Is a marketing manager/PR firm a good idea for a small indie game?

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by chubigans, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Sysiphus

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    0
    I actually do SEO as part of my job... I work on sites improving (besides I design all sites in my company, mostly html , css and graphics, but also concept, often) for google and other crawlers, for visitors, of course, and off site optimization, providing back links, working on social sites... I think a mix of it is still necesary. I wouldn't go as far as to say SEO is not needed. You've got to reach the potential customers, just like in every product. True that I don't work in games for this.

    BTW, Alexa data is off, besides it can be gamed... Also, I've found sites with poor alexa but quite relevant for a niche....good page rank, and good backlinks...

    I don't do SEO as a freelancer, mostly because is such a hard, and complex task, extremely not enjoyable, not always a safe bet to do, but also as am an artist, I enjoy much more other tasks...But I do believe a lot of good games studios stay unknown for this reason..

    BTW, I'm no SEO expert, by far not. Just had to do a lot of work on that area.
    I agree Google is caring more and more about content, and the whole internet seems also to go in this direction... But IMO, promo will always be promo, call it however you want...

    Since Caffeine update, I thought SEO will start to dissapear, I almost rejoiced, so much I do hate it. But no... what happened is now I gotta work 10 times more, stop doing somethings of the past, or do them less, but still doing a lot of those, plus a load more, mostly related with social sites. You actually need to produce something, in that way, is a bit more fun, tho...I'm more of the idea that a real product (ie: A game for a whatever product company, a comic for a game company, video episodes for another product, also delivered free) acting as a indirect promotion works best now, is real content...But that's my very personal 2c, I could be wrong.

    PD: Crisis times tend to require a lot more promotion, is much harder to sell any product... But also, many SEO companies that probably did sell smoke, will be having dificulties and might dissapear. IMO the stablished ones might be having a just ok moment...(because also a lot of companies making whatever the products have sunk, those were customers... )
     
    #21 Sysiphus, Aug 6, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  2. Digital Entanglement

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's definitely a hard area to work in recently. Google has to balance advertising with relevant content searches, and everyone wants to be relevant.

    To find the niche between showing off a new product and what constitutes spamming or "bad practice" is getting more difficult with the rise of the power of social networks and the demise of the affiliate based world. If only it were as simple as having a quality site with updated content and an ad campaign.
     
  3. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    Once G+ takes off I think SEO will really lose importance, when everyone will have a google account and will start to +1 sites they like. To be honest is also more fair, since content will be promoted by public and not some "dodgy tactics" like buying links and so on :)
     
  4. Sysiphus

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    0
    The thing is I've been hearing this or that new stuff is gonna ban SEO, since many years, but the fact is it just evolves and find its place... Buying links is not effective since a lot of time ago, like many old tricks...

    I'd like SEO would not exist, but at the same time, internet is the channel that seems to allow the average joe to launch and promote his product without the enormous costs of traditional media promotion... I wouldn't like a world were just the big companies and channels dominate production (and promotion)...

    I think anyway, it's different getting crazy with SEO, than just doing some smart promotion, place your url in related content places, and sort of have a blog, and participation in some related content sites...IMHO today that might work fine if the product is good, might be enough. But without even that...I don't know. I hear people wanting to be magically discovered or found... And imho that's a bit too much...
     
  5. terin

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    I actually expect G+ to not influence search rankings at all in the future. Talk about a system easily gamed! Further, G+ shows people "like" a site or a page, but it doesn't tell google WHY they like it.

    The most recent google updates have all been counter to the "rich get richer" approach, penalizing content farm style sites and changing the way links add to SEO. G+ being held as important would run counter to that strategy, the most popular sites getting more popular.

    We shall see.

    (PS: Im glad I dont really do SEO work anymore, it was SOOOOOOOooooo boring.)
     
  6. Digital Entanglement

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    My view on it is that until you are bought out by IGN/EA, you have to keep letting people know you're alive and that you're worth checking out. (Applies to both game reviewers and developers)
     
  7. Sysiphus

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    0
    I find the big G+ more scary than other thing... Indeed, I don't see google as that super poor man's friend, more the contrary, and usually trying to get more control than it should... IMO G+ is more a kind of emergency reaction to the FB monster... And for that to work, people will actually have to care on valuating a link and clicking that icon: I never do. True that social sites people will do, but those are already into facebook, twitter, etc. Will probably keep hitting as well the fb like... So, it has a hard fight in front of it. After all, one needs to be logged in google account...a lot of people don't browse like that, and a lot of people don't use gmail...I mean, that combination of 3 factors sounds to me it makes a bit more complex for that formula taking the world... But yes, there is a chance that seo gets another depth charge for it...I still don't imagine it dissappearing... In the end, the middle man, the marketting will always be there, is there since phoenician times, is part of human nature.. Not that am happy with it being so.

    About the counter rich get richer approach, not so sure... Since some time, more and more if you search for hardware, tech, software, etc, you end up facing with lots of comercial shops results, pages and pages and pages... I don't know, the matter of that need of giving them a phone number in google accounts (I never did), the supposed "no harm" treatment of your mails, the autoupdate.exe from google that if were from other online app we would give it all kind of ugly names, and the actual fact this +1 thing is competition in the commercial jungle, with FB, plain as that...Although imo is aiming for more than that. IMHO this is a control war. Which makes me as unhappy as SEO, even more, as SEO at least is something any buddy can do, with an inet connection...yet. To promote the whatever the product. In traditional media, before the internet, the average joe had it way harder to promote anything, needed such an enormous quantity of money to be heard and known, while seo now is pretty cheap for an individual. So, I think the opposite, that allowing dissapear SEO (where clever thinking and constant work can replace older power and money based methods) goes more in favor of "the rich" and powerful...Same than when big multinational, or carriers, or channels get control of distribution and remove the small fishes out of the water... And wont let them play the game anymore.

    Yes, but this change came many years ago, is not recent...

    In a way, is sort of forced results, to be of the "likes" of other users. IMHO searches should be the most free from that and also money pressures as possible, to give a good searching system... I often don't want to find "what all people likes or know". Too often, indeed. And frequently, start from a very unknown point, and discover my own solution to that, as not happy with the one given.

    I would really like a world with no SEO, but if also there weren't huge channels and mass media shaping people's opinions so easily...And no big lobbies, and no multinationals, etc...But they wont go anywhere. I don't fear it dissapearing, as if technology changes enough, bigger things I've seen dissappear. I saw comic drawing (my main ability decades ago) practically sink for good, while it was an empire in its days... And one just moves from one profile to another. I indeed would switch to do 100% of design, web code and graphics, not the 50% that is now. So, no complaints...If I were to believe that things are gonna happen just like that...

    PD: I'd buy it if what you envision is a future were G+ makes SEO irrelevant but not to remove the capability of an average joe to be heard (because while removing SEO from his toolset, will allow him so , somehow, even more than before) , makes searches even more powerful and allows to find easierly even harder to find stuff (often the most valid) , it makes no invassion, and the whole move is not a clever strategy were citizens aren't just chess figures of a pair of giants war...well, then I'd buy it, happily. I'm just optimistic, but not as much as this last paragraph would require... with the way things work (which makes me fight for the good/fair things even more, not less...) I mean, I tend to expect these kind of things complex, and often "controlled"...
     
    #27 Sysiphus, Aug 8, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  8. terin

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Eh, you're wrong Sys- the most recent update - Panda and Panda 2 were designed very specifically to counter "content mills." It also happened to counter a lot of "Large scale" greyhat SEO tactics that larger networks were able to use and abuse in an attempt to decrease how larger networks were gaming the SEO system. In turn this, in theory, helps the little guy... though to be more accurate it helps the middle guy, the little guy is still just as screwed as ever.

    In gaming terms a site like Kotaku benefits while a network like IGN (IGN/Gamespy/1UP ect.) were penalized.

    This happened this year, so I think you're thinking of something else.

    That said, to me this SEO topic isn't about a startup indie. These updates were designed to impact the largest players. My guess is it shifted traffic towards "respectable" sites. IE: Now the New York Times ranks higher while a random forum ranks lower. You may see that as the rich getting richer, but trust me, the large scale sites like NYT and Kotaku are nothing compared to mass web conglomerates with several million domains.

    This SEO topic is out of hand. For an indie its worth doing some SEO work but I wouldn't invest too much time or effort into it beyond the basics. Your products should be able to create enough links to generate solid SEO results, long as you know the basics. From there, if things begin to grow, you can worry about increasing that exposure.
     
  9. Sysiphus

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    0
    I specially agree with this part. I have been recommending this to friends lately (mostly not in the gaming area) but because since some time Google cares lately a lot about quality content.(or at least actual real content)
    About the other matters, well, maybe you are right. We'll see. (anyway, I am seing with sadness several incredibly good content sites (doing no promotion) completely unknown, no hits, no backlinks, no money luck, being live for many months... while they deserve it better than many known but also recent ones. I'm hoping is just too soon...)
     
  10. Morgan Ramsay

    Morgan Ramsay New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    Messages:
    133
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's not a great idea for an indie game; however, it's a great idea for an independent studio.

    If you're thinking about only your current title, you're more likely to become a "bad client" than a good one and the entire relationship will suffer. You have to make the leap to focusing on the growth of your business and its catalog before you'll see any real, meaningful value from a client-agency relationship.

    Why? The success of any business relationship depends on communication. A client-agency relationship is a partnership. Any business services provider will need you to a) know what you want, b) understand their capabilities and what they can do for you, and c) explain what you expect from their expertise. If you can't articulate your requirements, they can't perform effectively and you will not be satisfied with the outcome. Nobody involved with the partnership wants that to happen.
     
  11. Applewood

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,859
    Likes Received:
    2
    We're going to use a PR firm when we launch the sequel to Great Little War Game. The kinda prices being touted and the coverage we should be able to get should more than pay for itself. If the effect gets us on New and Noteworthy again it'll pay for itself on the first day. No guarantee of that whatsoever of course, but it seems worth a punt to me. Even if we miss, the extra sales in the first weeks should cover the cost.

    Probably worth noting though that it depends on the game. If your title isn't capable of selling in spades even with big publicity then it's probably a waste of money.
     
  12. Sysiphus

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    0
    Agreeing with the whole post, Applewood.

    +1 (couldn't avoid it :D )
     
  13. terin

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, for those that care: I just announced I got my client Avadon: The Black Fortress onto Steam. I can't tell you any details beyond I promise you without my help it never would have gotten there. Worth hiring a marketing / business guy? If he can do that it is! :D

    Avadon launches on the 17th. Wish it luck!
     
  14. manicmilkman

    manicmilkman New Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    85
    Likes Received:
    0
    I didn't read every post, but I'd pay a marketing agency for one specific thing (if it were possible): a guarantee that certain blogs/websites/editors would try the game. Not review it favorably necessarily, or review it all- but an 'in' that says 'well at least see if it's any good.'
     
  15. Nexic

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Messages:
    2,437
    Likes Received:
    0
    Whilst I do believe you're great at marketing Joe (your book was what got me on the right track), I'm not 100% sure about this. Avadon sold a metric ton of copies on the iPad. I'm sure just waving those sales in front of Steam's face is pretty much all that would be necessary to get on there.
     
  16. terin

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    I may aggrandize things at times (as is my job), but I am not a liar - I promise you 100% certainty on this fact.

    :) Seriously.
     
  17. Jack Norton

    Indie Author

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,130
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree... if was another game, I might have been more impressed. But Avadon... come on that was an easy one, Joe!!! ;) I'm more impressed by - that other game you got there - to be honest.
     
  18. terin

    Original Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Messages:
    1,048
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jerks :p There is a third one coming.

    LOL

    The first one Jack mentions isn't a secret- it is Legend of Fae. But... im not saying I have some secret "in" with the Valve people and I can guarantee success. I am saying that the developers of the next two titles had already given up on Steam when I took it to them (in person). Steam rejects plenty of things I send their way... I would say my success rate has been about 70%.
     

Share This Page

  • About Indie Gamer

    When the original Dexterity Forums closed in 2004, Indie Gamer was born and a diverse community has grown out of a passion for creating great games. Here you will find over 10 years of in-depth discussion on game design, the business of game development, and marketing/sales. Indie Gamer also provides a friendly place to meet up with other Developers, Artists, Composers and Writers.
  • Buy us a beer!

    Indie Gamer is delicately held together by a single poor bastard who thankfully gets help from various community volunteers. If you frequent this site or have found value in something you've learned here, help keep the site running by donating a few dollars (for beer of course)!

    Sure, I'll Buy You a Beer