Establishing a Foothold on YouTube

Over the past year or so, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to establish the In Third Person footprint across different online platforms. The blog is home base and should continue to be for the foreseeable future. Twitch has been a major focus of late, having spent hundreds of hours streaming, tinkering with my equipment, building episodes of Boss Rush, and repurposing content for other platforms. Much of that content goes into my Instagram, where it’s used as a space for stream highlights, screenshots, conversation starters, and sneak peeks into my life outside of gaming.

I’ve achieved some success, but there’s also been a lot of failure. The most notable of those is my presence on YouTube.

The In Third Person YouTube channel is one of the oldest platforms bearing the name. For a time, it even had the ability to monetize videos, as it cleared the lower thresholds of the era. However, I squandered that opportunity by being unwilling to invest the money and effort required to put out quality content on the platform.

During the first few years of the channel’s existence, the videos were awful. Desperate to get video content on the site by any means, I resorted to creating grainy footage by pointing my laptop’s built-in webcam at the TV. If the content were better, maybe it would have stood a better chance. It wasn’t. Most of these videos were nothing more than Street Fighter matches with no commentary or webcam.

Eventually, my old laptop died and I needed a new one. Without looking too much into the specs, I bought one in my price range. Not long after, I got an Elgato Game Capture HD. By the time I started to do let’s play videos with commentary, the world had moved onto live streaming. My computer at the time didn’t have the horsepower to run a consolidated feed with gameplay and a webcam, which would have been nice to know before I bought that laptop. Also, with data caps on our internet at the time, there were still many barriers holding me back before we even get critical about the subpar content I was making.

Nevertheless, I kept trying with the limited resources I had. Inspired by some of the commentary videos my wife had started watching at the time, I tried my hand at doing videos about comic books and  board games in that style. Though the production quality is laughable and my on-camera presence is stilted at times, some of the videos picked up a bit of traction and I still enjoy watching them. The experience got me to be mindful of the types of content that work well within the YouTube ecosystem.

When I finally got a beefy-enough computer at the tail end of 2017, my focus was to take a bit of time to get streaming off the ground, then to go back and try and finally get my YouTube offering up to snuff. That took…a lot longer than I thought. Between sorting out all of the technical issues that arose, finding my voice as a streamer, and a recent run at Twitch Affiliate, it’s taken over a year to get things to a place where I’m finally happy with it.

During that time, I made the effort of posting VODs of every stream onto YouTube. I do this primarily as a functional benefit, as the player for Twitch VODs doesn’t work on WordPress for some reason. As such, I upload the streams on YouTube to then be posted here with my written work. However, playing a game for two hours and engaging with the chat is great entertainment for those watching live, but there isn’t much of an audience for those who want to watch after the fact.

As a sort-of stopgap, I’ve gotten into the habit of cutting highlights or making highlight reels of my streams as a means of piecing together clips that are shorter and more YouTube-friendly. In rare instances where the highlights generate views, it’s great to knock out two birds with one stone. Though I received plenty of downvotes and negative comments for my Arcade1Up video, it did generate a lot of views and engagement. A vague discussion of tier lists on-stream regarding Pocket Rumble performed really well too.

Right now, my primary focus is to support the website and the stream. But someday, I hope to get around to making more YouTube-friendly videos. For the better part of a decade, I’ve never given the platform an honest try. Whether it was a lack of equipment, time, or effort, I feel like I could have been a lot farther today had different decisions been made. Nevertheless, will keep this thought in the back of my mind to act on someday!

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3 thoughts on “Establishing a Foothold on YouTube

  1. Pete Davison June 4, 2019 / 11:23 AM

    I enjoy doing stuff on YouTube. I’m not doing anything particularly clever (or successful) or attempting to feed “The Algorithm”, but it’s fun just making videos, be they readings of my articles or ongoing Let’s Play series. I much prefer making Let’s Plays to livestreaming, personally, as I find having to divide my attention between the game and chat rather distracting; I’d rather focus on the game itself and provide commentary as I go along.

    One thing I’ve seen some streamers do when they post stream archives on YouTube is set up some sort of overlay that includes the chat text with the VOD. That way those who are watching after the fact can at least see what comments and questions prompted a particular discussion or piece of commentary.

    • Jett June 4, 2019 / 12:00 PM

      Totally respect your approach to Let’s Plays! Before I started streaming, I used to do Let’s Plays as well, and I can understand your reasoning for preferring this over streaming. Totally agree that if your focus is trying to make a “tight” piece of content with the focus of the conversation being around the game without external factors, then a Let’s Play works better for that.

      As I dive deeper into the world of streaming, it’s becoming more evident that while both let’s plays and streaming at their core involve a person playing a video game, they are very different things that serve different audiences who are looking for different stuff.

      (Makes mental note to write a post about the differences between the two)

      If growth is important to me, I need to understand the nuances of each and create content that works best for those platforms and audiences. Right now, my mind is focused on making the best stream. With the limited extra time I have, I’m trying to find creative ways of editing/repackaging that streaming content in ways that work better on other platforms.

      To your point, I do have the text chat appear in my overlay as a means of making VODs make more sense after the fact. It used to be a persistent element in my videos, but I recently underwent a redesign in order to make my gameplay feed full-width and my intermission camera full-width. This works better for the purposes of streaming, but the trade-off is that the chat only appears on screen for a few seconds at a time before disappearing.

      When I’m ready to tackle the YouTube challenge, it will be with content that’s uniquely designed for the platform and its audience. Someday…

      • Pete Davison June 4, 2019 / 12:03 PM

        Would that we all had all the time we wanted to do all the things we want, eh?

        That was a clumsy and pretentious sentence. But you know what I mean. 🙂

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