The release or announcement of a new game. A big content patch or expansion pack for an existing one. A massive annual brand campaign. There are many kinds of launches that need to be supported with marketing. Getting ready to launch a game is a hectic effort where pressure is high for the marketing team as everything needs to be ready in time for the big day.
When everybody in the team has their hands full of time-critical activities, spending time managing dozens or even hundreds of content creators to support a game launch might seem like an impossible or terrible idea. However, when done in the right way, content creators can be one of the biggest elements contributing to massive success when launching a game. And with the right automation, your team can focus on the most essential launch tasks – not on emailing back and forth with creators.
So here’s why and how to leverage creators as part of a launch.
UPDATE: We recorded a longer conversation around this topic as well. You can watch the video discussing the article below (you can enable captions from the video window).
Why use creators to support a launch?
One of the biggest benefits of using creators to support a game launch is why their audience follows them in the first place: their unique style and authenticity. While marketing messages carefully crafted by your team are absolutely essential, not everyone is a fan of ads or equally likely to be persuaded by company-originated communication.
Creators can present their unique take on your marketing messages, making them more relatable to their specific audiences, while avoiding over-commercialization. Creator strategies allow you to effectively talk to your audience from two different viewpoints, which is much more likely to convince them than relying on ads alone.
They also offer social proof that your game or product is worth trying out, thus driving awareness and trial right from the start, which then drives these metrics even further. They can also help you establish how you are different from the competition (something that is very hard to do with short-form ads).
Creators can also serve as excellent inspiration for developing your unique selling points further. Once you are able to see what kind of language they use and how it resonates with their audience, you might be able to discover very persuasive arguments that can also be leveraged in ads.
Best practices of working with creators on a launch
A good brief is essential
One of the most important things for successful creator collaborations is a good brief. We’ve written more extensively about it in our previous post, but I recommend you keep it short, give creators creative freedom so they can use their unique style, provide a few suggested talking points, and clearly explain the requirements such as use of brand assets and publishing deadlines.
When it comes to content publishing dates, it is recommended that most creator content comes out on the launch day or very close to it. For example, if you launch in the late afternoon on a Wednesday, it might be a good idea to agree that creators release their content on Thursday morning. This way you avoid someone accidentally publishing before your actual launch because they get confused because of timezones or something similar.
However, not all creators can deliver content on a single day at a very specific time so leave some wiggle room: typically the results will be even better if some of the creators release their content following the game launch in the next few days as this keeps up the momentum.
If you are still unsure about how to set up a creator brief, we are more than happy to help you. Just get in touch and we can discuss your case more specifically.
It’s all about reach – in the right audience
What you want to achieve with a launch is a critical mass of engagement in your core audience, and ultimately sales. You want people to engage with content about your game or product so they become aware that it’s available, learn more about it, and eventually make a purchase.
In order to accomplish this, you need to reach the right audience at a big enough scale. For example, if you’re launching a game, you probably want to reach large amounts of people interested in gaming. In fact, this is one the best and highest quality audiences available on YouTube.
To effectively reach a large audience on YouTube, and also ensure as high engagement as possible, it is very important to hire a broad spectrum of creators. As we discussed in a previous post, small and midsize creators have much higher engagement than bigger names. Therefore, it is a good idea to hire both small and midsize creators so you maximize engagement, and supplement this with the bigger names for additional reach and credibility.
We typically recommend working with at least several dozen creators for the best results (depending a bit on your budget of course, but generally speaking the more the merrier).
Automate your workflows as much as possible
Unless you already have a massive team working exclusively with creators and influencers, you are going to need automation to successfully leverage creators for your launch.
As the launch deadline gets closer, you are going to have your hands full completing time-critical tasks, managing several channels, preparing assets, etc. If you try to hire dozens of creators manually on top of this, you are simply going to run out of time (even if you went without sleep for a few weeks).
Automation can solve this problem for you, as it frees up the time you’d need to spend on manual creator management workflows, allowing you to focus on completing your internal launch deliverables on time.
While you might think a creator search and outreach platform would be enough in this case, they actually won’t automate the process sufficiently. In most cases, you’d still need to manually handle the outreach messaging, contracts, publishing enforcement and payouts to creators for example.
This is where Matchmade can help. We automate the entire creator marketing workflow for you starting from creator discovery and outreach all the way to payments. This way, you can focus on the more important launch tasks instead of manual outreach.
You simply give us some audience parameters, we work together on a creator brief, and then we handle the rest while you can rest assured that creators’ videos will be published on the critical days. All you need to do is pay a single invoice once the campaign is over.
To summarize, creators can play an instrumental role in supporting a launch. However, you need to make sure that:
- You provide creators with a clear creative brief
- You hire enough creators to ensure high engagement and reach, and
- That you have the right automation in place so you can focus on the most critical tasks, not the manual creator management chores.
This way, you are well on your way to having a successful launch. If you’re curious about how others have done this with Matchmade, take a look at our case study with Zynga. Thanks to our services, they were able to support the launch of Farmville 3 with 45 YouTube creators. This contributed significantly to the effectiveness of the launch. And, more importantly, this required zero time from their in-house team. This way they were able to focus on the bigger launch tasks while Matchmade handled the creator collaborations.
If you have an upcoming launch and want to make YouTube creators a part of it, get in touch, we’d be happy to discuss the possibilities with you.