Content Marketing and Content Schedules | Indie Game Marketing

Our State of Independent Games report showed us that many independent game developers didn’t have the time or felt they didn’t have the time to properly market their games.

As part of our ongoing Indie Game Marketing series, here’s how to make the most of your content to market your game and how you can schedule it in a sustainable and effective way.

These articles act as a companion to our Indie Bandits Marketing Clinic sessions on Twitch, which you can either catch live or gain early access to by supporting us on Patreon. You can also find them as audio through our podcast (links in the site navigation) or on our YouTube channel.

Create Content according to the funnel

As always, it’s a good idea to remember the purchase/marketing funnel as the content you share will depend on what stage you expect your players to be at on their journey.

Generally, the more invested somebody is in your game, the more time and attention they’ll give your messaging. Conversely, new players usually need to get the message pretty quickly as they don’t have any reason to afford you much attention.

Indie Game Content Marketing on Social Media

Social media can promote your game to new players and give you effective ways to engage with your community. It’s free and there are plenty of tools to make getting your content out there much easier.

Each platform is different, but here are a few key tips to get you started.

Post About Your Game Often

Remember there are some significant drawbacks to social media and algorithms are usually to blame. Even if you post content to social media, there is no guarantee that your audience will be shown it. Not everyone in the world is awake or on social media at the same time so posting just once means that many of your followers or fans could simply end up missing it due to scheduling.

As social media is free to use and to post to, it’s a good idea to put out a lot of messaging and use different variations to see what performs best on each platform.

Check that Your Social Media Posts Are Performing Well

Likes, retweets, shares, etc. are all good metrics to see how your social media posts are performing, but remember that what you’re really looking for is content that drives players to your games.

Low-effort actions are representative of lower engagement and while nice, shouldn’t be relied on when projecting how well your game will perform. Don’t be disappointed if you always get lots of likes when you post but this isn’t reflected in wishlists or sales.

Drive Players Along to the Next Stage of the Sales Funnel

When you see and enjoy a good level of engagement from your social media content, you want to make sure that they have strong calls to action (CTAs) so that anyone seeing your content knows exactly what to do next.

Encourage potential players to head to your website, wishlist your game, or sign up to your mailing list for more information. For posts just showing off your game, you can even tell audiences how to directly engage with the post through simple things like specific questions that give them a reason to engage with your content.

Your social media can cast a wide net and be good for drawing in potential players, but you have to make sure that they don’t fall straight out of your marketing funnel by engaging on socials and not taking their interest any further.

Use Your Website to Showcase the Best Side of Your Game

A website or a landing page is a must-have marketing tool for your indie game. Not only do you have more control over it than a Steam page, for example, but you can also host things like your mailing list, developer logs (devlogs), and a lot of the content that would be too in-depth for your average social media post.

Impress Potential Players on a Homepage or Landing Page

You can imagine that visitors to your website are more invested in your game than those on social media because they’ve either taken the time to search for your game or have been interested enough to click on a link in a social media post.

Of course, don’t host all the extensive content on your homepage. You’ll likely be better off hosting some evergreen content (content that won’t change too much over time) and some of the flashiest aspects of your game to draw players into the other content on your site.

It’s always smart to undersell and overdeliver. Make sure that the messaging on your homepage or landing page lines up with what you’ve been saying on social media as the last thing you want is visitors arriving on your page only to be disappointed that your game isn’t everything you’ve been promising on your socials.

Give Interested Players Content to Sink Their Teeth Into

Your website is a space where fans of your game can engage with different types of content. Fans new to the project or those still considering whether the game is for them will likely enjoy shorter and more superficial content.

However, there’ll also be players who love what you’re doing and will want to know as much as they can about the project. This is where you can really show off the finer details of your project. While a longer article on development mightn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, you’ll have your die-hard fans who’ll regularly engage with this type of content.

Make sure to cater content to your die-hards as they’ll be the players championing your game at launch and telling everyone about it!

While you can still share your in-depth content on socials, remember that you want it to reach the players who are invested in your game and somebody who has taken the time to visit your site is more likely to be invested in it than somebody who has randomly seen your content because one of their friends follows you on social media, for example.

Use Regular Content to Get Players to Come Back

If your indie game is in development and it’s going to be some time, make sure that potential players don’t forget about you. In addition to posting consistently on your socials, you’ll want to regularly add or update content on your website.

This doesn’t need to be every minute of every day, but rather on a regular schedule so that visitors know when to check in on the progress of your game. Search engines also love regular content so find a schedule that you can stick to and go with that.

You’re In Control Of Your Content Schedule

Don’t forget that you can also schedule content to make it more regular. If you have lots of things to say one week and very little the next, it might be worth posting half of your updates now and saving the other half for later.

If you’re going to be creating lots of shareable and social-media-friendly art assets, you could tease them out so that you have content to share whilst you’re focusing on some of the less shareable aspects of development. You’re under no obligation to share everything the second you finish it and you can also control the narrative by timing and scheduling content to line up with the launch of the game.

Mailing Lists Can Push Content Directly to Your Players’ Inboxes

We could go on all day about mailing lists and may even dedicate a full article to them soon, but the one thing you really need to know about them is that they belong to you and are powerful tools for marketing your game.

While social media may or may not show your content to your followers, mailing lists can go directly to somebody’s inbox. While you can’t guarantee that everyone will open your email, you at least have your foot in the door.

Automation Can Save Time and Push Content to the Right People

You can also automate your email messaging and set up smart systems to get the right messaging to the right people. If somebody opens every email you send them and engages with all your content, there’s no reason they wouldn’t be interested in almost everything you can offer them in terms of content.

Content marketing is all about ensuring the right people get the right message and one of the most effective ways to do this is through email.

You Own Your Mailing LIst

The very best thing about it is that you own the mailing list so you can take it with you to other tools or platforms. On social media, for example, if a site were to shut down (or go through some sweeping changes under new management, for example), you might have to find a new platform and you can’t guarantee that all your followers or fans would make the jump.

With great power comes great responsibility so don’t forget that while you own your mailing list, the responsibility also falls on you to ensure that everyone on it has consented to be on it and that you’re keeping everybody’s email addresses as safe as you can!

A Few Golden Rules for Your Indie Game Content Marketing

When it comes to content marketing, there are a few things you need to do and a few things you don’t. Here are our golden rules for it.

Make your content schedule:

  • As regular as possible. People can miss content due to timezones, not being online at a given time, and social media algorithms deciding the content isn’t for them. They can also just miss things because their feeds are so full of competing content or scroll right past.
  • Sustainable. Don’t start a schedule that you can’t possibly adhere to. Work out how regularly you can make content for your game and stick to it. If players know when they can expect updates and more content, they also know when to come back to engage with your content.
  • Broad and enticing for new audiences. Generally, you’ll want to provide your flashiest content to newer audiences. You want them to have a reason to engage with your project even more, but know that they are unlikely to give you a lot of their attention. Get your message across quickly.
  • In-depth and engaging for invested audiences. Once potential players have shown that they’re sold on the idea for your game, they’ll give you more of their time to show them more comprehensive content and even longer form content.

Your content doesn’t need to be:

  • Flashy at every opportunity. You won’t always have the coolest stuff to show off and that’s fine. Let your audience know that the game is still being worked on so that they don’t forget about it!
  • Shown off as soon as it’s ready. You can control the narrative around production and you don’t need to post everything the second it’s finished. You can choose how much or how little players know about your game and can always show something off a while after you’ve actually finished it. Share your content in the way that generates the most interest for your indie game!

For more help with marketing your indie game, support us on Patreon or check out our Indie Bandits Marketing Clinic session specifically on content marketing for indie games!

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