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What content marketers can learn from the success of the Nintendo Switch

Last month marked a year since the Nintendo Switch was released. The system, Nintendo’s eighth home console, has been a massive triumph and has been a hit both commercially and critically. There are many parallels to be made between the Switch’s successful launch and how you should be treating your content marketing strategy. All of us are looking for ways to stand out and produce content that will be taken notice of, so here’s how to make your content more Super Mario and less Ninten-d’oh.

Create content that is different to what those around you are doing:

Creating a system that does the job that two systems would usually be required to do is an original idea in the gaming world. Both times Nintendo has released an original console it has seen sales erupt. The Switch in its first year sold more consoles than the Wii U did in its entire lifetime. It also outsold the Xbox and PlayStation in 2017, the first time a Nintendo console has done that since it released its other revolutionary console, the Wii.

It seems appropriate then that our friends at Content Marketing Institute advise:

‘If you are in a crowded space, don’t jump in with more content that will be lost in the ether. Instead, your mission is to create exceptional, original content that is promoted with a thoughtful approach.’

We are in a very crowded space, make your content pop. My class at university was told that all of our essays would be original due to our own life experiences, and this rule can be applied for content marketing. What makes your perspective worth listening to? There are only so many topics to mine but the possibility of what to do with these topics is potentially infinite!


Invest in a wide range of content:

What do you do when smart-phones are eating away at your share of the handheld gaming market and your previous console flopped in comparison to the contributions from Sony and Microsoft? You take on both at once of course! When the stakes were high Nintendo decided to create a machine that is capable of competing with Apple for those that want to game whilst out and the Playstation and Xbox for gamers who want to pick up a controller when they get home. Both aspects of the console, dock play and portable mode, have been lauded by those that have used it and Nintendo have not skimped on quality in either area.

2018 is the year that content marketers should look at this, take heed and attack on all frontiers. As Neil Patel says, ‘Having a team of writers isn’t enough anymore.’ he then goes on to suggest nine different areas that your content marketing should move into. With so many exciting new platforms to try out, and the more established ones still ripe for growth, you’d be a fool to focus on just one.

Use influencers to get your content in front of potential customers:

Casey Neistat is one of the largest Youtubers on the platform, as such whatever you get in his hands you get into the bedrooms and living rooms of millions across the world. Nintendo did just that. They gave him a Switch and he made multiple videos on it in his trademark style. The largest of which currently has over 9 million views. Other Youtubers were also given them, creating a wave across the internet of content related to the Switch. This buoyant mood produced by the videos was perfect when Nintendo launched the hardware a few weeks later.

You might not have the budget to get your content in the hands of somebody like Casey (few of us do) but there are hundreds of influencers in each industry. These are generally broken down into four categories: celebrities, industry experts & thought leaders, bloggers & content creators and finally micro influencers. Depending on your network and amount of money you have to spend there will be a type of influencer for you. We also have our own app, Quuu Promote, that is great for getting content in front of influencers.

Capitalise on your team:

Mario, Princess Zelda, Pikachu and Donkey Kong are all names that you have probably heard before whether you’re into gaming or not. Why? Because Nintendo brings them to the forefront of everything they do! Other companies tried to bring mascots to their brands but Nintendo perfected it. From releasing a new iteration of their games each generation to producing compelling films and merchandise, Nintendo knows how to get their all-stars in front of you in a fun and engaging way.

You may not realise it at the moment, but you have your very own group that the world wants to see. That’s right, your team! Steve on support? He’s probably got some great stories that he could turn into a blog post. What about your developer, Helen? How about a day in the life? Users are curious about the people that make up the companies that they use or maybe even don’t use (I’m sure more of us than would like to admit have been deep into a Youtube binge watching videos from people we didn’t know existed a few hours ago) and with the diversity of businesses that exist your team’s workday or interests will probably appeal to more people than you think. So, team willing, get all your personnel involved.

 

Consistently release quality content as often as your resources allow:

The reason that many people have bought into the Switch is its game library. Whilst still relatively sparse, last year they released two games that contended for most journalists game of the year award, an impressive feat by anyone’s measurement. Nintendo has the talent and the big names to continue releasing high-quality first-party titles and they’ll need to if they want to keep their sales momentum going.

Your content marketing needs to be just as consistent. It is a competitive area and one or two weak pieces of content could see your audience drop off and once they leave it’s a difficult job trying to get them back on board again. It isn’t just a case of quality over quantity either. Different studies have shown different results when it comes to how often you should post (although many lean towards posting every other day) but when your audience know that you are going to be posting on specific days then they are more likely to come back. So, however large your team, keep consistency in the quality and quantity, and as your resources grow look to increase your output.

Make sure your efforts target the right people:

As our co-founder Matt points out in one of Quuu’s daily vlogs you need to know who you are selling to, the more details the better (do you know what your users eat for breakfast?!). The Wii U’s marketing didn’t follow this rule. Their adverts targeted children and generally made the console look cheap and, even, embarrassing. The Switch has pivoted to aiming at an adult audience, y’know, the ones that have the money, and seen its fortunes changed. Your content marketing strategy should follow this: are you targeting the right people? It’s all very well and good if a certain demographic likes what you’re producing, but can they afford your product? If not, it might be time to say ‘it’s a me, cheerio’.

Make your content accessible:

Previous hardware felt clunky and took time to set up. From turning the console on to actually getting into gameplay you could be waiting longer than for it takes for the kettle to boil. For the Switch’s rivals this can be even more pronounced, with necessary downloads meaning it could be hours after you’d originally wanted to play before you finally can. The Switch has turned this on its head and acts more like a smartphone or tablet device: turning the console on places you immediately into the action. It’s easy for anyone to pick up and play.

And this rings true for your content marketing efforts.

From the first few seconds of video or opening line of a piece of writing, you want to make your content appealing and understandable. In this respect it is important to know your audience. Are the definitions you are using known only by a small cohort within the industry? Should you be explaining acronyms in your piece? If you overestimate the knowledge of your consumer then you could be at risk of alienating them.

Repurpose as much as you can:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart 8 and Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze all debuted for the Wii U to critical acclaim. Sadly, not enough units of the WiiU were sold for these games to get into as many living rooms as they deserved. The solution? Bring them to the Switch! All of these games will have been released on the Switch by May 2018 ready to see a new lease of life, with Mario Kart’s release on the latest system nearly doubling the game’s sales. The lesson here? Repurpose. If you’ve written a successful blog, turn it into a video. Infographic taking off? Why not walk people through it in a podcast. Reiterating what we said earlier that you should create a broader range of content, a great way to do that is by taking what you already have and finding a new platform for it.

Final thoughts:

Nintendo has pulled off a stunning turnaround in the past year and the Nintendo Switch has been a unanimous success. The lessons that it has learned and its bold approach to moving consoles forward shouldn’t just be noted by Sony and Microsoft however. Content marketers looking to up their game in the near future and beyond could do worse than to look at the upstanding piece of hardware. So next time you are thinking of ways to up your content marketing game think about a way the Switch has been successful and allow it to trigger in you the ideas needed to make the right moves.



Ruben Richardson