So you’re professional, you understand basic rules of grammar, and you’re set on creating a winning press release that will give you your best shot at getting out there in the larger media feed. The problem is, even with all that it can be a bit intimidating actually writing the thing. What information do they need? Should you be more formal or casual? Keep it brief or go big with detail?
“Should I send 10 headshots, or 500?”
The real answer is of course there is no definitive answer: it depends on the product and the intended media source. Fortunately, however, there are a ton of references and examples online for you to refer to, whether video game related or not. It’s also fortunate that all press statements NEED a few things, and as long as those bases are covered, you can form the statement however you choose, provided (again) that it’s written well and submitted professionally.
For the sake of brevity, and assuming people are coming in this with little press statement writing experience (we certainly did!), we’ll cover what’s needed for your run of the mill press release; making it effective, but maybe not the most memorable in terms of format. Again that’s not necessarily a problem! Some reporters find creative press statements interesting and appreciate the extra mile, some just want the nitty gritty (more on that next post), and sometimes stories are good enough on their own that they don’t need to be promoted in some cool and unique way.
Case in point: you wouldn’t need something quirky to get people to go see this
So here’s what you absolutely need:
- Headline: Present the focus of the article clearly and concisely. It’s supposed to grab attention while summing up exactly what the article is about
- Dateline: Contains the release date and the city the news originates from (for obvious reasons of putting the info in geographical and chronological context)
- Intro paragraph: This should be a brief, fact filled paragraph indicating the who, what, when, where, and why of the news in question (ex: WHO is making the game? WHAT is the game? WHEN is it coming out?…)
- Body paragraph(s): This is where you give a bit more detail and relevant information
- Boilerplate: In this section you would put short paragraphs providing independent background information on your company, and other individuals, organizations, events, and products mentioned that people might need a briefing on
- Contact info / links for more info: Name or names of people or companies to contact for more information including address, cell numbers, emails, twitter, etc… or links to find more information
And there you have it! You can see some examples here, here, and here. You’ll notice that regardless of the tone of the release, the basic information and structure is always there. You’ll also probably notice that companies who go the less casual and standard route, as previously discussed, are able to do so because it fits with their product and company line. For example, Double Fine’s statement reflects the sense of humor and quirkiness the place is known for, while still getting all pertinent information across! Conversely Disney’s statement on Brave isn’t played for laughs so much and concentrates on keeping it classy and related to the source material, since its audience is largely families.
Ok! You’ve got a professional looking and sounding press release for your game. But now what? What news outlets should you send it to? Should you just send it out indiscriminately? Tune in next post later this week to find out.