One of the struggles with content marketing is coming up with ideas to write about.
You know your profession well, and can probably talk about what you do at length. But defining a topic and writing about it in a way that may benefit your studio can be tough. It can also be time consuming, particularly if you don’t have a full time member of staff creating marketing content for you, so where do you start?
What problems have you solved?
Every game development project comes with its own challenges and inevitably you’ll face numerous problems that you haven’t encountered before. The skills and experience of you and your team allow you to solve those problems, but the opportunity here is very simple…you’re probably not the first team to face that problem and certainly won’t be the last!
And that is a fantastic content marketing opportunity!
People consume and share content for different reasons, but one of the most useful reasons for marketing is that the content solves a problem. That’s the reason they share it with their social networks and that’s the reason it’s linked to and mentioned in blogs and press articles. If you can get this right, then it’s great brand exposure for your product and studio.
Documentation is content!
Often, solving relatively minor problems in game development can involve an informal chat with colleagues, some Internet research and a bit of trial and error. So the problem’s solved…what next?
Perhaps you’ll move on to the next task, but why don’t you think about documenting what you’ve learned? It would be a great resource for colleagues to have, but it’s also fantastic for other game developers who will go on to share the article you have created and others will find it via search engines in the future. This is called “evergreen content” – content that is still relevant and useful after it has been published (as opposed to news items or announcements which will be less relevant in 6 months, etc).
Building up a blog containing these types of content has a great impact on the number of visitors to your website. While these won’t all necessarily convert into sales, it will have a positive impact on how your brand is perceived and over time, you will gain “brand champions” – people who regularly engage with you on social media and share your content. This includes not just evergreen content, but also news, announcements and PR content which is where the value of this approach can really benefit your business.
Keep it simple!
Dedicating too much time to this stuff can detract from your primary objective of making your game, so you always want to find the least time consuming way of creating content. So, don’t plan out huge articles like “Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Unity!!”, but aim for more niche topics like, “Here’s How To Do XXX In Unity!!”.
It doesn’t even need to be a blog post. Content can be as simple as a Tweet!
There has been a fantastic example of this in action recently.
Dan Marshall (Size Five Games – The Swindle, etc) tweeted about his experimentation making a football game. Over the course of a few weeks, he revealed the work in progress via Twitter and got a lot of really great coverage as a result. Kotaku published an article covering the progress of game and he even got some advice from one of the devs that made Sensible Soccer! Since then, he’s been asked for an interview by BBC3 and undoubtedly had a host of other great marketing wins from the work he’s been doing. How awesome is that?
— Dan Marshall (@danthat) April 20, 2016
What’s really interesting is that I don’t think Dan would consider himself to be a content marketer. He’s simply being himself on social media, sharing his work and as a result, he’s reaping the benefits.
Have a think about how the development of Kickmen could have gone differently had it not been narrated by Dan publicly. Would the project even been completed? It started as a result of some fairly unrelated comments on a panel he was on and turned into a quick prototype.
Seriously I think I might make a football game next.
— Dan Marshall (@danthat) April 5, 2016
If Dan hadn’t been sharing the progress of the project, would he have been motivated to continue it to completion?
Dan may have accidentally made a football game, but I think the real story here is that he’s accidentally turned a solitary tweet into a sublime example of content marketing and will likely end up with a great product to add to his studio’s already strong portfolio.
People often think of marketing as a fairly contrived entity that must be forced. The best marketing is simple, genuine and engaging and Dan Marshall and a few others like him really excel at this. It’s not unrealistic that you could do the same.