Now you've decided you want to be a Magic: The Gathering content creator (yay!), but figuring out how to use the various video platforms and social media to help build your community can be difficult. You have the content down, but what about the context? One important tip is to post content to each platform natively and intentionally. This means creating content that's not just unique and engaging, but tailored for whatever platform you're using. Different social media platforms may attract different audiences or serve different purposes, and you want your content to be crafted to appeal to those communities.
"Do something unique to fill your niche! As eye-rolling as that may be considering my content, it is something that didn't really exist in the Magic community. I'm not a pro player, a Wizards employee, or a Magic artist, but my silly posts filled a comedic need that people were looking for." —April King (aka CubeApril)
"You have to think about each different social media platform as a different content platform." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
Magic content can be found in every medium and on every social platform available. We will be covering just the few big ones in this guide, focusing on video content and community building, but the tips and philosophies should help you make the most of any platform you want to try.
Twitch®, Mixer®, and YouTube® Live may be great platforms to get eyes on your content while simultaneously building your community. Livestreaming services are generally geared towards long-form gameplay and chat interactions. We’ve found the key to getting more viewers is two-fold: interesting content and a consistent channel. "Content" in this case means both the game being played and the person playing the game. Since these platforms have tons of active broadcasters—Twitch®, for example, has more than two million—you want to make it easy for your viewers to find you and interesting to stay.
Now for some specifics. Based on our experience streaming internally and our review of the Magic community, we have found that those who stream Magic on Twitch® between 1 and 3 p.m. PT frequently have the highest viewer numbers. Next most active, on average, is the 10 to 11 p.m. PT time frame, when our European streamers step in. As you're getting started, we suggest you track what times you're streaming and how many viewers you get each time to figure out what schedule might be optimal for you!
Our review shows that most Magic streamers average around 16 streams a month, while those with 100-plus concurrent viewers (at the high end of the viewership spectrum) stream more like 25 times per month. The average high-viewership Magic streamer is live for about 4 hours a session, resulting in about 108 hours of total content per month.
"Twitch® is great for real-time interactions with your audience." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
"I'm allergic to silence. Don't stop talking, because the people who show up in your channel don't immediately show up in your numbers. Let's say the stream has two lurkers, and I'm the third one. The streamer won't actually see me as a third viewer until I might have already left. It does not update immediately. Talk about why you're doing the things you're doing, even if it feels pretty counterintuitive when you first start. Magic is a game that invites a lot of interaction with chat—there are a lot of games where that doesn't happen." —Gaby Spartz
"I pretty much treat chat like my friends: we can laugh at fun moments, talk about random stuff, discuss plays, and have a good time." —Amaz
Though all streaming platforms are in essence video delivery platforms, they may vary in functionality or audience, and you should take that into account when creating content for one or the other.
"I do long-form gameplay on Twitch® and upload the entire stream to YouTube®. But, I also use YouTube® for highlight videos, pre-edited content, or condensed gameplay experiences." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
Some streamers use the same content on two platforms—with some modifications for their viewers.
"When I want to take Twitch® content and put it on YouTube®, sometimes I'll clip that whole thing out, edit it down, and upload it to YouTube®, and it's amazing! I like to highlight awesome, high-intensity moments on YouTube®." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
Sites like YouTube®, Vimeo®, and Twitch® also serve as platforms for housing on-demand video content, allowing fans the ability to watch whenever they want. The convenience of on-demand content has quickly made these sites among the most popular—and crowded—platforms on the internet. Sometimes people get the impression that they will make it as a YouTube® star just so long as they are putting the content out there. But with approximately 300 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube® every minute, it is easy for your content to fall between the video on-demand cracks. You can combat that by both optimizing your content for these types of platforms and learning the optimal times to upload it!
Taking YouTube® as an example, our research indicates that Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are the most successful days to upload Magic-related videos. A spike in viewers tends to happen around 4 p.m. PT, so posting a video shortly before then can increase your chances of people seeing it right away.
The average Magic YouTuber puts up 18 videos a month, which is only a little less than the highly successful (100,000-plus subscribers) average rate of 19 per month.
Video on-demand platforms might be crowded with content, but they also draw a ton of viewers!
"There are a lot of people looking for Magic content on YouTube®. People are looking for deck techs, and even more for actual decks being played. I can tell you that because I've uploaded both types of videos, and the view counts between those two videos are just incomparable." —Gaby Spartz
One of the best ways to get your videos noticed is to make use of the tag functionality offered by these sites.
"I have a set base of tags I use on every single video of mine. If I am uploading videos for, let's say, an Ixalan draft, it's all the Ixalan tags. Like 'Drafting Ixalan,' 'Ixalan League,' 'Ixalan MTG,' et cetera. And that will change depending on what the videos are." —Gaby Spartz
Building your Magic community can be done using many different platforms such as Discord®, Twitter®, Facebook®, and Instagram®. The relationships you develop there can be invaluable, and sometimes in surprising ways.
"Ask your audience for help. Wait, what? How does that make sense? There is a well-known phenomenon (the 'Ben Franklin effect') where people tend to like people that they help more. I don't mean it in a manipulative sense! Offering your audience polls as well as asking them for their opinions on open-ended questions opens up two-way channels where everybody feels like friends who help each other.” —April King (aka CubeApril)
"Constantly interact with your audience and post content. I doubt that'll be any surprise, given how frequently streamers are told to stream and how frequently YouTubers® are told to post videos. But this advice is just as important for Twitter® as it is for Twitch®. I try to do a funny post (even if it's not necessarily Magic related) every day, to keep people engaged." —April King (aka CubeApril)
"What is important to do is to 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." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
Magic has a large, active, diverse community on many different community platforms. Many of our most popular content creators have built great followings around their Twitter® accounts, for example, because of the connections it allows them to make. Community building requires frequent use and interaction with your fans.
"Twitter® is a great way to respond to and interact with random people. You should pick a few things that you consistently tweet about. I'd say about 90% of your Twitter® should be interesting links that people want to engage with. And then 10% of it should be promoting your content. People don't follow you on Twitter® just to see you tweet every time you're live." —Sean Plott (aka Day9)
"Make friends! I may be Mark Rosewater's nemesis, but that doesn't mean we can't be friends. The same goes with other people you interact with—show an interest in their lives, reply to their comments, just be a real human being." —April King (aka CubeApril)
Create the Content and Community You Want
No matter what kind of content you're creating or what platform(s) you're posting it to, be yourself and help create an environment people want to spend time in. Don't forget that Magic is a game, and the most important thing is to enjoy yourself.
"Be nice! Magic players—myself included—love to complain about the game we love so much. Learning to be nice when I was unhappy was really difficult, especially with the persona I've adopted. It's really easy to step over the line from a valid complaint into a mean-spirited comment. I've found that when I'm really uncertain about whether something is mean or funny, it's probably best to not post altogether." —April King (aka CubeApril)
"At the end of the day, your worth is not measured by the number of followers or subs. Did you build an awesome community? Did you create a cool environment that people can hang out in? Looking at the non-monetary metrics can be helpful when you are getting down." —Gaby Spartz
Good luck, have fun!
P.S. The suits want us to remind you that this Platform Strategy Guide (PSG) intended only as guidance (see, it’s right there in the name—guide) and does not promise or guarantee you success (monetary or otherwise) streaming Magic. We believe in you, but we can’t make any promises.
P.P.S. All social-media platforms referenced in this PSG are developed by third-parties and not affiliated with Wizards. Each has its own content and community rules you should familiarize yourself with and follow.