Uniqueness is important – it’s what helps you stand out from the crowd and attract more viewers. But how do you create something different? One thing that may help guide you is choosing and honing your “niche.” A niche refers not only to the subject of your content, but also to how you deliver and present that content on screen, i.e. your tone and persona. In other words, your niche is your tool for targeting your content, for gaining traction with both old and new viewers in a specific content area or group of areas.
Keep in mind that finding your niche may take some time; “trial and error” is part of the job and helps you in the long run. You will find out what works best for you, and what your audience does and doesn’t like.
To start, try answering the following questions:
- How do you fit into the gaming community? That is, which games do you play? Which role(s)?
- What are your passions (i.e. becoming the best, helping others, providing comedy or entertainment)?
- Where can you provide value? Where is there a need or demand, i.e. a knowledge or content gap? You can find these needs in game forums or Twitter conversations, or from other streamers and their communities’ comments. Popular streamers cannot reply to every comment, but this is much more feasible for small streamers, so take advantage of the opportunity!
For the first few months, new streamers will often switch between so many different games, that a niche may be hard to determine. Instead, it is probably better to focus on one or two games and build up expertise, as well as a regular audience. At their outset, streamers may also default to focusing their commentary on the game itself. But before you even do that, you should think about the type of content you want to produce. We’ve provided three major archetypes below:
Types of Content
- All Star: People love watching those who are the very best at their craft. Pro gamers typically fit into this category.
- Informer: Want to learn something new? This is one of the most popular niches on YouTube. Creators here develop expertise in specific games and make that expertise more consumable for their viewers.
- Entertainer: Less focus on gameplay but deeper fan engagement. Are you an ardent critic? A comedian?
In reality, your niche will likely be a mix of all three, but leaning more heavily into one will help you stand apart from your competition. Many start as an All Star or Informer, but with experience gain the confidence to become a true Entertainer. Your sense of humor will develop as you get to know your audience and become more comfortable on screen.
Pro Tip: Streaming is a live form of content and, therefore, more authentic than other forms of entertainment. Use this to your advantage by interacting with your community and creating an honest connection. This connection itself often provides greater entertainment value.
Which platform should I use?
There are different audiences on different platforms who will enjoy different types of content. This step, too, may require some experimentation for you to make your lasting decision.
- Facebook: Tell people ahead of time when you’ll go live, or broadcast on the fly
- Twitch: The biggest and most popular streaming platform for gamers
- Mixer: On the rise, especially since Ninja’s move from Twitch
- YouTube: Insane viewership numbers
- Dlive: Great for mobile gaming
- Caffeine: Prides itself on simplicity and offering a personal experience
…and even more!
What if you can’t find your niche?
It does take time for things to come together – your content plan, your comfort on screen, etc. Think of your content planning and editing as an investment, and make sure the benefits of what you’re doing are worth the cost. If you’re stuck, it may help to obtain an arsenal of targeted knowledge about a certain area of the game – knowledge that immediately gives viewers a reason to return to your stream. This is a good base, but you will have to expand the idea eventually in order to keep growing your channel. New ideas will come to you as you gain first-hand experience and a better idea of what topics are in demand. Your niche will not be stagnant; rather, it will change and develop to reflect your interests and strengths as a streamer.