As a concept, content marketing is about creating a network of high-value content around the topics that interest your audience, all while tying that content back to your brand's offerings. When done right, a content marketing strategy will help your brand attract new visitors, nurture leads, and convert readers into profitable clients.
The reason why most websites don't have a real or effective content marketing strategy is simple: It takes a substantial amount of time to create one. What's more, many companies simply don't have the resources to hire the one writer, or multiple writers, needed to execute a content marketing strategy in a consistent and efficient manner.
So, should your gaming website have a content marketing strategy? The answer is "absolutely yes," but the challenge will be figuring out a way to implement it into your digital marketing plan and execute it without over-straining your existing resources. In this guide, we'll take you through all of the steps you need to follow.
Why is Content Marketing Important for Gaming Websites?
According to HubSpot, "70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing." Content marketing, as a whole, aims to fill a website and its connected platforms with content that intrigues, engages, and ultimately educates readers on important news and updates in your industry. For a gaming website, this means your content strategy may include everything from game reviews to behind-the-scenes interviews with developers, first-looks at upcoming game launches, and information about gaming industry events.
Of course, you can produce content covering some or all of these topics without a strategy, so why do you need one? A content marketing strategy ensures you're hitting on the right topics at the right time. Since your strategy will be backed by in-depth research into your audience, along with their pain points, interests, and the challenges they face in the customer journey, a strategy will make each piece you publish more robust.
Sound complicated? WordStream puts it this way: "A pain point is a specific problem that prospective customers of your business are experiencing." With a content marketing strategy, there's no sitting down and wasting time trying to figure out what to cover or if your audience will care. Instead, every move is highly researched and calculated, allowing you to see consistent performance by publishing great content often, not just on your website but on social media and all other platforms you want to reach your audience through.
The results? Your audience begins to view you as a thought leader in the niche because you're directly speaking to their interests and not parroting what all the other websites are doing. Unique perspectives, original content, and a writing style that speaks to their needs and concerns allows you to nurture them into qualified leads and, ultimately, get them to convert with less hands-on work from your sales team.
Benefits of Content Marketing for Your Customer Service Website
Not convinced that content marketing is a smart move for your gaming website? Consider the following benefits that will ultimately save you time and money, and get you more customers, if you invest the time into creating a content marketing strategy.
If your gaming website currently doesn't perform well when it comes to search engine rankings, you're likely either dealing with sporadic traffic when a post does perform well or you're having to spend money on ads in order to consistently drive traffic to your website. In either case, you're not getting as many leads as you want to be, and those you are getting, you're probably paying for in the form of an ad.
There's no doubt that SEO is a complex game, and that's all the more reason to invest in a content marketing strategy. After all, in order to create your content strategy, you have to do two things: perform in-depth keyword research and understand the type of content your audience interacts with the most. All the while, your strategy is keeping you focused on delivering high-value content to your readers rather than plugging your products and services every other paragraph.
By nature, a content marketing strategy will improve your rankings -- along with user engagement and conversion rates -- because it caters to your audience and their interests. Google says it themselves: "Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site."
While it takes time for a content piece to earn a ranking, investing in content marketing means you'll begin seeing results a few months down the road and continue to see results for as long as you continue developing your strategy alongside on-page SEO strategies. Soon, you'll also begin seeing good websites link to your site and perhaps be able to earn featured snippets.
It's already a given that a content strategy, which leads to more frequent, better quality content, helps drive traffic to your site, but it can also grow your following elsewhere. When you choose to publish on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you'll see similar results when you go from publishing at random to publishing based on your content strategy.
No longer will your social media platforms be dormant for half the year because you can't think of something to post or overrun with content no one wants to see, like links to articles they've already seen on your blog. With a content strategy, you'll be empowered to plan unique content for your social media platforms that encourages interaction and sharing, leading to organic growth across your content network.
With that said, linking back to your website and latest feature articles is worthwhile, but it shouldn't be the only type (or even the majority) of content you post. People are on a social network to find interesting headlines, leave comments, and interact with their favorite brands. Your content strategy will help you consistently deliver content that enables all of those things.
If you're not yet familiar with the conversion funnel, there are three stages identified across all industry: awareness, consideration, and decision.
For your gaming website, a prospect in the "awareness" stage may be just learning about a new horror game for the Playstation that came out last month. In the consideration phase, they're going to be looking at game reviews, let's plays, and walkthroughs to help them determine if they really want to buy it. If they decide that they do want to purchase it, they might just go through your own website's store or affiliate link to do so, earning you money, but only if you have content that keeps them around throughout every stage of the funnel.
Without a content strategy, it's impossible to nurture leads with your content because you don't have a plan laid out that involves creating content for every stage. You might have a "top 10 horror games of this summer" list that targets people in the awareness phase, or you might have a review of the latest horror game that targets people in the consideration phase, but you likely don't have all of these for every game you talk about.
With a content strategy, you'll be able to consistently create content across all phases of the decision-making journey, allowing you to capture prospects in any stage with the aim of driving all of them to the decision phase without them leaving your website in search of other content. This takes time, as your brand will need authority for your viewers to trust your content, but creating content across all stages is the first step.
Once you do, you'll find that your conversion rates skyrocket and you end up with a more loyal reader base because they'll come to trust your in-depth input in all of their game-relating decisions.
Being an "authority" in the gaming industry is important, especially if you want people to come to you to help them make a decision on what games, consoles, or gadgets they want to buy. Building authority starts with great content, so by default, a content marketing strategy is going to help you build authority as you go along. This authority means your brand begins to gain recognition and a reputation for being reliable, honest, and trustworthy.
Offering an in-depth and honest game review, for example, instead of always driving people to purchase a game that 90% of gamers didn't like, is an example of content that will help build authority. Offering video walk-throughs and let's play content to help viewers make their own decisions is another way to build authority because you're offering them a unique "sneak-peek" or behind-the-scenes look they may not find elsewhere.
Ultimately, the quickest way to building authority is to offer valuable, informational content that isn't always targeted at making a sale. Instead of thinking about, "How can I make the reader buy this?" ask yourself: "What can I tell the reader that they don't already know?" Your content marketing strategy will help you make this shift in motivation, allowing you to build lasting authority for your gaming brand.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy for a Gaming Website
Ready to create a content marketing strategy that offers a real boost to your gaming website? Follow these steps to ensure it's effective.
Before you continue creating any content on behalf of your brand, it's essential that you ensure its consistency by creating a brand book. A brand book is a valuable asset that basically sums up who your brand is, the colors it uses, the phrasing it uses, the people it wants to reach, and so on.
Say you're outsourcing to a content writer or a marketer: Giving them your brand book is the only thing you'll have to do to inform them on how they should represent your gaming website. If that doesn't sound like a big deal, remember that consistency is key in branding. If your brand doesn't have content with a consistent voice and style, readers will rarely begin to associate your content with reliability and authority.
Whenever your brand "speaks" to its audience, be it through customer service or on Facebook, it's essential that everyone talking on behalf of your brand knows how you want to make customers feel, the words and terms they should and shouldn't use, and the overall writing style they need to adopt. Your brand book puts all of that information in one place for easy reference.
Chances are, you have a pretty good idea of who your readers should be. You might be targeted young gamers in high school and college, for example, or maybe you're targeting parents who are making game decisions for their young children. While that might seem like a good start, it's not nearly enough to build an informed content strategy.
In order to reap all of the benefits discussed early, your content has to be understanding of your audience's pain points, customer journey, and the questions they have. To know all of those things, you're going to have to take a deep dive into who your audience really is. This means creating at least one customer persona representing your ideal reader. Most companies end up creating 2-3 customer personas since there's diversity in every audience.
Once you have your customer personas in hand, you'll have a better understanding of when and where they consume content, the type of content they interact with the most, and what they're actually looking for. With this solid foundation, you'll be able to build a content strategy that truly works.
Once you know who your audience is, you'll be able to answer important questions like what social media platforms they use. You'll also be able to discover valuable insights into the type of content they prefer to consume, like videos and articles, and plan your content accordingly. This will inform the next step in your content marketing strategy, which is to create a content calendar.
A content calendar is basically a schedule that summarizes when you're going to publish content on each platform and what format that content will be. For instance, if you want to publish an article on your blog three times per week, your content calendar will specify the days it will go live. Meanwhile, if you want to start a podcast, your content calendar will specify if it's a weekly or monthly podcast and on what day you plan to release it.
Other things you should include in your content calendar are social media posts, and whether they're text, video, a poll, or something else. Also, schedule in your email newsletter or any other content you intend to produce. This includes marketing campaigns and more, so you have your full content plan in one place, showing the overlap and gaps. Case studies and other content should also be scheduled.
This visual representation of your content schedule will ultimately help you stay consistent with your publishing while also determining just how far your existing resources can stretch. Ideally, you'll start small and scale up rather than spreading yourself too thin by trying to be active on every social media platform under the sun. In other words, your content calendar will help you establish your content priorities.
While you may feel like the last two steps were plenty research-intensive, the fact is, a content marketing strategy is 100% research into your target audience. There are no blind guesses around here. Fortunately, all the research you've already done will further inform your next research project, which involves finding the keywords and topics your audience is looking for.
Long-tail keywords with high search volume help reveal the topics your audience cares about. Meanwhile, targeting those topics also can increase organic traffic to your website, making it a real win/win. Use tools like Google Analytics to dive into your audience's search habits and determine which topics are worth creating content around. In the gaming industry, a lot of content isn't evergreen, like announcements for an upcoming game, so consider the timeframe when planning your content.
Of course, as you plan your content, you should also consider the format it will be best represented in. Should it be a blog post or a video? Is it worth talking about on your podcast? Is it big news that you should cover on multiple platforms? Those are the questions you'll ultimately be asking yourself as you plug topics into your content schedule. Always think back to your audience and their preferences when making those decisions.
Tips for Executing Your Gaming Website's Content Marketing Strategy
Are you ready to put your content marketing strategy into action? While it takes time and research to create, you'll find that the quality and consistent results produced by your strategy are well worthwhile once you take the time to implement it. The challenge now is, how do you find time to create all of that content?
While many people take a do-it-yourself approach or attempt to add content writing to the list of responsibilities of an existing employee, you'll get the best quality and most consistent content if you put it in the hands of a dedicated content writer. Scripted can help you find the best gaming writer in your industry, thanks to a database of thousands of professionals.
Ready to get started? Browse our gaming writers today!