I’ve been making Minecraft videos for a little over a year now and have grown my channel from almost nothing to over 2000 subscribers. That’s not a lot, but I feel pretty accomplished and encouraged that I’ve made a commitment to myself to keep at it, stay consistent, and always try to improve, and it’s consistently growing.
We all see the huge creators with millions of subs and wish we could be like them. However, while everybody is different, everybody started at zero. Everybody had to get through their first 100, 1000, 10000+ subs. Some grew faster than others due to talent, luck, hard work, and circumstances. We each only have what we have to work with.
I’ve developed my own list of other small Minecraft creators around me. Some are growing slower and others faster, and it has been interesting and inspiring to watch what’s worked, and what hasn’t, for others.
From a growth standpoint, I’d guess that my experience is probably pretty typical of new creators – slow, steady growth gained mostly with good old hard work. I think I’ve probably had a few “lucky” breaks as well (more on that below).
So I thought I’d share what I’ve learned over this process in case there’s a creator out there who is needing some advice or encouragement. Because while it’s fun, it’s also really freaking hard…
Here are 15 things that I’ve learned over the past year of being a Minecraft creator.
- You don’t have to be a natural. There are many very successful youtubers who arrived, grew quickly and are crushing based on their personality, voice, humor, and/or gameplay. But I promise you, not everybody is that lucky. Even if they seem like natural talents, there are many who make up for it with planning, editing, and practice. It’s probably not a surprise to anybody that I’m not by any means a natural at this. I just keep at it, plan to my strengths, and edit my weaknesses.
- Plan your video – some people write out a script, some people write out bullets, and others have an idea and just wing it. Find what’s right for you and get yourself best prepared. The more technical/instructional your videos are, the more planning will be required. The more prepared you are, your video will flow better, and your content will be more crisp. That also means less editing to do at the end and can be a big time saver. Sometimes I fumble through a video because I didn’t prepare. I run off because I forgot I needed some resource or I can’t quite get a build right. When that happens, I end up with hours of raw footage and the stuff I edit out is disjointed and even the stuff that makes the cut, you can feel my lack of confidence. When that happens, I chalk it up as a dry run and start over.
- Play deliberately – if your video plan is to accomplish a goal, build a structure or a machine, focus on that while you’re recording. Don’t always get distracted by having to run off to find a diamond or take on an illager raid that adds 30 minutes of footage to edit down. Sometimes you can get some fun bits out of that, but always be deliberate about it or you’ll end up with hours and hours of raw video that takes forever to edit and doesn’t even edit down well.
- Get your audio quality down – listen to your videos, tweak OBS settings, get a good microphone. Set sound filters so your breaths and keystrokes can’t be heard. Test and test and test.
- Don’t over-edit. This is something that I struggle with. I often have long pauses between my words since I have a hard time talking and playing. So I tend to edit those gaps out. Sometimes they edit out cleanly and it’s like I’m a natural. But if I’m not careful, I end up with too many jump cuts and it’s not enjoyable to watch. I was going to have a separate line for “don’t under edit” but I don’t think that’s necessarily good advice. Your style may be to post a completely unedited long-play video with zero editing. Man, if I could get away with zero editing, life would be so much easier. But that’s not me.
- Develop a process – I use the same process for all my videos. Record part of a video, edit it, record more, edit until I’m done. This works for me so I don’t waste too many hours recording a bad take because I didn’t plan well or I had some technical issues. Then while the video is uploading and processing, I go through all the edits on Youtube, make a thumbnail in order to optimize my time. My thumbnails all share the same theme so I don’t have to design too much every time. All these things save me hours per video.
- Don’t try to be perfect. Unless you’re a natural and already have video editing experience, you’re likely going to suck really bad for a long time. Don’t let that stop you from recording, editing, and posting. Finish a video and post it. At first nobody will see it anyway. I heard someone say that it takes about 80 videos to be any good at all. I published about 75 videos in a year of doing this and while I’m getting better with just about every video, I’m not sure I’d call myself “good” yet. I don’t know about the number 80, but it’s a LOT of videos and many months.
- Try different stuff. You never know what “thing” will make your channel. If something’s working, keep doing more. If things slow down, mix it up and try something new. Start a new world, or a new modpack, or a new series. Episode 1’s always seem to do best for me and I’ve joked with my wife that I’m only going to do Episode 1’s. That would probably be a bit misleading if there were never any Episode 2’s and probably end poorly, but for that reason, I do mix it up fairly often so things don’t get stale.
- Don’t let a bad video discourage you. Maybe you tried a different editing technique. Maybe you tried some content that flopped. A bad video won’t affect your channel. Learn from it and keep going.
- Play to your strengths. My strength is that I’ve been in the modded minecraft community for a few years prior to making videos. This gave me lots of knowledge and a little bit of authority on modded minecraft. So I focus on instruction with different mods with some gameplay. I’m soft-spoken and calm, not loud, dramatic, or comical. So I teach rather than try to just be entertaining. What are your strengths?
- Pace yourself and be consistent. You’re probably not able to quit life and do this as a full time job. So pace yourself and try to post consistently. If you can only do one a month, fine. For growth, the more frequent you can post the better, but not at the cost of quality. It’s way better to put out one good video per month than 4 that aren’t your best work. This is to be balanced with #7. Pace yourself to do your best, but don’t try to be perfect. Also, If you happen to be able to make three videos in a week, spread them out when you publish them.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin. You may think you need to be everywhere: YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, Instagram, etc. I’ve tried expanding into some other platforms, but it has always affected the most important thing to me, which is to keep consistent with YouTube content. Pick a primary platform and focus there. If you have time to do the others, great, but not at the expense of your primary channel.
- If you need a break, take one. In the year I’ve been doing this, there were a few times where I took a two week break between any videos. The world didn’t end, and I was able to come back refreshed and improved. This is hard! Listen to and be kind to yourself.
- Make your own luck. There are many creators out there who grew fast and it’s easy to attribute that to luck – they were in the right place at the right time. You can be in the right place at the right time as well. You can do that by watching what’s happening. Find a topic that could take off and make a video about it. When people zig, you zag. Bottom line watch others, watch the landscape and what’s happening in Minecraft at any given time and jump on something that maybe not everybody is.
- Be yourself. The most important advice I can give is to just be yourself. If you’re a great actor, you can probably adopt a personality and stick with it, but that’s still just a version of being yourself. Find your style and run with it. If you watch other successful YouTubers and try to be like them, you can’t win that race because they are being themselves. You can borrow ideas, styles, and techniques, but always be you.
I’m sure I’ll come up with more and I’ll add them below or in another post.
In any case, I hope this helps someone starting out, struggling, or just looking for that encouragement to make that first or next video. If you want to talk about it, hit me up. I’m always happy to help others any way I can.