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New School Blues Dev. Diary #27: Press Releases

YoyoBolo Games' January 11th 2013 post is all about the quintessential piece of information any dev team needs to create in order to communicate with the press: a press release! This first part is just a quick rundown, examples of releases come later.

Today’s entry has to do with something fairly standard in almost every industry, and that’s creating a press release or press statement.  Essentially it’s writing an announcement that you would like the media to publish so it reaches and informs a wide audience.  This can be applied to anything that could be deemed as newsworthy by the appropriate journalistic body.  A good example would be a press release announcing a new game is being made in a popular series getting picked up by a gaming website, or that a famous actor has been signed on to voice a character in a film on a movie site, etc.

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Some press releases we’d wager write themselves

Since the press release is basically a direct communication with the media, and since in turn the media coverage garnered to your issue can have a significant impact on exposure, making sure your press statement is appropriate and professional is a big deal.  Coming across as too arrogant, uninformed, timid, or in bad taste can really hurt your chances of the story getting picked up or taken seriously.  It goes without saying that it, you know, has to be TRUE and not inflammatory as well, otherwise it’d be pretty unethical to print it.

It’s important to note that journalists of all subjects get tons of press releases in a day, so it’s understandable that if you are submitting something that isn’t major news in a clumsy way it will get ignored.  While it’s obvious that major news stories will get picked up regardless, you can bet that the related press statements are at least structured well (more on the structure next post).  If on the other hand you are trying to get the word out on your small indie game by sending releases full of spelling mistakes, the media is sure to pass you up.  And why wouldn’t they?  After all, if you can’t take the time (or hire someone else) to make it look professional, it’d be natural for people to think that same lack of attention was placed on the game itself.

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i.e: this person won’t get called for the next job

So today we covered the general nature and functions of a press release.  But what specific information does a statement have?  Believe it or not there are some guidelines that all releases generally follow to the letter.  Tune in next week for a closer look and some examples!

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