5 Critical Tips for Writing a Popular Game Guide

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One of the best ways to get started on GameSkinny is writing guides for your favorite new releases. Guides are great because you don’t have to figure out what to write about, the game tells you. And writing a great game guide makes you a go-to resource for other players.

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Here are the 5 most critical steps to create wildly popular game guides:

1. Clear Titles.

Put the name of the game and what the guide is for in the guide title, every time.

We all like to be clever. I should know, as it’s one of my most crippling weaknesses. But this isn’t the time to make vague allusions to the purpose of your piece in order to stir reader curiosity – readers are playing a game, and want answers – now.

Your title should let them know you have the answer that they need for the game they are playing. Simple and clear is best.

Format:Topic of guide goes here: [Game Title Placeholder] Guide

Example:How to Switch Servers: Guild Wars 2 Guide

For a few more tips, read our Surprising Secrets Behind Writing Smart Titles.

2. Timing is Everything.

It’s important to get at least one guide/tip out on the first day, as quickly as possible.

It doesn’t have to be profound or long, just useful. On the first day, you want to answer questions that new players will have. As time goes on, get into more advanced material. The SimCity tips, below, show how the author tailored their material based on how long the game has been out. It begins with problems actually getting into the game itself, progresses to early technical questions players would have, then jumps into gameplay tips.

  1. Waiting for SimCity 5 – No Preload? – SimCity Guide
  2. SimCity 5 – No Friends Region Play Tip – SimCity Guide
  3. Never Run out Of Water in SimCity 5 – SimCity Guide
  4. Advanced SimCity 5 Road Laying Tips – SimCity Guide

That sounds a bit tricky, but it’s actually quite simple, because you’re a new player too. Timing on guides is critical because you want to have your information out before players need it. That will likely mean some late nights and fast typing, but it will pay off in grateful and engaged readers!

3. Answer Questions.

As you’re experiencing the game for the first time, pay close attention to any questions you have, or that you think other people will have.

Why? Simple. Those are your guide topics and tips.

From the moment you begin attempting to access the game, notice where you have questions, are unsure how to proceed, or when you find something neat. Use those as the seeds for your early guide content.

The SimCity tips were in line with what those players needed, but when Ashley covered FFXIV and Joey covered Pokemon, they used very different tactics. Ashley created guide sets for faster leveling, class based quests, and crafting components, while Joey created a more traditional walkthrough – which makes sense because Pokemon is fairly linear.

4. Match your guide style to the game.

Choose the right type of Guide / Tips to write:

  • Wide open sandbox like SimCity or Minecraft? Answer the questions people will have as they progress and explore.
  • Linear gameplay? A classic walk through series works perfectly for games that follow a mostly predictable path, like Pokemon.
  • Somewhere in between? A MMO like FFXIV offers ways to progress, but not a set path. Help the player advance with guides and tips they can use to achieve their goals.

5. Create a Guide Index article for your series, and Link back to it from Every. Single. Guide.

This is how you go from being something your readers found on Google once, to being a reference they visit again and tell their friends about. Creating a guide landing page is simple: you publish an article that’s sole purpose is to organize all your guide content for a specific game.

It’s critical to have this page for your guide content – readers who like the first guide they find of yours will likely click to view the rest of them, and this lets them do so with ease.

Examples: FFXIV Guide Index , Pokemon Guide Index.

How to make a great guide index? Simple:
  • Organize your guide content – Lists are your friend. If you have more than one type of guide (like Ashley does in our example) then be sure to separate them by type. You can even list guide content you’re planning but haven’t written yet – just be sure to add something like… (Coming Soon!).
  • LINK to your guide content – This page is useless unless you actually link to the guides!
  • LINK from your guide content to your landing page – At the bottom of each guide, Ashley links back to her Guide Landing Page. This is a critical step to telling readers they can find more information. I’d recommend doing it at the top and at the bottom of the page, in case readers find what they are looking for before they reach the end of the guide.

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Author
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Amy White
Former Editor in Chief at GameSkinny. I am the Gray Fox. Questions, comments, feedback? Bring it. Amy.White (at) GameSkinny.com