Something a lot of indie developers don’t consider when they’re doing marketing is just how important content is. Content and its role in marketing is something we briefly discuss in this article about creating a marketing and PR strategy, but I wanted to delve a bit deeper into the topic.
Content can be anything from a press release to a live stream. If you’re showing off your game, in any form, then you’re creating content. Without content, you have no way of getting your target audience interesting in your game.
There are two types of content:
- Compulsory Content
- Optional Content
Compulsory Content is content which is required to sell your game on a platform. These are things like a game description, screenshots or a video (depending on the platform). Most platform holders, such as Steam, won’t let you sell your game without this required content.
Most of the time you won’t think about Compulsory Content, instead, you’ll just create it as and when it’s needed. It’s important though to make a note of the content you’ll have to eventually make, as this way you can keep things consistent with the rest of your marketing strategy.
Optional Content is content that isn’t required but will make up the bulk of your marketing and PR strategy. This is content such as a press release, an announcement trailer or tweets on Twitter. In order to get your target audience interested in your game, you will need to create a variety of optional content to appeal to them.
A press release with a trailer attached is a good way of reaching a broad audience if distributed correctly. However, you’ll also need to create more specific content for the social platforms where your audience hang out. A long trailer might not be so appealing to people on social media, who may have limited data, but a short 10-20 second trailer should do the trick.
— Xbox (@Xbox) July 31, 2018
Even though your content will take lots of different forms, the tone and message of this content should be consistent throughout your marketing campaign and should appeal to your target demographic.
The tone and message of your Optional Content should also match up with your Compulsory Content. You can’t spend your entire marketing campaign saying your game is an RPG in press releases, only for gamers to find out that your game is a First Person Shooter when they get to the PlayStation Store.
An example of the consequences of a disconnected message is the Double Fine game Brutal Legend. Brutal Legend, which was published by EA, was marketed as an action game when in reality it was more of a Real-Time Strategy game. This lead to some confusion among gamers and critics alike. In a Wired review of Brutal Legend, Chris Kohler laments: “All I could think was, “This is not what I bargained for”.
In a Eurogamer interview with Tim Schafer, Brutal Legend’s Creative Director, said: “There was definitely a messaging problem with that game … The part that I felt was most special about the game [the RTS gameplay] got unfairly vilified because of poor messaging. I think it’s the neatest thing about the game turning into a big negative for people.”
The importance of being consistent cannot be overstated then.
Consistency and placement isn’t the only thing that needs to be considered when creating content. Timing is key. Just how timing is important when it comes to selling your game, knowing when to publish what is an art form within itself. Releasing a reveal trailer on New Year’s Eve, for example, would be a waste of the asset. Wasting assets, and therefore time, is something you need to avoid when being an indie.
If you’re creating content and it’s not resonating with your audience, then go back to your marketing strategy and your content plan and reevaluate. Don’t be too put off if things aren’t going your way in the beginning though. Marketing is a long and arduous task where the results aren’t always immediately apparent.
If you’re concerned about your marketing content then get in touch. We can create your marketing and PR content plan for you! We can also execute it too by creating content, managing your PR etc. Email us here!
[Featured image is from Sea of Thieves by Rare].