Image matters

Unless you’re a very outgoing person or working in marketing, you will probably not want to boast about your achievements, or maybe not even see what you do as worth mentioning at all. In fact, you might hate the idea that everyone expects that you constantly post photos and write updates about every little thing that happens in your life. I can see where you’re coming from, and there is nothing wrong with that, but if you’re a game designer, publisher or a press person, you will need to try and be somehow present, even if that feels alien.

First of all let me say that you should never undervalue your skills, experience and achievements. It’s too easy to think something you do is average or normal, because you do it so well and have done it for such a long time. However, for a lot of people it will seem different. So when you share your thoughts and ideas, or the things you have done, it isn’t boastful – or at least it doesn’t have to be. There is a difference between showing off and documenting what you’ve done – between pretending to be the expert and being proud of what you’ve learned or created. So try and overcome this first hurdle. Be proud of what you have done well, learn from what didn’t go so well, and be kind to yourself.

Once you have done that, it’s time to think about what it is you want to share, in what format, how frequently and who you want to share it with. I’m a very private person for example, so I rarely share photos of myself, but I’m more than happy to post photos from our games nights or write articles like this one where I share my thoughts on a topic. For you, it will probably be different. If you’re a designer, then you could share your experiences working on your game or games for example. If you’re a small publisher, then you could talk about the progress of a project and discuss the upcoming challenges. If you’re a press person, then you could list the recent games you reviewed and what games you’re planning to cover. All of us could probably share what games we played, or what we’ve been up to generally – depending on how much of your private life you’re happy to make public.

Next, think about what format you want to share these things in. There is the usual choice between written words, photos, videos or some sort of audio format. If you feel comfortable with writing, you could have a blog with short articles, or even longer pieces, or you can just decide to post on Twitter, Facebook or other social media systems. Photos and videos lend themselves to Instagram and YouTube of course, and if you want to create a recording of whatever it is you want to share, you’re looking at various podcast platforms. Ultimately you can use any format, or combination of formats, that you’re comfortable with, and what platform you use will depend on who you want to reach, as some groups of people will prefer Facebook over Twitter for example.

Don’t think you have to create high quality, professional content though. Of course, it will depend on the image you’re trying to convey to the world, but I think it’s better to put something out there, than nothing at all. A lot of people are very keen to know more about what others are doing, and it often doesn’t matter how well an article is written, or how badly a video is made. It’s all about sharing something with the people who are interested in what you’re doing.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, but focus on frequency first. It is easy to be overambitious and tell yourself that you’ll be able to publish an update every day. For some people that might be absolutely fine, and in fact, posting a photo every day is usually not too much of a problem. However, it’s important you’re realistic. It’s always more important to have regular updates, than sporadic ones. If you can publish some new information once a week, then you can still have an extra post if something special happens, or if there is something time-critical. If, on the other hand, your posts happen ad hoc, then people might miss something and take longer to get to your post, because they will end up checking your updates at a frequency that they expect you to do your updates. If you really can’t dedicate yourself to a regular schedule, then don’t let that stop you from sharing updates with people, because it’s still better than nothing of course.

Finally, think about who your posts are for. It could be people interested in your game specifically, or the type of game in general. Your updates might be for people interested in the hobby, but who aren’t experienced gamers. The possibilities are endless, and you don’t have to be strict about your target audience, but should always keep it in mind when you create your posts. There is no point writing an article about painting minis, when your target audience is fans of 18xx games. However, you can have multiple target groups in mind, in which case you want to clearly distinguish your updates somehow, depending on the platform you use.

So if you want to have a weekly tweet about minis and a weekly tweet about 18xx games, you might be better off creating two separate Twitter accounts. If you’re planning on writing blog articles, maybe have different blogs, or have two different categories on your blog that people can choose and filter your articles by. Of course, if your choice of topics overlaps, then that’s fine. My blog covers a wide range of topics, and a wide range of games, so I’ve decided to keep them all together.

Ultimately the type of target audience and the format of your updates will decide the platform you’ll use. For daily written or picture updates, Twitter and Instagram are probably your first choice. However, Facebook groups can also be very active, so think about setting up there. Videos should probably go on YouTube, but don’t forget Vimeo and similar platforms, which may actually reach more people.

Also, don’t forget that you will probably need to post in a combination of these platforms. So if you create videos and post them to YouTube, you will still want to tweet about it or put a post on your Facebook page, so people can find you. Again, it all depends on what the content is and who you’re trying to reach.

I hope this has given you some ideas, but please let me know about your experiences and what choices you have made. I’d love to hear what others have done and what has worked for them – or what didn’t. Please use the comments below to share with us.

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Audio Version

Music: Documentary by AShamaluevMusic

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(Photo by Nordwood Themes on Unsplash)

5 thoughts on “Image matters

  1. Thanks Oliver, if anything, I share too much, but maybe some of my tribulations help others. At the end of the day, I love making games and sharing them. We’re not in it to retire or anything like that, it’s a hobby that pays for itself and buys us a few lunches. =)

    One day we’ll make Zombalamba, our big box game and our first game, and that could very well be a third-party manufactured game. For now, we like to honestly be hands-on publishers and not simply the go-between to offshore manufacturing like the “big ones” are.

    Keep up the awesome articles, you propel all of us forward! =)

    http://www.zombalamba.com/ =D

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s a big difference between boasting and being public. I hope to never come across as boastful—proud sometimes—but never a braggart. I’d like to think I’m transparent and I do wear my heart on my sleeve (and can be overly sensitive).

    I do my best to both be honest and sincere, and also to entertain a little. I see myself as a story teller trying to create a tiny world for a little escape from the stress of day-to-day life.

    And the following applies to game players, designers, reviewers, and critics.

    Games are meant to bring joy and, therefore, should never be taken too seriously. =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment David. I’ve never felt that you’re bragging. You always come across as someone who loves to help others by sharing their experience, and you’re always happy to help where you can. So keep doing, what you’re doing.

      Like

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