Sep 17, 2020

How to Market Yourself in the World of Esports

Nicolas Lucente

Esports are taking the World by storm and slowly has become one of the fastest growing sports in the nation, if not the world. As we see more professional gaming tournaments popping up and more and more streamers appearing on YouTube, Twitch, and now FaceBook Gaming, we were curious to see how these influencers market themselves to make money in their craft. So we decided we’d do a little bit of research and share exactly how someone can make money simply marking themselves and their game play properly in order to build a career in the world of esports.

One thing that is for certain is that it takes a lot of work and time in order to get a foot in the door in the esports community. Making money in the esports world does not happen overnight, and just like any other form of marketing, you need to put yourself in the right spot in order to actually make money playing video games. However, if you are willing to put in the time and the effort, it'll be worth it in the end and you are going to have a lot of fun along the way. First things first, you have to just put yourself out there. That means creating content whether it is through Twitch, YouTube, or FaceBook gaming. The key to building a career in the esports world is creating entertaining content that people want to watch. We cannot stress how important it is to use the streaming and video platforms to your advantage in the Esports world. Using these platforms to your advantage can launch your career if used properly.

The logos for the streaming services for (from left to right) Facebook Gaming, YouTube, and Twitch. Image courtesy of Digital Drop Podcast.

After you have decided what service to use and what website to use to start your career you’ll then have to figure out your brand and what games are going to play. The most popular content creators in the esports community all have one thing in common, and it's not that they are good at video games, the thing they have in common is that they are entertaining. People want to watch them whether it is for tips and tricks in the game or if it's simply because they are funny to watch or that they are full of energy. Viewers want to be entertained. Popular streamers, such as Nickmercs, are full of energy. Viewers feed off that energy, they like to see other people that are extremely enthusiastic about a video game, and if they get some advice from the video then that is just the icing on the cake. What we’re trying to say is, simply put, be entertaining and find your brand, the rest will come in time.

Starting to produce content is just the beginning though. There are plenty of content creators that cannot make a full career out of esports because they do not market themselves properly outside of their videos. Having a strong social media presence is also very important, streamers like Mark Clarkk have grown extremely popular through using apps like Tik Tok by posting clips of his gameplay on there as well. This concept helps put your name out there a little bit more than just through the streaming platforms that you may already be using, but it's more than that. Social media platforms will help you engage with your growing fan base. Every big company has social media accounts, everything from retail companies to music artists to professional gamers, everyone has some form of a social media presence. This is because they are brands and the more you realize that you are trying to build a brand, the easier it will be to think of yourself more as a company than just a person playing video games.

Once both of these steps have been accomplished, you should start thinking about marketing strategies. Now, you can go one of two ways with this, one way is to build your own marketing team of family or friends that have experience in the realm of marketing. It's an option that could work to your advantage since you already know your team and you can hand pick the team yourself. However, for those of us who don't know anyone that could help in this field, you want to try to find an agency to help you with your marketing strategies. Just like how professional sports athletes have agents to help them negotiate contracts and find endorsements, esports athletes need such agents as well. Finding the right esports agency can be difficult too. You have to ask yourself a couple questions first, what kind of service do they offer, how convenient is it to work with them, how big is their network, and can you afford them? There are several agencies to choose from that both work with professional gamers and influencers that are always looking for new content creators.

Logos for several different influencer marketing companies that help build the brand of content creators. Image courtesy of Content Career.

Once you have figured out whether you are building your own marketing team or signing with an agency, it is time to start building your own esports team. Having your own Esports team allows you to compete in tournaments against other teams for cash prizes. Streaming these types of events also attracts more viewership to your channel. With Twitch, you need to first establish partner status with the streaming service before you can build your own team, but building your own team is well within reach even for smaller brands and up-and-coming esports contenders. The more established your team becomes, the better advertisement opportunities you will get for your stream, which means more potential to make money.

Now that you've established yourself in the esports community, you and your team can start to host events. These events can range in different ways, they can either be tournaments where you invite other teams and other players to join or they can be as simple as dividing up your own team into smaller teams and having a little friendly competition between team members. An event can even be as simple as having a team meeting to discuss different strategies that players have playing a game, giving advice to curious audience members.

Either way, these types of events will draw more viewership and keep the stream interesting versus simply just streaming the same game that you always do. Plus, when you involve other streamers outside of your team, you begin to network within the esports community. Just like how people network in the workforce to gain knowledge and popularity, networking in the esports community will help further validate yourself amongst other validated players, which is extremely important. If hosting your own tournament seems to be out of reach at the moment, you can always co-host another team's event that has already established itself within the esports community.

A marketing sales funnel typically consists of three steps. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, using this funnel is an easy way to properly market one’s brand. Image courtesy of Influencer Marketing Hub.

The most important things to understand in order to grow your brand is content marketing. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, “Content marketing is about information delivery thoughtfully. It is promoting your brand or business by sharing entertaining, educational and enlightening information that will add value to your audience’s lives.” In layman's terms, content marketing is the ability to attract and retain loyal consumers using consistent and entertaining material.  Now, a content marketing strategy is ever-changing. Strategies that you start off with might not be the same strategy throughout your career. Content marketing is complex and it evolves as your career does. Are many strategies and ways to go about content marketing and you can find some of those concepts here.

Marketing techniques for growing your esports brand is very similar to how businesses, athletes, and musicians market themselves.  The techniques are slightly different due to the fact that you are a content creator in the video game industry, but the overall arching concept is still there. If you are diligent and willing to put in the time, you can be a successful esports influencer by using these techniques to drive your career. As long as you understand that success in the esports industry does not happen overnight and you appreciate the journey, you will reach your goals in due time. Until then, enjoy the process because at the end of the day, playing video games is meant to be fun. Have you ever heard of the saying, “If you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” That is the reason to get involved in the esports industry in the first place, it is a lot of fun and it sure won’t feel like work if you are having a blast along the way.