Welcome back. Has it already been a few weeks since my last column? Time flies by when you are having fun. If you read my last column, then you are primed and ready to rock the online world. It moves at lightening speed, but that’s the appeal of her vixen ways. So, lets get started.
As a continuation from our last column, we are going to cover three areas. We are going to examine what compelling content really means. We are going to put the different areas of online PR to real use for your video game. Lastly, we are going to discuss what you should do once and if things go bad. I’ll also mention Sony’s fake blog for a quick detour. If nothing else, it’ll provide a “what not to do” online.
There are roughly 6 billion people on earth and a good number of them probably play video games. Each of them is unique and special in their own way, but they all have one common trait. They want to be treated as the intelligent person they are.
You may be asking yourself what this has to do with producing compelling content, and the answer is everything. The minute you treat your audience as anything but intelligent is the minute you’ve lost. Regardless of whether you are making a video, a podcast, or setting up a blog or wiki, you need to take some items into account.
Don't go cheap. It shows. No one wants something simply done cheap and badly. You have to be willing to invest both finances and time into your content. If you are not going to invest the same effort you put into prepping that advertising page for Game Informer magazine, then don’t even get started. Cheap content is like a used car salesman, they can be spotted a mile away and nobody wants one.
Be creative. Don’t simply do what your competition is doing. People are drawn to creative and fun pieces of content. Participation tends to yield inspiration as well. When you get the community involved, they inspire and push your content to another level. Never underestimate the power and creativity of your community when you get them involved.
Explore untraditional places to post your content. You can always post to your own website, YouTube, MySpace, iTunes and other mainstream places, however, you can also explore untraditional places for your content. What if your video was placed at the museum’s website in your home town? There are tons of unexplored places online where you could place your content. You just need to be creative about where your content goes.
Tell the world. No one is going to know about your great content if you don’t tell anyone. Tell your mom, employees, and best friend. Just tell everyone until even your arch nemesis knows about it. The world is always on the lookout for great content, they just need to be told it exists.
Track the content. The internet is a vast place that spans the globe. These days, you need to be able to track your content and know what everyone is saying about it, good or bad. In our next and final column, we’ll show you how to do just that.
The Seven Deadly Sins of Online PR
In our last column, we talked about the different areas of online PR and gave some basic examples. This time, we are going to put them into practice and hopefully provide some unique ideas. Online PR isn’t about controlling the message anymore, as much as it’s about engaging your audience. Developing rapport and goodwill through two-way communication is a key part of your success online. Now let's see how we put everything into practice.
As a side note for the examples below, I’m going to pretend we have only one game to PR and keep things simple. I’ll also provide an example of software (or websites) to use, where applicable. If you have more then one game, you can always expand and adapt things to your situation.
Following the tips and advice from the ebook mentioned in our last column, The New Rules of PR will tell you how to put an online press release into practice. The authors of the book recently updated it and have a second edition out now. I’m making my way through it and so far it only builds on the first edition. Take-Two, Electronic Arts, and BioWare have been taking their press releases online since at least 2002 and gaining the full effect of that smart choice.
Software: Wordpress, MovableType and Blogger
A blog for your video game is a great way to communicate with your audience. You can use the blog to give your audience an insider’s look at the process of making a video game. The blog could be written by the game’s producer, game designer or by a lead from each of the game’s departments.
As long as the people are writing from the heart and being truthful, your fans should find the content interesting. You can also use the blog to show off exclusive content and announce in-person appearances, as well as allow your audience to see pictures and video from events you’ve attended that they might not have been able to.
Try and answer all the comments left on your blog as it shows you are paying attention and value their feedback. Also, linking to articles that appear about your game is important as not everyone has the time to visit all the video game sites out there today.
There are no rules saying how frequently you have to update your blog. However, you should try and keep a somewhat regular schedule, even if it’s just a post a week. If anyone in your PR or marketing department is doing the writing, then that should be said in some sort of disclaimer.