For almost the entirety of my content creation career, I have been fairly aimless in my approach. The content I created would jump between games, genres, and even mediums (board games and comics), as I simply made what I wanted at the moment I was ready to create something.
This has served me well in the sense that I had no shortage of material to work with in order to make something personally fulfilling, but it’s a real struggle for audiences to stick with my work. Most people don’t want read a review about Yoshi’s Crafted World, followed by a live stream VOD of Rogue Company, followed by a video about my goals for collecting board games, followed by a guide on how to set up your microphone for streaming. Without any real focus, the only people who truly followed my work were those who really like me as a person, as I was the only common thread between a disparate set of subject matter.
I’ve always known this was a problem if growing In Third Person was ever to be a priority for me. However, I always chose my personal fulfillment first. This led to me being happy with creating content of any sort at my leisure at the expense of growth. I was content with that reality.
…and then I stumbled on the Pokemon Trading Card Game.
It was love at first sight. First trying my hand with it in the summer of 2021, it became the only game I wanted to play. Still is the only game I play outside of my Wednesday night streams where I reserve that time to play something else. Not only is the game a ton of fun to play, but it’s rife with subjects to talk about. The competitive meta shifts every week. There are so many different decks to cover. There are always new cards on the horizon.
My goal was never to be a Pokemon Trading Card Game creator. However, by virtue of being obsessed with the game, I built up a catalogue of work that made it easier for that audience to connect with. My Pokemon Trading Card Game Online streams soon became my most popular streams, while I also started to develop some momentum on YouTube that I’d never experienced before.
Finding my audience
More importantly, I managed to stumble on a very specific audience within the Pokemon Trading Card Game community where my work has found acceptance. Based on the feedback I would get from my streams and my videos, my work seemed to attract new players with lots of questions about how the game works, what decks to play, and how to get good cards.
What really opened my eyes to this audience was my preview video for the Ice Rider Calyrex VMAX League Battle Deck. Despite League Battle Decks being an amazing investment for new players in the market for a pre-made competitive-level deck, there’s very little coverage of these products online. Months before the official release of the deck in stores, I cobbled together all of the cards from the deck and made a video showcasing what you get in the deck and how it plays. The video took off in terms of views and comments, particularly from new players looking for an easy way of getting a competitive deck. Months have passed and it’s still one of my most-watched videos every day.
Anyone could have gotten the cards together and made that video. But as far as I know, I was the first to do it and hit big. In response, I then made more content relating to League Battle Decks and almost all of them have generated thousands of views. Going beyond the idea of League Battle Decks, I expanded on the types of Pokemon Trading Card Game content I was making while focusing even more on tailoring my content towards new players. I think of it through the lens of, “When I started playing this game not too long ago, what would I find valuable?”. That’s the lens in which I’ve used to evaluate what content to make next.
Turning Twitch streams into valuable YouTube content
Finding an audience to create content for is a big part of why my Pokemon Trading Card Game content has thrived in ways that my other scattershot content hasn’t. However, that alone wasn’t enough to explain my current run. Another part of that success came from a focus on creating content that works as a VOD and not just as a stream. No one on YouTube wants to watch a 3-hour VOD of anyone’s live stream. No one wants to watch “Jett’s Let’s Play of Shovel Knight Dig Part 1”. No one wants to watch “In Third Person Stream Highlights Compilation #34”. None of this content is searchable or appealing to anyone who doesn’t already know who I am.
Instead of simply playing games on stream and hoping that a funny moment or two can be clipped and shared later, I approach every stream with a deliberate game plan to convert my streams into multiple videos. This is a strategy I’ve talked about and attempted to implement for years, but it’s really paying off right now.
One of my core content pillars is deck profiles. For those watching live, they get to see me showcase at least one new deck where I discuss in detail how the deck works, followed by a series of matches to showcase what the deck can do. After the stream, I edit the deck profile and the best matches together into one tight video where someone on YouTube after the fact can still get their fix without any of the downtime inherent to streaming. Deck profile videos are my bread and butter, generating hundreds or even thousands of views for each one.
Match footage doesn’t just have to work within the confines of a deck profile video, either. If I can find a way to pitch it as a video with a story, people will watch it.
Above is a video that at its core, is just one match between similar decks. “Ice Rider vs. Ice Rider Mirror Match” doesn’t really cut it as an appealing title. However, my deck used Bibarel as a support engine while my opponent used Inteleon as a support engine and I framed the video under the context of, “Which support engine is better?”. This video that would have been completely overlooked with any other title went on to get viewed over 1,000 times (and counting!). As long as I can find a way to present some sort of story with my stream footage, there’s likely a way to edit it together to create a fulfilling video for viewers after the fact.
More recently, some tech cards that I incorporated into one of my decks proved to be even more effective in combat than I could imagine. It led to a ton of amazing matches that really showcased how strong Empoleon V and Big Parasol can be to one’s deck. I didn’t go into this stream with the specific plan of making an Empoleon video, but I was able to recognize in the moment that I could weave that story together with the footage I’d made on stream.
Outside of gameplay, I will come to each stream with at least one content idea. In the above video, I took a few moments on stream to run through the different types of pre-made deck options available. I then cut that clip and packaged it with an appealing title and this video has been viewed over 6,000 times and counting.
Finally forming a foundation
While I’m still finding my footing in this space as a content creator within the realm of the Pokemon Trading Card Game, I’ve established a solid foundation to build upon. I know who I’m making content for and I’m developing an understanding of what they want to see. Best of all, this content is being made for a game that I’m totally obsessed with and I’m thrilled to have more reason to play the game and further immerse myself in this world.
This focus has paid off immensely. Just a year ago, my YouTube channel averaged about 150 views per day. As of writing, it pulls in over 1,500+ views per day. The channel went from having roughly 300 subscribers last year to now having almost 1,600. At the current rate, the channel should surpass 1,600 by early next week. Daily views, subscribers, and comments have grown immensely with no signs of slowing down.
Success isn’t just limited to YouTube, either. A lot of Twitch advice recommends that you create content on more discoverable platforms in order to grow your Twitch. That’s happening to my Twitch channel right now. My YouTube videos are now my best Twitch advertising, as people follow the channel and participate in my Twitch chat off the strength of having seen my videos first. The channel is growing faster than ever, with some of my Pokemon Trading Card Game streams peaking at over 30 concurrent viewers. It’s wild!
More important than the numbers going up though, is the feedback I’ve received on YouTube and Twitch. It’s amazing to hear from many in the comments or in the chat that my work has inspired them to start playing the game, or to build to a deck, or to test their skills in real-life tournaments. One person told me they started watching my videos having never played the game before to winning a local IRL tournament. Even I haven’t played in an IRL tournament yet, let alone won one! It’s an honour to be a part of the reason why someone finds a new hobby to love or to make a hobby of theirs even better.
These last few months have been nothing short of remarkable. Thank you to everyone who continues to support my work, whether it’s here on the website, on YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, or even the handful of you who still follow the Facebook group. Your support of my work is appreciated more than you’ll ever know.
My story is pretty cool, but it’s not entirely unique. Many other creators have gained ground by creating content for a very specific audience in mind or by tailoring their streaming content into YouTube videos that are enticing to click on and fulfilling to watch. I know there’s a lot more to it than just doing those two things, but those were the two I wanted to focus on in this post. At some point, I hope to share more of my learnings.
But yeah, there’s no reason why you couldn’t be next! Hoping you can take inspiration from this post and take your content creation dreams to the next level!