If you play World of Warcraft then youre probably either a member of a guild or a GM. Given that guilds are the backbone of the MMO experience, it's important to promote them well. Join us as we take a look at guild promotion outside of Azeroth.
There was a time, only a few years ago, when the only ways to do guild promotion was either to get world or server firsts, have some other USP which made you stand out or spam trade chat. This is fine if youre Vodka or Ensidia but not really practical for everyone else. Now though, with the rise of social networking and specialised sites designed specifically for WoW players looking for an online presence means guild promotion could easily become a full-time job.
Guild Promotion: The Website
So where do you start? Well, if youre serious, then a guild website is the classic and, for many, the best place to start. There are loads of providers specifically catered to MMO players and WoW in particular. Most will offer a basic site for free with its own domain name but the more advanced options will incur a monthly fee. It usually requires little knowledge of HTML or CSS, is easy to configure and can be set up in around half an hour.
The free and bare-bones option offers you the choice of testing out sites before committing your cold, hard, real world cash. Most providers offer basic services like forums, a selection of themes, application forms to help with recruitment and a calendar whether you pay or not. If you sign up and pay a monthly fee, then youll get extra perks such as more themes, complete customisation and a bigger amount of data for all those raiding screenshots. Websites also give that extra layer of validity, visibility and a link between Azeroth and real life. Don't believe us? Well check out trade chat on your server. How many guilds are advertising their website as part of recruitment?
Guild websites are a great way to promote your guild outside of Azeroth.
To give you an example of how you can use your site for things, including guild promotion, my guild uses our website for raiding signups and our raid leader regularly posts informative blog posts. These can be anything from raiding tips and pictures of cats in clothes to explain Transmogrification to jokes to motivate the guildies. It's important to create a dialogue between the guild, members and potential members so update every time you kill a new boss, post screenshots and do posts on new class or lore developments. Make it the place for your guildies to go as well as interesting place for others to check out as well.
Guild Promotion: Social Networking
So youve got a website and the forums are hopping with chatting guild members, what next? Well your next step is an extension of the first and that's social networking. Got that server first? Why not post a video of your accomplishments to YouTube. You could use Facebook to create a guild page or Twitter to tweet all your guild news. Twitter in particular is a great way to communicate with other people in the Warcraft community, from Blizzard themselves to sites like ours. How you use social networking is up to you but there are plenty of interesting ways to make your guild stand out, especially if you have a few people who are good with iMovie or FRAPS. Social networking really has become the big thing and it's perfect for guild promotion as you can link different networks on your guild site and create a brand identity.
The other thing well worth having is some kind of chat program. This could be as simple as the in-game Voice Chat function or Skype to Mumble, Teamspeak and Vent. These programs arent just about making raiding easier, they also provide a place where guildies can meet up of an evening and share beer or just natter while doing dailies. Theyre the audio version of chatrooms and, while not required, go that extra mile to showing you value your guild and the people in it.
The final thing its worth mentioning is nothing promotes your guild - in-game or out - like its reputation. A bad reputation is quicker to get and harder to lose than a good one but if you can cultivate the latter then it will do more to promote your guild than any website or social networking.
As always, wed love to know your ideas for guild promotion so let us know in the comments box below.