This is the first article of a two part blog post:
- Content Marketing Guide – coming up with ideas
- Content Marketing Guide – organization and promotion
Foreword: This blog post is heavily influenced by the MOZ Blog “Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing” If you are any interested in Content Marketing, SEO or any other marketing related subject I urge you to visit their blog regularly due to their well explained and detailed topics.
What is Content Marketing?
Content has become more and more a synonym for creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent information to attract a clearly-defined audience. It primarily evolves around owned media (web property that you can control) where the most important resource you need is creativity.
It is indispensable for search engine optimisation due to its metadata which help robots like Google and Facebook wrap their digital heads around the complexities of content they’re indexing.
In the end every mail, every tweet, every landing page, blog or press-kit is content. Anything that communicates a message to an audience. It is key as a small time developer because budgets are usually too tight for paid press coverage or huge ad campaigns on display networks so you’re left with owned media channels like Facebook, Twitter or your Blog.
What is the goal of Content Marketing?
- Respect and admiration within the Industry
Nothing helps more than being known within your industry, the press will more likely cover your game, Youtubers are keen to show your game to their fans, Events are much more approachable if your name rings a bell.
- Studio (or game awareness)
This might follow after press coverage has taken off and the actual audience you had in mind is actually seeing the game. Content gives your audience something to talk about, recommendations and links can be passed within your fan base due to content you provided.
- Site Traffic
A more tangible goal and probably the most obvious benefit. Content brings people to your site out of curiosity where they can find information about your current and upcoming games and your studio.
- Improved SEO
As mentioned above content can have a huge impact on how Google sees you in its ranking.
If people from more well-known Sites link to you (Editorial Links), Google will know you’re authoritative and important. Also Google is able to crawl your content and get a better understanding what your company is about (if it is written organically).
Content Marketing might take quite a bit of effort and creativity to get the wheel turning but over time you will have a momentum going and a routine for content creation. You should not expect results within the first few days but don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t working for you.
How do you create Content?
First thing you’ll need is a content marketing strategy which focuses on the questions WHY and WHAT. It specifically takes a look at the vision of your studio, its goals, audience research as well as voice and style.
A good template I can recommend can be found on MOZ content strategy.
In this template topics like audience research and Personas are well covered and you can easily adapt it to your studio.
But how do you come up with an actual idea for great quality content?
Here are some strategies to come up with some ideas:
- The swipe file
If you haven’t already started with bookmarking inspirational, motivational or just what you consider an admirable piece (maybe even from a competitor). This is a great way of “cheating” your creativity in case you can’t come up with something yourself.
- Actual brainstorms
This should preferably be done with team members to increase objectivity or even better with people who aren’t familiar with your game but in your target audience (e.g. in form of surveys or Facebook posts asking for opinions)
- Competitive research
Hopefully you’re already looking through your competitors content on a regular basis.
There are tools to measure the success of competitors compared to yours like the Open Site Explorer.
Important factors you should have in mind when researching are what’s getting links, which keywords are used and what type of content are the best performing competitors publishing.
Another way is to use a tool like Followerwonk to analyse who your competitor is following and followed by on Twitter.
So now that you know how to come up with ideas for content, you also have to know what makes content valuable to your readership.
Understanding what your audience needs are is one key factor here. You have to understand what they want out of a blog post specifically on your website (new information and progress updates). A good place to start talking with your audience is on other platforms though, like the gamedev subreddit or your Twitter account, there you can get an actual idea and conversation on what people would want out of your blog posts.
A question you should ask is for what channel you are creating content and what format it has to be as there are dozens as Hubspot recently showed in a blog post.
But in the end, what makes content great? Why are some blog posts gaining attention while some are barely getting clicks?
Dejan Marketing has put their research into a handy infographic detailing why readers skim your content instead of reading every word:
This leaves us with the question what exactly great content is:
- Relevant and recent
- Targeted to a specific Persona (audience)
- Personal Content (content that makes your team seem like human beings and not robots)
- No “standard article template” that you apply to every other article you publish
- Quality not Quantity
Thanks so much for reading, again if you’re interested in those topics you should check out the MOZ blog also you can read the second part of this guide here! 🙂
Other good resources if you want to know more about content marketing: