rittany Roark has a knack for making YouTube videos. She started out with lifestyle posts at first, but eventually switched focus. Playing mobile games was a hobby she’d always enjoyed. When Roark realized she could make videos about games, combining her two hobbies into one, her business was born.
Turns out, YouTubers and indie game devs are a lot alike: creating something they love while building a viable business in the process. As YouTube influencers become a key channel for mobile game marketers and UA specialists (over half of all brand-sponsored videos take place on gaming-related channels), it’s important for game creators to actually understand who they’re working with—the people behind the handle.
Meet four video creators to learn how they got into the growing business and what they love about working with game devs.
Years as a video creator: 3
Favorite games/genres: Noon says he’ll play anything, but he currently produces weekly content based on PC and console games like multiplayer game The Division and first-person shooter Destiny.
Why he started creating videos: Noon’s YouTube channel is run by two people: Noon fronts the videos and produces the content, and his co-founder Matthew Weathers manages SEO and other back-end work.
The two started producing videos together when working at Microsoft, taking advantage of easy access to games and their love of PlayStation Vita-imported games to build the channel. By January 2015, the channel had 40,000 subscribers.
After Noon was laid off from Microsoft in early 2015, the duo took the opportunity to turn the channel into a full-time affair. It now boasts a subscriber base of over 300,000 users.
Pro tip for devs—Keep the pitch short: YouTubers can get busy and are not always easy to reach. They might be out and about at an event or waiting for a video to upload. To reach them on the go, a short, sharp pitch is often more effective than a lengthy note—especially since they’ll likely be reading on their phones.
Brittany Roark aka BBPaws
Years as a video creator: 2
Favorite games/genres: Story-based games Undertale, point-and-click games like The Walking Dead, and Minecraft.
Why she started creating videos: Roark started her video career running a lifestyle channel on YouTube, but she found it challenging to create videos for the vertical. “When you’re doing a sit down and talk style channel…it’s actually really hard to come up with topics that are interesting to everyone,” she says.
So she changed her focus and set up a new channel dedicated to her lifelong passion: gaming. “I started [my channel] and it was so much fun,” she says. “I’ve had a blast every single day doing it.”
Pro tip for devs—Be genuine: The best way to capture Roark’s attention is with a personal touch. She and other influencers get many requests irrelevant to their interests and style; standing out means having a genuine interest in working with her.
“Tell me about yourself and some cool stuff about the game,” she says, “And if it’s something I’m interested in playing, then usually I’ll go for it.”
Kyle Carnegie aka Kclovesgaming
Years as a video creator: 3
Favorite games/genres: Mobile titles like city-building game The Simpsons: Tapped Out and fighting game Marvel: Contest of Champions.
Why he started creating videos: Carnegie started creating videos as a way of becoming a more confident speaker. After attending speech therapy classes, he decided that he needed to keep practicing his speech to overcome his problems. Inspired by other YouTubers, he decided to start creating his own videos to help him achieve this goal.
“I thought, I’ll give it a shot and see how it goes.” he explains. “It was horrible, but I loved it.”
Emboldened by his efforts and by reassuring words of support from his audience, Carnegie continued creating videos—eventually establishing his channel as a business a year and a half after launch.
Pro tip for devs—Be more open to influencers: Despite all the talk about how valuable influencers are, Carnegie often struggles to get game codes from companies whose games he’s interested in playing on his channel. Companies should therefore look for ways to open channels of communication. Something as simple as making contact details more available on the site can go a long way in helping interested individuals with an audience of mobile fans cover their game.
Years as a video creator: 5
Favorite games/genres: Chapman got his start streaming Minecraft in 2011, and still plays today, but is increasingly playing sandbox survival games like Dying Light or Stranded Deep.
Why he started creating videos: When his girlfriend went back to school, Chapman says, “I found I had a lot of free time I had to fill.” He started playing Minecraft to fill the void, but encountered a problem he needed to solve in-game.
Finding the solution on YouTube, Chapman realized that it was possible to create and upload your own user content and began to create his own. Staying up until 2 a.m. most nights to create new videos, he eventually gained enough subscribers to monetize his channel and turned it into a full-time job.
Pro tip for devs—Do your research: Chapman advises devs to be selective about who they pitch their games to. “You have to target the right person,” Chapman explains. By researching a video creator’s interests beforehand, devs can save time—and, quite possibly, money—by focusing attention on influencers who might cover their game.