How to Build Buzz for your Indie Game like Hollywood Movies do?
What’s the difference between a big budget Hollywood movie and an indie mobile game? About $100 million.
Alright that wasn’t really a funny joke but all jokes aside there is big difference between Hollywood movies and indie games and it isn’t just their budgets. Most Hollywood movies market their movies well. They market them really well. They also build buzz months before release, sometimes years before release just to build buzz and anticipation.
On the other hand some indie games developers hardly do this. Some indie game devs only release a trailer of their game a week or two before their game actually comes out.
But if you do this what kind of buzz or hype can you build up for your game. If you follow this tactic you probably will face poor sales or even worse no sales at all.
The Dark Knight
An example of a great marketing campaign by a Hollywood movie is Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. Fair enough it was a spectacular movie and won major praise from critics and audiences alike but it did have an awesome marketing campaign in place.
Warner Bros, the production studio behind The Dark Knight. Warner Bros and its agencies started marketing the film a year before the film’s release in 2007. To start with the viral campaign of TDK they first designed a fake political campaign website for the character Harvey Dent.
They then created several online scavenger hunts across multiple cities across the country and released teaser trailers for the movie while also publishing a fictitious newspaper called The Gotham Times which they distributed on the streets in Chicago and other cities.
As well as that they also formed a partnership with fast food restaurant ‘Burger King’. They produced a burger called ‘The Dark Whooper’, while also giving batman toys away with every purchase of their kids meal.
Because of the marketing campaign in place The Dark Knight grossed over a billion dollars worldwide. In this article you will learn how to create an awesome marketing campaign for your game and how we build buzz for our mobile platformer game Ginger Roll.
Video is one of the most useful tools you can use to promote your mobile game. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, if that’s the case then a video is worth a million words.
Hollywood movies use video very effectively. They generally release videos like teaser trailers, music videos, meet the cast, behind the scenes, extras, etc.
The film Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, used video very effectively. Will Ferrell appeared in character as Ron Burgundy on North Dakota news channel, KX News. This helped build buzz up for the movie as a lot of news outlets picked this up like Yahoo News, Mashable and Rolling Stone. It built up publicity and publicity is always a good thing, in most cases.
I’m not saying that you should team up with a news team and start presenting the news. But do something that makes sense to your game and fits in with your game.
With Ginger Roll we are doing a teaser trailer, animated music video, meet the characters video and assorted videos promoting Ginger Roll. These videos will build buzz and generate more interest into our game.
If people like the videos they will start sharing the videos with their friends and on social network sites. This then makes a snowball effect and the videos start getting more popular and your gets more people interested into your game.
A website is one of your most important assets you have when it comes to promoting your mobile games. You should generally have a development blog like we do with the IRF Media website.
On here you can list all your games, about your company, potential job listings and most importantly any updates or progress on your games in your blog.
It is beneficial to have a separate website for each one of your games. This will help because it will help people find your game while also increasing the SEO factor of your game.
Having a separate site for your game also makes it appear professional and allows you to showcase the game with screenshots and trailers of the game.
The website does not have to be complex and can just be a couple of screenshots, trailer and some information about the game. This can be followed by a link to the app store download page and directing the users to sign up to your mailing list.
The main goal of your website is to send people to download your games from the app store and getting visitors to your site to sign up to the mailing list.
The main aim of your mailing list is to get your visitors to hand over their email address so you can communicate with your visitors, turn them into fans, send promotional codes, send updates on new games and much more.
This is what we have done with the Ginger Roll website. We added a opt-in mailing list so people could sign up via email, once the user signs up via email you can notify them via email about the release of your game, any future updates, in-app purchases, sales, basically whatever you want (within limit, no pornography).
The Hollywood movie industry make use of websites in a great way. They use it in such a way that people become interested and want to go watch the film.
Take for example The Hunger Games movie website. It has a simple design and from the homepage you can check out a trailer of the latest film, see the other films in the series, buy the DVD and buy tickets to watch the movie at the cinema.
The website also includes the ability to share the website with friends and see the release date of the latest movie in different countries.
Another great example of a movie utilizing its website effectively is Steve Jobs the movie starring Michael Fassbender. The website also has a very simple and minimal design to it and has links to the main parts of the movie like the trailer, story, gallery and links to buy tickets to see the movie.
This is very minimal and simplistic and works great. It only shows the visitor the things they need and does not overwhelm them. When creating your own website for your own mobile game make sure you go for the simplistic look that is minimal.
You can even just have a one page landing page which features screenshots from your game, trailer and links to download your game all on one page. A mobile game that does this well is an iPhone game called Alto’s Adventure.
It has a one page design to it and includes description of the game, awards, reviews, trailers and screenshots as well as download links to the app store. It is well put together.
Social Media is one of the most vital tools you can use when building buzz. Using sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus is very beneficial as it can create a snowball effect which means that your content can get shared by potentially hundreds of thousands of people and go viral.
Going viral is not easy and you have to create something that is remarkable. As marketing guru Seth Godin says “Be Genuine, Be Remarkable, Be Worth Connecting With”. You have to make sure you stand out and do something that makes your game stand out.
Whether that means implementing something into your game that hasn’t been done before or marketing it in a way that no-one has done before
An example of an excellent viral social media campaign is The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games made a ‘virtual Hunger Games’ where users could join a district and compete against other districts just like in the movie.
The virtual game made users experience what it would be like to be in the actual ‘Hunger Games’ and also engaged fans with the film. Users were also encouraged to share with their friends and this blew it up and got loads of people accessing it.
When creating social media pages for your game make sure that they look professional with appropriate profile picture and cover photo. You want those images representing your brand and image so something cheap is going to make your game and brand look cheap.
A good example of a Facebook page is from the 2013 movie starring Brad Pitt, World War Z. It has a nice and clear profile photo and cover photo. You know exactly what it is just by looking at it, it represents the brand properly and the cover photo tells you the main details.
To keep fans engaged with the Facebook page they have a section on their Facebook page called ‘Crisis Zero’ in which it tells you what you can do if you face a zombie apocalypse. As well as that it has a links to buy cinema tickets to watch the movie (obviously doesn’t work now).
With the IRF Media social pages we have a clear, cute profile picture and cover photo representing our brand. We have a clear message for our audience and our posts and tweets tell that message.
Update your social media pages regularly, there’s nothing that puts a potential customer off more than a desolated brand social media page. Run competitions, giveaways and freebies to keep fans engaged and happy.
PR and Journalists
Hollywood movies use journalists and influential people very well. Usually before they release a movie they have reviews from big news outlets, critics. They do this because they have advance screenings to the influential people, journalists, bloggers and news outlets. A rave review from these can often be make or break as many people pay attention to reviews to judge how good the movie is before actually going to see it.
You can do this with your indie game. A good way to do it is to target those journalists and influential people that will actually review or be interested in your game. There’s no point in emailing someone who is not interested in your game, that’s just wasting your time and energy.
To find the journalists and influencers who are likely to cover your game Google similar games to yours. For example if I had a racing game then I would Google ‘Real Racing 3 review’ or another similar popular racing game. Google will bring back results for whichever websites and blogs have reviewed the game. Then I would just check out each site and email each journalist/reviewer.
You would be more likely to get someone to cover your game because you would be emailing journalists who are actually interested in the same type of games. You can also do the same with YouTube and email YouTubers who cover similar games to your own. This technique actually works wonders and can get quite a bit of coverage for your game if done properly.
Using these techniques you should be able to build up good amount of buzz for your mobile game. You don’t have to have a big budget like Hollywood movies to build buzz like they do.
We have just released a massive update for Ginger Roll which includes on screen joystick controls, ability to share gameplay and much more. It is available to download for iOS, Android and Amazon devices. Download it now.