Many developers are going to struggle with marketing their games. The problem is a result of lack of direction, and that usually results in no idea where to start and potential anxiety whenever you have to try to do marketing without a clear sense of direction. The solution is pretty simple, albeit vague: plan ahead. Marketing is all about stories. There’s a reason why news outlets don’t cover the same story over and over again — there isn’t a new story to tell. Sure, your launch day is a big story if your game is good enough, and that story is a great one to tell, but after that, you have to keep the ball rolling. However, the key to good marketing is to create new legitimately interesting stories that have an authentic reason to be covered. Create a series of stories you can share over time — make milestones that are a case of celebration and press coverage.
Many things can count as stories. Maybe you can talk about how your team bonded over creating the game when releasing the first update. Maybe your new update warrants a unique story about it and how it came to be with some juicy lore. Perhaps you can talk about a charity donation you made that warrants a giveaway or two. Maybe you made a bug into a feature and want to talk about the reasoning behind it. Many developers fail to realize that launch day isn’t the only story surrounding their game — you need to be purposeful with weaving narratives around your game’s development, every step of the way.
Remember, creating these stories ahead of time will not only make it easier to keep doing what you need to do to get your game out onto the market, but also give your game some easy marketing when it needs it most. As long as you can consistently put out new stories, your game will never fade in the eyes of its community. Maybe you’ll plan out some weekly blog posts, or some upcoming feature streams. Maybe you’ll simply post some behind the scenes photos of your game’s development process. Plan these out and create an internal calendar. These aren’t the only benefits of planning your updates ahead of time, either. While the marketing is certainly a big part of it, it’ll also massively boost your confidence since you’ll always be prepared and know exactly what to do, before you do it. These stories will give you that sense of direction.
Important Takeaways: Newer developers often struggle marketing their games, and this is because many developers only celebrate their launch day. They don’t realize that stories are a huge part of the marketing process. People just want to know what is going on with your game. You should always plan out a bunch of stories you can tell ahead of time so that your game is constantly has a reason to be advertised. Many things count as stories, such as updates or quirks in the development cycle, and you should scrape together as many of them as you can before launch so that you can have a steady stream of content. Having these stories will give you great marketing material, keep you on track in the game’s development, and make you more confident overall. Set a content production schedule. Know exactly what stories you’re going to tell and when you’re going to tell them.