Empress of Niflheim
Advertising your roleplay
First of all, congratulations are in order! Huzzah! You're making a roleplay, you're excited, and you can't wait to start seeing people eager to join you on your fantastical journey, arduous quest, or anything in between. Now, the next big step is to actually get your name out there so people see your roleplay and join! But how does one get attention, you might ask? Maybe you're new to Iwaku and haven't had a chance to make a lot of friends yet, maybe your friends are all too busy to join right now, or maybe you just want some fresh blood and new ideas? Well I am here to tell you that it is completely possible to make a roleplay with no guaranteed characters (other than yourself, of course) and still get players. It just requires a little more work.
Step one: The word of mouthHave you been to the Iwaku chatboxes lately? People go there to procrastinate, make merry, and socialize in general with other people. It's not only a fun place to hang out and talk about how much you also happen to like buttered toast, though! You can chat with members there about certain ideas for your roleplay (and even take it to the Conference Box for in-depth discussions). Discussing a plot point here or there, getting a feel for interested parties, and maybe even making some new friends are all possibilities.
However, if you're going to go to the chatbox, you should participate in normal conversation and keep the RP plugging to a small amount. You know how much people despise spambots? Don't accidentally become a spambot in your enthusiasm. Go to chat, have a good time, and maybe discuss your roleplay a little briefly when the opportunity presents itself. That way, your idea is out there but nobody wants to throw you out with it.
Step two: Group advertisingHave you seen the roleplay section lately? If you just made a roleplay, the answer is probably "Uh, duh?". But did you really look at it? Right next the the section for Plot Info and Signups is another handy section called Group Roleplay Advertising. This is the place made especially for people like you to go and advertise their roleplay! Ideally, people who are in the mood to join a roleplay will peruse this section and look into joining your roleplay when they see your advert here! It's a great system where those in need of people can put their roleplay out there and those in need of a roleplay can see some friendly options in need of players.
"But, wait" you might find yourself saying "how do I make an advertisement?"
Well, there is no exact formula to making the best, most eye-catching, fanciest advert out there but I can give you some overall tips!
- Create a thread with the same title as your roleplay, that way people know what to look for.
- Use the appropriate thread flair when you create your thread (such as Group Roleplay Ad).
- Use tags to help people search, both on this advertisement and on the Signup itself! Is your RP steampunk? There's a tag for that! Dystopic? Tag it! You get the idea.
- Provide a succinct, interesting, and inviting summary of your roleplay's premise! You want to get people interested, you want them to want to join. Short and sweet to grab attention and keep it.
- Potentially use an image relevant to your roleplay. This can help indicate the tone, thematic ideas, etc. A picture is worth a thousand words sometimes!
- Provide a link to the Signup for your roleplay. People aren't always motivated to go digging through the Signups looking for the roleplay whose advert they saw. They might choose not to join if they have to.
You might have noticed but lots of people use their signature to house information related to their roleplays. This means that people like you, well, notice, right? When you comment in sections like General, people will see your signature. It's like free advertising space! Make it interesting and make it linkable and someone might just click on it to see what you're all about and possibly even join! This can mean any number of things, from a simple "Looking for people for [Roleplay name here, especially if you hyperlink the Signup link]! It's got [descriptive term, maybe even a tag term that can be searched], [another description], and [possible plot point? Up to you]". Another tactic is to include a fancy relevant banner image and make it clickable, hyperlinking to your roleplay. Get creative! It's your space, use it!
Step three: Make your signature work for you
Step three: Make your signature work for you
Step four: Participate in the siteMaybe, even though you're new, you've been too shy to post an introduction. Or you didn't even know that there was a section for introductions (There is!). It could be that you're not new, you're just shy or nervous. I think almost everyone feels a little shy or nervous sometimes. However, if you miss out on the elements that involve interacting with other people, you're missing out on one of the best things Iwaku has to offer: its community! By participating in the site in places like the chatbox, General chat, and even other roleplays, you build connections with some of the other people here.
Am I saying to befriend people just to get them to join your roleplays? No, man, that's cold. But what I am saying is that making friends will probably make your Iwaku experience even better and if you find cool people that want to be your friend, there is a good chance that they will naturally want to participate in roleplays with you and be interested in joining yours. After all, you made it! Your friends don't necessarily have the same taste and ideas as you, but they just might. The bonus to making Iwaku friends is that these are people who are here because they want to write and participate in roleplays. Meaning that they're people who would probably be just as happy to discuss possible plot ideas and characters with you as you are with them. So get out there and socialize!
Step five: New advertising system!One of the most effective ways to get an advertisement out for your roleplay is to create a banner advertisement for it, which you can find here.
As with the previous note on advertisements, the formula for "best advert" is very personal. However, I have a few notes to help you get started:
- Choose a background that will be eyecatching, but not painful. This might sound very subjective (and it is) but try to keep in mind what would draw your interest.
- Keep different Iwaku themes in mind so your banner doesn't fade into the white or black backgrounds.
- Use patterns sparingly. Too noisy a background can make your banner hard to read.
- Images are a great method to attract attention. Using imagery related to your roleplay idea can give people who are interested in that idea incentive to click on your banner to find out more.
- Include the title of your roleplay in the banner, to give some context and draw the banner to a "point". I find that this makes it more understandable as an advert, rather than just a random image.
Step six: RevampingSo you've tried steps one through four and nothing seems to be getting you any players. You don't understand why people don't want to partake in your SUPER AWESOME idea. There are any number of reasons it could be, but I'm going to address a few that you might be able to work on going forward.
- Your post could use a little spelling/grammar check. Most people don't expect perfection but it can be a turn-off for people if they're struggling to understand what you're saying. There are lots of free online spelling and grammar checks available (like this one) that you can run it through, even if your computer doesn't have one by default.
- You didn't expand your ideas enough. Did you post only a tiny amount of information because you want to develop the idea IC or have a surprise? Unfortunately, lots of people want to know what kind of roleplay they're getting into before they sign up. Try to expand on your ideas more, think through some more plot points, and add more detail to your signup post.
- Your instructions to the players sound hostile. People want to write with someone they have fun with and enjoy the experience. Instructions like "Dedicated players only! Must be literate! No mistakes ever!" doesn't tend to give the feeling of fun that many people look for when writing roleplays. Either evaluate how important those instructions are to you and consider tamping them down for gentler and more reasonable and well-defined sounding expectations "Looking for people who can post at least twice a week. No single sentence posts." You don't have to compromise on your expectations if you don't want to, but you will have more trouble finding people when you sound like you want to hire them to do a writing job for no pay. And it doesn't hurt to make yourself sound like a nice person and not a crazy dictator!
Advertising a roleplay can get you a diverse, full cast of players for you to begin your roleplay adventures with. By putting in a little more elbow grease, you will almost always have far better results when it comes to attracting people to join. After all, who can join your roleplay if they don't even know it exists? And nobody will want to join it if you advertise in an annoying fashion. Instead, advertise in a way that you would want to be advertised to and help show people this cool idea you have exists!