Get More Game Audio Clients with Content Marketing
Running an online service business as most game audio freelancers do isn’t easy.
I don’t know if you noticed, but there are about a bazillion of us out here trying to find clients, get work, and build a name for ourselves.
The good news: There are a lot of great (and free!) ways to help your music and sound design stand out and attract customers.
The bad news: Not all of them are created equally.
In this article, you’re going to learn why you should be marketing your business with online content, what kind of content you should create, and how to go about it.
Rule #1 - Content is King
Most of us in the game audio space aren’t dealing with $10k/month marketing budgets for Facebook Ads or the like.
And even if we were, I’m not convinced it would be the best use of our money.
Our business is one based on relationships and reputation and although advertising may be good at raising awareness for a brand or product, those are two things you simply can’t buy with money alone.
No my friends, to establish relationships and reputation, we need to build trust and display competency.
You might recognize networking as the time-honored technique of choice for growing these “two R’s” but there is another way.
A way that will work for all of us, regardless of our social skills.
A way that is completely free and not location-dependent.
A way that works for you while you sleep.
What am I talking about?
What is content marketing exactly?
"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
Content that you create and make available online for anyone to see can grow your reputation by getting your name and your services in front of the eyes of more people.
Not only that, if your content is helpful to your customers and adds value to them and their business, it can simultaneously create relationships with people you’ve never even met.
Look at the blog you’re reading right now.
I’m giving free advice to help you succeed as a freelance game composer or sound designer and, assuming you find the advice valuable, we now have a relationship.
Isn't it great?
If I offered some kind of product or service you were interested in, how much more likely would you be to buy it from me rather than buying the same thing from someone who hasn’t contributed to your life or business?
Statistically, much more likely!
Why does that work?
Because helpful, useful, or even just plain entertaining content helps establish you as someone who is competent and trustworthy in the eyes of your customers.
You've gone out of your way to add something of substance to their lives and they now have a positive impression of you and your services.
How do you make content that produces these magical effects?
By following Rule #2.
Rule #2 - Content Is For Your Customer
One of the biggest mistakes game audio freelancers are guilty of is making everything about them.
Why is that a problem?
Because your customers aren’t interested in you.
They’re interested in what you can do for them.
(See my post on How to Speak to Your Customers for more on this super important topic)
Enter the solution to this problem:
Content marketing: here to solve your problems
Creating content is a powerful way to:
Provide answers to your customers' biggest questions
Show them how your skills relate to their success
Share knowledge that will be useful to them and/or displays expertise in your craft
Help customers understand your unique strengths, style, or personality
As a general rule, the more useful and desirable the information you’re sharing is for your customers, the more likely they will be to a) actually consume your content and b) engage with you and your business in the future.
How do you create content like that?
By asking yourself what you would want to know if you wore your customers' shoes.
What problems do your customers have that you can help with?
Most of us are already off to a good start with our reels, which answer the question of, “Does this person have the skills for the job?”
If you have some projects under your belt and display them on your website, you’re also answering your customer’s question of, “Has this person done this before?”
What other questions could you answer for your client?
Write down a list of potential questions you anticipate your clients having, knowledge they might find useful or interesting, and anything else that might be helpful, informative, or even just entertaining.
Remember, it’s about them. Not you.
That being said, that doesn’t mean you should abandon your own interests in favor of content that exclusively serves your customers.
While you should always try to view things from your customer's perspective when possible, people are also interested in people who love what they do.
Do you love making accordion covers of game music? Do it!
So yea, weekly reviews of your favorite plugins might not be the most interesting content for game developers, but if you display a passion for your craft (and perhaps show exactly how those plugins make your customers’ games sound great) that can also be a big win!
It’s hard work making consistent, quality content for your business, so try to find a way to keep your own motivation high with topics that interest you without forgetting who the content is for: your customers.
The bottom line is this:
If your content isn’t attracting customers, it’s not serving your business.
Now that you have an idea of what kind of content to create, there’s one last question to answer:
What should this content look like?
That brings us to Rule #3.
Rule #3 - Not All Content Is Created Equally
I’m going to say something controversial on the topic of content marketing:
Social media is not the place for it.
When people hear the word “content” they assume you mean social media.
And I get it, social media is ubiquitous and many people seem to be making a lot of progress there.
So why shouldn’t your content be on social media?
Because social media is a black hole where content goes to die.
...is where your content ends up on social media.
Think about it; social media is fleeting.
When you tweet, post something on Insta, or share stuff on whatever future platforms may exist when you’re reading this, you have what usually amounts to a 1-2 hour window where some people might be shown your content through organic reach.
After that, it’s gone.
Unless your post gained quite a bit of traction or went viral (which doesn’t happen often in our mini-niche), the algorithms simply don’t care about it and they will let it sink to the bottom of the social media ocean, never to be seen again.
Even worse, social media platforms are increasingly becoming pay-to-play.
The Zucks is coming for your hard-earned cash...
Yup, ol’ Zucks realized that by constraining organic reach, he could get all of us to pay for people to see our content.
So what’s the solution?
Blogs and Youtube
What’s the difference between Twitter and a blog or Instagram and your Youtube channel?
I have two words for you:
"Evergreen" & "Searchable"
Perhaps you’ve heard the word evergreen before in the context of marketing.
"Evergreen content is search-optimized content that is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers/viewers over a long period of time."
Unlike a tweet, which disappears into the void a day after you post it (if not much sooner), your blog or Youtube videos will live on and perhaps be found and enjoyed by people years later, especially if is not about a time-sensitive topic and full of juicy keywords.
Show me those juicy keywords
And because of things like those juicy keywords, this type of content is searchable.
If your video series on dynamic music systems in FMOD is good, for example, it might start popping up when people search for FMOD and middleware-related terms on Youtube.
If you made a video about FMOD but only posted it on Tiktok, that will never happen.
Because that’s not where people go to search for valuable information, especially if it’s important for their business.
There are, of course, nuances to this conversation and there is no doubt that some people do indeed do a wonderful job of drumming up business for themselves on social media.
For the most part, social media is a content killer.
Don't get me wrong, social media is a good place to share content and be social with your community and customers, but it is not a great place to host your content exclusively.
If you take precious time out of your day to make quality content for your customers, why post it somewhere where it will be completely lost to the world only a few days later?
So What Content Should You Make?
The one that fits you best.
I choose to write because I enjoy it and feel I even have a bit of talent with the written word.
Other people feel super comfortable making how-to videos or blog-style breakdowns of their composition process.
Choose the path that makes the most sense to you, because it will be the easiest to follow in the long run.
This is important because the benefits to your business won’t be immediate.
They will, however, compound over time, meaning the more quality, evergreen, and searchable content you create, the more it will help drive your business forward in the long term.
Takeaway (And a Final Tip)
By now you understand three things:
Content is a valuable asset to your business.
Content should always be created with your customers in mind
Hosting your content on a blog or on Youtube where it is evergreen and searchable means your content won’t only serve you today (like on social media), but for years to come.
And here is one final tip:
High-value content brings high value to your business
There’s a reason simply jumping on Twitter and sharing your reel does very little for your business.
It’s because anybody can do that.
And if anybody can do it, it means they already have.
In content marketing, you reap what you sow.
You would be better served by making one extremely valuable, informative, or just plain awesome piece of content a month or even every two months than posting mediocre content every day.
A great example of this is Gregory Scott:
Check this out, this dude is on fire!
Greg makes just one video every month and a half or so, but they are the shit.
These videos are sure to benefit his career for many years to come with their insane production value and amazing displays of his methodical, high-class sound design skills.
You and I may not be Gregory Scott, but we all have something to offer.
We all have something to share that can add value to our customers' lives.
And if we go about it the right way, those things we share can also be valuable assets to our businesses.
"Without strategy, content is just stuff, and the world has enough stuff."
What kind of content can you imagine yourself making that could serve your customers and your business?
Drop a comment below with your ideas and I'll happily leave you feedback!
Hi, I’m Ben Gallagher.
After struggling for many years to make it as a game audio freelancer, I created The Game Audio Pro with the goal of helping others understand the fundamental business skills that are often the difference between success and failure for freelancers.
If you're ready to take your game audio career to the next level, download my guide to The Most Important Mindset for Game Audio Success.