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Posted On 20 August 2019
I recently talked about how some of us need to let people know what we’re up to, by regularly sharing updates with our followers – see my article Image matters. Now I want to drill into this a little deeper and discuss the various platforms you might want to use. My focus is on tabletop game reviews, as this is one of the things I do, but you can apply the same ideas to similar content.
So I ran a little poll and asked people to tell me which their favourite way of consuming game reviews is. The poll was limited to a certain number of options, to make it easier for me to evaluate the response. I didn’t get a huge response, but it is still useful as an indicator of what people prefer. Here are the results:
It didn’t come as a surprise to me that the majority of people like video reviews. After all, when it comes to deciding whether you like a game, the appearance of a game is very important to a lot of people. I talked about this in a number of previous articles, such as How important is theme for tabletop games? and more recently with respect to illustrators in The beautiful game.
Making videos takes a lot of time, even if you don’t worry about scripting, lighting, sound or anything else and shoot everything in a single take. I’d say you spend at least three to four times the length of the video putting it all together, and the more effort you put in, the bigger that factor gets. So for me personally, making videos has taken a back seat, as I simply don’t have the time – at least not at the moment. I will only produce videos sporadically, even though I’d love to make them more often and in a more professional way.
Luckily for me, the second most popular way of consuming reviews is via a blog. Making written content doesn’t require a lot of setup, so the barrier to entry is very low. For me, my blog has always been my main focus, because I love writing and it comes easy to me. That may not be true for you, but you will probably find that editing a piece of text is a lot easier and quicker than editing video. Also, if you have to rewrite a whole section of your article, it’s a lot quicker than re-taking a shot because the video wasn’t quite right.
There is one more option though and that is podcasts. More and more people seem to like listening to reviews and other types of podcasts, because they can do this in their car – which isn’t possible with video or written content of course. Yet, even if you’re on the bus or train a lot, you might prefer to listen to audio, rather than stare at a screen. Some people get motion sickness, and others might just prefer to look out of the window.
Also, you can easily write a blog article and then read it out to put on your podcast. So you can hit the second and third most popular ways of consuming reviews in one quick hit. In my quick poll, blogs and podcasts together are actually more popular than videos alone.
Recording audio is also relatively easy and doesn’t require a lot of investment to get some decent quality, so again the barrier to entry is quite low. It’s also much quicker to record and edit audio content than video, which is another plus.
For me, the combination of writing content and then doing an audio recording for the podcast has become my main way of releasing my content to the public – and I’ve had some positive feedback, which is encouraging.
I would say that you will be able to put out more content when you write a blog and do a podcast, than when you create videos. At least if you look at how many videos the most popular names in the tabletop game space create in a year, you will find it is a much smaller number than the number of podcast episodes released or blog articles written. Of course, I don’t want anyone to stop making videos. If you have the time, then definitely do so. As I said, I’d love to make more videos myself. Some of the videos being made for our hobby are amazing and very professional indeed – and I love watching every one of them.
Now, I know I haven’t mentioned the last two options from my poll: Board Game Geek and magazines. Of course, Board Game Geek is very much like writing your own blog, so it’s worth your while publishing your articles there as well.
Magazines though are a bit different. Creating your own is very involved – even if you don’t intend to create a print edition and purely focus on the digital space. A lot of time in producing a magazine, or a zine for that matter, goes on the layout of the content. You’re also not looking at publishing a single article, but a whole batch of them at once. So chances are you’re going to be able to publish an edition only once a month. That in itself isn’t a bad thing of course, but for many of us, who do this by ourselves, it’s probably not doable. You really need a few people to work together on producing a magazine, which takes this option out of the scope of this article for me.
So, what do you think about the different options? How do you consume reviews or other content related to the tabletop games hobby? Do you make content yourself? What do you do? Please share your thoughts and experiences with us. It would be great to hear what others do.