing on-board new fans, this is the leg-up you’ve been looking for.
Follow your passion, not trends
The first piece of advice absolutely everyone agreed on is to focus on what you’re actually interested in, rather than only playing the games that are the flavour of the week.
@DaekarusHelium thinks the “audience can detect if you’re doing your own content out of passion or spamming and throwing stuff out there just for monetisation”.
In a delightful confluence with the industry-leading speakers at the Just About Creator Collab, that’s exactly what Lucia La Rezza, who built a YouTube channel by doing violin covers of gaming soundtracks, said: to find the right audience you need to do what you love in the way you love it (and find the platform that fits that rather than the other way round). Even if you start with low numbers, your followers will be dedicated. Bob DuckNWeave adds that it’s easier to keep doing something you love when you hit a patch of low motivation, as you surely will.
There are some hugely popular variety streamers out there, such as CohhCarnage or Maximilian_Dood, but finding an audience at the very start is tough when bouncing between multiple games and genres. @lanah_tyra stresses this too, by saying “how you talk or how you look on camera” makes a huge difference, and that the “people who are watching your content are most likely passionate about the same thing you are playing, so let them see your passion!”. Rob Pearson, co-founder of the creative agency We Are Reach and one of the crew who grew PlayStation Access to two million subscribers, echoes this by recalling YouTube’s founding philosophy: ‘broadcast yourself’. Authenticity is everything.
@MURRRAAAAY suggests selecting a broad category, such as gaming or sport, then funnelling down into a specific genre once you’ve decided on the type of content you want to make. You do often see this with variety streamers too: Shroud, for example, has a background in Counter-Strike esports, and though he now streams a bunch of different games, they are all typically multiplayer shooters or survival games. CohhCarnage is similar in that the genres he streams can range from Soulslikes to strategy to horror, but he very rarely touches multiplayer games - they are all single-player. In both cases, the creators are able to bring their authentic selves to whatever they stream. They don’t play anything they don’t like.
Murray goes on to explain that you should think of yourself like a shop:
“You go to Starbucks for coffee, not to buy a car, so decide what you want to be known for and what audience you want to serve. This will help you grow because if you just do whatever you like, whenever you like, it’s very hard to grow as your audience doesn’t really know what you or your content is all about, or why they should stop by.”
Lanah takes this point a little further by stressing that these early days are when you have the freedom to really find your niche. As you’re just starting out, you have nothing to lose, compared to established creators who may see their subscriber count drop if they depart from the usual content to try something new. “Experiment more freely until you find the right type of content you enjoy doing and people enjoy watching, then you’ll be on a quick road to success.”
Balance your platforms
There are plenty of platforms available to create content on, from YouTube and Twitch to Kick, TikTok, Instagram, and more. Daekarus recommends the simultaneous management of multiple social media accounts, which can help content creators get discovered more quickly. Murray agrees but notes that doing so runs the risk of spreading your time too thinly. He argues that those who do publish content on multiple accounts should pick one or two to focus on.
Lucia made a similar point at the Creator Collab, while introducing the additional consideration of demographics. The typical audience for TikTok is 16-29-year-olds, whereas other platforms have much broader potential audiences. She also highlighted the importance of your primary content creation goal - are you selling a product? Entertaining? Educating? Bob took this further by explaining that you need to tailor your content to the platform, as “they are services as much as they are platforms”.
Rob suggests that “squashing” longform content to fit shorter formats is unlikely to work if you just repurpose it, and you’re more likely to find success with specifically tailored content for the platform you’re on. So while you should post links to your content and network on all the relevant and popular social media sites - Twitter (X), Reddit, Bluesky, and so on - don’t try and juggle creating longform videos for YouTube, shortform videos for TikTok, and streaming on Twitch or Kick all at the same time. Focus on one, then expand into the others when the time is right. Remember that relevant hashtags may differ across platforms and, as Murray says, that you need to ensure you keep interacting with each of your communities; time spent creating content is not the only area in which a content creator can spread themselves too thinly.
Use the tools available
It’s easy to fall into the trap of vanity content - easy-to-produce videos or streams that all follow the same format but ultimately don’t work for your potential audience and fail to get much engagement.
Lanah recommends exploring the different analytical tools that each platform offers and using the data to govern which content you continue to create. For example, if the data suggests abridged Twitch stream highlights are performing better on YouTube than re-uploads of the entire stream, let that guide you, even if it takes an extra half hour out of your day to edit out the not-so-exciting parts of the stream.
Another example would be TikTok and Instagram. The latter offers Reels, which barely differ from TikTok videos, yet you may find vastly more success on one over the other. Keep referring back to the data, or it may get frustrating when you try the same thing over and over to little success.
Along the same lines, one of the most important tools at your disposal is the ability to network, much like we’re fostering here at Just About Content Creators. Lucia explained it best:
“You can’t do it alone if you want to make this a proper pursuit. Go to events, talk to people, ask questions of creators you admire - they’re often happy to help. Continue with consistency, but if you want to level up, you will need help from external sources. You won’t be able to see what you’re doing wrong or how you might be able to improve without a different point of view.”
Finally, many of you had some bite-sized pieces of advice which we’ve summarised below:
- Consistency: Daekarus explains that publishing on a regular schedule helps your viewers know when to expect new content, and it also indicates to the algorithm that you are consistent. Upload a new video every other day at 6pm and eventually you’ll have viewers settling down with their dinner knowing that there’ll be new content from you to enjoy as part of their routine. The same goes with something like a pre-bedtime stream.
- Branded content: everyone on the Creator Collab panel agreed that branded content works best when the creator has an audience, and Bob explained the goal of branded content is to “have an audience who connects with the person, not just logos and annotations”. One example of a brand doing social content well is Cult of the Lamb on TikTok.
- Laughter: Lanah explains that during her guided tours, she threw in a joke every seven minutes or so to keep people engaged and ensure nobody was too bored or disinterested.
- Pop culture - Especially true when it comes to short form, quick-to-consume content, linking content to completely unrelated pop culture phenomena can be a winning strategy. @tyrannosaur has a specific example of a Reddit post where he superimposed a Fanta can onto a No Man’s Sky planet filled with orange bubbles, and it did surprisingly well - the same goes for a short video of some creatures that look like Sid from Ice Age.
Do you have any additional tips? We may look to update this guide in the future, so keep them stored somewhere helpful or comment below, then remember to enter any future bounties we run on the same topic!