I entered the video game blogosphere in 2009 with one simple goal: share my thoughts on gaming with the world. There were no ambitions on my end to be the next IGN, PewDiePie, or Angry Video Game Nerd, but I felt like I had a lot of things to say and maybe I would find some sort of audience along the way. In that time, In Third Person has generated over 400,000 pageviews, over 30,000 video views on YouTube and Facebook. With the Amazon Affiliate program, I’ve even made a few dollars here and there. Nothing that allows me to quit my full time job, but some bonus scratch is always welcome.
Truly thankful to you and everyone else that has supported my musings for the better part of a decade. That being said, the world of being a content creator is very different in 2017. Seeing it evolve, and taking the lessons I’ve learned along the way, let me take a look in the mirror and see where I stand.
Content Creator Life Versus Real Life
Managing this site is not my full-time gig. I have a full-time job outside of the video game industry. I like to spend time with my family and friends, particularly on weekends. I also have hobbies and interests outside of games. On top of all of that, I still need to find time to play games in order to have stuff to write about in the first place.
As such, finding time to create content is really hard. My windows for website work often fall in random moments of downtime in the evening or on weekends. I’m able to put out roughly one written post every three days, and broadcast one streaming session per week.
However, there are ton of great content creators out there doing this on a daily basis. In this regard, I simply can’t keep up. It’s greatly impacted my approach to content creation, as I can’t keep up with creators who are creating posts and videos about breaking news within minutes. Knowing my limitations, I try to make content that doesn’t need to be timely.
Video Killed the Writing Star
In 2017, I think if you want to be a successful content creator in the world of video games, the last thing you want to do is start a written blog.
As someone whose primary method of content creation is through text, even I can’t ignore the fact that the audiences and the creators that really make an impact are on video. From let’s players like Markiplier, to news and commentary sites like GameXplain, to vlogs like Trainer Tips, gamers want video content. It makes perfect sense, as gaming is a video-based medium, along with general trends in media consumption.
My video content, while present, is not even close to where it needs to be. Sure, I’ve generated a lot of hits through a few combo videos, and I’m particularly proud of my work on my board game show, but my reliance on let’s play style videos and live streams isn’t gonna cut it. There are just too many people in that space, many of whom do it better than I can.
Beyond just having good ideas for video content, my production toolset is woefully limited. I can do the bare minimum of capture gameplay footage, but streaming quality video with my face and gameplay going at the same time is something my computer simply can’t handle. On top of that, I need more stuff to generate better videos, such as a green screen, lights, a better camera, microphone, software, and more. I’ll continue to do my best with what I have, but I’m way behind the curve on this front.
Furthermore, making video content is even harder to make than written content. I can write reviews and guides in bits and pieces during downtime. But if I’m going to make video, it becomes a whole production, especially if I need to go on camera. At that point, I need a dedicated room, with all of the gear ready to go, with everything I want to say mapped out, followed by hours of editing a video that is only a few minutes long. Going back to the time element, making videos is a real struggle.
Maybe at some point, In Third Person will move to an entirely video-based endeavour. However, the majority of my traffic still comes here, so it’s best that I keep this going until the video side can support itself.
One of the tips I keep hearing about for achieving success as an online content creator is having a focused content pipeline. People will most likely gravitate to your content if you do one thing really well. For some, that means making commentary videos every day. For others, that means live streaming the same game every single day.
Based on my data, my easiest path to success would be to make guides. To be more focused than that, fighting game guides. To be the most focused, Street Fighter guides. My guide-based content performs better than anything else I do. In fact, most of my best-performing content in 2017 are guides that I wrote years ago.
Despite that potentially being my best chance at success, and despite me actually liking the process of making guides, is that what I want to do as the entirety of my platform? No, it’s not. I like making opinion pieces. I like writing reviews. I like to play all sorts of games from different genres. It would be a tough pill to swallow to gain success as a content creator on terms that I don’t fully accept.
If I want to push this venture to the next level, I need to get more involved with video. But getting more involved with video is going to require a large time, effort, and financial sacrifice with no guarantee that my efforts will move the needle. At this point, I think I just need to move at my own pace. If I make a serious run for it, great. If I don’t, that’s fine too. Wherever this thing goes, I’ll never stop thinking about ways of making this better.