A lot has been written about the need for a content calendar (also known as an editorial calendar), and you can certainly find a number of online and print publications that speak about its necessity for small businesses. I believe that an editorial calendar can greatly benefit indie game developers, and have decided to write this entry because I haven’t found any articles specifically geared towards them.
A few years ago, the life of an independent video game developer was much easier. Starting with rising competition and greater user acquisition costs, the modern video game business has evolved from being a beloved job to a beloved job that takes all of our time and resources. Now, indie developers are expected to compete with AAA companies and their multi-million dollar budgets for their place in the sun. Also, the average gamer’s expectations have increased, so unless a video game developer pushes aggressively and uses the essential tools to efficiently run their business, meeting these expectations requires hard work.
In order to compete successfully, independent video game developers need to optimize their efforts, in other words, work smarter, not harder. This is where a content calendar can be a tremendous help. Content is king nowadays, and it is an indie developer’s ultimate goal to make their organized content easily accessible to every gamer.
A content calendar is an extremely efficient way to manage and control the publication of content across different media: Facebook, Twitter, forums, the company’s or game’s newsletters and blogs, and even personal blogs.
The calendar outlines what content is planned for the upcoming few weeks and has numerous advantages for a game developer:
- It encourages looking at the big picture with an at-a-glance overview
- It aids the planning of marketing, utilizing social media, and the implementation of a PR campaign
- It helps in brainstorming content ideas
- It helps to keep track of publication timing
Tools used to create an editorial calendar vary from expensive tracking software to a piece of plain paper. There are at least four types of technology you can use to create an editorial calendar:
- Paper and pen
- A planner book or online calendar
- An Excel spreadsheet
- Editorial/content tracking software
Below is a simple content calendar I use when working with my clients. It tracks different aspects of content planning, helps small developers to see the connections in their content, maintaining a balance between graphical and editorial material. This calendar also helps to keep content consistent with the image and branding of the company that developers aim to create.