How to advertise your game without ramming it down people’s throats
Advertising is hard
One of the most difficult aspects of creating a new roleplaying game is getting players to join initially. Getting people to join a brand new game without an established story or any guarantee it’ll not be a waste of time is tricky. Finding the members is difficult enough, so you want to make your game as visible as possible.
A lot of this involves putting yourself out there, self-promoting, and just generally shouting loudly about your game into the ether until someone hears you.
The owner of one of these brand new games emailed me a couple of weeks ago asking if he could place an advert for his game on the blog. Like the balance I mentioned above, if I allowed this for every game it’ll soon turn the blog into a long feed of fairly uninteresting adverts. Problem is, I know you guys, I know roleplayers, you’re smart. And you’ll sniff an advert at 100 paces and ignore it.
A way to make your game known without being an obvious advert is to provide meaningful content that your potential roleplayers actually want to read. Consider posting articles to blogs relating to the subject of your game. You can add articles to PBEMplayers.com very easily, as it’s unmoderated.
Or how about contributing an article to this blog? We like to post useful tips for roleplayers, both players and GMs. So if you think you’ve got some handy hints for other people like yourself, based on your own experience and opinions, that’s actually useful and interesting for others. You’ll get a link to your game of course, and if you’re writing about your own experience you can use the context of your game as an example. Just don’t overdo it and make it look like an advert, nobody likes feeling like they’re being advertised to! (Submit your article via the form here).
I’ve talked about social media on this blog a few times, and rightly so – it’s been very useful for a lot of people, games, companies etc, to connect with people. Elena from Before the mast RPG said when I interviewed her (read the interview here) that social media is very important for them, and has helped their exposure.
Creating a Twitter account and Facebook page is a start, and you can add these to your game’s homepage (see how here). You can also set these to auto post whenever someone posts on your OngoingWorlds game too, which creates unique content that will be shown to your followers. Here’s some instructions how.
Post cool stuff
Linked to the above, you want to raise the exposure of your game and get as many people to notice you as possible (well, the right people anyway – see below). So connected with the social media I mentioned above, you want to post things that people will be interested in. Inspirational photos perhaps, useful help guides, perhaps release stand-alone stories from your game’s world and enter them into competitions perhaps, create a podcast where you read the story so far (we do this with Blue Dwarf), and generally be a busy-body and put your fingers in as many pies as possible.
Post interesting news about your fandom too. If your game extends a popular fandom, like Harry Potter, Star Trek etc then there’ll already be a crowd of fans who’ll be interested in new content you can post. They might not know about your game yet, but posting interesting news might lead them to find out about your game.
Be active everywhere
I mentioned above Elena from Before the mast RPG, who is extremely good at being active everywhere! If I check the RPG-D forum there’ll be a post from her, I’ll see tweets from her, she’ll be commenting on wall posts on Facebook, etc. She’s great at being everywhere, which is absolutely great for exposure. The internet allows us so many different channels of communication and it gives us access to chat to a lot of really cool people, and find the ones who’ll be interested in joining your roleplay.
I’ve written more about getting your roleplay noticed in this article: Field of dreams got it wrong. If you build it they won’t come, unless you tell them to.