James Samir Shamsi's answer caught my eye, "I’d also like to start an engagement group with other accounts in that niche", "paying micro influencers with an audience I want"... I've been gaming for a while now and, while it's true that YouTube influencers currently handle massive reach, I noticed there is another clear source of engagement groups. These groups are actually lead by micro-influencers (mostly voluntarily), with handpicked members (sometimes with high membership requisites) from perfectly targeted demographics, already actively engaging. These aren't on the list, a.k.a: The Guilds (Clans, Teams, Brotherhoods, Companies, etc...)
This got me thinking about a great article I read at gameindustry.biz about the importance of good marketing for new video game releases "How to announce a video game in 2017" by Mike Rose. Are developers already making cross-promotional alliances with guilds? Sure, most guilds are too small to be "relevant" for marketing purposes, but there are many giant multi-game guilds with active communities.
So, I started my research looking for the best multi-game guilds and it took me no time to decide where to start.
The Syndicate, a virtual community that has been around since before 1999 with hundreds of actively engaged followers. They have an extremely professional take on guild management, a clear mission of which we can find actual evidence in their follow thru, helping gamers have a better time, supporting charities... I could write an article about everything cool these guys do.
"We specialize in Game & System Testing, Strategy Guide Writing, Consulting On Systems Design and Round Table Feedback. We are a very well organized, professional, mature organization that has been involved with MMO projects for many years."
So I emailed Dragons: Guild Master of The Syndicate, asking him a few questions:
Q: How often do developers contact your guild?
A: We work with 6-15 developers annually.
Q: Would you be interested in advertisement deals with game developers?
A: Sure, depending on what they entail.
Q: What could you offer game developers trying to reach as many gamers as possible for their upcoming release?
A: The LLTS.ORG site does a good job (IMO) of describing what we offer. Hundreds of diverse gamers who represent their customer spectrum, so if a game resonates with The Syndicate then it has wide market appeal. If it resonates only with certain styles of play etc.. then it will have more niche appeal and they can tailor marketing appropriately.
Q: What would you ideally expect in return?
A: We've received everything from money to a pat on the back to support for our annual charity raffle, to copies of the games for participants to mentions in the credits for our efforts in the past.
The Syndicate is a great example of the digital marketing micro influencer for the video game industry with 30 points of Domain Authority. They have standing relationships with developers (Like Mark Jacobs), so why haven't the developers sought advertisement collaboration? Have their marketing divisions concluded that exposing the guilds to their betas and letting them draw conclusions was the best way to approach it?
From Dragons' answers, it seems like these deals will be beneficial even without the budgets from huge title releases. These guys (at least the ones at The Syndicate) are willing to help out fellow gamers in many ways, some cross-promotion to raise awareness for their charity may do wonders for your campaign.
They might not have the sheer numbers of YouTubers, but what they do have is the comradery only a human can experience after pretending to go to battle together, sharing the shame of defeat and the glory of victory, all united under the single purpose of having fun... A community.
I still don't have all of the information to determine if this new pool of video game micro-influencers could represent higher ROI on campaigns for new releases, so the next step will be to contact developers to determine their opinions on using guilds as micro-influencers. (If you know any developer with an upcoming release that would like to help me by answering a few questions please connect with me, or post it in the comment section).
Thank you for reading. I appreciate any comments and don't forget to share.
Thanks to the beautiful Alexandra Mendoza, for editing this article.