There's a lot of information out there regarding indie game marketing. However not a lot of it goes into the actual where, what or how.
This is the first in a three part series describing a strategy aimed at how to market your indie game, providing actual examples of where to find contacts, what to put in a press kit and how to execute contacting the press.
I'd like to state that this strategy is still being developed and is being tested at the time of documenting. It's a distilled version of all the most recent and relevant information and examples I've been able to come across.
The whole strategy involves 3 main areas of focus:
- Finding Contacts
- Creating a Press Kit
- How to Communicate
Each of these areas can be broken down into sub areas of detail. Today I'll be focusing on the first area.
The first and most important part of planning your marketing strategy needs to be finding contacts. Without contacts everything else in your marketing is pointless as you have no one to communicate with. The two main ways of gathering a contact list are:
- Networking with People and Building Relationships
- Scouring the Web
Networking with People and Building Relationships
I class this approach as the quality over quantity approach. You will not be able to get a ridiculous amount of contacts this way but if you are fortunate to have any contacts gained in this way these should be the ones you put the most focus on. Someone who already knows you is already far more likely to want to check out your game and help you promote it.
There are many ways to build these kinds of relationships including but not limited to gaming conferences and social media interaction. The key to remember is to be honest and genuine. Treat these kinds of interactions as you would any other kind of friendship. Friends are more likely to help friends and fakeness can be extremely transparent.
Scouring the Web
This approach is the quantity over quality approach. Contacts gathered in this way probably won't know who you are and will be harder to get the attention of but you will probably be able to gather a vast amount. Success with these contacts is all about how good your communication skills are and the press kit you have. These contacts though could be equally if not more valuable if you are successful in approaching them as you may be dealing with some of the larger publications.
To start with pixel prospector has a great list of contacts for YouTube streamers and websites. The YouTube streamers only include those that have voluntarily given their contact information to pixel prospector so there will be many more that aren’t listed. Also the list of websites does not come with any actual email addresses so you will need to get those yourself.
You should be attempting to get as many contacts as possible to maximise your chances of someone covering your game. However instead of blindly going to every single gaming site you can find, first you should focus on making a list of websites, YouTube streamers and Twitch streamers that have covered game similar to yours. This way there is more likelihood they will be interested in your game. By all means expand your list as much as you can, but these should be the first ones you aim to get. If you end up burning out with the tediousness of email collecting then at least you know you have the most relevant ones first.
Getting Actual Emails
When you have actually identified a good contact you will need to find a way to get their email address. Twitter, Facebook, etc and contact forms are a decent way to get in touch but e-mail gives you the best opportunity to say and show exactly what you want.
The first attempt and most obvious is to go to a contact or about page. Here you will usually find an email address if one is available. However sometimes there isn’t even a contact page. In these instances I’ve found two options that can sometimes work:
- Search in Google for the contacts email e.g. “everydaygame.com email” – this can sometimes get you what you’re after
- Use a domain lookup site like whois.com – sometimes if a domain doesn’t have a privacy feature it’s possible to find contact information using sites like this. It doesn’t always work but this has helped me gain a vast amount of emails. It’s usually more successful with the smaller sites. It should be noted tough that you cannot be 100% certain that the email is the most relevant one for the site you want to contact but it’s better than nothing.
Organising Your Contacts
Lastly you will want to organise your contacts in a nice easy to navigate fashion. I personally have used nine fields:
- ID – The name of the site/streamer
- Name – The name of the person you are going to be trying to contact (if applicable)
- Contact – The email address or contact form page
- Category – Website/Journalist/Streamer
- Site – Link to the website (if applicable)
- Followers – Number of followers (if applicable)
- Related Game – Game they have reviewed/played in the past that is similar to mine (if applicable)
- Language – Language of the contact
- Notes – Any extra notes to consider when contacting the individual/site. This will be used to tailor the communication and make it more personal
With this you should be able to create a pretty significant list of contacts ready for you to communicate with.
This strategy is currenlty being used to publicise the PC game Glo. Please check it out at glo.chronikspartan.com
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This blog post originally appeared on the Chronik Spartan blog.