This guest post is by David Edwards of A Sitting Duck.
This year was a land mark year for A Sitting Duck. What started as a blog and creative community has evolved into a limited company that is on track to publish a multi-platform game very soon.
As John mentioned yesterday, gaming is a large and growing niche, with a massive, very passionate audience. It’s a great space to operate in as a blogger, and a business person.
Top tips for succeeding in the video game niche
Over the last four years I’ve moved from illustrations to animations, and now to interactive gaming. I guess as a blogger/publisher the focus for me has always been to build engaging, free content which then makes it much easier to sell services and products.
Here are my tips to build a successful blog in the video game niche.
- Start with big games: It’s really important if you want search engine traffic that you write reviews on (or otherwise cover) the big games up front. Sure, the big blogs in the niche will cover them, and they’ll probably get first position in the search results. But often, you can get hits from angles they didn’t cover, like “ How To Pass Level 50 On Angry Birds”.
- Use big pictures and tweet them: By adding the picture from your latest blog post to Twitter, you’ll get instant attention—and the chance to suggest that there are more to look at over on your blog.
- Embed game trailers from YouTube and describe what happens on the video: This is such an easy thing to do, and it’s sure to get you extra traffic that the video producers will miss out on, because they’re busy working on more videos!.
- Make your own videos: It’s no surprise that top video game blog IGN Entertainment has produced thousands of videos: it works! Video gamers want to see how the game plays, and without actually playing it, a video is the closest they’ll get to the experience. Your best bet is to have a look around for a high-quality capture to stream, and save footage from the XBOX, Playstation, Wii and so on.
Trends do change with blogging, but from what I’ve seen in the video games market, the current popular formula is: upload a video to YouTube, produce a short post blog with extra images, tweet, and find another game to repeat the process with!
Large video game blogs sell ad space, from a bespoke full skin (like Pocket Gamer), where they fully re-brand the home page to promote the sponsor’s game, to the regular box ads at a more reasonable price.
Monetization gets interesting when you look at the smaller blogs in this space (avergaing 5,000 – 50,000 hits a month). These guys usually go for the approach of selling paid reviews, where developers pay, say, $300 to look at your game and write a positive or neutral review of it (it’s never bad—hence the fee!).
If you did ten or more reviews a month, it would start to work out as a full-time salary. Pocketfullofapps.com is a great example of this approach in action, and that blog’s founder is looking to expand quickly over the coming year.
What are you waiting for?
Overall I’d say you should start off by building up your volume of blog posts and video catalog, as this market is very much focused on quantity rather than quality, thoughtful stuff.
Then, once you have that base, work with other active blogs on videos, get them in on the commentary, and you’ll have the kind of banter that really brings in the video views (thousands, and in some cases millions!).