Hello Online Fanatics! It has been a while since we did an interview. Today, I brought you a special guest to the blog. He is non other than Tim from Clash with Ash! He runs a successful YouTube channel that focuses on mobile gaming (primarily Clash Royale). It started out as a hobby 2 years ago and it still is a thriving hobby of his today…
- A passion for mobile gaming turned into a full time gig while having a full time job!
- Used social media to connect with game developers to help grow his channel
- Applies business strategies from books to his YouTube channel and sees phenomenal growth
- Consistent production of videos daily contributed to his success (950+ to date – amazing dedication!)
Question 1: Tim, thanks for taking the interview! Why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us more about you?
Tim: Sure! My name is Tim but most people probably know me as Ash or Clash with Ash. I have a Youtube channel. I’ve been playing Supercell games which are Clash of Clans and Clash Royale on mobile devices for about five years. Well about 5 years for Clash of Clans and in the last year, Clash Royale.
I’ve established a YouTube Channel about two and a half years ago. It’s seen a decent level of growth and success, so that is pretty much it. I work full-time outside of YouTube as well, so it’s kind of like I have two full time jobs. Hah.
Question 2: So, two years ago, how did you get started in making YouTube videos?
Tim: Well, it started kind of on a whim. I never had any aspiration of any great success. I never really had a lot of tech knowledge, in terms of what it would even take to produce high quality content. From a visual or aesthetic level.
So I kind of just threw up some replays of me playing the game, and just doing some very, very low level commentary over the reply. That was pretty much it! I shared with my clan mates and people I directly played with in Clash of Clans and from there things kind of just grew.
There was definitely, different levels of growth that I experienced at different times, and a lot of that had to do with what was going on in the game. Of course, if you pick a popular game to cover on YouTube you’re going to have a bigger audience and luckily for me Clash of Clans which was the game I started with. It was, at the time, and still is a top ten overall grossing app.
So, definitely had a lot of success because of the audience, and then as I went I just continued to put time and basically I carved a little deal with myself. That every week I would learn one new skill that I can put to use in my YouTube business, is what I guess you would call it. And that was pretty much the trajectory I took. I just tried to learn things here and there and things grew in time as well.
Question 3: Basically you were very consistent and you would do a video a week or something like that?
Tim: A video a day, for sure. I’ve been doing online stuff for two and a half years of daily videos. I have just under a thousand videos. I think 950 right now, so pretty much on pace with one a day.
Question 4: I know you mentioned that you never really thought you would be doing this. But just from you pumping out one video a day, talks a lot about dedication. What is the drive behind that?
Tim: Well.. initially It started out as pure excitement right? You’re certainly not doing it for any monetary reasons at first. So in the beginning, you notice that “Hey, 20 people watched this!” or “30 people watched this” and then you realize that there are other people out there taking time out of their day to kind of hang out with you a little bit and to watch whatever content you’re putting out there.
That gives you a little adrenaline spike so to speak. A little hit of dopamine and I think its just human nature, that you want to keep, you know the people that enjoy your content you want to live up to those expectations. And that creates a drive within yourself to hopefully create consistent content and live up to those standards.
So that pretty much is where the drive came from initially and that still is pretty much the number one motivational factor in terms of what keeps me with creating YouTube videos on a daily basis.
Question 5: What made you choose Clash Royale over Clash of Clans?
Tim: After a year or two of covering Clash of Clans. I was lucky enough to develop a relationship with the community manager over at Clash of Clans and I was lucky enough to visit Finland where their headquarters is. Hosted several different events for them. I actually made pretty good connections throughout the office there. I actually became somewhat pretty family with.
I was one of the early people to hop on right before Beta. When it was still a company playable for Clash Royale, because of that relationship I already had. I got to test out the game and I thought it had potential, and I was excited to get the opportunity to cover it. So it was kind of a natural fit because I had the access and I knew it would be a popular game because it was Supercell, and they are one of the biggest mobile game developers in the entire world. I knew it would probably be a good opportunity and a natural fit, so I did.
Question 6: What kind of Challenges did you face when you started to make the Youtube videos? With in the first two to three months.
Tim: I was in foreign territory so I had no idea what I was doing at all! When I say at all, really, I don’t know anyone in real life who does any Youtube channels, I don’t know anybody in real life who has made a Youtube video at all. Outside of maybe putting up a home video on youtube.
So I would just Youtube or Google, we live in an amazing age. Certainly as a child of almost the 70s or early 80s, it was not always this easy. The great thing about technology in the age that we live in is that now if you want to learn anything, no matter what it is, like just the other day I thought myself how to give myself an announcer voice onto my commentary. Just for a certain type of video introduction.
So you know, teaching yourself little tasks via Youtube and Google. That’s pretty much what I did. I just taught myself how to create a basic thumbnail, how to record my telephone and get it to my editing program, what editing program to use. All of those little challenges were really the first hurdles that I came up against. In the initial process of starting aYoutube channel.
Question 7: What recording tools did you use for your YouTube videos? Now you’re advanced, right? So I am assuming people that start are not going to be using something you are using right now, do you think so?
Tim: I think they would actually. If you look at my content it is not at the highest level.. because I told you I am working another job, I only have about 4 to 6 hours a day to devote to YouTube. So I am somewhat limited by my time. A lot of really high quality and really well edited videos takes a lot of time. That’s reflecting 10 hours of work or more. A lot of people don’t appreciate how much work until you’ve actually tried it yourself. That actually goes into creating a medium quality Youtube video, let alone a very high quality video.
So what I use today- I record with Elgato, which is hardware. So basically it allows me to record directly from my device, it also works with Xbox and PlayStation or something like that. But you can use that to record from your device onto your computer screen in very high quality. So we’re talking like 30GB file size, that’s the quality level. What you do from there is put it in your video editing program.
I use Movie Studio Platinum by Sony. It’s kind of like a cheaper version of Sony Vegas, it’s very similar in most ways. Then I edit there, for my microphone I use a Blue Yeti. They’re about $100 on Amazon and Elgato is probably just short of $200 and that’s basically all the equipment I use besides my actual computer.
Question 8: If you want to put them all together it wouldn’t cost too much? Something like 100 to 200 bucks to get started, isn’t something bad.
Tim: Yeah, the computer editing program is probably around $100, the Elgato is around $200 and the mic is around $100. So for about $400 you basically have everything you need besides the computer to make really high quality when editing videos.
It’s a pretty understandable or decent investment but at the same time if you’re really serious about doing it, its definitely the easiest way to go. once you have all of that stuff, it takes care of a lot of the tedium of the process. It makes it pretty easy, you plug and play to record and you know, you just kind of go from there.
Question 9: So for the next question- The intro video, did you design it yourself? or did you get someone to do it for you? What’s the deal with that?
Tim: I’m a huge fan of paying people to do things for you. because i’m so limited on my time, I definitely.. I found someone for the graphic design. I know i didn’t need anything super flashy or special. I tried both routes. I hired very expensive graphic designing studios, to give me their work and to be totally honest with you. The intro I have right now cost $30. I actually purchased an intro for just short of $800 and I tried it out briefly, and people just didn’t like it.
They all wanted the old one back. So I reverted back to my $30 version and the lesson there is that sometimes you don’t have to pay big money for quality products. Sometimes you might find somebody who is cheaper, it doesn’t mean that they are any less qualify or that they’re going to deliver you less quality material at the end.
Question 10: Let’s talk a bit more about Clash Royale, how are you getting yourself noticed initially in the Clash Royale scene. What did you do that made yourself stand out?
Tim: In clash of Clans it was much more challenging. As I said in Clash Royale, I had a leg up on the competition because I already knew the community manager. And I could already expect, well you know, not an overwhelming amount but at least some amount of promotion by the actual game developers. And that is something everybody should take advantage of no matter what game they’re covering or that they aspire to cover.
Always do yourself the justice, even if you think its a long shot, always always reach out to the game manufacturers or developers. “I’m a big fan of your game” “I’m cover the game daily or weekly” or whichever you do. On YouTube link your channel, if there is ever a chance to highlight some upcoming update or improvements or gameplay or tutorial videos I would be happy to help in anyway. Free of charge. A lot of developers are looking for people with high quality production skills or at least an intimate knowledge of their game to kind of spot light and showcase upcoming content. Never sell yourself short, in the terms of service you provide with the developer.
That’s kind of what I did with clash of clans. There is a thin line between nagging and making them know you exist. Every single month for the whole year, I would go on the forums I would send one pretty brief paragraph or so long message to the community manager. And I would say, I never got a response to the end until it actually worked.
Next thing you know, I was NDA’d (Non-Disclosure Agreement), meaning that I was on the inside. I got to know all the information about the upcoming features of the game legally. That was kind of the trajectory that I took and it all worked out in the end. So clash Royale, I was already able to benefit from those factor. But in terms of- well unless you’re the guy on top of your little niche of the community, you’ll always say “Wow, how are they growing at that rate?”.
Still to this day I have 250,000 subscribers, and I’m like wow they have 500,000 or 2 million. You know? Its just a never ending cycle, that’s just a part of life. That’s going to happen no matter what you’re doing Youtube or business or anything really. Even sports, you might look at somebody better than you, and say “I’m the best on my team, but there’s that guy on the all star team that is way better than I am”. That’s just human nature but I think its important to kind of be who you are. Try to carve out some sort of niche inside of whatever kind of content you’re creating for whatever game you’re creating it for.
I try to be more strategic in nature rather entertainment value, but I try to bring high energy as well and there are not as many high energy or strategy people in my game. Even though I am not necessarily doing gag jokes for comedy, i’m still trying to be like “Hey guys! What’s going on!?” You know, high energy. I try to cater to people who want more informative type videos, or more strategy type of videos to try and become a better player.
But at the same time try to cater to the people who still like, not somebody who is very dry. So I try to bring a higher energy, that’s my channels M.O.. But everybody should find something that they would want to watch and then create that content, that is the best type of thing that you can do because you’re already passionate about it. just don’t try to be something that you are not. I consider myself a pretty funny, entertaining guy in real life. I am definitely a Type-A personality, I’m extroverted with all that said. That is not the kind of content I seek out on Youtube myself before I even had a channel. I was always more interested in learning something, so that’s the kind of content I make.
Interviewer: So strategy with high energy, entertainment, and people can tell you’re very outgoing from watching your video s and stuff.
Tim: Yeah, I am not afraid to let my personality come through in the videos by any stretch. I’m not trying to get a laugh out of anybody. I am just trying to be real and try to learn something about the game together.
Question 11: Now that you have shared so much about your channel, if you want to give advice to somebody that wants to start out in any game. That they want to make on Youtube, what is your advice ? What are some actionable steps they should be taking right now?
Tim: If you don’t have a YouTube channel or you don’t have any experience in YouTube. I would first actually invest in the equipment. The reason to do that is going to be.. well at least with me, if I make some sort of investment I am more likely to follow through with the project. If you can do so, I know not everyone reading has the ability or financial to make $400 worth of purchases on the whim. if you can save up, or ask for a birthday present or Christmas present, it would actually be doing yourself a service by investing in the equipment.
That way it will be nice and easy for you to learn instead of having you to cross all the hurdles from doing things on the cheap wa y. There’s ways to record your device and stuff like that or whatever game you’re playing. There are ways to record that are less quality but a little bit more aggravating but I think that the deviance will definitely pay off if you pay for higher quality hardware and software from the beginning. But beyond that but a lot of the things that I already said will definitely apply here as well.
— CWA Mobile Gaming (@Clash_with_Ash) November 29, 2016
Reach out to the person that makes the game you’re covering. Even if its big! Even if you’re covering the new Mario Brother’s game or something. The new Mario Run game, reach out to whom ever the developer is. And just let them know! Do like I did, let them know every month or so. What I like to do is.. I am a huge fan of silicon valley and I really do a lot of research and as funny and as silly as it may seem because its really apples to oranges I do a lot of research.
I read the biography of Elon Musk, I read the biography of Amazon. Jeff Bezo, Steve Jobs, you know them. The history of twitter and stuff like that and I try to apply some of these business lessons to my youtube channel.
I’m a big fan of doing a little bit of research in the area and treating your youtube channel, even if its really small- especially if its really small, treating it like a business. You can actually have a lot of fun with that, you can look at the analytics, you can understand what your demographic is. You should always understand and have a good knowledge of whos watching your video. Are they watching mostly in the United States or is it an International audience?
You can use that information to kind of cater towards your audience. For me for example, my audience is mostly 99% men. I am not going to include too many shout outs to the women or make material catering towards the females by any stretch. Because I know they’re not watching my channel. The same thing goes with ages. If you have all kids who are school age kids watching my channel, you’re probably not going to release your videos when they’re in school.
There are many factors that you want to take into account but just understanding the demographic, your analytics, and what they want to watch and to provide that content for them is always a good idea. Additionally I would setup, right off the bat, i would set up a facebook page, I would set up a twitter account, and I would make sure i include that in my video. I mention those ways to reach me in every single one of my videos. Lastly, I am not a fan at all of asking people to like your videos or begging people to comment, subscribe or like. I think two little tips that you can do is; You can put a call to action at the end of your video.
I like to phrase it like this, you can say “Hey guys, thank you so much for watching. If you enjoy this type of content, feel free to subscribe, I come out with videos every day.” Something like that, instead of “Hey guys! please subscribe”. You want to watch the tone of your request. It is hard to get people to press that subscribe button.
So do it in a tactful and respect ways. Likes are pretty much the same type of thing, I don’t like to ask people for likes at all. Likes don’t even matter in YouTube algorithm so I don’t like to ask my viewers of something that doesn’t even help me. So those are just some little ideas there.
As far as getting comments, I like to make a question of the day. I don’t always call it the question of the day. But it does generate more interaction with your community. So my question last night was “What player do you think is better. The guy who spends money and gets way further in the game? Or the guy who doesn’t spend any money, and doens’t make it that far in the game but he’s doing it 100% free to play.”
So that one question I asked midway through the video, probably lead to 200 comments of people weighing in. It kind of made people feel more like a community. They were all commenting on each others acomments, agreeing or disagree. That’s a good way to stimulate comments without saying please comment on my video. Tell them what to say rather then just ask them a random thing like just comment, you know? Those are just little tiny pieces of advice.
Question 12: How does Youtube videos make money? People want to make videos but they want to do it for a living, but they don’t want to invest until they know they can do it for a living.
Tim: Youtube pays you per 1,000 views and that’s all based on ad revenue. So a bidding process takes place every single time someone watches your video. Advertisers have a split second or a microsecond to bid on that videos view, and you get a percentage of that advertisement fee. Per 1,000 views. So that sounds like a pretty high threshold. That is pretty much the case, if you have a video that makes 3,000 views, that’s pretty much.. well its kind of a disadvantage here.
Unfortunately, gamers don’t spend a lot of money on ads. It tends to be a younger audience, and that definitely affects how much you’ll be paid as a gamer on youtube. Because the most people watching your videos are 16 year old boys and those boys aren’t going to be buying many ads for the most part.
So because of that our CPM (clicks per minute) will be a little lower, per 1000 views. Some people may get paid up to 5 to 10 dollars per 1000 views. Where as mine is usually around the dollar range. It’s not bad when you start figuring when your channel gets to be around my size, usually around 200,000 to 300,000 subscribers you’re getting like 100,000 to 200,000 viewers a day.
That’s basically $100-$200 a day. That’s basically before taxes, thats basically what I make. Aside from promotions and stuff like that on top of it. It’s really as simple as that, there are different methods to try and up your CPM and there are all kinds of strategy within the strategy. But that’s basically thats how the payments go, and its a monthly payment. Every 30 days you get a direct deposit from Google.
Question 13: What are you future plans for the channel and where do you see yourself with it?
Tim: I think goals are good, but I haven’t really set goals for my Youtube channel. I think its important to kind of treat it like a hobby. And you know as soon as you start setting really high goals for yourself, you know, the thing about youtube thats really important is its not always linear. You might see spikes, and then things might even dip off. It doesn’t mean your channel is dying per say. It just means there are million factors other than you that could be affecting your channel.
How popualr are the games you are playing, are they still really popular if not you’re going to see a downward trend of your views and so many other things as well. So I don’t really have any goals, just continuing to do daily content and just continuing to get better at sourcing out jobs. As i mention I source out my graphic design and stuff like that, so continung to make strides in outsourcing is just a short term goal of mine. so that’s pretty much it.
I never think about the money. If you do it for the money- the way I look at it is, I do it for growth. I don’t think one day I want to make $10,000 or $20,000 a month. instead I just look at it in one day, I want to have 500,000 subscribers. I don’t even make goals per say for myself, but I just think that wouldn’t it be nice to one day.
I just look at my analytics constantly, so its not like I dont’ care, i’m just not a big fan of goals. Just my personal opinion, I think goals kind of look tacky when you put it out there pubically. So like I don’t like looking at someone’s channel when they’re like “Hey guys, we’re almost to our goal of 20,000 subscribers if we get there-” to me it seems a little gimmicky.
Question 14: Is there anything you want to say to gamers in general, that want to venture into their own little gaming thing. It could be youtube, blogging, or whatever it may be, what is something that you would say to them in regards to expanding your expertise.
Tim: What you should do is just play the game and have a pretty good knowledge of the game. Also you should watch some youtube channels, if you’re going into youtube. Or maybe you want to stream your game, no matter what you want to do, watch someone who you really think is better than you or at least on the same level as you. Look at what they’re doing that really works, that really works or that really appeals to you personally.
Then try to build off that, and then leave behind anything that you don’t like. and that will kind of spark new ideas to fill in that space with your own personal touch onto what you already really liked about someone else. Now if there is no body covering the game that you want to cover, that could be a really good th ing or a really bad thing. The good thing means that you have it all to yourself if you want to.
The bad thing means that maybe no body is cover the game because no body is playing the game. So you do want make sure that you have some sort of an audience. So I’m not going to make a video about how to beat Megaman 2 for NES.
Because there are not that many people playing Megaman 2 unfortunately, but maybe there is, as a one video. But I wouldn’t create a hundred videos on it. So just finding whats going to be somewhat popular, and then doing your own take on it. As far as picking out a topic, that’s something I put a lot of thought into every day.
After a while, you start to get a feel for what your audience really likes and what they don’t like. You never want to keep repeating what they like every single video, but take videos that perform video really well. And don’t be afraid to duplicate them in terms of the overall subject of the video.
For example I’ll do a video on a certain type of deck in Clash Royale, its basically like a real time player vs player where you build a deck full of characters kind of like- I don’t know, its kind of like I’ll build one archetype of a strategy deck inside the game that I cover.
If I notice that one thing does really well, like maybe you’re covering a MMO and when you teach about Crafting it does really really well. So what you can do is kind of keep that on the back burner, that if I start to dip in popularity or if my views start to take a sudden dip for whatever reason you know. Im going to make sure I have a crafting video ready to go. Make sure you always pay attention tow hat your audience is always watching and what they like. But keep trying to make it fresh at the same time.
Thanks for taking the time to do this interview Tim. I am sure a lot of people will find this helpful. If you want to check out more of him, be sure to visit his channel.