|Beginner's Guide to Writing Magic Content|
Becoming an established content creator within Magic: The Gathering is hard work; however, it is one of the most rewarding ways to engage with the game. Following on from the first and second part of this series, we will be looking further into Magic content creation by offering advice on how to market yourself as a content creator including best practices to achieve engagement with your audience.
When you are creating content, you are your own brand, which can be intimidating to navigate within the Magic community given how volatile it can be. You have to push your content without coming across as aggressively selling yourself. However, there are methods to brand yourself without always relying on the hard sell. It's good practice to be mindful of how you approach certain topics within the community as this can damage your reputation and lose your following. Admittedly it can feel like a minefield at times, but I take the approach of letting my content speak for itself and reinforce this with talking about the positive aspects of the game. It's easy to be distracted by other events or news within Magic, but it's good to remind yourself why you are doing this and what you want from creating content. Creation is all about broadcasting passion, and it's critical to maintain that at all times.
Social media groups within platforms such as Facebook, Discord and Reddit are a great starting point to dig deeper and target your niche audience. I'd recommend joining groups that your content is relevant to. Writing about Pauper? Join a Pauper-focused Group. Writing about Amulet Titan? Join the Amulet Titan and Modern subreddits. Remember that your audience has the same common interests as you—and as mentioned before, people are engaged by passion—so it's important to address this through your content and interactions online. You will find your niche over time. Whatever content you create, whether it is about a format or a particular archetype, we live in an age where finding the associated groups is easy to achieve.
Don't hesitate to share your content across social media a second time to introduce your work to fresh eyes. I tend to keep this approach to Twitter as the platform has a much broader spectrum compared to niche Facebook groups and subreddits which may have less activity. With this approach, I recommend rewording your post so it does not look like a duplicated post, as it will gain more views. Another good habit is to reply to comments on your posts on Reddit or Facebook as these will regularly appear in your audience's feeds, but it's important that your comment not come across as forced. Start interesting discussions and ask questions to promote engagement. For example, let's say you wrote about the recent Pioneer Banned & Restricted update. Asking "What do you think of the bans?" or, "What do you see being banned next?" is a great way to prompt your audience to engage with your content. Talking to your audience is crucial as not only does your audience feel more involved, you gather information and perceptions which you may have not considered before which will improve the quality of your content long-term.
An important piece of social media marketing is encouraging your audience to share your content. This does not have to come across as mandatory or demanding. Asking for a simple retweet at the bottom of your post could give your post more reach and hit audiences you may have not tapped into yet. I do this as it presents a high ceiling with little effort, and it can bring in more followers and potential content opportunities. With content creation, you have to "sell" yourself, as there are many other creators out there.
Sharing others' work is a great way for both parties to reach new audiences. However, be mindful, as you don't want your own work to be lost. You have to be your own biggest champion, and if you always promote other content ahead of your own, you run the risk of conveying the message that your content isn't as good.
If you posted your content on Twitter, Reddit or Facebook and your audience are responding to your work through comments, make an effort to talk to them. Interaction is one of the most effective ways of growing an audience and it applies that "common touch" which can be lost online. Even if it's something as simple as saying "thank you," responding to your audience will leave a positive impression. This may sound odd, but it's easy to fall into the trap of acting automated on social media given how words can be misread. Make an effort to be personable and engage with your audience.
Admittedly, it is difficult to build and reach your audience initially, but using hashtags on platforms such as Twitter will put your content in front of more people. If you are unsure which hashtags to use, look at how other content creators advertise their content as a reference. These hashtags makes it easier for people to find you and help you hop onto trends in your market. Another trick is to add hashtags to your Twitter profile as this means your bio may appear in searches on the platform. Take my Twitter profile as an example:
As you can see, I've added a hashtag in my bio to demonstrate the format I write about primarily. I've also added my TCGplayer link in my profile which provides an easy route for my audience to access my current and previous work. You don't need to go all out and be incredibly commercial, but it helps accrue followers by having a hashtag or two in your bio. Finally, adding your social media links to the bottom of your articles is another great method to accrue followers through various channels, as people may find your work through avenues outside of social media, such as by searching on Google.
Once you are in the rhythm of writing content regularly, there may be instances where you struggle with what to write about next. Don't worry, this is an incredibly common issue which happens to creatives of all kinds. My approach is to see what is popular or dominant within the format or what creators are delivering, and look for whatever is its opposite. With the rise of Jund and Burn in Modern a few months ago, I looked at Bogles and how it can attack the aggressive, grindy metagame. Bogles is a fantastic answer to both Jund and Burn, so I wrote about Bogles from a budget perspective which allowed players to counteract the metagame. Not only did I provide an answer to the meta, but I also offered content that wasn't commonly available as many creators were focusing on Jund and Burn.
If that method fails, another approach is to ask your audience. Your audience is familiar with your work which means they can offer suggestions that you may have not considered. However, it is difficult to please everyone, so it's crucial to take this as data and draw your own conclusions from it. Again, this creates engagement with your audience which allows them to feel involved in the content you create in the future.
These are not sponsored mentions, but here are more great tools to aid you with writing.
Thesaurus.com - While writing, we can fall into the trap of using similar words regularly. Repetition can create boredom in writing, which in turn lowers audience interest. Using a thesaurus (online or otherwise) allows you to broaden your vocabulary while maintaining appealing content. However, be mindful of using overcomplicated words as you do not want your audience to become confused or lose track of what you are trying to say. Be simple and concise, but avoid repetition. It's a challenging balance in writing, but with practice, you will find harmony.
Hemingway App - Similarly to Grammarly, Hemingway App is a great tool to address any nuances in writing such as passive voice or overcomplicated sentences. I like using either Grammarly or Hemingway App as a "final edit" of my work before publishing as it removes any minor details I may have missed. These websites show you how to fix your mistakes which improves the quality of your content over time.
As usual, if you have any questions or feedback about Magic content creation, feel free to approach me on Twitter. Marketing yourself is challenging as it's about finding the right balance. You don't want to over-market yourself as your audience will become exhausted by it, but you also don't want to under-market yourself as you want to grow your brand. By offering regular content while engaging with your peers and your audience, your brand will grow over time.
It's a slow process. It's not about how big the steps are, it's about the direction you are going in. As long as you remain consistent and approachable, you'll establish yourself over time. The most important takeaway is to have fun in what you do: content creation is driven by passion, and it's key to kindle that fire at all times.