Four Inspirational Ways to Make Content Marketing Work for Your Videogame

Public relations is a fun industry to be in, because of all the creative ways I can spread the word about things I appreciate. But, as the profession continues to evolve, we in the PR field need to know how to adapt and provide more value for our clients as well as our own business. What I like about content marketing is how it can solve a problem for someone and also provide extra exposure to a brand. If the brand grows in popularity, community relations can provide publicity for other content creators and for the brand itself.

With E3 2014 being criticized by some as an event that should change as the game industry evolves, the role of PR also needs to adapt to provide more services that benefit their clients. One of many ways to provide benefit for game developers is through content marketing. Here are four ways content marketing can provide value to PR in the videogame industry.

Via Blackbolt

Via Blackbolt

Provide tips and walkthroughs to sharing game content on social media platforms

If you want people to share your game content on social media, begin by showing them how to do it. Xbox’s Major Nelson uses his podcast to provide tips on how to upload and share streaming game content in a segment called “Xbox 101.” Given enough time, guides and walkthroughs may have already been created by others and you merely need to strategically share them on your own channels.

Via ZeldaDungeon.net

Via ZeldaDungeon.net

World location hints and tips

Does your game have a large world filled with lush landscapes, dark dreadful swamps and hidden areas? Most players don’t want a story spoiled, but there are those whose time is limited and would appreciate tips on finding a hidden location or a not-so-well-known weapon to defeat a truly tough adversary. Whether you use YouTube as a video guide, or take screenshots that provide clues to where a rare item is at, these are things that can provide great value for your social media platforms if implemented correctly. People will turn to you for help.

Content from the game for other uses

It might seem like common sense to provide things like custom images for desktop computers and mobile devices, but there are other assets from a game that can be just as useful for extending the experience from the device into popular culture. Phil Fish did that when he had Disasterpeace create the soundtrack for his unique puzzle platformer Fez. The developers of Borderlands released a handful of sound files that could be used as ringtones for your phone, and they also created one of the most memorable memorials I’ve seen for a fellow fan who had passed away. If it’s created organically and authentically, content like this can take your game from just a product to a fan favorite.

Via Dekuwa

Button presses and combo tips

If your game utilizes complicated button presses, then this is something that people can utilize to improve their own skills. Sometimes a fighting game will provide a full tutorial utilizing one character, but not with others. This is the perfect time to provide tips for how the player can succeed with additional characters in the line-up. If your game is a third-person brawler, it might be worthwhile to provide tips on how to utilize items or skills, along with intricately timed button presses, to finish off a difficult opponent in short time.

These are only four ways to provide content to spread out the life of your game from a digital interactive product to much more. With a lot of hard work and a little luck, the content you provide along with the careful sourcing and distribution of community content can spread the word about your game.

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Twitter Lists: 3 Tips To Help You Stay Updated In Any Industry

Twitter Lists Image

There have been countless articles on the web about how to use Twitter lists – including a guide from Twitter – so I’m not going to give a Twitter 101 on what they are; however, I did want to write about a small reorganization I made to a growing list of Twitter profiles I previously had in one list, and show how you can use these three tips to help you stay updated in an industry you’re passionate about.

By breaking up my “Video Gaming” list on Twitter into three better-organized lists – one for media in the gaming industry, one for media outlets, and one for game developers and publishers – I can utilize Tweetdeck to organize my lists into columns that display the most recent tweets on those lists. This gives me an easy-to-read command center for staying updated with individuals and companies in the industry.

You too can employ this simple resource, and you don’t even need to follow them in order to add them to a list. It’s a good tactic to use when you don’t want to blow out your ratio of follows to followers.

1. Media
By following media active on Twitter that you’re in contact with – or want to be in contact with – you already have a personal touch to the next email you send them. It’s an easy way to find out if he or she is on vacation or if they’re working an additional beat. Plus, it’s an easy way to stay in touch with someone without asking something of him or her.

Tip: Give your list a name that will make someone happy he or she has been put on it. My gaming media list is called “You Make Gaming Awesome.”

2. Websites
Many websites that have Twitter profiles tweet way more than the average person does. While it’s easy reading headlines in tweet format, it can clog a Twitter feed when mixed with people in the media.

Tip: Use this list to read more about websites you aren’t too familiar with, as well as websites you already know. It’s also a great way to track media on the fly or to bookmark articles that sound interesting, but you can’t read at the moment.

3. Creators
This column is a little more nimble when it comes to who you’d place in it. I have one that’s just for companies that develop and publish videogames, but you can adjust it to have tech companies, restaurants, book publishers, and more. The point of this list is to stay knowledgeable about potential clients, because they might need help with a future project whether they know it or not.

Tip: Show these companies some love by retweeting some of their posts to help spread their reach – it’s an act of goodwill that may pay off in the long run.

Whether you like skateboarding, cars, food, or videogames, Twitter is a great place to find tons of information on broad subjects. These three simple lists will help you stay organized and expand your knowledge of the subject you’re passionate about.

Do you use Twitter lists in any interesting ways?

Project inspiration: Using Tumblr for promotion

Xbox Insider Tumblr

Always trust the thoughts you have as you wake from a good night’s rest. Last month, I executed on an idea I had after a restful night of sleep and that idea was brought to fruition through my voracious appetite for reading videogame news and my love of promotion. I set out on a project in my spare time where I’d publish news about Xbox on the social media platform Tumblr.

Read on for why I began this project and how these tips can help your own blogging:

1. Finding an audience through SEO

Initially, I made it a point not to tell anyone about this profile nor would I promote it through any other social media platforms. (I ended up telling a few close people over the course of the month, but they weren’t damaging to my results). The reason for this was to see what audience I could attract through the use of search engine optimization on each of the posts. The results were rather surprising.

The post below is a great example of the structure I use along with the SEO tags at the bottom of the image. Notice how many notes (likes and reblogs) it’s gotten. Use keywords in the article as well as any similar ones you believe a person might use when searching for content. Ask yourself what you’d search for to find your post.

Tumblr SEO example

2. Showcasing your knowledge on a subject

I started an Xbox focused Tumblr because I like gaming on Xbox, but it was also great timing being just a couple weeks out from the launch of Xbox One. Consumer appetite for news of the product was in high demand and I thought the timing would be perfect for a blog of that nature. Using the news websites I have on my Feedly RSS and daily email newsletters, I began promoting Xbox news from enthusiast and mainstream news outlets.

3. Gain experience with analytics

Tumblr has built-in analytics, which displays how many times people have liked and reblogged a post as well as new followers, total followers, biggest fans and your top post. I also used bitly links for each of the posts to track how many times people would click through to the article. I was rather surprised with the amount of interaction that took place over the last month. To date, I’ve published 101 posts and have gained 145 followers through just using SEO. Not every post had a bitly link on it, but out of the 90 I’ve used, they’ve been clicked on 191 times from people in the U.S., U.K. and Canada.

Tumblr analytics

4. Tumblr makes it easy and cost-effective to run a blog

The structure I used for publishing posts worked fantastic for Tumblr. The website’s format of publishing was perfect for displaying photos and videos through image URLs and embedded code. The short writing structure of headline, descriptive content, web link, and notation of where I sourced the content from was quick and easy to read, but it was even easier to write, thus making it a cost-effective strategy for my time.

5. It’s helpful to web content producers

Whether you write or produce video on the web, it’s clicks that count. One of the delicate balances to working in public relations is your relationship between your client and the media. By directing people to a writer’s post or by having them watch a video to gain another view, I’m helping people in the media get more eyes on their labor of love. It’s my small way to give back.

Overall, I’ve found Tumblr to be a great platform for easily managing a blog as well as for gaining an audience. This publishing structure can be used for many different industries and brands and is a phenomenal way to show a solid example of your knowledge on a subject.

If you were to start a Tumblr blog today, what subject would you focus on?

Note: This post is not sponsored in any way by Microsoft, Xbox, Tumblr or any other brand. If you’d like to see more examples of posts, head to http://xboxinsider.tumblr.com/.

Marinated carrots recipe — A flavor-packed snack

Cooked Carrots

Have you ever eaten something that made you remember a time long gone? When I was a kid, I remember going to the houses of my grandma, Hazel, and great aunt, Evelyn. Whenever I’d go to my grandma’s place, I’d get a small, orange jar of marinated carrots out of her fridge and devour them almost all in one sitting. I’ve never had something like this before—like a cross between pickling and marinating—with a tomato base, but with vinegar, oil and seasonings added to it.

Although my grandma and great aunt have both passed away, this recipe is one of those ways I can remember the times of visiting them. Since I’ve never seen this recipe in a store-bought version, I thought I’d share it with you.

Marinated Carrots
A recipe from Evelyn Pentico

5 cups of sliced cooked carrots or baby carrots
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large onion, diced
1 can of tomato soup, 10 ¾ oz.
½ cup olive oil
¾ cup vinegar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
½ tsp. garlic salt (optional)

Marinated carrot sauce

Cook carrots to the point where they’re soft, but just have a bit of snap to them. While cooking the carrots, combine bell pepper, onion, and all of the other ingredients in a medium pot.

Marinated carrots recipe completed

Bring the sauce to a boil and then pour over the carrots. Marinate for at least 12 hours and keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

I have a dessert recipe of my great aunt’s that I will post in the next week after I make it, so keep your eyes peeled for this yummy goodness.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Do you have any recipes that remind you of times long lost?

Is Social Still Cool? Webinar Highlights

Today I attended a webinar ran by Social Media Today called “Is Social Still Cool?” Three panelists who work with social media in their businesses offered their perspective on the state of social media right now, defined the word “cool” as it applies to social media, and spoke about the “do’s and don’ts” in social media marketing. Gabby Nelson, community manager for Sleep Number; Erika Napoletano, writer and author; and Paul Berry, CEO of Rebelmouse were the panelists and these were some of the highlights from the hour-long conversation.

Defining “cool” in social media

Brands that are cool on social media definitely understand their target audiences and know how to communicate with them through a variety of channels.

 

Brand interaction on social media

Some of my favorite brands on social media have both an inanimate presence and human presence. People like Xbox LIVE’s Major Nelson, Activision’s Dan Amrich and Marvel Entertainment’s Ryan Penagos are great examples of a human presence of a large brand.

 

If your brand screwed up, would you apologize?

The power of an apology is greater than ever in the age of the Internet. I’m not sure if it’s because people feel like others are desensitized to hurtful actions, but a heartfelt apology can make the difference between a friend and an enemy.

 

Who works well in public-facing roles for your company?

Not everyone needs to be in a public-facing role of a company, but most people in media roles should have a presence on social media. Those who use their accounts successfully will only benefit their employers by doing their job well and attracting future talent to their place of business.

 

What brands are doing cool things in social right now?

The Oatmeal is awesome. If you love sriracha, you must read The Oatmeal.

Overall, I’d say that being “cool” on social media involves listening and interacting with your customers. For companies both large and small, every employee that is active on social media is a potential asset for the company. Hiring an employee that fits well with the company culture could ensure fantastic exposure of the company for future business opportunities. Employees that fit their company culture and understand how to communicate with their brand’s audience are what make social media “cool.”

3 Places to Learn About Rad Things to do in Portland

Downtown Portland

Portland is beautiful on a summer evening

I’ve been in Portland for a year now and have seen many new things in the course of a year: fancy restaurants, dive bars, soccer pubs, and delicious delis. I’ve become accustomed to a happy hour that almost runs 24 hours a day, whether it’s at a bar or a food cart. I’ve gone to networking events and concert venues, both of which were more entertaining that I can sum up in words. Some of these places were introduced to me from friends, while others were found online. I’m sure that after you read about these three resources, even you won’t find Portland boring.

PDX Pipeline

PDX Pipeline’s email newsletters are full of news about Portland, events about Portland, and tons of free tickets to events every week. I recently won a ticket to the SEMpdx rooftop networking event, so it must be fairly easy to win tickets to certain events. This is a great resource if you’re looking for a variety of things to do, whether it’s attending concert, a beer festival, or a burlesque show.

Portland Barfly

Portland is known for its happy hour as much as it’s known for its food carts. Portland Barfly has an extremely convenient tool to find a happy hour near whatever neighborhood you happen to be in. Choose from a time, the type of booze you want, if you want to deal with kids or not (Please don’t take your kids to a place that sells booze), and watch as your choices guide you to a new awesome place for happy hour. It’s a great website for the next time someone asks, “Where do you want to go for happy hour?”

Broke-ass Stuart

Broke-ass Stuart is a website that I found through a Twitter friend, Chloe Newsom. She lives on the Eastside of Portland and has good taste in rad places to go. I definitely recommend reading her articles and then going to at least one place she recommends in each article. I still have to hit up a “Metal Monday” at Star Bar and I plan on doing that soon.

There are plenty of other resources I could’ve picked like the Portland Mercury and Pollstar.com, but I decided to go with slightly lesser known resources. Do you know of any other awesome resources that I didn’t include? Leave it below, sucka!

How to Make Content Marketing for Social Media Work for You

Content writing

 

Today I attended a webinar at Social Media Today hosted by C.C. Chapman, Ann Handley, and Maggie Fox, which covered the topic “content marketing for social media.” In the hour that they let their expertise shine, I discovered a wealth of insight that I wanted to highlight here in case you missed it.

Content Marketing: What is it and who does it well?

Content marketing is anything you create and share to tell the story of your brand and/or company. You can ask yourself, “How does our product help people?”

Two companies that C.C. and Ann covered who are doing content marketing for social media well right now are the following:

Burberry: They are doing a fantastic job with over 454,000 followers on Instagram right now and it’s not unusual to see someone with an iPhone next to the runway taking pictures. Burberry has a great mix of raw and professional photos that keep them popular on social media.

Oscar de la Renta: OscarPRGirl uses Pinterest to tell a story about the brand whether it’s through sketches of the designs or fashion shows they appear at. Their 27,458 followers on Pinterest demonstrate the success of the medium.

But you don’t have to have a big budget like those two examples to create great content marketing. With a high-quality camera phone, you can take pictures of happy customers and your product in use to spread your very own content marketing. The power of social media is connecting with potential customers in their daily lives by telling the story of your brand. Be flawsome.

What’s “flawsome?” It’s being awesome because of your flaws, not in spite of them.

Tool Examples in Content Marketing

Some of their favorite content tools mentioned include the following:

Instagram – Many people use this simple app on iPhone and Android to share pictures and it’s proven to be a great way to share marketing content.

Vyclone – The concept behind this app is that many people in one place can take a video of the same thing and it’ll upload all the videos to make one solid video from multiple angles. I imagine it’s like that Beastie Boys documentary.

Over – This app is simple in the fact that it lets you add words over pictures. It’s for those people that love ads and equally for those that want to make memes straight from a mobile device.

List.ly – This tool lets you create lists out of information you have and also curate lists.

Of course, not every brand needs every tool at their disposal, so study what works for your brand and go from there. Not all brands can be storytellers and there’s nothing wrong with hiring someone to come in to tell your story for you. Again, you can do something like this at every budget level whether you hire a whole agency or just a journalist.

One last tip from C.C. Chapman is as follows:

“If you want to start creating things, start today. Don’t wait.”