League Business: The Team Start-Up
by Alan LaFleur July 31, 2012 @ 07:07pm
First step, do not try and follow the model of Team SoloMid, Counter Logic Gaming, or Curse. These organizations were early adopters to the competitive scene and what worked for them, will absolutely not work for you unless you do it 10x better; it is unrealistic to think that you will.
So what do you do? How do you get your team out there to the masses? I think we can take some tips from the book Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition by Michael Stelzner. The book is written by the creator of Social Media Examiner, a business that propelled itself to the top of the social media industry at the speed of light. The book is really relevant to the start-up journey your team is about to embark on.
First things first, you need to develop some measurable goals for your team. What will you determine is success? What is failure? How many fans do you want in 3 months? What is the actual realistic number? For example, a good, realistic goal would be winning a Go4LoL and 100 followers on social network of choice in the first 3 months (you can beat that but this is realistic).
So how do you achieve that?
The Elevation Principle Formula
Stelzner introduces a simple formula early on in the book:
Great Content + Other People - Marketing Messages = Growth
What is great content?
Great content is content that is insightful and will solve people's problems. I don't know if you've noticed but there are a lot of problems that need solving in the League of Legends community. If you can produce content that can solve the problems, you will gain followers for your team.
How do you find out the problems? Be observant or better yet, ask people what they need help with. Figure out an answer that is better than play alot when someone asks you how to get out of the dreaded Elo Hell.
Possible problems that need to be fixed from a fan perspective:
- Item builds
- Team compositions
- How to gank effectively
- How to jungle efficiently
- When to build situational items
- How to find competitive people in which to duo queue or play ranked 5s
These problems can be solved in a few ways:
- Tutorial Videos
- Classes (You see camps and classes in traditional sports, no reason not to have them in eSports)
- Website tool to help people find teammates
- Guides on an existing guide site (Maybe MOBAFire, just an idea)
Since we are talking about great content, another book that would be worth checking out is Content Rules by Ann Handley and C. C. Chapman. The book talks about how to create amazing content about your company (or your new startup team). Since great content is part of the formula of becoming relevant on the world wide web, this book is a must read.
What about other people?
What does Stelzner mean by other people? There are multiple meanings but one of them is that you can't do this all on your own. You have to be able to get other people to talk about and promote your team. These people can be casters, media (like me), or influential people in the League of Legends community. Other people also are part of the great content strategy where you create content that solves problems. The best way to grow your team will be to produce content with other people in mind. People are willing to get behind that. You just have to be persistent.
So how do you attract other influential people to promote your team or initiative?
Casters, especially up and coming ones, are constantly on the lookout for good games to cast. If you have a good replay of your team beating a well known team, they will definitely be interested in casting it. So be sure to run LoLReplay in spectator mode when playing a tournament, ranked 5s, or scrimming and send an interested caster the replay. If only League of Legends had an r/castit. With media it is simple, contact us, we are always looking for a good story. Do yourself a favor, spend a day and look up people in the League of Legends and eSports media community and reach out to them, get skype usernames, and e-mails. Then become adept in creating an informative press release. Believe it or not, people in the media will not be F5ing your homepage and you don't want to rely on reddit to break your news. When it comes to influential people in the community, you will have to make it obvious that something is in it for both of you. Imagine the type of credibility that HotshotGG would get from the community if he decided to help promote your up and coming team because he sees something that makes him want to tell the world about you. The most important thing to remember here is that all these players, community members, and media people were exactly where you are at one point in their short careers and most people love to help other people.
Get rid of marketing messages
This part of the formula doesn't really need to be acknowledged in the League of Legends community. I don't see any marketing messages, anywhere.
I'm going to add in some do nots for a team when it comes to content:
- Do not produce news unless it is about your team, it is not worth it
- Do not lock out media, they are vital to your growth
- Do not have thin skin, you will get a lot of criticism and you will have to be able to take it
If you follow this formula, you will see growth. Will it be overnight? No, but it will come, you just have to stay persistent with it. Of course, you could take the Bacon Lovers are Crazy Kool (BLACK) approach and just win and qualify for a MLG Arena. Winning is very important, so be sure to continue practicing and competing.
Go out there, compete, win, produce great content, and we will see you at a invitational in the future. It will be a laborious experience but I'm sure you can make it!
Image courtesy of Social Media Examiner