Gaming Conventions and Expos
Now, while figuring out how to best take advantage of a networking event can be complicated or stressful, finding those opportunities, these days, is getting easier and easier.
One of the best places to develop and expand your professional network is at conventions. These enormous events, usually taking place over the course of a weekend in major cities across the world, bring everyone in the world of content creation together under one roof, and the amount of resources available can be truly staggering. There are panels, often led by leaders in the content creation space, full of useful info for developing your content and platform. There are myriad brands, developers, and games on hand, there to show off their wares and meet influencers with whom they might want to work in the future. There are thousands of fans, there to meet their favorite creators and just immerse themselves in the world of pop-culture for a weekend. Most importantly, though, there are thousands of creators of every size, there to learn, there to grow, and there to meet each other.
There are more and more major conventions every year, from major players like PAX West, East, and South, to smaller events like RTX, MomoCon, and dozens of others. Any creator looking to professionalize their content, to keep growing, to take their craft seriously, should endeavor to go to as many as possible.
What to do on the Show Floor
Game Developers: Games are the lifeblood of any gaming content-creator. You need things to play, and the best choice is always something on the rise, something that isn’t all over the internet already. Walk the floor and be sure to talk to every game developer you see. This will help you develop a pipeline for access to early betas, pre-release review copies, game keys for giveaways, and countless other opportunities for whom developers are constantly needing content creators.
Brand Managers: Many brands, including computer hardware manufacturers, peripheral retailers, clothing companies, food and drink brands, and others, have booths at conventions, and most are looking for content creators to work with. Engaging with them in person gives you a real human contact at each company, an invaluable resource for finding brand deals.
App Developers: Apps and Extension developers are common convention attendees, making for an ideal place to stay appraised of the latest developments in the space. You can also meet the creators and teams, giving you contacts for things like early access and improved support.
Twitch/YouTube/Mixer/Etc. Contacts: The platform you use to deliver your actual content is likely to have a presence at most major conventions. There’s no better time to meet the real-live people behind the company, and to establish contacts for when you need support, in addition to gaining insights on things like partnership programs. It’s a good idea to know as many people at the company you’re dependent upon as possible.
Going to Panels
Professional Development: Content creation as a career is often the focus of panels hosted at these events. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn that the convention presents.
Developers and Brands: Like on the show floor, relevant companies often host panels of their own. These are great opportunities to learn more about these companies, and engage with the presenters at the conclusion of the panel.
Other Creators: Leaders in the content creation space often populate these panels. Attending to learn from their insight is great, but there’s also often the opportunity to ask questions or engage after the event itself. The lines prior to the beginning of panels are also often filled with other content creators attending the event. Don’t be shy: be open to the possibility of meeting others in line, and engage in conversation. Many long term professional relationships and friendships begin in panel lines.
After Hours Events
Meet and Greets: Events organized by attendees and brands are often advertised in convention literature, and in online communities pertaining to the convention (Reddit, Facebook, etc.). Often, they are explicitly billed as networking events for creators. These are the best places to meet others, as you can be sure other attendees are there for the same reason.
Bars, Hotels, and Lounges: After hours events at bars and clubs are not often great networking opportunities, as they’re too loud, dark, and crowded for substantive conversation. That being said, convention attendees often stay in the same hotels, and hotel bars and lounges are often great places to meet them. There’s less formality to it, so it might take more effort to engage with others, but if you’re comfortable, it can be a great way to meet other creators, brands, and everything in between.