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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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/.

Spelunky is Frustratingly Good on XBLA

Indiana Jones Spelunky Character

This guy has died so many times because of me

How would you like to be metaphorically slapped across the face again and again for being hasty and rash in your decision-making? Most people would say no thanks to something like that, but there’s a crowd in the video gaming community that relishes in this type of punishment and Spelunky dishes the slaps in such quick succession that it will leave you cursing and throwing controllers in no time.

I’m not saying it’s a bad game. In fact, it’s quite good. The control is snappy and, most of the time, the fault is nothing but your own when you die by the many hazards on your journey through the caves. Whether it’s a giant spider and spikes in the Mines, exploding frogs and piranhas in the Jungle or a giant yeti in the Ice Caves, each world has enough ways to kill you that you can be sure there’s an entry for you a Darwin Award book somewhere.

The randomly generated dungeons add to that challenge as well, keeping the gameplay interesting and leaving you wondering what will appear next. You’ll encounter characters such as the Tunnel Man who will ask you for various items to create shortcuts to worlds you travel through. Of course, this goes from being a fairly easy task to something that takes the skill, endurance, and patience of a Buddhist monk. The only thing I don’t like about Spelunky is the randomly generated dark level where you can’t see anything except your character on the screen. This almost always results in the death of your character, which can be one of the most frustrating events to happen when you’re taking a certain key to the Tunnel Man. I found myself muttering under my breath, “Please, no dark level. Please, no dark level. PLEASE!”

If you’re a fan of XBLA games with a high degree of challenge like Super Meat Boy and Limbo, then you’ll probably like this as well. Between the adventure mode and the local co-op deathmatch mode, I believe this game is well worth the money. But, if you have a cursing jar in your house, prepare to fill it with a lot of change. A lot!

Spelunky Tunnel Man

The things this guys asks for will leave you cursing

Why I Truly Use Pinterest

Pinterest page for Jesse Radonski

Pinterest has a simple and sleek board layout for your images

 

A fair amount of people are surprised when I tell them I use Pinterest. The social media platform that is primarily used by women has a niche that I find pleasing. But there’s more to it for me than just posting pictures that I find visually stimulating. Although I find it fascinating to scour the Internet to find images that I’ve never seen before, the real reason is this.

It helps me get free Microsoft points for Xbox LIVE.

See, I use Bing as my search engine. Bing Rewards gives you points every time you do a search. Up to five points for every ten searches per day. They also give you three points to try out something new each day. That’s seven points a day! For every 125 points, you can exchange it for 100 Microsoft points on Xbox LIVE to spend on downloadable games, ZUNE music & movies and more. You can also spend Bing Rewards points on many other things from web services to gift cards.

Not only am I experimenting with a new social media platform, which every innovative marketer should do, I’m also finding some great images to use and getting something tangible in return. I would like to applaud Microsoft for offering such a great deal to people who use their search engine and I urge you to give Bing and Pinterest a try. Check out my Pinterest profile and feel free to follow any of my boards that you find interesting. If you’re on Pinterest already, I’d love to hear what keeps you going back each day.

Risen review | Xbox 360

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Photo courtesy of rpg-galaxy.de

“Risen” is a game that leaves a bittersweet mark on my video gaming taste buds. The graphics are primitive and the framerate is super choppy, yet the difficulty of the gameplay and the option to wander the whole countryside, regardless of the strength of the character, is something I don’t see much in games nowadays.

I began the game without a manual, so learning how to do simple things like wielding a weapon and choosing where to venture were things I had to pick up on the fly. A few hours later, I’m deep into the game; manipulating every villager I could in order to put clothes on my back. I think this is where the game hooked me and continued to entertain me, even with its many misgivings.

And the misgivings are plenty. I’m sure the styles of fighting vary based on the story direction you choose to go in order to specialize in a warrior, thief, or mage class. I chose the role of a thief / hunter and invested a ton of points into swordfighting. Regardless, there were many occasions where I would wander the countryside searching for something I couldn’t find before being killed by something way too powerful for my character to battle. The island map had no option to zoom in or out, thus becoming a challenge to even locate the arrow that represents your character. There were multiple occasions were the walls to an area wouldn’t load or collision detection would fail and my character would fall into a void, thus making me reload an auto save or restarting the game completely.

However, I did finish the game and liked what good the game had to offer. This game is a budget bin game or a Gamefly rental for someone looking for a western RPG, but beware that it’s not a walk in the park like some games are. If you’re in the mood for a little something different in an RPG and can forgive its faults, check it out!

Extra Life: Recollection of a 24-hour game session

It’s been nine days since I’ve endured a 24-hour gaming session for Extra Life and this entry should’ve been updated sooner, but life is busy right now. With the help of friends and family, we together helped raise $241 for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Pat yourselves on the back. This is a great thing we’ve done together.

I woke at 7 a.m. on October 16 with enough time to head down to Royal market to grab some munchies and caffeine before the gaming session began. Once back in the house, I started playing around 7:40 a.m. with the game Comic Jumper. It’s a funny little game from Twisted Pixel developed for the Xbox LIVE arcade that has a great artistic style and sense of humor. A few hours in, I got an invite from my friend Evan, or as he’s know on Xbox LIVE, tactical DBk.

I jumped over to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and started a multi-player gaming session with Evan (tactical DBk), Jay (SALSA DBK), and Matt (Zilla DBK). Notice something similar here? Our clan tag on COD is DBK, which stands for “Douche Bag Killers,” and trust me; there are a lot of douche-bags to kill on these multiplayer shooters. But we do it in good sport. It’s just a game.

Shortly after that, I went over to the game Watchmen: The End is Nigh so I could sit back and play a mindless beat ‘em up game. This is pretty much all you can expect from that game. It’s not a great game, fighting get bland pretty fast, and Rorschach has some strange lines in the game.

Around this time, Yaicha came home from work and we ordered some pizza to go with the I.P.A. she brought home. I felt it appropriate to begin Limbo, which my friend Dave (dead vp) bought me for my birthday back in September. It’s a small game that had gotten top reviews on game journalism websites across the Net. I specifically waited until Yaicha was home and for nightfall to arrive before beginning this 2-D somber sidescroller. I must say — I have NEVER played a game like this. Please, if you can, pay the $15 for the game. It’s worth it. 3 – 4 hours later, I finished that game and it felt so worthwhile that it made the day of playing video games feel refreshing, though it was 1 a.m.

Yaicha ended up heading to bed and I continued on my path of game playing until 7:40 a.m. I went back over to Modern Warfare 2 to “pwn some more noobs” until my eyes were getting fuzzy. Around 3 – 3:30, my concentration was starting to wane so Evan and I went over the some multiplayer Peggle matches. Peggle is a neat little game from Pop Cap that is pretty much like pachinko with awesome backgrounds and specific powers. It was a nice way to chill after some intense multiplayer shooter matches.

Evan finally fizzled around 6 a.m. and I chilled out with a second play through of Borderlands until 7:40. Directly after that, I sleepily posted a tweet from the computer and went to bed. It was a great gaming session and I’m happy to have helped with such a great charity.

Special thanks to the following people for donating:

  • Adam Wagner
  • David Vanpelt
  • Rudy Rofinot
  • Chelsey Campbell
  • Benjamin Terrell
  • Brianna Gardner
  • Candice Voss
  • Bob Cowell
  • Katherine Wamsley
  • Ariel Rhoden

Other specific facts:

Gamerscore Achievements:

235 gamerscore

Food and drink consumed:

2 Lo-Carb Monster Energy Drinks

5 Lagunitas IPA beers

Half of an extra large pizza from Papa Johns

One small bag of sweet BBQ chips

Playing games and healing kids with Extra Life

Photo courtesy of Extra Life and Children's Miracle Network

On October 16, 2010, I will play video games for 24 hours straight. This isn’t for any sort of test of endurance, nor is it because of the release of a new game. On that day, I will be helping children at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. With the help of Extra Life and the Children’s Miracle Network, I will be one of many who will help children across the nation.

So, I’m asking anyone who can afford it to donate a dollar per hour for 24 hours. If you can’t afford the full amount, feel free to donate a partial amount. As of this posting, I’m halfway to my goal of $96.00. If I can get some more donations, I will raise my goal another $100. Me and other gamers across the nation want to set an example  that games can be meant for good. Extra Life and Child’s Play are two charities that do just that.

I will be entertaining people on my Facebook and Twitter in between periods of play. Some of the things I have planned are as follows:

1. I will take a photo of myself every hour to see if there’s any visible difference during the 24-hour gaming session.

2. I will also take submissions on games to play beforehand that I can play on the Xbox 360.

3. If you can only donate a partial amount, I will thank you on the hours you’ve donated for.

Any donations are tax deductible. If you have any other suggestions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment on here, Facebook, or Twitter. I’m super stoked to be part of this and hope that you will be a part of it too. Please, feel free to donate at my page here.

Thank you!