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5 Ways Esport Entrepreneurs (and All Other Business Leaders) Can Build An Active Community An engaged user base is the secret to growth, whether in video games or any industry.

By Andrew Medal

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I've taken a very personal interest in the growth of esports and how gaming entrepreneurs can leverage traditional tech strategies. I've been advising an augmented reality app for the past couple of years with a gamified growth strategy. The company is called Captive, and we're figuring out ways to leverage our tech skills to drive the gamification components while creating community. And the more involved in the space I am, the more I've realized how key content and an active community are on both sides of the table (traditional tech and gaming).

As covered by NewZoo, 2019 will end up being the first year esports exceeds the billion-dollar revenue mark. Per the article, "Around 82 percent of the total market ($897.2 million) will come from endemic and non-endemic brand investments (media rights, advertising and sponsorship). The highest-grossing individual esports revenue stream worldwide is sponsorship, generating $456.7 million in 2019. The fastest-growing esports revenue stream by far is media rights."

Understanding how important content and media are to the growth of your revenue is imperative. As an entrepreneur gamer who creates content, the audience that supports you will be one of the most crucial aspects of your gaming experience and career, and building community across any industry is similar. At the end of the day, your community might be all that you have; they are the group that you are relying on to view your content, as well as comment on, like and share your videos. Without a dedicated group of viewers, you are really just posting your content into the void. It is important to do all that you can to create a supportive community that watches your videos and engages with you and your content.

There are numerous methods that will help you build your gaming community and grow your audience. I have consolidated a few of these methods into a short list of strategies that you can execute to build and grow your audience. And, for entrepreneurs getting into the gaming space, this will help you do a deeper dive. Here are five tips that will help you build and scale your gaming community.

Related: 3 Things Every Business Leader Should Know About Esports

1. Choose a format.

The first thing you need to decide is what kind of content you are going to create for your community. Are you especially good at creating engaging video content or are your skills better suited to written content and conversation? If you're willing to put in several hours each day and enjoy the thrill of live performance, services like Twitch and Mixer are perfectly suited to the task. However, if you prefer to creatively edit your video content, services like Clutch, Instagram and YouTube may be better choices. If you're leaning more toward written content, you may be better off focusing on services such as Discord, Facebook and Reddit. In any case, the first step to building a community is choosing the right social media channel for the type of content you will be creating.

2. Focus on a certain game or reoccurring theme.

You are more likely to be successful when you build a community around just one game or topic. The reason for this is because it is not possible to appeal to everyone; therefore, you should not try to create content that appeals to everyone. When you focus on a niche, you will naturally attract people who are interested in that specific topic or area. This is a good lesson for any entrepreneur building content. The success of my video show, Action & Ambition, on Entrepreneur's network, is owed to the fact that we focus on one thing: sharing the backstories of our guests.

3. Be active on social media.

Ultimately, it is going to be your content that keeps your community coming back. Therefore, it is crucial to upload new content continually and to be very active on social media. You should create a content schedule and stick to it. My team and I love Trello for content scheduling. Your community will have something to look forward to when they can expect new content to be released on a specific day of the week or at a particular time each day. Although you should be focusing on the social media channel that is ideal for the content you're creating, you are going to want to have profiles on nearly every network. This will help you propagate your new content when it goes live and cross advertise your social media channels. Beyond that, you are going to want to moderate your channels. It is important to interact with your community and to tell them that you appreciate their support, as well as prohibit any bad actors.

4. Run contests; people love free stuff.

Running contests through your social media channels is a great way to attract new members to your community; people love free stuff. As explained by Sprout Social, launching a contest through your social media channels requires participants using a designated hashtag. Then, make sure to share or retweet that content and include a link that points to your website. You will be able to expand your reach by leveraging your existing community and their network to reach potential community members. It's the network effect in action.

5. Network with community influencers.

Networking with other influencers will be an essential part of adding high-value members to your community. A high-value follower is an individual that is going to increase your engagement rates. You are more likely to meet high-value community members at events, tournaments, in-game and on gaming-specific platforms. These are all instances where you are the most likely to find individuals who have similar interests and play the same games as you. That being said, there is a higher probability that these people will be interested in the content and the community that you are creating. When you hit it off with individuals you meet in these settings, it would not hurt to point them to your gaming community or social channels.

Partnering with a gaming company is another great way to connect with other gamers and grow your audience. For instance, Clutch offers an Influencer Affiliate Program that helps entrepreneur gamers grow their audience in return for representing their brand. When a gamer is accepted into their program, their account receives perks that give the user's content higher visibility on the Clutch App, as well as features them in Clutch's "Users to follow" section. As a result, users of the platform are more likely to follow those designated accounts, helping that user grow their community and get to know their audience in the process.

Related: What Are Esports, and How Do I Monetize Them? (Video)

Executing these strategies will put any entrepreneur gamer on the right track when it comes to building and scaling the community. The methods listed in this article will help you get your channel up and running and will cause others to gravitate towards your content and make them want to join your gaming community. But you should remember, building and growing a community takes time. Always conduct yourself professionally and remember to interact with your audience, answering any of their questions and replying to their comments and messages. And remember, these rules apply to any entrepreneur looking to build out their community.

Andrew Medal

Entrepreneur & Angel Investor

Andrew Medal is the founder of The Paper Chase, which is a bi-weekly newsletter. He is an entrepreneur and angel investor.

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