This piece comes from my blog http://www.indiegamesmarketer.com/blog/
At some point while planning the marketing of your new -“best idea ever”- game, you might have heard some of the following questions being asked:
“We’ve never done a Press Release before…. What is it and why should my indie studio use it?” “Who would be interested in my Press Release? How do I know I’m sending it to the right person?” “When and where am I supposed to send a Press Release? How do we make it most effective?” “How do we make up a great Press Release that will make a potential buyer want more info?”
You might know the ‘5Ws’ method of outlining a plan of action… Well, we use this method - the 5W plan (Who, What, When, Where, and Why) and add the ‘H’ (How) to create a structured description of the target, the goals expected, and to underline strategic points of a project… We also use this same method when writing a strong and successful Press Releases.
Let’s use the 5W+H method to explain Press Release relevance.
A Press Release is a written statement, particularly directed to gaming news medias, which announced something newsworthy about your game or your studio. A Press Release is an extremely useful tool for increasing your visibility and notoriety while leveraging your leads and growing your sales. Press release use is not just important for indie game studios… it is essential!
These days, independent game designers live in the “Indiepocalypse” time, meaning that the market has become highly competitive. One rather startling stat demonstrates this: there was an average of 21 games released each day on steam in 2017 (more than 7,700 for the whole year!...)
The market is changing abruptly and your indie studio must to adapt to survive. Communication with those who will promote your game to your potential customers is now as essential as the quality of your game.
Press Relations is one of the five most notable ways to communicate about your game (Press Relations- Influencers Marketing - Community Management – Exhibition – Ads). It is essential to inform gamers about your game, and because of the extremely low cost and the ability to highlight your message and vision, Press Releases can be one most effective ways of letting the gaming media know about your hot new game! Yet if no one has heard of your game… you will most likely be disappointed by the sale results.
Press journalists, online podcasts and magazine reviewers, and gaming bloggers have become trusted media informants for their gaming readers and listeners. Advising, informing, and ‘seductively’ teaching these trusted sources is the way to captivate the latter.
Pull the trigger anytime you have a newsworthy statement to make. The launching day of your game is not the only time for a Press Release; on the contrary, there are numerous possible points to put out a Press Release – each critical point in development, testing and release can be a new opportunity to inform your media sources, and your buyers…. You can make statements about a crowdfunding campaign to come, your video game new trailer, a business partnership, something impacting your game (patch, extension, DLC...), or mention a specific milestone you reached (number of players, sales numbers…).
Tip: It is better to send the Press Release 7-15 days before desired publication date except if your studio is already famous or if you can live with a bit of delay on this specific announce. This timing will generally give enough time for journalists and bloggers to deal with your Press Release. Do not forget that they receive tons of mails and Press Releases per day!
Basically, you have to send your Press Release to Newspaper writing teams, Journalists, Bloggers, Podcasters, Press Release Distributors…. If possible, target all the countries where your game will be available to play, if not concentrate yourself where your main audience is (US, Europe, Asia).
Tip: Be a sniper. List and contact people that already cover the kind of game you are working on for better results.
Your game has to reach the reviewer’s audience. Brand awareness is important in all the industries including gaming one. You have to develop your branding but also your product visibility.
The more people are aware about your game the better it is. Give your game a chance to receive love it deserves from gamers.
Follow the basic guidelines for the form but your content has to be catchy, spicy, adorable, funny, surprising…it has to be different, unique!
Your Press Release have only one chance to grab the attention in the crowded mailbox of a journalist. From the first sight (title is so much important!), you should hook them! But work is not done yet…the entire Press Release have to charm him. Only in this scenario, the journalist will be convinced and will take the time to write about your game (and not on another one game).
Writing Press Releases is not an easy exercise even if the format looks simple but this is a powerful tool you have to master!
Launching a PR campaign is time consuming and consider these days lost for your game development. Not to mention all the other tasks you have to perform. We operate in an industry built on trust and passion. This can only be achieved through communication, human relation and dedication.