Learn How To Promote Your Video Game By Building Relationships With Influencers
I'm about to teach you how to get YouTubers and Twitch Streamers to discover your game... and how to get them to play and talk about your game in front of thousands of gamers.
In order to do this, we must first learn one of the most important reasons why these influencers REJECT most of the video games that are sent to them by game devs.
This will help you immediately. You'll know why influencers reject most video games, and how to create a relationship with them.
If a game dev doesn't know how to approach YouTubers and Twitch Streamers, then they run the risk of getting rejected, and missing an opportunity to get a lot of eyeballs on their video game... and ultimately a lot of game promotion.
So, get comfortable. Maybe grab your favourite drink. Put on one of your favourite video game soundtrack. And let's learn what most game dev's will never know about how to approaching influencers and get them playing your video game...
A Story About How an Underdog Got Noticed By Billion Dollar Companies
Let me tell you a story that will help you understand what I'm about to teach you. I have 12 years experience in selling and marketing digital goods.. I don't usually like talking about myself, but I think it's important that you learn from my mistakes.
Back in 2004, I was trying to build a web app dev and web design company. Except EVERYBODY was a web app developer or designer.
Does this sound familiar? How many people do you know are video game developers? How many new indie game dev studios are popping up?
Anyway, after a year of paying for advertising, focusing on marketing my "brand name", and sitting down and making cold calls to businesses, nothing worked.
But in 2005, I was lucky to have found a "sub-genre" in web dev and design. I started a scanning company (ScanCanada.ca) where I scanned companies and peoples slides, negatives, and photos into digital. And then I built web apps so people can share and host their scans.
I was still doing web dev and design. But I found a little "sub-genre" no other web dev or designer was taking advantage of.
Also, I had no money for advertising and branding, so I had to learn how to do FREE digital marketing.
And my efforts into learning digital marketing has landed me clients such as billion dollar companies like BHP Billiton Diamonds Inc, and other well known business and organizations like Much Music, Canadian Football League, Penguin Book Publishing, Government of Canada, etc.
My moral of the story is, I did absolutely ZERO branding or advertising. I did it all doing digital marketing. I was a small guy that attracted HUGE companies and organizations.
Well, this is exactly what I'm going to teach you today. It doesn't matter how small you are, how many people know you... YOU can get the attention of big name YouTubers and Twitch Streamers that have millions of followers.
First, I want to tell you 3 reasons why YouTubers and Twitch Streams REJECT a lot of video games. This will help you immediately. You will avoid doing what most game devs do wrong.
Then I'll show you a 3 step action plan that will help you get immediate results like connecting with YouTuber and Twitcher, so they promote your video game.
Ready? Let's keep learning...
3 Reasons Why YouTubers and Twitch Streamers Reject Playing Most Video Games
The obvious strategy most indie game devs do is give out free game keys to YouTubers and Twitch Streamers.
This worked back in 2012 when there was VERY little content, and these influences were hungry for content.
But today, this obvious strategy is working less and less. Why? Here's 3 reasons why...
Reason Number 3: Over Crowded Market Place Full Of The Same Indie Video Games
If you listen to the Co-Optional podcast, you'll see a new trend in their format. At the end of their podcast, they list off all the new releases that week.
Except, because there's so many new releases, this segment of the show was taking up 1 hour.
And TB said it best. He said that they're no longer going to talk "about another pixel art, platformer, puzzle games".
Now, there's nothing wrong with pixel platformer puzzle game. Except there's a lot of them. And in an overcrowded market place, it's harder and harder to get heard.
And YouTubers and Twitch Streamers want attention. And playing the same game over and over again, it not how to get attention.
These influences are looking for the new and novel. They want to be the first influencer to discover a NEW indie game. They are hoping that they are first in talking about a game that will blow up, and be really popular.
They want to be FIRST in discovering a new game because it helps them be well known, too.
And because this is the content that gets them views. After doing this for so long, these influencers know that, "New Gets Views".
If a game dev is making another "me too" game... if they are following a trend... if they copy what's popular... then they're going to get rejected. By the time that "me too" game is done, it's too late, it's no longer new.
Reason Number 2: Too Many Games = Not Enough Time To Play Them All
Back in 2012, everybody had time to play new games coming out. Infulcencres were hungry for content, and they seeked out new games. They even had to pay for the games! And to get a free game key!? That would be something very special to them.
But today these influencers have STOPPED seeking out new games. They no longer need content. And with a flood of new games coming out every day, most of these influencers don't have time to even play the demo, let alone an entire game.
And free game keys are thrown at them all the time. But since they don't have time, these free game keys sit there, unused.
They take what they wanted back in 2012 for granted. They would have killed to get all these free keys back in 2012.
And that's the problem. There are so many new games out now. They are all competing to get attention. And what use to work in getting a YouTuber to talk and play your video game, doesn't work anymore. It doesn't matter how many free game keys these influencers get, they just don't have time anymore.
So, since free game keys don't work anymore in getting a YouTuber and Twitchers' attention, something new is happening...
Reason Number 1: AAA Gaming is Paying For What Use To Be Free Promotion
Giving out free keys is not enough anymore to get your game any attention. Even AAA publishers are noticing that giving out free game keys doesn't guarantee an influencer will play the game.
Again, these influencers don't have time. There's so much content out there, that THEY are calling the shots now.
So, how do you get the attention of a big YouTuber or Twitch Streamer who's calling all the shots, and has no time?
AAA publishers are starting to notice that their number one way to sell more video games is through these influencers.
The old media doesn't work anymore. Commercials, brand name advertising, print advertising, even banner ads are old.
New media is where these AAA publishers are putting all their marketing budget to. It's brand deals with influencers. It's paying Twitch Streamers to play a new AAA game on opening weekend. It's paying YouTubers to do "Let's Plays".
So What Do You Do If Free Game Keys Don't Work, And You Don't Have Thousands of Dollars To Sponsor YouTubers and Twitch Streamer?
This, my friend, is the new video game market you're facing. It's not only harder to get the attention of these influencers... it's now gotten even more expensive to do so.
But, there is a way... if you follow these three simple steps, I'm about to show you.
Nobody is going to stop playing indie video games. Sure, it's going to be a lot harder to get the attention of a gamer or an influencer. But it can be done.
And if you follow my 3 step system you're about to learn, then you'll learn how to get a YouTuber or Twitch Stream to discover your game. And you'll get them to talk and play your game in front of thousands of other gamers. The ultimate goal here is to get those games to visit your store and then buy your game.
So, let's keep learning...
The "Underdog Game Dev Promotion System": A 3 Step Strategy To Get YouTubers and Twitch Streamers To Discover YOU
I call this technique the, "Underdog Game Dev Promotion System". Here's why...
In my 12 years in digital marketing, and attracting HUGE customers, while being the small guy, I've learned ONE important lesson:
People do business with people they like. And like any relationship, if you come on too strong, then you run the risk of being rejected.
I've landed huge, brand name, billion dollar companies because I learned how to build a relationship first, before asking anybody to "BUY NOW".
Let me ask you, would you spend $2.50 for one scan? If you had 1000 old photos, that would cost you $2500.
Sould like a deal? Probably not hey?
Let's say you had 30,000 photos? Would you spend that kind of money? No way, right?
But a lot of companies I did business with, had no issues with that. And the reason I got their attention in the first place, wasn't because of advertising, or brand name marketing. Have you even heard of ScanCanada.ca? Probably not. Neither did anybody else.
My point here is, there is a strategy for a small guy, the underdog, to get the attention of a big name, big time person.
And it's all about relationship building.
Influencers are still going to play indie video games. That will never stop. They will still stream them and play them. But giving out keys and interrupting them with emails and twitter messages isn't going to work anymore.
But there is a way to get the attention of big name influencers, that will play your video game, talk about it, and help promote it ...and help sell you more copies of your video game.
And it has nothing to do with ads, press releases, or, paid promotion. And it doesn't matter if you're an underdog game dev.
In this 3 step strategy, you're going to learn how to get THEM to find YOU. Here's what you need to know...
Step 1: Make It Easier For Gamers and Influencers To Discover New Games By Doing This...
It all goes back to building a relationship. When you meet somebody new, and you ask them for a big commitment, then they're going to feel like they're obligated to you. Big commitments right away are scary.
Giving a YouTuber a game key, and asking them to play your ENTIRE game is a too big of a commitment. Even asking them to play a demo is too big of a commitment.
So, what's your next best option? Is it making a video game trailer? This is the obvious strategy most game devs do. They look around, and see that everybody is making video game trailers.
Except, not a lot of game devs are doing counter intuitive strategy. Let me explain what I mean...
Not a lot are thinking about what THEY can do for a YouTuber or Twitch. And they don't want to know how the gamer consumes content. For a Hollywood movie, a trailer works. It's an easy way to get emotionally hooked into a movie. A movie trailer is an easy way for somebody to discover a new movie they'd want to pay and watch.
But gamers consume content WAY different than a movie goer. Gamers say, "I don't want to watch it, I want to play it".
So, how do you get a gamer to PLAY your trailer? That's next...
Step 2: Create a "7 Minute Gamer Demo"
Here's a solution. And it's what I call the, "7 Minute Gamer Demo".
This isn't the type of demo you're thinking about. It's not the first level of your game. It's not the first 2 or 3 hours of your game. It has no tutorial. It doesn't have all the features.
The "7 Minute Gamer Demo" is sort of like a playable teaser, or a playable trailer. It only contains the best parts of your game. It's almost a stand alone, little game.
And it's short on purpose. It has to be seven minutes or less. Why? Because two reasons:
One reason is, it's going to force you to create something that is the "heart" of your game. It's what makes your game fun. It's the emotional reasons why people will play your game. When you're limited to make a video game less than 7 minute long, you're only going to keep the best parts.
And the second reason why it needs to be short is, because this is your ad for your game. People don't have 2 hours to watch a movie and decide if they would go watch it, right? That's why there's movie trailers. A short movie trailer is an ad for the movie.
Same with your "7 Minute Gamer Demo". It's an ad for your game. And instead of the gamer watching your trailer, they're PLAYING your trailer.
And a "7 Minute Gamer Demo" is a lot easier to consume for a YouTuber or Twitch Streamer. Again, they don't have time to play every free game key they get. But they do have seven minutes to play a short, stand alone little game.
With a "7 Minute Gamer Demo" there is no commitment. The gamer and influencer has nothing to lose. They in fact may be excited because here's an EASY way to discover new games.
So, how do you get gamers to discover your "7 Minute Gamer Demo" in the first place?
Step 3: Make Them Come To YOU... And Give Out Your "7 Minute Gamer Demo" For Free
My secret in landing huge companies to use my scanning services was getting THEM to come to me. For 12 years, I did ZERO advertising. I didn't have a team of salespeople. I didn't pay for brand deals. I didn't even bother with SEO.
What I did was, I created online content talking about what I hated about my industry... what some people were doing to cut corners... what some companies were doing to rip off customers.
I never talked about me, my features, or my scanning process.
I created articles, videos, and audio focusing on what the consumer wanted.
And at the end of every article, I offered a FREE demo of my services worth $50 to $500.
You see, this works because when nobody knows you, and they don't trust you, then you need to start somewhere.
You can't ask a big well know person, company, or anybody, to BUY NOW, because you haven't proved that you're trustworthy, or that your stuff works.
By created high valuable content that educated people, I started building that trust. And then I gave them something for free to demonstrate that I "can walk the talk".
So, what does this have to do with you and getting YouTubers to play your game?
It's the same thing... YouTubers don't know you, they probably don't trust that your game is fun, they probably think it's like every other game they played... and it's going to waste their time.
But, instead of interrupting them, and going after them, you create it so they come to YOU.
By creating content that gamers and influencers love to consume. As a game dev, you have an inside secret knowledge no YouTuber has. You know the dirty little secrets that your industry does to rip off gamers. You know how some game designers make games to get people addicted, as if they were playing the slot machines. You know how some game devs create "click bait" games.
This is the sort of content YouTubers want to talk about on their channel. They want insights that YOU know, and not a lot of game devs are sharing.
No, instead, most game devs are talking about their devlog, about their games features, about their games progress reports. They hope this sort of boring content will get them attention. But if you've tried this, you know it doesn't get much attention.
This is not the content YouTubers care about. They care about insights-- that YOU know about in your industry -- and that nobody has heard before. And there is nothing juicer for a YouTuber to have an "inside guy or gal" that gives them great content.
If you're the source to give them some great content and insights, then you're starting to build a relationship.
So, instead of emailing or PMing YouTubers game keys or even demos... you do the counterintuitive thing. You PM them a quick message about some of the insights you know, and ask them if that's something they're interested in.
When you start a conversation with them, and build some trust, then that's when you ask them if they don't mind trying your "7 Minute Gamer Demo".
Again, everything is a small step. Nothing is thrown at them that is asking for a huge commitment.
This is exactly how a small underdog, like me, with no advertising and branding, landed billion dollar companies to do business with me.
And there's no reason why this wouldn't work on a YouTuber with a million viewers. You can start a relationship with these big players, but it takes some finesse, and small steps where you give them value and not ask much out of them.
How To Use The "Underdog Game Dev Promotion System" RIGHT NOW...
What I want you to do right now is get out a clean piece of paper, or open a new word doc. What you'll do in the next 15 minutes will help you remember everything you just learned. By putting your knowledge into action, your brain will absorb all of it, and you'll never forget it.
And you'll start your adventure in building relationships with huge YouTubers and Twitchers that will help promote your game and ultimately help you sell a lot of copies.
So, in the next 15 minutes answer me these questions:
- What is the "Heart" of your game?
- What is the funnest par part of your game?
- What is the "hook" of your game?
Answering these questions will help you create a "7 Minute Gamer Demo" that will emotionally hook a gamer. It is your ad for your game. It like a playable teaser. It's a stand alone game, not the first level.
Now, answer these questions....
- What are some insights that YouTubers should know about?
- What is some content you can offer a big YouTuber that nobody is talking about?
- What are some secrets or insights that you know about that no YouTuber is talking about?
These will help you create an introduction to a big YouTuber. Instead of interrupting them with free game keys and demos, you're offering them something of value they can use right away.
They will perk up, and listen to you if you give them something of value right off the bat.
Once you've started a dialogue based on trust, that's when it's ok to ask them to try out your 7 Minute Gamer Demo. It's low commitment, and it's only 7 minutes of the YouTubers time.
This is how you get the emotionally hooked. This is how you get them to come to you. If you want get a YouTubers and a Twitch Streamers attention, so they play your game, talk about it, and help you sell a lot of copies of your game, then you need to build a relationship first.
Advertising, paid promotions, paid sponsorship, press releases -- these are the obvious ways. And these are expensive. If you're an indie video game dev, with zero marketing budget, then your best strategy is relationship building.