Streams on their own are very fleeting: You’re live, you get some viewers, and once the stream ends it’s done. No more view – and even if a VOD is available, it typically gets nowhere near as many views as any other kind of video. It is hovever possible to rescue the content and give it a second life:
There are many different use cases for secondary content, all with different strengths and weaknesses. A categorization is given below, but note that it’s of course not always this cut and dry.
- Stream Clips. Clips are generally somewhere between 10s and 2 min long and showcase a single funny moment that happened during your stream. It usually is worth it to dig deep into your effects box with them to further emphasize the funniness: Add sound effects, visual effects, zooms, in-video subtitles, add effects to the subtitles themselves, and maybe even do silly animations. Example for animations in a clip, Example, Example.
Tip: Make the clips as tight as you possibly can. Avoid intros, outros, long CTAs, and even additional context that isn’t strictly necessary for the clip to work.
- Stream Clips as Shorts. All of the above applies, but instead of using the resolution the stream originally was at, you make it vertical (or at least square) and at most 60s long. Compared to normal clips it’s got the benefit of appearing in the shorts feed, potentially netting you new followers from it.
Tip: You can also use these shorts to market your streams across other social media, such as instagram, twitter, or tiktok.
- Stream Highlights. Highlights are generally between 1-10 min long and and show an entire scene or sequence from a stream, for example the game-winning push or an entire game round in which you were effortlessly steamrolling the opponents. You still may want to do some well placed effects where beneficial, but it generally isn’t worth the work to go as overboard with editing as for clips. The most important edit to make here is to cut out dead air, low-energy bits where nothing of interest is happening as well as overly repetitive bits (eg you dying and having to go back to a checkpoint).
Tip: As a rule of thumb, if a video requires context to be understood, make a highlight. If it doesn’t, make a clip.
- Edited VOD. An edited VOD is an entire stream to which the methods for the stream highlights are applied. Example, Example.
- Full VODs. This is the full stream recording of your stream as it appears on YouTube when you press “Stop Stream”. Depending on which other formats you use, it may be good to keep it public, or be good to make it unlisted.
Tip: VODs, both edited and unedited, work amazingly well for any game with a story.
Second Tip: If you’re currently working towards monetization on YouTube, VODs are an amazing source for watch time. You will need to leave them online in that case.
- Clip Compilations. A clip compilation is amazingly easy to make: You just take your clips, put them back-to-back maybe adding a simple transition and that’s it. This way you even can get a fourth and fifth view out of the initial material. Clip compilations generally only work with clips, but if you have a highlight that is interesting because of some repitition, splitting up the highlight into a group of smaller chunks and peppering it throughout the compilation may work well and give your compilation the feeling of a having some sort of story arc. Example in combination with a highlight, Example for a clip compilation made out of videos.
- Hero videos. A hero video shifts away the focus from just the stream towards becoming its own media, so in addition to just supporting effects, some – or even most! – of the video is going to be recorded specifically for the video. The stream highlights and clips inside step back from being the main content towards a more supporting role, like just being B-roll or a visual support for the narrative. Example, Example of a video that lives on the border between clip compilation and hero video, Example.
How to split up your formats between channels, or: Should VODs be kept online?
This somewhat depends on your audience. However, for most gaming channels, it’s advisable to have Clips, Compilations, Highlights and Streams on one channel while keeping VODs unlisted. This way, people can subscribe to you just once and have easy access to all your edited content. Plus, every time you stream your stream will get highlighted on all your videos across YouTube.
The major exception to this is if you already have a channel with content for an audience that is distinct from your streams, or if you’re streaming on Twitch. In this case, it typically is good to have one channel for clips, compilations and highlights, a second for VODs and edited VODs, and a third that is your other content.
Note: You generally don’t want to publish two pieces of secondary content (eg a clip, a highlight and a compilation of the same moment) right after each other on the same channel as your audience may get fatigued by it. At the same time, you also have to consider that your audience interest shifts over time as games lose relevancy, so waiting for months and longer also isn’t necessarily the play.
Clips, highlights and the other formats mentioned above are an amazing way to get yourself more views and reach new audiences without having to produce drastically new content. As such they’re typically fairly easy to produce with a great “bang for your effort” value. If you don’t have time for making them yourself, you also can get an editor to make this content for you, or allow fans to make clips and highlights on their own channels!