The long, but surprisingly simple, road to becoming an authority

It ain’t easy becoming a “game lawyer.” Before I started this blog, I was just a regular dude. An attorney, yes, but no one was flocking to my door to get legal advice for their indie game startup. Since then, I’ve had calls from reporters from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, been on the radio (college radio, but it’s something) and had requests from other attorneys to write or talk about game-specific topics.

How does that happen?

Building authority:

Going from “zero to hero” is no easy task.Going from “zero to hero” is no easy task. It requires not just having a law degree, a state bar license to practice law or calling yourself “the game lawyer.” You have to demonstrate value to people. They, in turn, recognize your authority on the subject.

I’ve spent the past year writing semi-consistently on my blog, covering topics near and dear to the hearts of game developers. The posts aren’t always fun to read; they’re often about dry topics like sending DMCA takedown letters or how distinctive your trademark is. However, they provide value to the reader. That is the most important part of building authority.

How does this help game developers?

If you are an indie developer, particularly one who is just starting out, sharing your experiences and wisdom can put you on the fast track toward building this authority. Having trouble building a particular aspect of your game? Blog about it. Looking for an artist or musician to work on your game? Blog about it. You’d be surprised how helpful the community is, particularly on a site like Gamasutra. Their community blogs are a great way of reaching others in the industry, often people with more experience who can help you out.

This exposure and authority can turn into serious benefits for the game development process.Interested in roguelike-likes? Blog about why you like them, how they are influencing your game design and even list some of your favorites (list posts are the easiest and people love them). Other topics that are interesting to you can make writing about them super easy and, dare I say it, fun!

This exposure and authority can turn into serious benefits for the game development process. It can grow your circle of colleagues in the industry, who in turn can help when things go wrong. It can expose you to people who have been successful, from which you can learn from their successes or get more exposure through them.

For instance, if you make a connection with someone who is running a successful Kickstarter campaign, you can more easily enter into a cross-promotion through this personal relationship than with a cold-call or email. While the development world is full of introverts (myself included), building authority through passive blog posting and other means can lead to more comfortable interactions with others that don’t rely on in-person networking.

Keep blogging:

That volume of posting also does a lot to give you some insta-authority.Even if it seems like you have no readers in the beginning, keep at it. When someone visits a blog with one or two posts, they will often ignore it. However, if you blog consistently, you will build your oeuvre and new visitors will soon have a wealth of information to delve into. That volume of posting also does a lot to give you some insta-authority.

So keep plugging away at it. I believe that you will eventually start to see the benefits of developing authority in whatever niche you are in.

And let me know when you start blogging. I love to read the work of game devs who are in the trenches!

Here’s some links with more info on building authority through blogging:

photo credit: Alexandre Dulaunoy via photopin cc

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Zachary Strebeck

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