So the press release is written properly and structured well. It fits the tone of the product and your company’s mission statement and you’re all set to send it out to… to… uh-oh.
It can be really intimidating and overwhelming when deciding who to send this information to. Aside the fact that you may be a bit nervous at putting your game out there for all to see, maybe you’re nervous that no one will care, or that no one will pick up the story. Maybe the confidence is there but it’s a question of not knowing how or where to even start. Should you send it to the biggest gaming sites you can find and hope it trickles to the rest of the world? Or should you take a more bottom-up approach and begin by planting seeds on indie forums and developer news sites.
“Why is everything so HARD?!”
Well you knew it was coming, the answer is IT DEPENDS, but generally the more places you send it the merrier - generally. Here’s what we mean:
- Find gaming press sites/journalists/bloggers that report on games like yours already. This helps if you’re doing a so-called “niche” game as well since there are likely to be a relatively smaller, but more passionate group of fans either running it or visiting the site. Graphic adventures are great for this. Conversely, don’t send your stuff to a site that doesn’t cater to your type of game at all, they’ll wonder why you bothered.
- While it seems journalists understand writing an entirely unique press release for every outlet you approach is impractical, it goes a long way to personalize each one a bit and in turn tailor that personal touch to the tone and mission of each individual media outlet. For example, if you’re sending it to a large media target that distributes news cool and efficient-like, you might want to keep things more formal. Other sites may be more colorful and highlight editorial work, so you might try putting a bit more flair in it.
“Spunk! I meant spunk, not flair!”
- There doesn’t seem to be any harm in sending it out to as many places as possible. There is however great harm in harassing media places repeatedly if they haven’t gotten around to or aren’t posting your story! Don’t write immediately afterwards to ask when it’ll be posted or what the deal is. Remember journalists can get up to hundreds of these a day! If they don’t decide to print it, let it slide. Word travels fast and literally THROUGH the press, so you wouldn’t want to come across like a jerk AND have no story to show for it. Much like a job interview, it might be worth it to politely write and ask how you could make your press release better and thank them for their time, but they might be too busy to do that to.
There are literally a ton of pages on the web detailing what makes a good press release, who to send it to, etc. Mike recommends and thanks the following pages as they helped him write the past few posts, as well as thanks to Ryan Creighton for his tips and insight:
Ask Gamasutra: How to annoy a games journalist with a press release
Game Producer Blog: Press Release Template
GamersNexus: Writing a Good Video Game Press Release
More press stuff next week as we tackle the famed “press kit”!