The main goals in marketing are attracting the attention of an audience, showcasing the main features of your game, and convincing players to buy. Marketing texts specialize in solving the last two. Below we’ll cover some tips and tricks to make your written materials as useful as possible.
Regardless of which platform you are releasing your project on, you will need a ton of text. To keep things simple, we’ll focus on examples for Steam market pages. The basic principles will apply to most marketplaces, however.
The main purpose of the game page text is to convince the player to buy your product. On the game page, the text appears in the following formats:
2. Detailed description:
3. Main features list:
4. Quotes from the press or Steam curators who have already seen your game. These quotes or awards will help you prove that your game is worth players’ attention.
It may seem obvious, but these quotes should be 100% favorable – leave any lukewarm or negative feedback on the pages of the journals that published the reviews. Use visuals to break the text into small, easy-to-read blocks – you can craft a real masterpiece if you make GIF-\ files that demonstrate aspects of gameplay to intrigue potential players.
Unlike the store page, the texts prepared for your community will be informative in nature. The purpose is not only to attract new followers but also to talk about development news, game features, and everything else that you are ready to share with the fans of your project.
These texts are usually brief – a maximum of one or two paragraphs – and are always accompanied by graphic or video materials. The exceptions are developer interviews or developer diaries that can stand alone. But even in those cases, you’ll often be better off shooting a short video.
The style of the community texts should be consistent with the store page. If your game is full of magic, knights, and role-playing elements, players will be pleased to be called “My Lord”. If the game’s action takes place on a distant planet, you can use this style:
Try to make your fans part of the game’s ecosystem and part of your community. Choose a communication style that matches both the setting and the mood of the game. There’s nothing better than greeting the player of a pirate game with “Ahoy, matey!”
Prepare the necessary texts in advance, place them according to the content plan and check for grammatical errors, typos, and also for style. The manner in which your community manager communicates with the audience should match this chosen style.
The goal of any communication with the press is to attract their attention and provide enough material for their publication. At the same time, you should not exceed the standard page size (nobody reads lengthy press releases). The first two sentences should contain the whole essence of your message. After this, you can provide more details. Typically, a quote from one of the company’s executives will come in handy.
Do not forget to leave space for your contact details. Although you can fit everything important into one page, they may need to reach you for further details.
To avoid being called every 10 minutes when the journalist is working on the publication, you can prepare a detailed product reference. This is a document that covers all the important information that will provide them with a full understanding of your project.
If you have an RPG with a huge detailed world, you should provide a description, main factions, plot details, and character bios. Is your game a World War-themed historical strategy? Be ready to explain what inspired your team to choose this setting, which historical battles you recreated, brief historical background, and whether you recreated historically correct units.
In general, this will serve as a handbook for journalists to reference for information about your game. In some cases, developers place such sections directly on their website so that interested players can also get to know their favorite game better, for example, this is what Riot Games has published.
To make these materials easier to use, make a table of contents and place info in thematic blocks so that journalists do not spend hours searching for info.
The main objective of advertising is to attract attention and make the buyer click on a link. This is not about forcing the consumer to buy – you first need them to go to the page where they will see the relevant information and can make an informed decision. That’s why ads often use “slogans” – short phrases that contain a call-to-action and impel players to learn more about the project.
Texts in advertising materials are always clearly associated with the graphic images they accompany in order to create a single, consistent image. A magician throwing fireballs into an enemy horde combined with the slogan “Master great magic and save your people” calls the player to action. A pastoral landscape and a cute little sheep behind a snow-white fence together with a call to “Build your dream farm” makes it clear that there’ll be no war and destruction in this game and attract a specific audience.
Your task is to select the most effective phrases even if they do not reveal all the features of your game. Remember, your goal is to attract their interest and the rest will be done by the game page. Use minimum text for maximum effect and do not forget about stylistic unity.
Texts used in marketing are quite different from descriptions. They are focused on creating the desired impression of the product. While it may sound a bit hypocritical, the objective here is not to tell the absolute truth or describe the product but to create the necessary impression which will lead to a purchase.
That’s why even well-written text doesn’t always solve the marketing problems you want to address. Always remember your main goal and focus your text materials on that.
Your texts should evoke the right feelings in the minds of your customers, be easy to read, and as effective as possible. Follow several simple rules – or hire a copywriter that knows what they are doing.
Always consider the context and the audience. Even if you have a very humorous game you should not try to be funny when apologizing to users for technical problems on the day of release. Keep in mind that “informal communication with the audience” is good and important but that does not mean frivolous answers, the use of cursing, or letting users know how dumb they are is acceptable. You are a public person, so protect your brand and always remember you need to maintain a professional image.
Be brief. The shorter the sentence, the easier it is to understand. The average length of your sentence should be 8-10 words. If you have more than 15 words, you should either rewrite or split the sentence in two.
Write clearly. Do not overload your audience with complex constructions. Here’s a simple test: ANY text should be clear enough for a 12-year old to understand. Get yourself such a tester. Do not forget that the text is initially glanced through, so make sure that its main idea can be easily found and read.
Shorten your text. As per Stephen King, if you believe that you have done everything you can to reduce the volume of your text, you should cut it by an additional 10%. Although this may sound difficult, it will make your texts full of meaning without all the “garbage”.
Joke wisely. Humor is appropriate in almost any situation and description. Just remember not to go too far with your jokes. Your mission is to sell games, not tell jokes. Make sure to analyze whether humor will be appropriate in your specific case. As long as your game does not touch on topics where laughter is simply inappropriate (such as suicide, war, or psychological experiments by crazy doctors), then you can try to make your texts a bit more interesting with a couple of jokes.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll get a text that:
If your text satisfies these criteria, you’ve done a great job!
No matter what kind of text you’re creating, these tips will help you convert visitors into customers.
“Terrific plot”, “Detailed role-playing system”, “Unique game modes” – such remarks can be seen in the descriptions of thousands of games. However, what is the “detailed role-playing system” that’s being mentioned? A skill tree and point distribution system? A reputation system that affects the walkthrough? Such things should be disclosed on your website or on the game’s page in the store so that the buyer is convinced that they need this game.
There’s information beyond game features and a brief game description that you want to share with players. How many hours will the game take to complete, for example? Perhaps you’ve gone to the shooting range to test all the weapons in your shooter to better understand how they feel. These are just a few things you can share to convince players that you are real people who have the same interests as they do.
Laying out information in an easy to digest way is of paramount importance. If you have dozens of features, a game description, and a story about why you decided to use Early Access on Steam, it might create an intimidating wall of text.
You need to focus on structuring information properly. The game description should be at the top. The list of features should contain short and understandable sentences followed by a detailed description of each one. This will help convey important information and ensure that players actually read it.
Games trigger emotions – joy, empathy, sadness, anger, desire – depending on what kind of project you have. You should maintain a fitting emotional message from the very first frames of the video or the first lines of your text description. If your trailer made the players brush away their tears, then a dry, unemotional text destroys all the magic.
What is the focus of your game? What mood do you want to evoke in your players? The creators of There’s Poop in My Soup clearly understand how to use text to support the required degree of the craziness of their project:
The information you provide should be easy to digest and remember. We are often fascinated with trailers of new games but sometimes fail to remember their names. We admire a beautiful screenshot but do not fully understand what the game is about other than a gray-haired man cutting monsters into pieces. The information obtained in text form is more likely to be remembered and is easier for us to keep in our minds long term. This is especially important if the release of the product is not coming soon.
Good text is one of the most important elements of marketing that leads to sales, and that’s our ultimate goal. After all, the decision to buy is caused not only by emotions but also by a rational assessment of what the consumer will receive for their money. Simply providing players with beautiful pictures is not sufficient information for them to reach a conclusion.
The localization of game texts is a challenging task in itself (a topic in which we have already written a separate guide). However, the localization of marketing texts is complicated by the fact that you just can’t translate them word for word. These texts should be adapted to each specific language in a way so that the emotional impact stays intact.
Nuances of translation are very important – if you do not take them into account, a perfectly written English text will turn into nonsense in French or an absurd parody of a description in Russian or Polish. Add the potential technical problems related to localization to the mix and you are looking at a daunting task.
Here are a few things to remember:
In some languages, the same expressions and sentences can be said in 3 words or stretched into 10 words. The number of letters in them will also be different. Some marketing texts have restrictions on the number of characters you can use so a direct translation may be impossible. For example, a short description on Steam should fit into 280 characters.
To adapt marketing texts, you need professional translators who are native speakers. No university or certificate can give a sense of the language that a native speaker has. Fortunately, the volume of text for translation is typically small. A professional localization of a Steam game page should cost you no more than $400 – 600, provided that the work is checked by a professional editor, as punctuation rules vary in different languages. This is not a place where you want to cut costs.
Do not limit yourself to English. Yes, English is an international language, but even in Europe, many people do not know it well enough to appreciate the beauty of your text. In some countries, players (and even media members) may refuse to play the game if it is not localized to their local language. For example, some media in France do not work with press releases that have not been translated into French, while Polish and Russian gamers pay extra attention to localizations and may boycott a product that does not support their language. The absence of a Final Fantasy VII Remake localization has led to a petition to the publisher!
Use the power of the community. Once the translation is completed, give the text to those members of the community who are native speakers. This will not only ensure that there are no annoying typos or mistakes but also possibly enrich the text with some specific expressions or idioms you may have missed. In addition, it increases the value of your communication with these people and you may be able to use their help to localize the entire game.
Working with marketing texts, especially if you release your project to several different countries, is a complicated process that requires order and an eye for detail. Indie developers cannot gloss over this important aspect, as much of their success relies on the results of the user engagement campaigns. Your livelihood depends on whether the words on the game page or in the advertisements are compelling enough to make players buy the game. Write words that call them to action. The work you put into this will pay off.