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September 18, 2019
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A Week on Steam Greenlight - What we did right and what we did wrong.

by Richard Wood on 03/09/16 03:05:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

On the 26th of February we launched the Steam Greenlight campaign for [email protected] We had already announced the game for PS4 but had yet to do any push for PC, Mac and Linux. At the time of writing this we’re in the top 20 of Greenlight out of over 2,000 games. We’ve not yet been approved, so if you’re reading this and haven’t voted Yes, you can do so with this link:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=621485528

We’ve now been on Greenlight for over a week and I wanted to share what we’ve done right and wrong in our time promoting [email protected] so far.

What we did  right

Page Layout:

We realized very early on page layout is critical to your success. Getting people into your page and then looking past just the first trailer or screenshot is absolutely vital. With this in mind we began crafting our page to get people in, keep them there, and then push for that Yes vote.

First we started with our game icon. The game icon is possibly the most important asset you'll create, it's how users who don't follow you on social media will first find your game among a sea of others. For this we decided to go down the route of an animated GIF. While this was more work for our art team it was an absolute no brainier. Animated GIFs stand out against the horde of other icons all vying for a users attention and also give a better indication of what your game is. We wanted to keep the name of the game in the icon while also showing a sense of gameplay. After several iterations we all agreed upon the GIF you see below, a clear indication of our games combat focus, art style and also game name for branding purposes.

Brutal Gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this it was onto the game trailer and screenshot set. Due to the layout of your Steam Greenlight page this is the first thing a user will see. It's also worth noting trailers will auto-play on Steam, so you want to hit that theme / branding instantly. Luckily we already had a really great trailer we'd used the month previous when announcing the game for PS4, we re-used this but made sure to change the end card to promote our PC / Greenlight campaign so if other outlets picked it up they could direct to our page easily.

At this stage we felt we'd convince a large number of users to vote for us, however any press, steam collection owners or those on the fence still needed more information to help sway them to hit that Yes button. We noticed a lot of Greenlight games actually seemed to almost ignore their description, we felt this was another great place to promote our game and let users know more about it.

We first wrote out our description, breaking it down into bite size chunks, for example 'About [email protected]', ',Monsters' and 'Weapon Crafting'. We made sure to make the text to the point and punchy. We then broke each section apart with headers themed to the game, as you can see below this added much needed colour to our page as well as a consistent theme.

Finally we wanted to add more life to the page. We had noticed some other games using this header system and animating them, after some trials it was clear that while this looked good, over doing the animation on a page could hinder those on slower internet connections, as such we kept these headers static but added in a screenshot or gif after each header to better explain how the systems work. We kept to static screenshots where possible, however some of our systems benefited from animated GIFs so we used these sparingly.

Finally due to our promotion on PS4 we had some great quotes and feedback from established outlets. We decided to add this to the bottom of our page to add legitimacy to our project. There has been a lot of negative articles on Steam Greenlight games recently, especially over games that promise the world and never deliver, this section was aimed at showing we were developing a product that would hit all of our expectations.

Daily Content:

Once our page was completed we began the process of planning our launch strategy. We had two key goals:

  • Acquire press coverage on the day of launch and thereafter
  • Create and push daily content to maintain momentum

Several days prior to the campaign going live we emailed over 100 press outlets letting them know we were announcing the campaign on Friday. Most of the big outlets don't cover this kind of content, but we did get pick up for a good number of smaller sites on the day of launch and this propelled us forward immediately. Other sites covered us in the coming days which gave us a notable bumps in yes votes. This coverage was really important for us gaining momentum in the early days and also stopped us from falling off a week into our campaign.

  • Press Coverage Example: http://techraptor.net/content/to-the-green-brutl
    • While this site is small, it resulted in over 300 Greenlight votes within 24 hours of it going live.
      • We determined this by no other article going live at this time, nor any other push from elsewhere. Some of these votes would have been organic, so 300 is a rough figure.

There were no guarantees on acquiring press coverage so we developed a plan for daily content.

 

The above shows our shared google calendar which outlined what content was going live on every day. While we did do a couple of 'quick wins' in the form of screenshots, we decided that we wanted to use this opportunity to not only acquire new followers on social media, but also engage our existing followers in a better way. At such we decided to double down on video and create several pieces that showcased systems as well as a Let's Play of the game to end the week and hopefully push us into the weekend.

 

This content proved to be very valuable. It allowed us to promote our Steam Greenight campaign on a daily basis without sounding spammy, it showed those that came to our Greenlight page we had content and were very active, and it also allowed our current followers the ability to share new content. Reminding people on a daily basis about your campaign is critical, due to this daily content we were able to share this and remind people in the morning, then in the afternoon send out another reminder with a new piece of artwork that pushed users to the page.

Before moving onto what we did wrong I'll summarize what I feel were the key strengths in our campaign to date:

  • We created a standout animated icon, trailer and Steam Greenlight page.
  • We created a press list and let everyone know about our campaign, no matter if they only had 2 million or 20 followers, every vote and shout out counts.
  • We created unique daily content that we could use not only to promote our campaign but also allow our current followers to see new [email protected] content, creating stronger ties with our most passionate fans
  • We replied to everyone who mentioned us on social media and  engaged in conversations with anyone talking Steam Greenlight

Didn’t prepare content far enough in advance:

Our daily content idea was a good one, however the idea that we would spend the week of Greenlight 'only making content' wasn't realistic, other things came up and caused some of the videos to be done nearer the  end of the day versus the start, thus allowing for fewer iteration cycles. While in the end it worked out OK, it did mean we were working on content up until the last minute each day which could have back fired if something came up with the game or an opportunity arose elsewhere. In the future our content will be completed and signed off in advance of an event like this.

[img] [/img] ?!

This is a really small detail that totally slipped us by for days. If you are lucky enough to be added to a collection you need to keep an eye on what the first piece of text a user will see is. Steam takes the first line of your page as a 'teaser'  description. Sadly our first line was a link to an image and a such we had the [img][/img] text as our description on steam collection pages. Not ideal.

Delayed Podcast and Video Appearances:

We really believe in community podcast and video interviews and make ourselves available for everyone, no matter the subscriber count. Part of our outreach to promote our Steam Greenlight Campaign was to contact podcasts and YouTube shows of all sizes, this resulted in some great connections, however due to the nature of these shows most of the time slots available to us were a week after the campaign started. We're only going to start seeing the results of these interviews as of this week, this could be a helpful boost in our second week of the campaign, however we had initially hoped to have this content live in week one, which was an oversight on our part.

To summarize where I feel we went wrong:

  • Daily content was not created prior to the campaign going live, leading to a hectic launch week
  • Video and Podcast appearances were later than assumed and thus didn't have an immediate impact on the campaign

And that's us! Hopefully you find this useful and informative when planning your own Steam Greenlight campaign. A huge thank you to everyone who has already voted for us and if you've not already click that link below this text and do so now!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=621485528 

 


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