RPG advertising can be an easy way to attract new players to your game — if you do it right. Unfortunately, it’s easy to do RPG advertising the wrong way. This can deter players from your game, and in the most severe cases (i.e., when you spam), it can really garner negative attention (and even repercussions) to your RPG.
RPG Advertising Dos
- Advertise a lot. Effective advertisement happens on a weekly or even daily basis. It may help you to create a schedule of advertising — e.g., devoting at least half an hour a day to posting to as many games as you possibly can. Write at least one Tumblr post a week. Tweet at least every other day. Creating an advertisement plan and writing specific goals — and perhaps using a service such as Google Calendar to deliver reminders — will help you.
- Advertise to your niche. It’s important to advertise within your niche to similar games — this offers the greatest chance for attracting players likely to join your game. Harry Potter roleplayers may want to join a new Harry Potter game — whereas werewolf roleplayers are more likely to stick to their werewolf games.
- Advertise outside of your niche. Remember to advertise at roleplaying games unrelated to your genre. So you’re a vampire roleplaying game — you should post on Harry Potter games, fantasy games, urban human games, and much more. There may be players itching for a vampire roleplay who don’t know where to start!
RPG Advertising Don’ts
- Don’t post in incorrect areas. Most games have specific forums for advertisements. Most games also really do not appreciate chatbox advertising.
- Don’t spam. Ever. Enough said!
- Don’t be a jerk or give your game a bad name. If someone replies to one of your advertisements nastily, ignore it or respond kindly.
- Don’t disrespect other games and their rules. Why would anyone want to join your RPG if you cannot respect another RPG’s rules?
- Don’t get too focused on advertising — remember that you can also improve your RPG. If no one is responding to your advertisements, you may have problems advertising cannot fix. See if you can’t improve your RPG administration and keep trying.
Creating a Successful RPG Advertisement
- Don’t use huge images. Why? They can take a while to download, even on lightning-fast Internet connections. Someone scouring advertisements for new places to play is short on patience — you do not want to make them wait for your image to to load. They can also stretch or break some forum layouts. Breaking a forum’s layout or skin is an easy way to get your game’s advertisement deleted immediately.
- Clearly state your plot, accepted character type (canon or non-canon) and your expected writing level. 200-300 words, maximum. It helps if you format this information into a simple bulleted list format. Try to boil your game down to barest essentials. If someone can read your advertisement in 30 seconds and know what your game is about, great! If they have to spend five minutes just figuring out what your game is even about, you haven’t created a very effective advertisement.
- Link to your joining application and forum, as well as your informational forum. Make it easy for newcomers to get into your game. You can (and should) have a link to your forum index, but it helps to add a link to all three things. Make sure your links are big, easily spotted and generally the focal point of your advertisement. Don’t use an image link alone. If your image breaks later, some people won’t be able to click on the link. If they can’t get to your game from your advertisement, you’ve created a really bad advertisement.
On the other hand, be careful of overloading your advertisement with links — too many, and it may drive people away rather than entice them to click. They won’t be sure where to go, and they may give up before even getting past your advertisement.
- Link to your advertising forum.This is optional, but really helps other RPG administrators return to your RPG to post their link. It’s only fair!
RPG Advertisement Creation Tips
- Don’t get too fancy. You want people to understand exactly what your RPG is about. Decorating your advertisement with a ton of huge words, fancy language, etc. is not the way to accomplish this.
- Don’t focus too much on graphics and looks. Your text and content is way more important than the graphics you use. You can use a simple advertisement banner as the image, if you want.
- Have both a HTML and BBCode version of your advertisement available for posting. Some games accept only HTML, some accept only BBcode. Don’t limit yourself.
If a game deletes your link, don’t rage into their chatbox. Re-read the game’s rules and make sure you didn’t make a mistake. If you can’t figure it out and you care to find out why your game’s ad was deleted, ask the administrator. Do so politely if you care about getting an answer. If you get nastiness in return, or if anyone causes a stink about advertising…
… drop it and move on.
Seriously, there are thousands of places to stick your RPG link. Spending hours fighting with one forum when you could spend those hours posting your link elsewhere, improving your RPG, or — yanno, actually roleplaying is a huge waste of your time and resources. Delete their link, close the tab, and move along to the next RPG. No worries!