How to successfully promote your upcoming indie game
Despite the fact that since the second half of the 2000s, the scale of phenomena associated with indie games has significantly increased and continues to grow to this day, indie games are still unable to compete with large game publishers. To give an example, let's take the best indie game of 2022, "Stray". We go to YouTube, turn on the first trailer from 2020 and see the number of views - just over 4 million. Now let's try this trick again, but this time with the GOTY 2022 trailer "Elden Ring". The number of views is more than twice as high, and the video was released a year later. How can you announce your indie game to the world if even having a year's head start won't help you compete with industry flagships?
How do you make sure your indie game doesn't get lost among hundreds of other, louder announcements? As you can see, even the best and most talked-about indie games can't compete, so what about truly local projects? That's what we'll talk about today. So, get comfortable, open the notes on your smartphone, and get ready to jot down a few useful tips that will definitely help you promote your indie game.
First of all, I want to clarify that this guide is not intended to announce the release of your game, but rather to let the world know that you are developing it. But between the development announcement and the release, too much time can pass, won't that deter potential players? Of course not, smart advertising over a long period of time will only fuel audience interest, and on release, your indie game could become a true local hit.
Let's say you've been working on your indie game for a while, and only you and your closest friends know about it. But you realize that the development has reached a stage where you can announce it to the world. How can you make sure that your announcement doesn't get lost among thousands of others? How can you maximize the benefit of the game even during development and make players anticipate its release? This is an incredibly difficult task, but fortunately, it is entirely achievable!
First, remember that an early announcement just for the sake of it won't bring you the desired result, and for a successful announcement of your indie game, you need to have a well-optimized game page on Steam. Otherwise, don't even think about an announcement! And don't forget that every year, there are more and more indie games, so it's crucial to distinguish your game from the rest. Use these tips to make sure your game gets the attention it deserves!
Suppose you've been working on your indie game for a while, and only you and your close ones know about it. But you realize that the game development has reached a stage where it's possible to announce it to the world. How do you ensure that your announcement doesn't get lost among thousands of others? How do you extract maximum benefit from the game even during the development stage, making players anticipate its release?
This is an incredibly difficult task, but fortunately, it is achievable!
First, remember that an early announcement just for the sake of it won't bring you the desired results, and for a successful announcement of your indie game, you'll need at least a configured game page on the Steam store, otherwise, you shouldn't even consider making an announcement!
Don't forget that thousands of video games are released every year, and even more are announced. In such a vast and diverse quality and quantity, even game releases from large development studios can sometimes get lost, let alone small indie games.
Top life hacks for effectively announcing your indie game
1. Patience is key!
Developing an indie game is not an easy task, and making a well-timed and effective announcement is even more challenging. Unlike major game releases, gamers will not be following indie games by default, so a timely announcement will be a significant factor in the success of your game. Major publishers can easily announce their games just a few months before the release due to their reach and reputation. However, for indie games, this is a luxury that they cannot afford. Therefore, you should make your first announcement at least a year before the expected release date. However, as mentioned earlier, a simple announcement will not suffice. The press and players need something tangible to write and talk about right now, not in promised years. Therefore, it is advisable to provide high-quality content from the beginning. Sketchbook concept arts will not attract the attention you need. Thus, during the game's development, you will have to be patient and announce your project only when you have something truly worthwhile. Something that fully reflects the essence of your game and distinguishes you from your competitors. Many indie developers are often impatient and want to announce their game to the world as soon as possible, but for the announcement to intrigue players, high-quality content is needed. There is no need to rush. Your first announcement is the most valuable, and it should be used wisely.
2. Work with the Steam store!
First of all, your game will need a page in the Steam store. The page for your game on Steam is your storefront, which will attract potential users! It is essential that the page for your game on Steam is created simultaneously with the announcement, and not 2-3 months later! Strike while the iron is hot! Just like the announcement of the game's development, you will need exclusive content for your Steam page. A short gameplay video or a few beautiful in-game screenshots can be more than enough in the early stages.
3. Website and social media for your project!
Let's not hide the fact that the main goal of your website and social media is to redirect traffic to your Steam store page, while allowing journalists and players to learn more about your game from your press release. Social media can also become the best advertisement for your project. For example, on Twitter there is the #indiedevhour hashtag, and indie developers are far from the only ones who interact with this hashtag. Many social media users also actively use the hashtag, and even game publishers actively follow this hashtag. Therefore, do not hesitate to use popular hashtags, it's better to have many of them than none at all.
4. Active work with the press!
The first and most important rule of successful work with the press is to find out which publications have published articles about games similar to yours. Find authors who have written about similar games and add them to your press list. This is an extremely time-consuming process, you will have to sift through mountains of content, read dozens of reviews, but it will help you not only in promoting your game through specialized authors and publications, but also in correcting mistakes.
Also, don't neglect personal communication with journalists. This is a much more personal story that evokes loyalty and trust, rather than a PR agency mailing.
Remember, announcing your indie game for the first time is one big "what if?" that you will never find the answer to, which will guarantee you the desired result. However, you can definitely increase your chances of success if you follow these simple tips.
I hope the article was helpful to you, and you will find even more interesting and useful information on our blog!