Whether you are a beginning indie developer or you have been in the business for years, you have a fair share of knowledge to share with the general public. Even if you are a game design student that has yet to begin designing your own game, make no mistake: there are ideas and thoughts in your head that are waiting to be shared. Yet, there are many indie developers that fail to share their knowledge and decide to keep it to themselves.
This is wrong. You have knowledge to give, and while it’s easy to understand why someone wouldn’t want to spill the 411 on how they achieved success, it’s still beneficial to indie developers to spread knowledge based on their personal experiences in an effort to help others and ultimately, have a channel for placing the spotlight directly on you (and that’s never a bad thing, is it?).
“But I can’t write.”
Nothing but an excuse. You can write an email, correct? Then you can write a blog post. When writing blog posts tailored to your colleagues/other individuals interested in indie development, nobody is expecting the next Great Gatsby with every blog post. They want insightful thought and information, as well as your opinions on what’s going on in the industry. Case in point, if you had started your blog a few weeks ago, you could have given your two cents on Facebook buying Oculus Rift. That would have been quite the entertaining post, right? Yeah? Then you need to start blogging!
Write from the heart. Every time someone tells me they can’t write, they aren’t good enough, and everyone would know it after their first blog post, this is the advice I give them. If you can write a complete sentence but write from the heart, people are going to be able to see this and are going to love your post. That English teacher that told you no one will take you seriously if your writing has a bunch of grammatical errors? They obviously never wrote anything from the heart. Believe me: writing from the heart outshines grammatical errors every time.
Now, there are exceptions. If you have an abundance of grammatical errors in every sentence that are so obvious an Elementary student would have a field day correcting the post, then your grammatical errors may make it difficult for people to finish your post (but most likely they will). Take pride in each post and double-check or even triple-check your post for corrections before publishing. If you hate editing your own content? Hire someone to do it. It isn’t expensive, and you’ll definitely be glad you did.
There is something wonderful about being able to ‘give back,’ to those that are trying to figure out this whole indie development ordeal. As stated, you have some experience you can share with others – even if you don’t realize it! From your own personal design philosophy to how to market your indie game to the value of finding great coders and beyond, you have something you can share with the community that will someone. Which leads to…
With good advice, people will follow and begin reading your blog regularly. As an example, our blog here at Game Academy has grown by leaps and bounds even since I started last year. People follow good advice, and if you can dish it out regularly, people are going to start wanting to hear more regarding what you have to say. From there, they will communicate with you (i.e. engage), discuss your posts with you, and ask further questions about the point you make in particular posts. Respond back, dialogue with your readers, and answer questions, criticism, etc. in the comments below each post.
When I blog, there is a reason now and again I ask readers to post any questions and/or comments below the post. There’s a philosophy I have about blog posts that I believe it pretty sound, and it’s this: the end of each blog post should star your readers. Conversations ideally begin at the end of each post that will educate other readers about a particular subject on hand. It’s a great way to ask the author questions that may have risen while reading the post, and it’s up to the author to respond and give an answer as best as possible.
The best blog posts have solid information in the body of the post and stellar questions and answers in the comments. That is a helpful post, and at the end of each post, feel free to give a ‘call to action’ to incite engagement among your readers. Once you both converse and solid advice results, believe me…
People will appreciate your help
This blog is a perfect example of that. When you take the time to help others, people are going to respond positively. The majority of readers will fail to comment on your posts, but those that do? Again, respond to their comments – at least thank them for the time they spent to give you a comment! These people can turn into brand ambassadors if treated well, resulting in a larger reach for your brand as a whole. This can turn into increased sales fellas! Who knew that blogging and helping your fellow indie developers could result in a few bucks?
Last but not least…
Writing blog posts is also an ideal way to network and meet new indie developers. You may even find programmers, artists, etc. that can help you to design your future indie games. Crazier things have happened! The more you write, the more people you will meet and converse with, the more people you will help and enlighten with your opinions, and the more your brand will grow.
That’s the answer to the question you’ve had this entire time: “what’s ultimately in it for me?” It’s another venue for your brand, a new way to share ideas and expertise that will make people notice your games and your studio overall. “If this guy knows this, he must make good games.” That’s a thought a lot of people are going to have when they read your posts, so stop waiting friend: get out there and start blogging today! People are waiting to hear from you.