IndieDev Blog Content About What?
Now that you've created your own IndieDev website, what do you blog about? This has been one of the most perplexing things I've read about since starting from nothing about learning IndieDev.
IndieDevs are Businesses
Video Game Marketing consistently showed up in GameDev Postmortems as the #1 error made by development teams.
When I searched the web for free marketing advice, all of the blogs talked about marketing from a business perspective (there wasn't a lot on video game marketing back then, other then send it to a reviewer and hope it does well).
The main lessons from those sites said to give free "expert" knowledge consistently. This is called "content marketing."
When you conduct content marketing you don't talk about who you are, you just give your audience the information.
This free knowledge creates a good relationship with your prospective client and then eventually you offer them the full amount of your expertise for a price.
I'm not interested in making an expert course when I don't consider myself an expert, so I couldn't do that.
But, I do like the idea of creating a good relationship by giving away free content.
IndieDevs are Artists
I ran into the opposite view of what content marketing is through a course meant for artists.
In his course, The Abundant Artist, Cory Huff talks about learning to tell stories while completing your art.
The course is about making a connection with your audience on a human level, sharing your Uniquity and finding "your people."
You talk personally to your audience, share your thoughts and methodology as your create your piece of art, and help them become part of your journey. They can help, through helping complete your art through their funding.
So there I sat, with two conflicting pieces of advice trying to find what the "approved solution" was.
Does the Gamer Really Care?
I've seen a couple thoughts on the developer channels about how players don't really care about he developer, because it all comes down to the game.
I agree with this to an extent based on my personal experiences:
- The Last of Us was a great game and moved me emotionally, but I never subscribed to Naughty Dog's email, or found a readily available link to follow their development.
- The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim was a fun game, and I enjoyed following a couple videos about Todd Howard, but I dropped off when there wasn't any consistency.
- I watched Dead Space 3's development closely and saw a few developers in their videos but since I didn't see these developers consistently, there wasn't any way to really connect with them.
These three games are AAA game companies. The level of getting to know IndieDevs is completely the opposite.
- With the success of Minecraft, Notch (Markus Persson) became a celebrity. He was everywhere, all the time. People became interested in him for more than just the games he makes. His demeanor is humble and he's naturally likeable.
- I loved Indie Game the Movie. I found the developers in it and their games to be interesting. The movie allowed you to invest your emotions into the developers, more so than their games. It depicted Video Games as art, and therefore, their creators were artists. I remember for a period following Edmunds Tumblr feed. He continues to answer his audience's questions there, and release videos about development, and I think that's why he continues to succeed.
- Since IDGTM, the Indie Developer who routinely pops up in talks, is Vlambeer's Rami Ismail. Since Rami is continually showing up at talks, you see him everywhere on developer news sites. Seeing him so consistently generates a familiarity with the him, even if it is one sided.
These are popular IndieDevs. I often find other Video Game Developers rarely showing their face. I'm an introvert, so I can relate to that, but in not showing my face and being unwilling to be vulnerable, it inhibits the opportunity for people to connect with me.
It's true, a large majority of your audience won't care, but you're creating your content for your closest fans.
It's this group that're the ones that can't stop talking about you, that spread your content, and tell their friends about you.
Well, Now What?
So what do you do? Keep it business, or make it personal? I do confess I focus more on being more business oriented for the moment at my own loss.
My Dev Blog (Artistic side) has been irregular while I flounder trying to finishing a game, but I found I could consistently talk about what I've learned (Business side).
Talking about business was the easier thing to do. Actually, it was really hard at first to put myself out there, but I committed to it. That, and I love to learn.
Just as when you work out consistently, your muscles get stronger, so as my marketing muscles have grown, creating blog posts has gotten easier, and I'll be venturing into sharing my development more.
Commonalities between the two?
Of the informal marketing education I've accrued, the most recurring advice given for content marketing is to be consistent, both in the artistic and business realm. I tried to blog 3 times a week at first but I burned out doing that quickly.
I didn't have enough knowledge nor progress in my game development to share anything meaningful three times a week and I became horribly inconsistent.
When I committed to blogging once a week about what I learned I found a steady increase in website visits.
I also incorporated other marketing skills I've learned along the way and held onto my IndieDev grit through those initial months of my closest friends and family being my only readers (Anyone can relate to that?).
Do you think sharing your personal thoughts / feelings in making games matters or do you keep it business oriented? Reply to this message and let me know