As we are new, there are many areas we need to address. But before I go on, I strongly recommend at least skimming these two dispatches:
When starting a new nation, we spend a lot of time preening our presentation. We want a distinctive appearance that stands out. Our flags are the first things other people see when they meet us. We want to make the right first impression. Flags carry our own personal brand. We can customise banners and fields, but it is the flag that is the face we present to the public. Just take a look at the popularity of the “Flag Makers/Requests II” thread on the Gameplay forum. It's rarely off the front page.
When we set up a region, we do the same thing. We choose a flag. We set the text of our WFE. We add tags and dispatches too. This is our new brand. To compare to real world brands, the flag is our logo, and the WFE is our corporate brochure. Only when we think we have our brochure just right do we set out to recruit.
The Black Hawks are arguably NationStates’ strongest brand. If we ran a poll to find out which regions most players had heard of, I've no doubt that TBH would be very high up that list.
Their flag is a good one. The image is of a hawk, dominating the world. The arrangement of hawk and sword looks a bit like a Roman standard. Subconsciously, we associate them with the military might of the Roman Empire. It fits well with their region's purpose.
With flag and WFE set, we set out to recruit. The classic approach is to buy stamps, or set up the API, and send out recruitment telegrams to new nations.
But this is a notoriously ineffective way to recruit. From your 1000 stamps, you might get ten people show up. A few of them might stay. When they do, some will just answer issues. Others will just CTE.
Why is this method of recruitment so bad?
First, there's your telegram itself. It doesn't contain images. You've spent all this time creating the perfect flag, your logo, but this doesn't get seen by your targets. Can you imagine Coca Cola trying to advertise without including their logo? That’s a big handicap to overcome.
It helps to have the flag of the nation sending your TG to reflect the flag of your region. For recipients who use a phone, this image is tiny though. Which is why an effective flag is important.
But really, your text needs to do the job of selling your region.
“The Most Feared Military Organisation in NationStates”. The Black Hawks have a great strapline. It's simple and effective. The telegram recipient knows exactly what they're buying into.
A simple but powerful strapline helps give you, the recruiter, an advantage. Don't waste your time talking about other recruitment telegrams the recipient might get. Don't waste time telling them how to block recruitment telegrams. Just tell them, in as few words as possible, why your region is sh!t-hot.
Your first paragraph is the one most likely to be read. It should be your best. You're trying to get people to read the rest of your telegram.
Similarly, the first sentence in each paragraph needs to be good. People often only take in the first sentence of each paragraph. Have your first sentence 'sell’ the rest of the paragraph.
A little alliteration brings benefits (see what I did there?).
Keep sentences short. 96% of people understand a 12 word sentence on first reading. Only approximately four percent of people are able to understand a sentence composed of over thirty words upon reading it for the first time without having to go back and read it again. (and there?)
You need to avoid walls of text. We're all lazy, and want the TL;DR version. On a phone, you get about five or six words per line of text. Just a few sentences can look like a lot. So try to keep paragraphs under 100 words.
If a link is to be included, put it in the first half of the sentence. Apparently people are more likely to click it if it's positioned there.
The other problem with telegram recruitment is the audience. We dutifully send them out to “new” nations.
It's worth noting that 25% of nations reside in the Pacifics, and about 37% in GCRs altogether. So we can guess that 25% to 37% of recipients have no interest in your TG.
Existing players creating new nations are usually creating them with a purpose in mind. So they're not interested in your TG either.
The remaining new players who read your telegram have 19 other such telegrams in their inboxes. So you can realistically expect only 5% of them will choose your region.
These statistics explain why this method is so ineffective.
And if you get genuinely new players, you need to help explain the game to them. Do you have the energy for that? Are you really targeting the right people?
Another technique is to target refounded nations. But if someone let their nation CTE once before, do you really have high hopes of them becoming an active part of your community?
The Black Hawks made interesting use of the API (I admit I don't know how effective it was). They targeted nations who had just joined the WA. That gave them a good mix of Gameplayers (ideal recruits for them) and other players.
It's generally frowned upon to directly target another UCR for recruits. But clever use of the API should allow you to define a better target audience, more suited to the theme of your region.
How else can you promote your brand outside of the traditional telegrams?
Again, The Black Hawks have an answer. But not all of us want to go tag raiding!
The Gameplay Forum Thread
Gameplay forum threads are great. You can set up your thread with all the images and straplines you want. For new regions, the aim here is to keep your thread visible. When you first post, your thread will go to the top of the page. It will gradually slip down the page until someone else responds, boosting it back to the top. It can be tempting to reply straight away. Don't. Allow the thread to slip out of the top 10 before replying. The game is to keep your thread in the top 10 for as long as possible. That gets you maximum exposure.
When the initial interest in your region has faded, your thread will fall off the first page of the Gameplay forum. When it does, add a follow up post. Tell them what the favourite poll option has been so far, or how many people have been recruited. It doesn't need to be anything earth-shattering (but don't just write “bump” - that makes you look unimaginative). The purpose of this post is to get your thread back on the first page, so more people can find you.
As I said on another channel, polls are a great way to generate activity, and promote your brand.
Set up a poll (max 7 days long), open to all nations, not just residents. Make it something simple, like “Which city would you most like to visit?”. Everyone has an answer to that.
Go round all your embassies, posting a link to the poll, and asking the same question on their RMB. If someone replies, reply back. Ask them questions about it, “Wow, Moscow, that sounds cool. What in particular makes you want to go there?”. That keeps a conversation going, and makes your region look more interesting, even though it's on someone else's RMB. Then people in *their* embassies see that you exist, and that you're a sociable region.
“What's your favourite ice-cream” doesn't really work, because it's hard to have follow-up questions.
The poll makes a good follow up post on your Gameplay thread too. As well as linking to your poll, you can try and strike up a conversation there, keeping your region in the top 10 threads.
As mentioned, having conversations on your embassies’ RMBs gives you exposure to their embassies, so spreading your brand.
Any post that you can turn into a conversation, jump on it. Again, a good way is to ask a question. Then the other person feels compelled to answer.
When you've nothing to say, do a round of your embassies anyway. Some of you will know of Brightonberg from One Big Island. Often his posts are just a text picture of a keg of beer. They're no practical use, but they keep that communication and awareness going.
When I set up The NewsStand dispatch (“your one-stop, non-stop, news shop, promoting newspapers and events from all over NationStates”), I wondered how to publicise it. My first thought was to get enough upvotes to be in the top 20 'best’ dispatches. At the time, I needed 150 upvotes to reach the top 20. In position 20 was a dispatch called “A potato for all!”. How hard could it be to be more popular than a potato? It turns out it's a lot of work! It took around a year to get there. Now the barrier is 267 upvotes. So, not an easy route to publicise your region.
You can however, leverage The NewsStand. It's there to promote newspapers and events from all over NationStates. If you've something going on, let me know.
The other high visibility dispatch screen is the top 20 'new’ dispatches. There's a magic formula (that I haven't yet tried to figure out) connecting how long the dispatch has existed, how many reads, and how many upvotes it has. That determines the order of dispatches.
Europeia took advantage of this for a while, and had a squad of people upvote almost every dispatch coming out of Europeia. It annoyed the hell out of a lot of people.
I'm pleased that the weekly updates from The Sands usually make it onto this list. Without up-vote manipulation!
This is one of the secrets to The Sands poll success. We run our polls as casino games. But there's no easy way for you to check if you've won. That's where our weekly dispatch comes in. By naming all the nations that took part, they get a notification saying that they were mentioned in a dispatch. They then read the results in the dispatch, which also has handy links to our new game. It's a good way for us to get repeat business.
In The Sands, we can legitimately trigger a notification. You chose to take part in our poll, and we choose to let you know the result. If triggering for other purposes, you have to be wary about spamming people.
When Funk couped Lazarus, notifications were used to get people to join the resistance. That caused complaints of spamming.
Yuno used notifications to boost her endorsement count when delegate of TEP. By calling out all the WA nations that weren't endorsing her, she was able to boost her count.
A more transparent way to use a dispatch for publicity is to publish a newspaper. A newspaper can be a good way to tell the world about your region and what happens. But it needs to be good. A bad paper makes your region look bad. It's better to do a decent job monthly or quarterly, than do a poor job weekly.
1. Write a TG to "tag:template" and mark it as recruitment. The macro %NATION% displays the name of the recipient when they read it. Click Preview to review your text.
2. Send the TG. You will see this message.
3. Click "View Template." This allows you to see the TG, along with its delivery reports.
4. Go to this page (World Activity, sorted by Founding). Open each nation page in a new tab, starting with the most recently created nation. You may want to skip refounded nations. If you want to target ejected nations as well, go to the list of filters in the upper right hand corner and select "ejections."
5. Copy the TG ID code into each nation's TG box and send. You do not have to mark it as recruitment again.
1. Write a TG to "tag:api" and mark it as recruitment. The macro %NATION% displays the name of the recipient when they read it. Click Preview to review your text.
2. Send the TG. You will see this message.
3. Click "View Template." This allows you to see the TG, along with its delivery reports. Copy down the TG ID and the Secret Key.
4. You will need a TG script. Download one that works with your computer. There is a list of popular scripts here.
This is a screenshot from Agadar's Telegrammer, a commonly-used TG script.
5. You will also need a Client Key. Each region is limited to one Client Key, which must be manually requested from the mods. Ask your founder or delegate if they have one of these, or if they can request one for you.
6. Enter your Client Key, Secret Key, and TG ID into your TG script. If there is an option in your script to mark telegrams as recruitment, enable it. Make sure you are targeting the right set of nations. Most regions only target new nations, but some also send telegrams to refounded or ejected nations.
1. Purchase stamps from the store, or have someone else gift you some. You cannot transfer stamps from one nation to another, but you can request that stamps be delivered to another nation when you purchase them.
2. Write a TG to "tag:new#" and mark it as recruitment. You may also choose to recruit refounded or ejected nations, in which case you would send the TG to "tag:ejected#" or "tag:refounded#". Click Preview to review your text.
3. This is not a requirement, but if you have a large number of stamps, it is a good idea to split up your recruiting campaigns into smaller batches. Once you send a stamp telegram, you cannot take it back, even if you discover a mistake. If you only send a thousand telegrams at a time instead of ten thousand all at once, you can avoid wasting your entire reserve of stamps in the event of an error.
Created by August. Do not reproduce, in whole or in part, without explicit permission.
With that out of the way, here's what we need to look at:
Recruitment and Welcome telegrams
So far, I have been recruiting both manually and with an API script. Most of the time the script is running, but I will also spend about an hour a day watching the foundings happenings and sending my telegram template to new nations as they are founded.
Below is my current recruitment telegram. Note that the focus of my message is on helping new players, as this is in line with the goals of the region. With manual recruiting this telegram has a conversion rate of about 1.3%, which is debatably better than average. Any feedback or suggestions for improvement are welcome. If you have an idea for a recruitment telegram, that is also great.
So you're new, you're getting a ton of telegrams, and you only have a vague idea what is going on: Let me help you!
Basically, everyone sending you a telegram (including me) wants you to join their region. For now you can think of a region as a group, clan, or guild. However, before we get into that, I want to direct you to some helpful sources that will help you understand the basics of NationStates and how you can find a region that truly suits your needs:
Regions are where nations reside. They also host multiplayer communities and organizations.
New nations start out in a feeder region (These ones).
Nations can move between regions. When you are on a region page, click "Move [your nation] to [region]".
Any nation can create a region. (Try it!)
The founder of a region has absolute power over their region, including the ability to eject other nations.
IMPORTANT: You are only allowed one nation at a time in the World Assembly.
The World Assembly (WA) is like the UN. Member nations vote on legislation in the General Assembly and Security Council.
WA members in the same region can endorse each other.
The nation with the most endorsements in a region becomes the WA delegate of that region.
WA delegates have administrative control over regions that have no founder.
Raiding organizations invade regions by entering and capturing the delegate position.
The WA delegate of a region may place a password to limit entry, either as a defense or to cement control.
(official site resource)
IMPORTANT: A lot of new players create new nations, poke around for their first day, and then never return. Often it is not because of the game itself; rather, they never found a place to fit in. There are all sorts of regions out there, and chances are you will have a great time if you just get out and politely talk to people.
Don't found a new region unless:
- You want to have a virtually single-player experience.
- You have friends you know will be joining the region.
- You have gained experience by participating in an active community.
Choose from the regions sending you recruitment spam. They are active and eager to include you.
Look for a region with decent activity, but not so large you will just be a number.
Don't get hung up on choosing a region. It's fine if you take a couple days to assess your options, but a week is too long.
Actively contribute to whichever region you choose. Post on the RMB, join their Discord channel, and take on a leadership role. At the same time, be willing to move elsewhere if your region brushes you off or goes inactive.
Introduction: The Social Hub
Regions are often the home of vibrant communities, but they can also be the campsite of a single nation. The region you choose will become your hub for any social interaction within the game. Your region will heavily influence your overall game experience. So let's take a look at the three most important things for you to consider in choosing a region:
Do you want isolation?
It turns out that a lot of people really don't want to involve themselves with a community, but are enticed to move to a region anyways. If you would rather not be bothered by anyone, you can do the following:
Create your own personal region.
Lock your region with a password.
Block incoming telegrams.
If you aren't looking to become a hermit, you probably want a region where people actually talk to each other. Active regions have plenty of things to do, including (but not limited to):
Casual chatting on the regional message board (RMB).
Elaborate role-play games, complete with detailed maps, elaborate histories, and far-fetched characters.
Fast-paced regional warfare, coordinated on a dedicated Discord server.
If you are new, the single most important quality of a region is activity in some form or another. When considering a region to move to, you need to make sure there is enough activity that you will stay entertained.
The value of a community is not directly determined by its size. However, there are some tendencies you should be aware of:
1. Hold on to your recruitment telegrams.
When you first created your nation, you got a ton of recruitment telegrams from people who wanted you to move to their region. It is also very likely you got a telegram welcoming you to the feeder region your nation spawned in. This telegram probably encouraged you to go block incoming recruitment telegrams. For now you should NOT do that: you are new to the game, and
2. Decide what you want from a region.
When you are choosing a region, you ultimately determine the kind of community you will be a part of and the gameplay experience you will have. Different regions exist to serve different communities, and are subject to different rules. As you will see, this can range anywhere from one player isolating themselves to only answer issues, to a small group of friends writing stories about their nations, to enormous regions composed of hundreds of players competing to dominate the world stage.
Feeders and Sinkers
Raiding and Defending
3. Use the tag cloud.
There are tons of regions out there, and chances are if you look long enough you can find a better fit than any of those from your recruitment telegrams. However, there is no obvious way to sort through all the regions in the world and find your ideal region. This is where the tag cloud comes in.
Conclusion: After you move
Although I have focused on how to find a region that serves your needs well, in actual practice your experience on NationStates will mostly depend on what you do. Even if your region is ideal for you, it won't mean anything if you aren't a part of the community there. After you have moved to a region you feel meets your needs, there are a few rules you need to follow:
- Don't ghost your regionmates - Even if you can't be very active, you can check in from time to time and see how everyone is doing. You should befriend a few people and participate in activities with them.
- Initiate your own projects - Be proactive. If you have a new idea, there is a good chance a few other people want to try it. Organize events and contribute to activity in the region.
- Interact with people outside your region - Your community isn't static. It will change change. Your regional community might suddenly grow very large, or it might lose membership, or it might take on a different purpose, or it might merge with another community, or it might die off. You need to be prepared to accept changes in your community or have another community you can go to if things devolve to a point you cannot accept.
Now obviously, I would appreciate if you would consider moving to my region, Auctor. Here is some info about my region:
Greetings! I am Verate, and Auctor is my region.
Auctor is a new, small region, based on the idea of leadership and doing unique projects. Since we are new, you will have a lot of say in what we do.
One example of a project I have started immediate implementation of is a consulting service for new players deciding which region to join. There are a lot of regions out there, and it can be difficult to understand what is going on when you first start out. If you would like help finding a region, or if you want to help others find a home region, please contact me. This is just one project I have started, and I encourage you to start considering projects of your own for everyone in the region to participate in.
In general, the goal of our regional projects will be to improve NationStates in some way. For example, in the future I would like to start a defender organization to protect delegates from raiders, an anti-fascist/anti-communist army, and a region-merging team. But there are also projects I have in mind that involve projecting regional power, such as in the World Assembly.
If you are feeling adventurous, join Auctor!
The Republic of Verate
(Don't hesitate to ask me any questions!)
If you've at least skimmed this message, I wish you best of luck on your adventures here in NationStates. Perhaps I will be hearing from you soon, or our paths may cross again in the future.
Below is the current welcome telegram for the region. As of right now it is out of date, but I will soon update it to reflect that we have an established government.
As you can see, we are very new and in the process of growing. Thank you for contributing to our community! Please join our Discord channel and say hello to everyone! It is important that you join Discord because it is where we will be planning everything.
For now we have no regional government. We are a small community of friends working on building an awesome region. When we have grown a bit we will establish a government and get organized.
If you feel this region does not fit you well, please send me a telegram outlining what you are looking for in a region. I will happily find regions similar to what you are looking for and help you locate somewhere you will be happy.
Enjoy your stay!
Recruitment Strategy and Coordination
Our current recruitment targets are new nations, using a mix of manual and API telegrams. The reason I use this strategy is because it is free and easy to manage. If I am watching a video or listening to music, I can just stop the API script and start doing manual recruitment for a bit. Stamps cost money and go into a longer queue, so I don't intend to use them.
I would like to set up a way to coordinate manual recruitment on Discord. The more manual recruitment we do, the faster the region will grow and the more new players we can help regardless of where they choose to go.
A few of our members are older players with plenty of experience. For another region as new as we are, this would be a very lucky situation. I think our region might have a unique appeal to older players, and I would like to capitalize on that. Unfortunately, there is no good way to directly recruit to older players except by showing signs of activity. Some strategies I would like to try are included in sections below.
I would like to know your thoughts on setting up a channel for manual recruitment. Would you be willing to spend some time recruiting for the region? Is there a system of rewards we could set up to give an incentive to recruit?
When new players move to our region, what are some things we could to to help get them involved? This is getting into the realm of the Entertainment department, so perhaps we would work with them to welcome players.
The branding of our region includes our flag and any catch-phrase we want associated with our region. I am not overly eager to go changing our flag right now, but it is something that falls under our jurisdiction and it is worth considering. I would also like us to come up with a short phrase or line that is memorable and simply conveys what our region is about.
I also think it would be cool to have some regional artwork in the form of flags and custom banners themed after our region. If there is enough enthusiasm, perhaps we could coordinate art competitions with the Entertainment department.
Here I should probably explain the symbology of our flag. Purple is the color of royalty. I used it to represent our role as leaders in NationStates. The white stripe is symbolic of our pure intentions, as many of our projects will be to help players and build communities outside our region. The raven is a symbol of intelligence, and is black because here we are willing to explore our deepest desires, with that intelligence.
Gameplay Forum Topic
A couple weeks ago I posted a topic in gameplay about our region. We can use this to put our region in the spotlight with occasional updates. Since I was the one who made the original post, I will take responsibility for keeping the OP of the thread well edited and organized. However, I would like to involve others in creating and posting quality updates for the region.
Gameplay can sometimes get intense. If there is a controversy or argument on our thread, it is best that specific people are assigned to handle the situation, rather than letting things get out of control with all of us responding on top of each other. Keeping our gameplay thread professional is a must if we want to attract older players.
Embassy posting and Polls
The Entertainment department is in charge of creating fun activities and events. Our job (where applicable) is to spread these activities far and wide so that plenty of people participate. When they make a fun poll, we go around to the regions we have embassies with and invite them to participate. We engage the members of their region in conversation, and make sure their region is doing alright. This shows we are an active, exciting region to everyone who looks at their RMB, and is how we gain a greater visibility throughout the world. Unfortunately, some regions limit embassy posting in some way, which can limit the scope of this strategy.
I would like to see our region become a source for great writing, whether it be news, guides, art, or anything else. We should be supportive of the good work that comes out of our region by providing an easier way for it to be public. If their dispatch goes public, our region goes public. We should therefore upvote the greatest dispatches created in Auctor. Perhaps we could even form an upvote alliance with other regions, and mutually benefit from the additional publicity.
If we are to use many of the publicity strategies above, we need embassies. We should be seeking embassies with regions that promise the possibility of publicity throughout the world. We will obviously seek to form embassies for purposes beyond just publicity, but this will be a large part of the motivation. Our community will provide them activity, as will theirs.
When we start working on projects, it may be necessary for us to work with other regions. For example, if we start working on the Regional Brokering project I have suggested, we would have to contact people in all the regions we propose merging, and would likely form an embassy with the region they ended up merging to.
The two embassies we have now exist in relation to some kind of project. Our embassy with The Embassy exists both to support the ongoing project at The Embassy (to have the most embassies of any othe region), and so we can take advantage of the massive amount of publicity available through it. If you look at the last regional poll, you will see that many votes are from people outside our region. This is because I advertised the poll on the The Embassy RMB.
Our embassy with Got Issues exists because I see it as a valuable resource. Not many nations ever write an issue, and I think this region would be a great resource for promoting that activity. Should anyone here ever want to try their hand at issue writing, our relationship with Got Issues will help with that.
Limits on embassies and Embassy organization
If we have too many embassies things will get out of hand. We want our embassies to represent a meaningful relationship, even if all that relationship entails is us occasionally posting invites to activities on their RMB. As such, I think we need to place a limit on the number of embassies we will have open at any given time. We also need to differentiate between casual activity-based embassies, and embassies that represent serious relationships, such as an alliance or aid. We can still have a lot of embassies, but we should not overwhelm ourselves. Off the top of my head, I think 50 embassies is about the point I would cut things off.
Sometime soon I would like to propose to the legislature that we be allowed to manage casual embassies as a department, while leaving more formal agreements and alliances to their approval. Embassies representing formal agreements would be promoted near the top, while casual embassies would take up the lower portions.
All the responsibilities of the department will be divided among several offices. As the region is still new, growth is the priority. Thus for now I will take charge of recruitment.
Recruitment Strategist (Verate) - Coordinates recruitment efforts.
Chief Ambassador - Manages working relationships with other regions and organizations. Keeps track of treaties, agreements, and alliances.
Embassy Manager - Seeks out embassies for department consideration and coordinates embassy posting efforts.
Public Relations Officer - Writes updates for the gameplay forum, develops the appearance of the region, and helps promote factbooks.
If any of these positions interest you, let me know.
My goal is for each member of the department to do the following:
Participate in manual recruitment efforts.
Regularly post on at least 5 different RMBs, as assigned.
Support the efforts of one Foreign Affairs project.
I did some looking last week, and I have a long list of regions I would like to discuss possible embassies with. I'd like to start vetting them as a group and start making embassy proposals so we can start our work in the department properly. Just look at some and pick a few you like. Here's the list:
New Coalition of Nations
The Srivijayan Consortium
United League of Nations
Official European Union
New West Indies
The Commonwealth of United Free Nations
The Democratic Union
The Empire of Mare Nostrum
The Empire of Tamriel
The Vincence Kingdom
The Free State Assembly