Watch day 5 as I use start creating content to help Vecitas start getting some online attention -- and tips you can use to help your indie game get attention, too!
This is Day Five of my series where you get to watch me market a indie game. The challenge this indie game dev is probably having the same challenge as you are...
- What do you do when you release your game, and there is barely any sales?
- How do you promote your indie game after you launch it?
- How do you get more gamers playing your game?
- How can you spread word-of-mouth?
- How can you increase game sales?
Today I'll be working on some actual content to help market an multiplayer space shooter indie game. I'll be helping Patigoniart, the game dev team who developed Vecitas.
Vecitas is a multiplayer space shooter indie game.
And the game's success hinges on the multiplayer aspect. This is a huge challenge. And I'm grateful for the dev team letting me show you how I can help market their game.
My goal is to help this dev team, but also show you how you can use some basic marketing technique to help you with you promote your own indie game. Chances are, you're facing similar challenges.Anyway, let's start get to work...
Create Content That a Gamer Is Searching For
It's very tempting to create content about YOUR game. It's very easy to put all the focus on your game. It's very easy to come up with ideas that are about you and your video game.
And this strategy looks like the right thing to do, because you see a lot of successful video games do this. Most of the content you see, is usually about them and their game.
So, it's only natural to copy what successful video games do in terms of what kind of content they publish and share.
What most indie game devs don't see, however, is that this sort of content helps MAINTAIN interest of a video game. Talking about your game is a great strategy when you already have a huge community, and momentum.
But in order to get that momentum... in order to build a community... in order to get some traction and interest, this strategy doesn't work.
When you look at successful indie games and see what kind of content they put out, you're falling into survival bias thinking. You're getting false conclusions about how to get attention and interest.
My questions is, how did these successful video games get interest BEFORE they had all this success and momentum? What did they do to build a community?
This is the type of content I'll be creating for Vecitas: content that will build interest and build a community.
And after 12 years of doing digital marketing, my best strategy is to create content that the GAMER is looking for. I want to put the focus on the gamer, and what THEY get.
Sure, I'll be talking about Vecitas, and it's features... but I'll be talking about how these features fulfill a gamers need.
My goal here is to do the counter-intuitive thing, and put all the focus on the gamer, and what the gamer will GET after playing Vecitis.
I'm doing this because this is the best way I know how to get interest and build a community. Yeah, once Vecitas gains momentum, and builds a solid fan base, I'll start doing other types of marketing.
But to get that initial interest, the focus has to be put on the gamer.
Because what are gamers mostly interested about? Themselves. They are self-interested. They are always looking for new games to play to fulfill their selfish needs. And my goal is to find out what those needs are, and then communicate how Visitas fulfills those needs.
Content That Will Get a New Gamers Attention and Want To Buy and Play This Indie Game
The first challenge is to come up with a sentence that sums up your game in less than 10 words. This is important, because this sentence is an ad for your indie game.
If you watched my last video, Day 4, I came up with this sentence for Vecitas...
Casual Top Down Space Shooter You Can Play With Your Friends
I wanted to come up with a headline that is jam packed with benefits, and its gamer focused. Again, it would be easy to have a simple headline like.
Vecitas: Buy Now
Most video games do this. But again, these game already have momentum. They already have a fanbase of some sort.
What if a gamer never has heard of you? Something generic isn't going to get their attention. That's why the headline is gamer focused. In one single headline, the gamer knows exactly what the game is and what they GET.
And what they get is a chance to play a space shooter with their buddies.
The headline is just the beginning. It's meant to grab the gamers initial attention. If the headline doesn't work, then the gamer isn't that much interested in find out more about this game.
The Headline Is More Important Than The Content Itself
When creating content, the headline is the most important part. It's basically the "ad" for the content. The headline is there only to grab attention, and get the person to want to read or watch more.
Buzzfeed is one of the best example. Their headlines are more interesting than the actual content. Of course, this leads to "clickbait". But you get my point. It still works. Even when people know most of these headlines are click bait, they still click on the article.
Another great example, is reddit. Their site is designed all around the headline. All the focus is put on the headline. And good headlines get up voted... and bad ones die.
Twitter is another great example. Their "status update" is basically a headline. It's easier to consume a short, quick headline, than it is to read a block of text. In a short, 140 character sentence, you get all the info you need. And if you're really interested, you'll click on the twitter post.
The reasons headlines are so important is because it's how humans consume online content. They read the headline to decide if they'll spend more time consuming the rest of the content.
People do this because it's the most efficient way to find content that THEY are interested in. There is so much content out there, that it's almost impossible to consume it all. So, people skim headlines, searching for content they want to click on.
Reddit, Buzzfeed, Twitter all survive on good headlines. They know that people can't consume all the content that the internet creates. So, a headline is a shortcut for people to find the content that is interesting to them.
How To Create an Interesting Headline That Will Attract a Gamer To Click Your Links and Consumer Your Videos and Articles About Your Indie Game
In the past 4 days, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what type of gamer would play Vecitas. I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out what sub-genre Vecitas falls into.
This research and extra work will help you come up with a headline that targeted to the gamer you want to attract.
In other words, by knowing what Vecitas is and what type of gamer wants to play this game, I can come up with a short sentence that will attract that gamer.
So, know your gamer. And know what your gamer will get.
This is the most important part of a good, attention grabbing headline: what will the gamer GET if they read or watch the rest of your content.
Will this headline...
Casual Top Down Space Shooter You Can Play With Your Friends
... work? I don't know. I'm a short-term pessimist, but long-term optimist. Meaning, I don't think that what I do right now will work... but I know that it will eventually work.
I approach my work like a scientist where I assume ignorance, and don't pretend to know everything. My goal is to find the truth, and not find evidence to support my opinions.
So, the headline I've come up is good enough. It's the "control". It's not perfect, but that's ok. I'll be testing other headlines later, but for now it's good enough.
So, what makes a headline interesting? How can you use a headline to grab a gamer's attention? What do I mean when I say, "talk about what the gamer will GET".
What Makes a Good Headline?
A great headline will offer two things to your gamer...
One, the headline will convey what the gamers will gain, save, accomplish, when playing your indie game. The headline shows how your game will INCREASE their enjoyment.
Two, the headline will show the gamer what they are missing out, if they don't play your indie game. The headline shows how your game will DECREASE boredom or dissatisfaction.
The success of content is due to the success of the headline. And to grab a person's attention, it's always best to put the focus on THEM.
If you notice Buzzfeed, almost all their headlines have the word, "YOU" in them. Like them or not, they know exactly how to make headlines interesting.
Let's look at an example in the video game industry. If you go visit Grand Theft Auto V's website, you'll see something weird...
Their headlines is...
Visit Los Santos and Blaine County
Where Civilization Litteraly Ends -- See For Yourself...
Rockstar Games knows how to market. They know that talking about themselves isn't always the best way to get attention.
If you look at Horizon: Zero Dawn's website, their headline is the generic type...
Horizon Zero Dawn
Only On Playstation
Buy Digital | Buy Disc
This is the type of headline you expect to see huge games use. And they do. But Rockstar Games uses fundamental marketing techniques. They put the focus on the GAMER and not on themselves.
"See the land the excesses the of the entertainment industry built" is a lot more attention grabbling then just having the name of your game splashed on the front.
You see what's going on here?
The content that gets most of the attention is user focused. It's all targeted to what the person will GET if they continue to read or watch.
Having something generic like your logo or the name of your video game as you headline only fulfills YOUR needs. Everybody wants their name out there. And that's fine. But when a gamer doesn't know about you, then talking about yourself is going to be hard to get attention.
So, how do you write a good, attention grabbing, headline? Let me show you in 3 easy steps...
Step 1: What Will a Gamer Get
In my example, a gamer will get to play with their friends if they play Vecitas. It may seem self-evident, and obvious. But remember, a gamer knows nothing about you... they have no idea what your game is. It's important to explain what the gamer will get, because a gamer isn't going to take the time to analyze your game, and try to figure this out.
And, if it's hard for you to figure this out, then it'll be almost impossible for a gamer to figure this out.So, your first step is to figure out what your gamer will get after playing your game.
Step 2: What Genre Is Your Indie Game In?
Gamers judge games by what sub-genre it's in. What I mean is, gamers will play one certain genre, and avoid another.
By explaining exactly what sub-genre your game is in, then you're weeding out all the gamers that aren't interested.
And that's a good thing. You only want to attract gamers that are die-hard fans of your particular sub-genre.
Why do this? Because if you try to be "everything to everyone" then you're going to attract no-one. A die-hard fan likes feeling they are part of an exclusive group. Again, this is all about them.
Step 3: Use This Headline Formula
A [Your Video Games Sub-Genre] Where You Get To [Result Gamer Will Get]
So, for example...
A RPG Rogue-Lite Where You Get To Farm and Collect Crops To Survive
A Bullet-Hell FPS Where You Have To Manage Your Colony
So... the first part is the sub-genre your game is in. Then you add in, "Where You". This is important because it puts the focus on the gamer. Then the last part is the main feature of your game.
Remember, you need to figure this out. If it's hard to figure out the main feature of your game, and what the gamer will get, then it'll be impossible for the gamer to do this sort of analysis.