5 Digital Marketing Ideas for Indie Game Developers

January 12, 2012 at 10:47 pm

Category: SEO

I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember and I’ve enjoyed seeing how video games have gone from an indie environment to the maturity of a few years ago, although not todays gaming because of the over reliance of “safe” developement whereby every game seems to be another run-of-the-mill first person shooter and the endless chirade over DRM (Digital Rights Management) and its implementations that cause gamers grief everytime a new and even more draconian version rears its ugly head!

As my gaming years progressed I started learning programming and did try making a game from scratch. I fondly remember, in my college years, trying to write a text adventure game on Turbo Pascal, just using IF..THEN..ELSE statements until I realised that I was getting nowhere, so it got binned. It wasn’t until a game programming competition on the Retro Remakes forum, many years later, that I actually managed to write a game using GLBasic.

During this time, with access to an open source handheld – the GP2X, I started to get into indie games. My first indie game was Cave Story, a metroid like platformer that was so lovingly polished I couldn’t take my eyes off it for hours! Since then I’ve played quite a few titles including Payback, Cthulhu Saves The World, VVVVVV, Rock of Ages, Portal and Tobe’s Vertical Adventure. There are so many titles I still want to play like Frayed Knights, Crayon Physics, Limbo….just to name a few.

Those of you reading may have seen some of these titles already but some of these indie games you won’t know about, and that’s the problem I’d like to address to the indie gaming community. There are a lot of games out there that people would play if they knew about them. Unfortunately, as Jay Barnson has already written about (see point 6), not all indie developers probably know anything about marketing their product to gain more traffic.

So here’s 5 marketing ideas to help you get just a little more exposure:

  1. Write a blog – Sounds obvious, right? But what do you write about? Well, it could be an opinion post about why you chose to go with a feature that may be considered “not the norm”. It could be a continuous blog about problems you are having with the code and the steps you’re taking to solve it. It could be a WIP (work in progress) or development report with either pictures or videos of current development – even if it’s the first level of your game.
  2. Tweet information to your followers – This tactic has already been demonstrated with Sophie Houlden talking about Swift*Stitch as she progressed through development. You yourselves could do the same, but if you are I would recommend using a hashtag(#) as this, if retweeted or mentioned enough may lead to the topic trending which could generate more interest. So in Sophie Houlden’s case, she could use the hashtag #swiftstitch. Another idea is to tweet a screenshot of your game to #screenshotsaturday where it’ll get posted at the screenshot saturday website.
  3. Make a press release – You could write a press release if you have entered a game into a competition or have released a game onto a ditigal distribution platform such as Steam or for purchase on your own website. If you do this, make sure that you write the press release with lots of information about the game such as features, technical spec requirements (if any), what the game is about etc. Some recommended PR sites: PRLog, Press Release Point, OpenPR or try this link for more PR sites – list of other PR sites
  4. Create Linkbait – Link-wha? Linkbait. Its our term which means to create content that people want to link to. As an example, I’m currently writing a series on how to program video games by breaking down the code for each game I write and explaining the process. Of course, this will be marketed via the usual channels (twitter, facebook etc) but you can probably see what I’m getting at.
  5. Get People to Share Your Content – An example of this is a creation by SiteVisibility‘s Kelvin Newman where instead of downloading the content straight away with a standard link, he changed the link to a “share this before downloading” button which gave you a choice of either using Facebook or Twitter to share the content on the user’s account before downloading. Here is the site in question: Clockwork Pirate – a comprehensive guide to link building

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Why Content Isn’t Always King

December 14, 2011 at 12:13 am

Category: SEO

There are a few problems that plague the seo community, one of which is the snake-oil salesmen and the other is the same old regurgitated posts about how “content is king”, “paid links are bad” or even good old “SEO is dead”.

Coupled with Google’s QDF (Query Deserves Freshness) and the seemingly endless Panda updates, many SEO companies have wrongly assumed that in order to rank they must bring out new and unique content frequently. However, they forget that content is only king when they are writing for a niche market or the keywords aren’t as competitive, otherwise you’ll have bring links/traffic to that article in order for it to rank well within the Panda entrenched SERP field.

As an example I once wrote an article on how to get the Windows 98 operating system to run on Qemu, which, at the time, had very little information to help people to get this running. Although the how-to article is a little outdated, it still gets me some traffic to this day.

Think of it in terms of Chess – the King, although the most important piece on the board can only move 1 space in an 8-way directional path (up, down, left, right and diagonals). This king represents your content, whereas your Queen – the most powerful piece on the board with the ability to move any number of spaces in an 8-way directional path – represents your link building efforts. When the board is full of opposition pieces, the king is potentially under threat but if the opposition has less pieces, it weakens the threat imposed on your king.

This also brings forth another point surrounding the issue.

If this content is to be written, who requires it?

A few months ago, this was addressed by Yousaf Sekander when he said that many SME’s (specifically referring to tradesmen like locksmiths and plumbers) were not required to produce good content in order to rank well in the SERPs, however, with Google’s enforcement of these practices, this prospect seems increasingly so.

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Barry Adams: Optimising for Google News

October 18, 2011 at 10:47 am

Category: MiniSascon10, SEO

Barry Adams is a Senior Internet Marketer for Search at Pierce Communications in Belfast.

In this talk, he was showing how it was possible to optimise for Google News. Although, it is dominated by all the major newpapers, you still can get some useful off-site seo use out of it. The best news is that Google News results do actually have a high Click-Through Rate (CTR), however, unlike Google itself, it doesn

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