The dream of becoming a content creator is becoming more and more common. Although there’s Twitch, YouTube is another platform that in many ways can promote and provide stability to develop content in the way content creators see fit.
But in a world of oversaturation on the platform, it has become difficult to stand out and “beat the algorithm,” and this is especially the case with Pokémon content. In the span of the last couple of years, Pokémon challenges, reviews and IRL discussions have become more important and popular content for viewers. Pokémon not only has the reach, but the popularity to sustain viewership.
Bill “PaPaSea” Sea and Nicholas “SacredAlmighty” Barnes are two longtime YouTube Pokémon content creators. The method to their madness when it comes to content creation is all about simplicity with some strategy behind it as well.
“So I have a notepad on my desktop, it's just like a regular notepad that I just write random ideas in. And usually I just sort of go through that to see a video idea. But lately it's been more streamlined in the last year,” PaPaSea said. “Sometimes when I upload a video, I want it to be a video that somebody can watch the day it's uploaded or a year after.”
PaPaSea’s choice to focus on evergreen content is vital to his methods, as it keeps everything consistent and relevant.
SacredAlmighty’s goal is to do “whatever looks interesting.” For him, Pokémon has so many content options available to him. But the most important thing is to make sure it’s engaging.
“OK, what's something new that people haven't seen before or something new that people haven't done before? How do I incorporate myself into this space and like, just stand out as much as possible?” SacredAlmighty said.
Both have been in the Pokémon content creator game on YouTube for nearly a decade -- since 2012 for PaPaSea and 2013 for SacredAlmighty. The beginning of their content creation careers was slow, but they kept up with all of it because they believed in what they were doing. As veterans on the platform, they’ve seen some changes for both the good and bad.
“I think the thing that makes it hardest to stand [out is] a lot of people lump my videos like the Nintendo intended ones [into] like the challenge videos, which are extremely popular … it's hard to stand out when so many people are making such similar types of content even if it's just slightly different,” PaPaSea said.
At the core, viewers who look at Pokémon content as just “Pokémon content” and not content that is curated that spans many areas can often end up hurting creators overall. But what can keep you going is knowing what makes you special early on and building a loyal following.
“I'm not really that special anymore, but I've established an audience to where they're here for me and not what I make now ” SacredAlmighty said. “I can pretty much do anything now and people will just flock to it, which is dope as hell.”
One piece of advice that both content creators mentioned was about maintaining boundaries with their viewers. SacredAlmighty’s connection to his fans matters. In fact, he doesn’t mind people trying to be friends, but it’s all about context.
“A lot of people lack some type of social cues,” he said. “They'll automatically jump in with a joke that I may not be comfortable with … people don't know boundaries. But because of that parasocial relationship, they feel comfortable having [a relationship] with you.”
This delicate balance to create a community that stands behind you as you grow your content means quite a bit for building a YouTube career, but the boundaries sometimes go too far.
“Like I know that sounds kind of mean, but I have my Discord. You can only message me if you're my friend,” PaPaSea said. “I do have my Twitter DMs open just because you never know -- what if Nintendo wants to send me something, and they start to contact me through Twitter. But I always get messages from people saying, ‘Hey, what's your favorite Pokémon?’ And usually when it comes to that, I feel like if you want to contact any creator, whether they're reading an article or making a YouTube video, or they're a Twitch streamer, don't message them something that you can just post in their Twitch chat or leave a comment. And I think maintaining that boundary is important.”
Another tip these content creators shared was about limiting viewership of other people’s work in order to produce more original content.
“I think one of the things that sets me apart is I don't watch that much Pokémon content, which might sound like a bad thing. But I think it's really important to understand that there's just so much content out there that you're not just limited to Pokémon,” PaPaSea said. “Doing this makes it easy to appeal to the more casual gaming audience rather than just Pokémon viewers.”
But when it is all said and done, their success is all about loving the work they do, planning, understanding their audience and working at content creation consistently. Nothing happens overnight, but both had insightful advice for anyone interested in making Pokémon content on YouTube.
“Don't go in with any expectations,” PaPaSea. “I think that's my bet. I noticed a lot of smaller creators would say things like, ‘Oh, I make better videos than this creator …’ they'd have these weird expectations and think, ‘Oh, it's my content, so it's good.’ And they just expect to gain a million subscribers in a day. So just don't expect any expectations. Your first videos are going to be bad, so are mine. And just just keep improving. That's the bottom line. It doesn't matter what type of content you make.”
“Definitely don't have all your eggs in one basket.,” SacredAlmighty said. “I know a lot of people that are using TikTok as a means to bring traffic … definitely don't be scared to try new things. Definitely, don't be scared to look outside of the community whenever you're looking around for stuff because you might find something in somebody else's community that just so happens to fit the Pokémon mold. There's nothing wrong with branching out and just taking ideas from other people and just trying to implement yourself as a person and then [add] Pokémon in the mix as well.”
Lead image credit: Nintendo