Sometimes, Your Content Writing Will Fail: Lessons from Square Enix and the Ongoing Trials of Final Fantasy

By: David Tile | Founder @
Posted On: March 20, 2014

It’s safe to say that video games have come a long way. So has content SEO. But for every success there’s failure. Failure is just something that happens with any kind of content, even if it’s a property that’s popular. Just look at Final Fantasy.

It Was Supposed to be Final

One of the key things talked about when it comes to content writing is telling a good story. Helen Nesterenko of Writtent points out that your favorite things, “use the art of storytelling to bypass your logical mind and put their message straight in your heart. Whether you laughed, cried, hated the product or rushed out to buy it, the stories stuck in your mind and kept you coming back for more.” Let’s look at that in terms of Final Fantasy, which started with a great story. Back in the 80s, the game’s creator, Hironubu Sakaguchi, thought that the game would be his last. He decided to make it an epic fantasy and go out with a bang. While the first game, according to IGN, wasn’t enough to build the Final Fantasy empire, it was enough to pull Square – the game’s company – out of its financial crisis. It would take three more years for it to come to the U.S., but when it did, it was a remarkable success. This created a loyal fanbase that is still going strong .

Well… sort of.

When Marketing Giants Fall from Grace

Gamers may argue which game in the franchise was the one that started to reveal Square Enix’s (formally Square) flaws, but we’re going to focus on the newest entries: Final Fantasy XIII. After two sequels, the consensus agrees that they are hitting the same dull note. Mike Fahey of Kotaku starts his review of Lightning Returns, the third installment to XIII, in a truly disheartening tone: “I’ve never been less emotionally invested in a character than I am in Final Fantasy XIII’s pink-haired powerhouse, so when Square Enix tells me Lightning Returns, my response is ‘That’s great. What else you got?’”

Ouch. What was it that Nesterenko said about good storytelling?

Where Did It all Go Wrong?

Nicole Beckett of Business 2 Community addresses a huge problem that happens with some content writing: forgetting the big picture. “Lots of people blog just to blog. They’ve heard that fresh content is vital to a successful web presence, so they publish something once a day or once a week simply because they’re ‘supposed to.” With this last series of games, it feels like we’re getting them for the sake of getting them. No one asked for a sequel to Final Fantasy XIII, not to mention a second sequel, but that’s what we got. The worst part is that during the hype for Final Fantasy XIII, another game was being teased at that fans were hyped for: Final Fantasy XIII Versus. Only, instead of seeing anything for that game, fans have been treated to disappointing sequels they didn’t want.

Two sequels and no hint of a release date for this other game with a new story and new characters? Once again, loyal Square Enix fans are now fed up.

What’s the Final Solution?

While it’s true that you can – and will – make mistakes, there are some things you can do to help you fix your errors. For one, don’t make assumptions about your audience. Square Enix is a pretty reputable video game company, and it’s clear they’ve assumed their fans would stay with them no matter what. Create a loyal audience, yes, but don’t ever take them for granted. Don’t assume they will always be there to support you. You have to support them, too, because it’s a two way street. Also, don’t put content out there that isn’t ready. Don’t put something out just for the sake of putting it out. Put some effort into it and make it your best before sharing it with the world.

Fortunately, Square Enix seems to be learning. Final Fantasy XIII Versus has been turned into its own game series instead of an offshoot of Final Fantasy XIII. Now being called Final Fantasy XV, the game will be a work that stands on its own, making it finally feel like a property that the company cares about. If your audience at least sees that you’re making an effort, they will be more willing to stick with you. So if you make mistakes in your content writing follow Square Enix’s example and learn from them.


The ultimate goal of content marketing is offering your target audience information and materials that will engage them and motivate them to choose your business. 

Seems easy, right? 

Often, companies will simply share general content to please everyone. But let’s be honest: you can’t win them all. And that’s okay! 

Rather than throwing a line and hoping the fish will bite, create Thought Leadership content strategically catered to your target market. Consider the people who would genuinely need or care about what your business offers, rather than wasting time, effort, and resources on creating general, unfocused content. Successful content marketing involves promoting your products and services to the people interested in the subject matter, who will read the content, click on your company website, and take action. 

As an executive of an organization, you are a valuable piece of the brand. Consumers want to know about the human presence leading companies, in order to understand more about the company’s values and goals. 

Take advantage of your position as an industry expert and share extra content to attract more attention to yourself as an industry leader and your company. Your quality content will build your reputation as a reliable voice to earn your consumer’s trust. However, if it’s not focused on your target audience, you won’t earn many conversions from your content. 

Consider these techniques to guide your Thought Leadership content so it can expand and strengthen your loyal consumer following:

  • Identify your target audience by reviewing your current consumer data and identifying who is investing in your business or reacting to your thought leadership materials so far. Look for trends to find why these people are interested and if others like them haven’t been reached yet. 
  • Conduct customer research to learn how they will respond to your thought leadership content. Request participation in surveys, polls, social media comments, and more to learn about your existing impression on your audience and how you can improve your platform. 
  • Create target audience character profiles. Identify their interests, demographics, pain points, needs, and desires, and write to them.
  • Find where your current and potential audience is active online.  Catch their attention by being active and sharing your content marketing materials on these platforms.
  • Pull inspiration from other Thought Leader examples. Research other executives within your field who implement successful content marketing through their personal platforms. Learn what qualities make their content attractive and why readers respond to it positively. These examples can offer a base for you to visualize what you want to achieve. 
  • Recognize your strengths as a Thought Leader. Often, leaders aren’t necessarily aware of the unique talents that give them an advantage in their industry until asked. Reflect on what topics you know best and how to input your insights to humanize your materials, make them original and more engaging for your audience. 


Case Study: How Strategic Content Marketing Can Broaden Your Audience

In our client strategy calls, our team will interview our expert clients to learn about their industry expertise and find out what’s meaningful to them, their business, and then identify who we believe to be their target audience. We use these insights to inspire our content subject matter and tone to create impactful content for their current and potential consumers.

Dr. Desai’s COVID PreCheck App Content Marketing

For example, our client, Dr. Nitin Desai, approached our strategy team to create content to promote his COVID Pre-Check app. His innovative software is intended to help employers ensure their employees who enter the office are COVID-free, providing a safe environment by eliminating the chance of spread. 

Our team of strategists recognized that with Dr. Desai’s thorough professional knowledge around the COVID-19 virus, he had the potential to become a reliable voice in a culture of people seeking answers. We created content for Dr. Desai that focused on sharing COVID-related insights to reach a wider audience, which has been a successful mission. Our thoroughly planned content reflected his industry expertise, which brought him attention from various media outlets and publications, including Forbes

By reaching out to our professional content marketing team, Dr. Desai achieved his goal of promoting his groundbreaking app, while also positioning himself as an authoritative voice in his field. Our team learned about his voice, discovered what was meaningful to him and his target audience, and optimized this to create focused, engaging content that broadened his consumer scope. 

Ready to Invest In Your Thought Leadership Package? 

At, we understand that you have a lot on your plate. Let us share your voice on your behalf, so you don’t need to add more time to your busy schedule to write your own content marketing. Our strategists and creators will develop a plan to create engaging materials to represent your Thought Leader brand through your own specialized Thought Leadership Package

Let us help you strengthen and broaden your consumer base for continued professional success. Book a call today.