Contacting the video game journalists and getting publications in their outlets about your game can be a challenging task. Following these simple tips will still help you in the maneuver.
As a prerequisite you need a good story telling about your video game and brilliant assets to promote it. Do not be fooled, this is only first steps of your journey. Actually, it’s the easiest because you have total control over it.
Then, you must grab the attention of the video game journalists and hope for some exposure in their media. If you consider the news and release schedule, you quickly understand that video game editors are overworked. Taking the following points into account when contacting members of the press does not guarantee that you will get publications about your indie game, but it will prevent you from falling directly into the limbo of their email inboxes.
Here is an overview of this article:
- Be respectful and check your spelling
- Know your audience; video game editors not gamers here
- Follow your target video game editors on Twitter
- Customize your e-mail title to video game editors
- Personalize your message to target video game journalists
- Make VG journalist’s day easier
- Follow-ups are okay!
- Partner with a PR professional dedicated to indie game promotion.
Be respectful and check your spelling
Do I really need to go into detail? Good manners are welcome in everyday life and the same applies to digital communication.
Written messages are sometimes misinterpreted or give the impression of being cold. Adding a little warmth and a friendly demeanor is always a plus that makes relationships easier. Writing “hello”, “thank you” are signs of respect towards your interlocutors.
In the same way, taking care to express yourself in an understandable style while avoiding spelling mistakes is appreciated too (I apologize if you found some around). Especially by literary people such as editors. Be sure to read it over several times before sending your e-mail
PR contextual communication is all about communicating the right message, to the right person at the right time.Inspired by many sources
Know your audience; video game editors not gamers here
Your game has to be released on Nintendo Switch… so there’s no need to contact PCGamer, is there? No.
It makes sense and you must look for journalists and medias specialized in your type of game. Spamming everyone without discernment is a sure risk being ignored and blacklisted. That would be a real drag for your future video game projects.
Sort out games similar to yours and list the people who have published an article about them. Categorize your searches on several matching points: Game type, art and graphics, gameplay characteristics, distribution platform (PC or console).
Now define 2 types of contacts with a list of your target editors to whom you will send a fully personalized message and the rest of the media corresponding to your game with whom you will communicate in a more general way. You need to learn as much as possible from your targets: what is the angle of their writing, what are they looking for in a game, what they liked or disliked in games similar to yours, ect.
Follow your target video game editors on Twitter
Twitter is a great social network for independent game studios. You get a lot of support from other independent developers and it’s a perfect place to follow video game journalists, medias and influencers of the gaming industry.
Follow them, engage in discussion and be responsive when they call on their community (of which you are a part) – if they tweet topics related to your game in development, you’d better be among the first to respond them and thus have the chance to arouse their interest in your project.
Twitter, among other means, is an excellent place to monitor an industry. Video game publishers are no different and they also use it to scout promising upcoming independent games. Be there, show your value and uniqueness.
Customize your e-mail title to video game editors
Be catchy and concise if you want your mail to be opened.
Too often focusing on the development itself, independent game creators lack the perspective to communicate effectively about it. It’s normal, it’s another facet of the job to be integrated which is not always easy. Indie developers are creative people by nature and need to transfer this skill into their copywriting. Simple rule here is that if the Title is not interesting, the mail is not standing out of the mass and is expected to finish in the void.
If you’re ready to reach a columnist or video game reviewer it’s usually because you know enough about them (and your game) to find the right catchphrase.
Personalize your message to target video game journalists
Figure out exactly what makes you want to contact them (not only their audience….) and personalize your message accordingly!
Ask yourself why you wish to contact them in particular: Do you like its paperwork about other indie games? Are you captivated by their tone and style of writing? What about their angle when covering the story of an indie game project?
Let them know why you are contacting them. Not to sell them your game, but because you like the way he, or she, covers games like yours. You may mention that you like its work quoting examples (it is always greatly appreciated to be shown interest in one’s work).
Then, offer them an angle on your game that suits them.
Make VG journalist’s day easier
Every second and every click counts – help them, make their lives easier or you’ll soon be dumped.
I would like to point out that journalists have very little to give to one e-mail among the many tasks they have to accomplish on a daily basis. Once you’ve hooked them with your mail title, think about making it easy for them all along the rest of your email. It is very much appreciated and they will be grateful to you for taking into account their schedule concerns and their overworked working days.
Write a clear and dynamic email to present your video game effectively and include links! Link them to your excellent online Press Kit with all the necessary information and assets! And why not invite him/her to your Discord server to meet you and your lovely and active gaming community?
Instead, don’t ask them to download a secure Zip or search your files on Google Drive for information. Also make sure you whitelist the editor’s email address in case they want to contact you. It’s an email you don’t want to miss!
Follow-ups are okay!
When talking with indie game developers, I am often surprised at how shy they are when it comes to public relations. Most of them believe (as a matter of faith) that they will be considered annoying or harassing if they send an e-mail. They do not want to disturb or feel uneasy to do so. Think of it the other way around! Gaming journalists of all kinds (Editor-in-chief, reviewer, news officer, video editors…) are passionate about gaming and wish to be contacted by amazing people like you!
Alright, hold your horses, flood is unwelcome but sending a follow-up email is.Days go by quickly and sometimes they didn’t have the chance to answer you quickly after your first contact. It’s a good idea to tell them that you understand the complexity of their schedule and the number of daily tasks they have to manage. Sending a follow-up email is another opportunity for them to take a closer look at your game. Especially if they were interested in the first glance. And technically, it allows you to create a new thread in the mailbox and stand out from the mass of other e-mails.
Partner with a PR professional dedicated to indie game promotion.
Reading these tips, you may want to take charge of your own public relations for the promotion of your independent game, and if that has motivated you, so much the better!
I must however warn you that this takes a lot of time. Hours that you have to factor into your release plan. As a PR and Marketing freelancer, I spend my days working on my established contacts, creating new ones, refining my tools, monitoring the news and talking to gaming journalists.
Advantages to contract a Video Game PR Representative.
The benefits of hiring a PR specialist are many. Think about it: if you use the services of a 2d/3d animator or a narrative designer for your game, why not do the same for everything related to the promotion of your independent game?
First of all, it saves you time to spend on improving your independent game. Secondly, the work of a dedicated person in these areas is usually more efficient. This should not prevent direct contact with press correspondents or influencers if necessary. It is even recommended and it is up to your partner to organize these real or virtual meetings. Another important point is of course the contact base and the affinities developed with video game specialized journalists by your Public Relations consultant.
Please do the math and you should notice that the money invested is profitable for you and your game.
Choose your Partner
I will finish with the essential point in my opinion is to always choose a partner you trust. Someone who tells you the truth and is going to fight by your side as much as possible for the success of your game. Your budget will be all the better invested if you have a reliable partner at your side. Check their previous work and testimonials as you would do for any other profession related to video game development.