How To Get Your Gaming Channel Partnered On YouTube

Is starting a gaming YouTube channel part of your 2019 New Year’s Resolution? If so, perhaps this article can serve as a gentle reminder and a compass to help you take the first, or next step in the process. There are six sections to help you push through the formative stages for your would-be channel.

Let’s start at the beginning, and let’s try to do this in the form of a mock counseling session. It’ll be fun, I’m playing the expert (a guy with two partnered YouTube channels and a combined 70,000 subscribers) and a person looking to start a channel, but no real clue as to what it requires, but I’m excited (I’ve been there too).

“E” is for expert and “B” is for the beginner.

Choose Your Adventure

E: What’s the Channel About?

B: Well, it’s about gaming.

E: Yes, but what part of gaming. The gaming culture has a ton of layers and sections, and quite frankly, there are too many for one person to fill adequately. In the beginning, very few YouTubers are focused enough to choose a realistic swimlane for their channel. Most are free thinkers with a variety of interests, and they are just eager to share it all with the world. If you were to rein it in a bit and you chose one specific genre or aspect of gaming, what would you most like to discuss with your viewers?

B: OK, I really love sports video games. Is that focused enough?

E: It can be, but sports video games, like all genres of gaming, have sub-genres. I’m a sports video game nut, and I once made the mistake of trying to cover all of them on my channel. Even though the games are released seasonally, it became overwhelming. There’s just too much information. If you’re going to focus on sports gaming, I’d suggest perhaps concentrating on one franchise (NBA 2K, Madden, or MLB The Show), or even one type of mode in all of the games (collector’s, franchise or online multiplayer). This level of exclusivity will allow you to position yourself as an expert on a platform many gamers use as a goto for information and perspective.

B: But what if I don’t like those modes, what should I do then?

E: You should always play or talk about something you love. If you don’t, your viewers will be able to tell, and they won’t connect with you. If you like first-person shooters or role-playing games, find a way to narrow down your focus in those genres as well. Also, you’re going to want to choose an area that isn’t already saturated. Ask yourself, what can I talk about or offer that hundreds of established YouTubers aren’t already delivering. Believe it or not, there is a void; you just have to find it.

Launch Time

B: When is the best time to start my channel?

E: That’s a good question. The best time to launch a channel is a month or so ahead of a significant event. In gaming, we’re talking about E3, a console or major title release. Ahead of the release, fans are searching for information and opinions on the event or launch date. You can grow a community and a following by merely talking about E3 or product with others. If you have a way to gain inside information, or you have a unique take on the info we already know, the people will come. If you start this conversation at the height of the hype, you’re more apt to be recognized as a smaller channel in its formative stages.

B: What kinds of things should I talk about?

E: Ask yourself, if I was searching for information on my favorite game, what would I want to know. Don’t assume everyone already knows. Sometimes, the most simple, straight-to-the-point and informational videos get your foot in the door and create momentum. Adding some personality only helps the viewer remember you, but never sacrifice the information.

Schedule 95 Percent of The Content

B: How do I know it’s time to make a video?

E: When something compelling happens in your area of focus, you should be talking about it. You don’t always have to be first, but having an authentic take on the news is imperative. However, the news videos may only be a part of your content catalog. Actual gameplay might make up the bulk of what you do. If that’s the case, unless you’re live streaming, all of your videos should be scheduled to post. YouTube allows you to upload a video and program it to go live at a later time and date. With this, you can play a game for 3-4 hours and use that to generate anywhere from 8-10 videos that are 10 minutes long–if not longer. You could wipe out all of your gameplay content for a week with this one session, depending on how frequently you post.

Applying for Partnership

B: OK, so after I’ve done all of that, and I’ve set a schedule, how do I gain a partnership with YouTube; because that’s how I get paid for my videos, right?

E: Yes, that’s the primary way most channels get paid on YouTube. Once your channel grows you can explore some other options like affiliate marketing. To gain a partnership with YouTube your channel must meet a few requirements. You must:

  • Have at least 1,000 subscribers
  • Have at least 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months
  • Channel/content must adhere to the YouTube Partner Program policies, YouTube Terms of Service, YouTube spam policies, and the Community Guidelines.

Once you’ve reached those benchmarks and maintained your channel appropriately, you can follow these steps to apply for partnership.

Wait Time is Approximately…

B: Once I’ve reached all of the standards and I’ve applied, how long will it take YouTube to approve my application?

E: It can take as long as 60 days to hear back from YouTube. When you are approved, someone from YouTube will email you with notification. If you wait that long and you meet all of the requirements and still don’t hear from YouTube, you can reach out to @YTCreators on Twitter. One of my channels was seemingly stuck in a review loop, and I POLITELY inquired about the issue. Within a few days, my channel was approved.


B: OK, so is that when I start to earn money?

E: It is, but probably not at the clip you’ll want. At this point in the process, Multi-Channel Networks (MCN) come in. Companies like Broadband TV, Fullscreen, Maker Studios, and Machinima are among the most prominent. The MCNs are middlemen between you and YouTube. You create the content; YouTube places the adds on your videos based on advertising relationships they have with major companies and the theme match. The MCN arranges a deal with YouTube that brings all of the creators that are under its wing into a monetary agreement. The terms of your contract can vary. An 80-20 split between you and the MCN, with you getting 80 percent is standard to start. Some MCNs may offer 75-25, it’s up to you to decide what you’re willing to accept. Once the partnership is settled with the MCN, you begin receiving a monthly payout for the ad revenue your videos have generated. The payout is a month behind, meaning you get paid for November’s ad revenue in January.

There is a lot more to the YouTube grind. It is genuinely a multi-layered deal, and there are a number of variables. However, I believe, there is a YouTube channel in all of us just waiting to make its way out into the world.