Gamers are a different animal. Thankfully, I’m a gamer myself.
When I first came to G2A as a copywriter, I was like “Alright, so it’s probably just going to be me knocking out a bunch of press releases or something like that, and then — yeehaw, let’s call it a day!”
Boy, was I wrong.
Now, my work does involve writing tons of stuff, press releases included. But it’s not that simple. The thing is when you’re a copywriter, you need to keep in mind who you’re writing to. Otherwise all you come up with will most likely end up in the trash.
This is how I learned how to write to gamers.
Before that, I had plenty of misconceptions about copywriting in the gaming industry. Here comes the first one:
I thought good writing skills are all I need
Don’t get me wrong — they’re a must. You need to know your stuff when it comes to writing per se, vocab, grammar, etc. That’s a no-brainer.
And I have to admit that games were a tremendous help in not just improving my language skills. They actually “taught” me English, and this is the experience of a whole lotta other people all over the world. There seems to be plenty of evidence to that. Personally, I believe that cRPG games are where it’s at. Aim for classics with exceptional writing and you should be good. I remember a time when long sessions in Knights of the Old Republic helped me with my lexis exams, and it’s just one of many things that show how amazing this game is.
But here’s the thing: you need to identify your target audience and write accordingly. You can’t just write something and hope for the best. Do that and I’m pretty sure your piece is going to fail miserably.
If it’s a press release, who are you writing to? Journalists and prospective investors. Do they expect informative material? Yeah. Will they enjoy it sprinkled with zoomer humor? I don’t think so.
If you’re working on a Facebook ad about an upcoming sale, your target is gamers, mostly young people. Will they appreciate a trip to Comedy Island? That’s likely. Will your jokes end up on r/fellowkids? That’s even more likely. Will they get that there’s a whole bunch of dank discounts incoming? Maybe. More on that later, for now let’s focus on another doopid idea I had in my mind:
I thought that since I’m a gamer, I already know it all
Yeah, I thought I understand vidya fans. I was one of them, right? I knew how they think. They’re not like different species or anything, but they have unique communication patterns and ways they talk to each other. “Yeah, I got this,” I thought. “I have all the knowledge I need.”
Little did I know I had ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE WHATSOEVER about marketing.
Every smartass (such as yours truly) can pretend they’re funny and write something clever and witty.
Everyone enjoys a good chuckle, after all! I’m not sure if this translates to bigger open rates, though.
And for the most part, it doesn’t. I remember spending hours writing emails, web pushes and the like. ’Twas big brain time. My esteemed colleagues would enjoy at least some of the fruits of my labor. “Very good,” I thought. “These will do the trick.”
Guess what: open rates dropped — not substantially, but noticeably. All this work for nothing! We had to change our strategy. I had to change my approach.
We ultimately went for a much simpler formula: let’s just tell customers how big the discounts are and that you can get them on G2A.COM. Of course, with a sprinkle of funny here and there, but the focus was making mail titles short, sweet and to the point. Did it work? Yes! From what I learned from the email team, open rates have been constantly on the rise for the last 2 years.
Speaking of teams:
I thought that in my case teamwork is just me proofreading stuff
While proofreading makes up a large chunk of what I do, it never works the way I initially thought.
For the most part, it’s going back and forth with all sorts of changes.
Sometimes you must oppose a certain idea, because it’s just not going to work. Sometimes it’s your fault, because you didn’t bother to ask any questions that would help you come up with something good.
See, here’s the thing: your input is just as valuable as everyone else’s. Sure, as a copywriter you know how to craft perfect messages. But you also surely have experience using other services, various interfaces, etc. This lets you not only offer how to word, but even do something better.
Which brings us to another misconception of mine:
I thought I’d be just writing, nothing else
And for the most part this is the way things work for me. I just write. A lot.
But even the sheer scope of what I have to write makes me wear all sorts of different hats. I’ve been a journalist, a marketing specialist, a PR specialist, a UX specialist, a translator, a proofreader, heck, even a film director! Quite a lot for just one position, no?
Needless to say, all that spelled doom for my final delusion:
I thought I’m a better writer ;(
That’s the bitter pill you just have to swallow. You’re going to make mistakes, ranging from tiny typos to plain dumb writing decisions. You’re going to misunderstand instructions (whether they were clear or not in the first place is up to discussion). Many things won’t exactly be right up your alley.
Here’s an example of my doo-doos. That was very early on in my career at G2A.
We were preparing Christmas presents for our partners in Russia, but due to certain regulations some of the gifts were delayed. A lot. My task was to write a letter of apology, saying we’re sorry about what happened and that the remaining items will get to the partners as soon as possible. A no-brainer, you’d say.
Our general guidelines are like “Nooo, you can’t just write something stupid, nooo!” My brain works in mysterious ways, so it of course went BRRR, reminding me of a character named Ravage. He’s this Decepticon spy dude from an awesome 90s animated show, Beast Wars, with his deep voice and Russian accent to boot. And so I go like this:
Thankfully, my team leader just laughed at my masterpiece and I realized that what I wrote was 100% certified EXTREME CRINGE. “We are deeply apologetic for the delay in the shipment of our gifts to you,” hahahaha, get a load of this guy. XD
The point is you’ll eventually learn that you know very little and need to learn so much more. And that’s fantastic news!
Three years later I sort of have a vague idea of what I’m doing. I know what “tone of voice” is and no, it’s not about developing a manly baritone. I know that I need to ask good follow-up questions, otherwise rectifying mistakes is going to be time-consuming. I now have a bunch of marketing tricks up my sleeve, which is nice.
I’m glad I’m part of the gaming culture. This helps me tremendously not only in understanding my fellow gamers better, but also in dispelling any misconceptions about writing to them, and then adopting the right mindset.
So, you want to be a copywriter? Awesome.
But you better prepare for a wild ride!
by Łukasz Wilk, Copywriter at G2A.COMBack