If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in becoming a Magic: The Gathering content creator. Fantastic! Magic streamers, writers, and other creators not only produce content that enriches the Magic world, they also build truly special communities where the game’s core values shine. But getting started can be very intimidating, so with the generous help of some successful, well-known content creators, we’ve put together this guide to help you confidently hit the ground running.
STEP 1: DETERMINE YOUR GOALS, STRATEGY, AND STYLE
Before you start creating, give some thought to exactly what your content is going to be and what makes it special. And think specifically about what you want to accomplish, beyond "be a successful creator."
"I think the biggest mistake that a lot of new creators make is that they simply put content out and assume people will come. There has to be something really unique about the content. Maybe you're the best player at this game, or a particular format. Maybe you do deck-building with stupid constraints. You want to have a really sharp, clear identity." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
Tied to that is the importance of having a clear vision of the kind of community you want to build: the values, tone, and behavior you will be working to cultivate. You are the steward of that community, and you have the privilege and responsibility of defining it. Think about what makes your favorite Magic communities special. For example, some top streamers do a great job focusing on inclusivity.
"If you make it clear exactly what you want to do, the people who align with your ideas can find you. My stream is all about positivity, being inclusive, having a good time, learning, and not necessarily being the best. Creating a non-toxic environment for people to hang out in." —Gaby Spartz
STEP 2: MAKE A PLAN TO REACH YOUR GOALS
Once you know what you want to accomplish, think about how to get there, step by step, and be realistic as you strive for excellence. Having a concrete plan in place will help you get the most out of your time and energy. Consider your short-term milestones and your long-term ambitions, and set yourself on a path that takes both into account.
"It is not important to flood every social platform, but pick a couple of big ones. Regularly update the hell out of all of those ones." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
STEP 3: CREATE WHILE YOU LEARN
Plans and goals are important, but don’t get so caught up in them that you forget the most important thing: creating the content! Don’t hold yourself back by feeling like you have to know everything before you produce anything. You might find hidden strengths in your content, or enjoy something less than you thought you would, and the only way to learn these things is through practice.
"Through the process of uploading and editing videos, you'll develop those skills. Get any editing software that you like, start editing videos, and upload them. And when you're done, you're going to be like, 'Man, the start of this was awful!' And then the video that you do tomorrow, you're going to be like, 'Okay, I'm not going to make that mistake I did yesterday.' So you wind up getting a whole lot of practice as you move forward." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
"It can be hard for newer streamers to find their groove. Some people start out thinking, 'Yeah, I want to have a super competitive stream. We're going to be grinders!' And then they realize it isn't fun for them. Figuring that out takes time." —Gaby Spartz
STEP 4: ESTABLISH YOUR RULES, STANDARDS, AND SCHEDULE
Once you have a vision for your content and you’re beginning to create it, start laying the foundation for how things will work. The successful content producers we work with all stress the importance of consistency in content. Successful streamers try to establish a consistent schedule so followers know when to look for new content or livestreams. It’s also important to figure out what level and type of polish you can consistently produce.
On top of conversation, I also give some control of my stream to the viewers by allowing for voting on decks or drafts. Occasionally I also do challenges with subscribers. —Amyzonian
It’s also helpful to set (and enforce) rules for your chat or comments section. Wizards sets rules (via its Code of Conduct) for behavior in the Magic community. As your following grows, you may consider mandating additional rules or expectations for the kind of behavior you want to see in your personal community.
"It is up to you to establish what is and is not okay in your channel. Certain types of streamers invite different kinds of environments. If there is something you are not okay with, it is on you to make that known to both the chat and people who mod for you." —Gaby Spartz
These are all important parts of building your reputation and growing your following.
STEP 5: BUILD YOUR PEER NETWORK
No matter the kind of content you’re creating, other people out there are doing something similar. Follow them! Learn from them! Get to know them! You’re in a great position to help each other, and collaboration is to everyone’s benefit.
"Establish a network of peers, people who are at your level, who you can bounce ideas off, who you can work and grow together with. How do you use these relationships? Figure out a cool piece of content that is actually new as a result of the two of you doing something together. Create something new and fresh with that person." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
"Being able to network with people that have an existing audience is super helpful. Do co-op streams, show up in people's streams, host someone. It's beneficial to everybody. Streamers are better off if there are more people watchingMagicstreams period." —Gaby Spartz
GO FOR IT
Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to try something that sounds cool to you. Even the most popular streamers out there got started the same way as you: by loving Magic and putting their work out into the world. Take that first step, even if it’s intimidating, and each step after that will be easier and easier. Get out there, start creating, and have fun!