草根營銷對一家小型工作室的重要性

作者:Richard Wood

在2016年8月,我們與來自PlayStation的戰略伙伴關係團隊合作在PS4上發行了《[email protected]》。PlayStation團隊讓我們能夠面向他們平臺創造遊戲。而作爲一支缺少預算的小型團隊並且是在創造自己的第一款主機遊戲,我們需要發揮更大的創造性並制定足夠現實的目標。

Brut@l (from steamcommunity)

[email protected] (from steamcommunity)

爲什麼我們要專注於草根營銷:

我們很早便清楚,作爲一家小型工作室要想被IGN,Gamespot和Giant Bomb等網站推薦是非常困難的,儘管我們願意去嘗試,但事實往往不如人意。對於很多人來說這便標誌着失敗,但是我們卻認爲這是一個白日夢一般的目標,所以我們決定面向一些較小的網站和社區去推廣我們這款特殊的ASCII風格的冒險遊戲。

於是我們便開始制定策略,即以草根營銷爲基礎。草根營銷指的是:

“比起發佈能夠吸引許多人的信息,你將瞄準小部分羣體並希望該羣體能夠將你的信息傳遞給更多用戶。草根營銷通常都會使用非傳統型方法。”

基於這一定義,我們便決定與電子遊戲評論者和影響者領域的全新且具有抱負的人才展開合作。這便意味着我們會與那些擁有不多YouTube訂閱者或Podcast聽衆的人合作。我發現許多工作室似乎在避免使用這一策略而將更多時間花在那些能夠帶給你100個訪問者的人身上。

基於以下原因我便認準這是最適合我們的推廣方式:

我們是一支擁有100個YouTube訂閱者的團隊:我們不能報以太大幻想,畢竟我們只是一支小型團隊,我們也清楚一些小型評論者/網站/影響者希望與我們合作。我們覺得去嘗試獲取“主流”媒體的注意是不現實的。

熟能生巧:在最初的《[email protected]》公告中,我只在腦子裏聯想了遊戲的宣傳說辭,但這與在podcast或舞臺上親自宣傳遊戲是截然不同的。而通過與Roger Pokorny等更小的內容創造者合作,我便能夠學到什麼是可行的什麼是不可行的。這讓我能夠更好地在訪問中推廣遊戲,與充滿熱情的個體創造內容並與那些我所共事的人交叉推廣遊戲(遊戲邦注:這麼做不僅能夠推廣我們的遊戲也能夠推廣他們的網站/頻道)。

建立持久的關係:發行了遊戲後便將其放任不管,這便是一大錯誤。通過與全新內容創造者和評論者等努力獲取職業能力的人合作,你便有可能接觸到來自IGN,Gamespot和Kinda Funny等公司的員工。我們便很幸運能夠與初露頭角的評論家Trevor Starkey,視頻編輯師Tom Hawkins,全新IGN社交製作人Sean Pitts,之前提到的Roger Pokorny,Knerds的團隊,充滿才能的Ally Mushka等人建立起友好的關係。我們從這種關係中收益頗豐,我相信他們也會如此,並且說實話,我們希望能夠在下一次遊戲發行時再次與這些人進行合作。

我們是如何選擇與誰共事:

一旦我們決定與全新且充滿熱情的評論者,影響者和創造者共事時,我們所面臨的下一個問題便是該如何去找到這些人。我們找到了三種方法:

與已建立的社區合作:就我們自己來說,我們是Kinda Funny的忠實粉絲,這既是排名第一的PlayStation播客也是Best Friends社區。因爲我們是節目的粉絲所以我們非常清楚哪些人會對這樣的合作感興趣。於是我們便主動接近了這些人並商討了播客,遊戲訪問等合作方式,或只是進行簡單的聊天。隨着內容的播出我會去關注Kinda Funny的論壇並尋找進一步的合作對象。這不僅能夠推廣我們自己的《[email protected]》,也能夠宣傳這些全新創造者。我們也將此作爲跳板去尋找更多合適的全新創造者。

發送電子郵件:我們創建了一份excel文件,其中包含了1000多個網站,內容創造者和podcast,我們將基於該文件去匹配網站與聯繫細節。我們會給每個網站,podcast和內容創造者發送不同的郵件並向他們解釋《[email protected]》是怎樣的遊戲,我們想要怎麼做以及會如何提供適合他們用戶的合作方式。雖然這種方法的回報率較低,但卻能讓我們建立良好的關係並提高我們的郵件使用率。這還能創造出一些有趣的結果,就像我們出現在了巴西的無線廣播站,獲得了意大利雜誌的推薦,並接受了PlayStation Universe和PlayStation Lifestyle的採訪,出現在意大利的MTV上,但最酷的還是我們創造了自己的Giant Bomb Quick頁面。而一個一個地發郵件需要花費許多時間,就像我在倫敦度假的第一天便將未婚妻拖進網吧幫我發郵件,但不管怎樣我還是覺得這麼做是值得的。

不斷更新內容:4月份的時候,我們持續數週時間每天都在更新一些特殊內容去吸引人們的注意。這些內容讓我們能夠始終留在社區成員的印象中並通過社交分享而接觸到全新用戶,說實話,很多人都很相信我們並願意幫助我們推廣這些宣傳內容。

結果

我說了許多我們會去使用草根營銷的原因以及我們如何尋找合作對象,但最終這一切是否值得呢?對於我們來說,作爲一支來自蘇格蘭且只有8個人的小型團隊,並且沒有市場營銷預算,能夠獲得Giant Bomb和Kinda Funny的宣傳,並獲得美國以及意大利的所有PlayStation網站的關注,還能獲得來自Twitter和YouTube的無數推廣與反饋,我們真的非常滿足了。

因爲我們在遊戲發行前便不斷進行推廣,所以在遊戲發行時我們獲得了來自小但卻充滿熱情的社區成員的大力宣傳並因此吸引到更大型的網站的注意。儘管我們從未收到IGN的評論,但是我也堅信我們的其它所得足以幫助我們這支小型團隊實現第一款PlayStation 4遊戲的成功。

草根營銷幫助我們明確了適合自己的推廣方式並讓我們能夠交到可以每天交流的寶貴朋友,同時也確保《[email protected]》能在發行時與發行後從衆多競爭者中脫穎而出。如果說我在《[email protected]》的發行中學到了什麼,那便是除了需要做好內容與推廣外,你還需要一個強大堅實的基礎,而對於我們來說這一基礎便是草根營銷。

本文爲遊戲邦/gamerboom.com編譯,拒絕任何不保留版權的轉發,如需轉載請聯繫:遊戲邦

The importance of grassroots marketing as small studio

by Richard Wood

The Importance of Grassroots Marketing as Small Studio.

In August (2016) we launched [email protected] on PS4 in collaboration with the Strategic Partnership team from PlayStation. The team at PlayStation allowed us to create the game for their platform, however we were on the hook for making the game succeed and find an audience on the PlayStation Network. As a small team making our first console title and with no budget, we had to get creative and realistic with our goals.

Why we focussed heavily on Grassroots:

We knew very early on that being featured on sites such as IGN, Gamespot and Giant Bomb, while important, would be very difficult for us as a small studio and that, while we would try, we assumed we’d get no coverage here. For a lot of people this is an immediate sign of failure, however we decided that while this was a dream goal, we wanted to focus on smaller and more focussed sites, communities and personalities for promoting our unique ASCII style adventure.

At this point we started building our strategy, with grassroots marketing a key focus. Grassroots marketing is often defined as:

“Instead of launching a message you hope will appeal to many people, you target your efforts to a small group and hope the group will spread your message to a much larger audience. Grassroots marketing often uses unconventional or non-traditional methods”

We latched onto this definition, with a strong focus being our goal to work with new and aspiring talent in the video game review and influencer space. This meant working with people with sometimes less than 100 YouTube Subscribers or Podcast listeners. We’d seen a lot of studios avoid this strategy, deciding that spending an hour with someone who would get you 100 viewers / listeners a waste.

For the following reasons, we decided this was an important method of approaching promotion for us:

We were a 100 YouTube subscriber team: We were under no illusions we were a small team, and much like us trying to target IGN, we knew a bunch of smaller reviewers / sites / influencers would love to work with us. We felt it made no sense for us to reach for the stars with our attempts to achieve “main stream” coverage if we weren’t willing to help those trying to get coverage for their platforms / sites / channels.

Practice makes perfect: At the initial announcement of [email protected] I had practiced, in my head, our pitch for the game, but practicing in your head and doing it on a podcast, on a stage, on a video or in person is completely different. By working with smaller content creators such as Roger Pokorny I could work on my promotion for [email protected] and learn what worked and didn’t work. This allowed me to better perfect how I promoted [email protected] in interviews, create content with passionate individuals, and cross promote with whoever I worked with – promoting both our game and their site / channel.

Build Lasting Connections: Promoting your game as a “one off launch”, a fire and forget style of campaign, is a huge mistake. By working with new content creators and reviewers, those working to push themselves into a professional capacity, you get to work with the next wave of IGN, Gamespot and Kinda Funny employees. By being genuine, honest and upfront with what you’re trying to achieve you can build lasting relationships. We’ve been very lucky to build friendships with budding reviewer Trevor Starkey, video editor Tom Hawkins, new IGN Social Producer Sean Pitts, the aforementioned Roger Pokorny, the team at Knerds, the talented Ally Mushka, and countless others. We gained a lot from these relationships, and we believe they did too, and quite honestly, we hope to work with all of them again on our next release.

How we found who to work with:

Once we established we wanted to work with upcoming and passionate new reviewers, influencers and creators the next problem was finding them. We broke this down in three ways:

Working with established communities: Internally we were big fans of Kinda Funny, home of the number one PlayStation podcast and the Best Friends community. Because we were genuine listers of the show we knew a select group of folks would be interested in collaborating immediately. We reached out to this group and set up podcast appearances, game previews or simple chats. With this content going live we then followed up on the Kinda Funny forums and looked for further collaborations. This resulted in several more content pieces and allowed us to share a host of content that both promoted [email protected] and promoted these new creators. We used this as a platform to extend our reach and find new creators to work with

Cold emailing: We created a mega excel document that had 1000s of websites, content creators and podcasts and from here we began matching up the sites with contact details. We emailed each site, podcast and content creator a unique email and explained to them what [email protected] was, what we were looking to do as well as offering to collaborate with them in any way that suited their audience. This had a low % return, but again it allowed us to establish a host of connections as well as improve our use of email for outreach. This yielded some interesting results, we appeared on a radio station in Brazil, were featured in an Italian print magazine, conducted interviews with PlayStation Universe and PlayStation Lifestyle, appeared on MTV in Italy, but most notably, we had our very own Giant Bomb Quick look created. Emailing everyone individually, with unique emails, took days, infact on the first day of a holiday in London I dragged my fiancée into an internet café to help me finish the emails, it was an interesting moment, but overall I think it was worthwhile.

Constant Content: We took a page out of the upcoming content creators book and made content constantly over 2016. For a few weeks in April we were even putting out unique and weighty content every day to drive interest and interaction. This stream of quality content (we think so anyway!) allowed us to stay in the minds of our current community and reach a new one via social sharing and, quite honestly, a lot of people believing in us and being willing to go above and beyond to promote our message.

Results, Results, Results!

I’ve spoken a lot about why we used grassroots marketing and how we found who to work with, but in the end, was it all worth it? To us, a small 8-person team from Scotland with no marketing budget, yes! We got coverage from Giant Bomb and Kinda Funny, we were picked up by every PlayStation focused website from the US to Italy. We received a tremendous amount of coverage and feedback from Twitter and YouTube.

Due to our on-going efforts to promote the game on the run up to launch we felt we had a real buzz about the game at launch from our small, but passionate, community that resulted in much larger sites picking up on us. While we never received our IGN preview or review, I do believe that all our other content was more than enough to help us achieve success as a small team doing our first PlayStation 4 game.

Grassroots marketing helped us refine our approach to promotion, allowed us to make incredible friends that we talk to even today, and ensured [email protected] stood out from the crowd on and after launch. If there’s one thing I learned in launching [email protected] it’s that you need to reach for the stars with your content and promotion, but you also need a strong foundation and for us that was grassroots marketing.(source:gamasutra