Digital Innovation Digital Publishing
3 mins read

Standing out in the crowded market of gaming publishers: Insights from Dexerto

On this week’s episode, Dexerto CEO Josh Nino tells us about how the esports-focused publication went about carving a foothold in a competitive market that is often unfriendly to newcomers.

He also talks about where a publication like Dexerto looks to grow revenue and audience – and whether those opportunities are universal for all digital publications – and what he thinks is the future of sports and esports-related communities online.

Here are some highlights:

How Dexerto came about

We founded Dexerto to bring sports-style coverage to esports. That quickly evolved into an understanding that actually, people follow sport – we all follow sport – because of the people, the sports stars, the stories behind the sports stars. Because that’s what enriches the rivalries, it enriches the wins, the losses and whatnot. It’s an eternal story that applies to anything which requires competition – you want to learn more about the winners and the losers.

So we discovered our own tone and established a tone that certainly wasn’t adopted anywhere else in gaming. Esports is ultimately a section of video gaming. And as important as esports is and as cool as it is with respect to this emerging world of digital sports, where we actually saw real inroads that allowed us to truly catapult and take meaningful marking share in the publishing world and gaming from a new standpoint was influencers.

We totally trailblazed influencers. We call it evolutionary because people have gone on to cover influencers at some point in time, of course, because they are figures with large amounts of followings. But we took a bold leap, there was a natural overlap between personalities and players competing in esports. So we made trailblazing influencers our next step – that’s where we put our flag on the map and gave us credibility when going in to cover gaming as a whole.

Finding a place around platforms like Discord and Reddit

[We started out] as a forum, we were a place where Call of Duty players could go and chat with like-minded people, go and find games and teams together and whatnot. Then social media happened, and that’s where the community drifted to… because you can be part of a bigger conversation, your voice can be amplified much further, and you can interact with these heroes and icons as well. So there was a massive shift, a disruption in the space, and user acquisition changed not just for us, it was changing for everyone.

User acquisition is now coming through social, and it’s coming from Google – people are typing specifically what they’re looking for. And they’re going through side doors – be it from search, be it from social, be it from Reddit – and checking out what they want. Then they go back to those social media platforms or Reddits and have the conversation there.

So in essence, what we’re talking about [at Dexerto] will find its way, assuming that it’s good content that people want to read. And the technical side, making sure we are ranking highly across search, have good [presence on] social platforms, have good overall quantitative and qualitative authority. Our content – news, entertainment, videos – will find its way onto the social platforms and will be discussed on those platforms, but you cannot go in and try and take the audience permanently away from there.

How gamers discover analysis and content

Definitely driving the conversation – our tone of voice has a lot more flexibility to be able to do that right. We have to go in as appearing as a fan [ourselves]. There’s not much benefit to Dexerto appearing the absolute authority in a way that a legacy publisher might treat a review.

We’re much more coming from the position of being a fan. We’re on the floor at the YouTube boxing matches, we’re at gaming events, at esports events and whatnot. And having that tone of voice that really is side-by-side with the fan, brushes shoulders with the fan, keeps it a lot more conversational and encourages the fans to lead a conversation past a certain point versus relying on us to be constantly driving it from the top.

Republished with kind permission of Media Voices, a weekly look at all the news and views from across the media world.