I’ve been thinking a lot about the progression of my own site alongside many other things. So, I decided to make a bit of a guide for anyone looking into making a web site, blog, channel, Twitter Feed, or anything else. This is mostly directed towards PS Vita.
Creating a web site and making it succeed isn’t an easy thing to do. There are a lot of factors that can make or break your success. So, anyone making or building a site or channel, here are many guidellines and tips to help your channel succeed, just like mine is:
Make Unique and Consistent Content
A channel or web site is only as good as the content it creates. There are a lot of YouTube channels out there around the PS Vita and probably half a dozen big web sites. There is nothing wrong with making content that others make, but what you need to stand out from the crowd is a bit of uniqueness.
Take my site for example. Strictly on the PS Vita side, what makes me unique? First, I’m a site solely dedicated to reviews, instead of news, previews, reviews, podcasts, etc. I have a specialty. Second, I do retro reviews as well as native reviews. Even among the big Vita sites not many go the distance to write reviews of backwards-compatible titles from the perspective of a newer system.
So, make your own unique flair to your content. It could be implementing something in a video that others don’t do. It could be the content itself that many don’t do. Just something that really will give viewers and/or readers something unique.
Last, make your content consistent. I have a minimum goal of 10 reviews a month and I stick to that. Don’t make a video today and not make your next until 3 weeks from now. As people watch your content, they want consistency. The more often you do content and the more consistent you do content, the more attention you’re going to get. Even if you can’t do content every day make it consistent. Even doing content every 3-4 days will get your viewers in the habit of checking your channel every 3-4 days for new content.
Use Social Media
Social Media is your best friend that will help you find a userbase and set of followers. Sure, people can find you through Google Searches eventually, but you need social media to build yourself up. Twitter is the big one that is opening the gates to an immense crowd of gaming fans.
When you first begin on Twitter, it will be difficult. New users can hashtag posts, but they won’t actually show up in searches until you’ve made a few dozen posts. But, once you do, you’ll start grabbing the attention of a lot of people.
It’s important to use hashtags in any and all posts. Putting a #PSVita tag in a tweet means anyone searching for PS Vita on Twitter will find your post and any viewer is a potential new follower, and if they Re-post, or “Re-Tweet” your post, it’s shown to all of their followers for them to see. It adds up.
The most magnificent thing about the Vita community is how co-operative it is. On Twitter, it is heavily mentioned and agreed upon that everyone is in this together, and we all unite to bring the best content to the gamers. Vita feeds and channels don’t just want success, but they want the Vita to stop being an afterthought by gamers who don’t see it as it really is.
To help you gain popularity, you make friends with the others in the community. I have dozens of contacts that have helped me from the get-go. Search Twitter for users like @furiousoverlord @GadgetGirlKylie @iPlayPSVita @JH_BOOS @RealVitaGamer @Vita_Player and even myself, @Reviews2G. No matter how big or small they are, they will help you. Everyone is part of the greater team. An #FF post from someone like Kylie could drastically increase the amount of people who see your content.
As great and friendly as the Vita community is, be warned. Not all Vita sites and channels see things this way. Some will view you as competition. Others may help you and give you advice only until you become a threat to their success. As sad as it is to think about it, there are some out there that think this way, and won’t hesitate to go from sharing contacts with you to stealing your unique ideas and trying to turn the entire community against you. I know this, unfortunately, through personal experience.
However, making friends will greatly benefit you. Not only will you find people to give you advice and help spread word of your content, but we can also help you get in contact with developers to begin relationships with them and open possibilities for acquiring rewards from them, such as review codes for new games or PR information.
Contact Developers, But Do Not Beg
Every writer wants free games, and that’s what relationships with developers can get you. I am a review writer, and I get review codes from developers on a somewhat regular basis. I contact developers, and they offer me review codes for their upcoming games after seeing my web site and learning more about me. So, I get free games so long as I feature them on the site.
This is an art. You don’t just go and beg developers for free games. That’s what will get your email blocked from their company. There are a few things to note about this. It is a process, and you must do it the correct way to get the maximum rewards.
The first task is finding the means of contacting them. Most developers have Contact emails and many have Press Room-specific Contact emails. This is pretty easy to find. Just go to a search engine and type in the game or the company and you can find the company’s web site which will contain this email. If they don’t have one publicly known, find them on social media and ask for their contact email on there.
Now to contacting them. First of all, be professional and respectful. Contact them in a very formal, yet friendly format. Greet them and explain who you are. They know nothing about you, so give them a run down of what you do. Do you have a web site? A YouTube channel? Do you write reviews? Yes? How many reviews have you written? Have any of them been of games that company has published?
It’s important to make a name for yourself and make yourself sound as good as you can without lying. When I began getting developer contacts, it came from me contacting developers and showing them reviews I do for their games, as I make them. I never once asked for review codes. However, after Nippon Ichi Software America read my review of Demon Gaze, they offered to add me to their Press Room list.
It’s okay to ask for review codes, but don’t beg. Be polite about it, and make sure that isn’t the main focus of your email. Add it at the end. Something like “Also, if you have a spare review key for [insert game title], I would be interested in writing a review for you”. Something that gets your desire across in a polite way that doesn’t make it sound like you contacted them just to beg for free games.
Enjoy What You Do
Do not turn your content into work. My site is a hobby and always has been. My reviews are either games I have in my backlog, I purchase for myself, or are review codes given to me by developers. I am one of, if not the most productive PS Vita site around, but that doesn’t mean reviews are work to me. At the end of the day, playing games is fun, and writing about them is fun.
My motto for making a site or channel is that if you do not have fun doing it, it’s not worth doing. Don’t work hard just for the sake of being productive. If you’re not having fun, you need to stop and think about what you’re doing. This isn’t a job, after all. You need to be having fun. Otherwise, it’s going to get old very quickly and you’ll start to consider dropping the whole project.
I hope this will be helpful to any and all of you. If anyone ever has any problems building up their userbase, needs advice, or all around wants to discuss making their site or channel a success, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I can be contacted on Twitter or Email a lot of the time, any day.