When Should You Bring In PR For Your New Game?
by Game Marketing Genie, on 04-Aug-2020 10:40:57
Marketing has transformed into a process of engaging and nurturing your potential customers. Directly targeting your audience with ads doesn't work as well anymore. In fact, PR Daily states that 60% of consumers view ads more negatively now than in the past.
Luckily, there are many other ways you can get your game out there to the players that want to see it. Public relations is a relatively easy way to ensure your game’s information reaches audiences of interest. PR campaigns more often achieve goals, as 92% of consumers put their faith in earned media as compared to advertising methods (according to data by Nielsen). Today, PR brings more exposure as you can appeal to an endless number of gamers across the internet on the sites that they love. But starting your PR campaign at the right time can be the difference between the success or failure of your game. First, let’s look at what a PR strategy may mean for you.
What is a PR strategy?
PR is a great way to get your game in front of a broad range of audiences. While it can be similar to marketing, there are some differences between the two. One of them is the fact that consumers generally trust media more than ads. Additionally, the audience you will reach is not as targeted as your ad campaigns may be, and you don't have full control over the content you will get.
A strategy is needed to make sure you get the most out of your PR campaign. Like all strategies, you must develop a systematic approach to build media hype around your game. However, you can't just shoot an email and wait for the media to catch on. Rather, you need a PR strategy that can lay the foundation for the media to grab your story from thousands of others.
- Research your audience and know what they want
- Develop your list of contacts to pitch your game
- Determine all visuals to go with your pitch
- Use a calendar to manage your outreach efforts
- Include strategies to build an online presence
- Research your competitors to get the hang of the market
- Define your goals clearly (what you want out of your PR campaigns)
Figure 1: PR state of affairs. Source: PR Daily
Your game doesn't stand a chance without PR
Thousands of games are released each year. Unless you are EA or Blizzard, it's really difficult to get noticed among the endless pool of games. New developers find the situation even more challenging with zero brand recognition. Unless you have a breakthrough game with exciting themes, extraordinary characters, or unique gameplay, your game will most probably get lost in the noise.
PR is one of the most effective ways to build a brand image and get the word out about your game. Businesses use PR to boost their corporate image, which can increase stock prices by 5% - 7%, as it shows in the figure above. While you may not be selling stocks, a good PR program can help create a positive image of your game and brand. Gamers will be more likely to take notice of your product, and create more hype around your game.
What makes the media interested
A few things about your game can attract media with little effort:
- A game that no one has ever heard about
- Credibility and past record of launches
- A compelling founder's story
- Online presence of your game (including social media)
- An active community
Your game needs to be accessible
Journalists who review your game should focus on the best parts of it. So, playing the whole game to discover its USPs (unique selling propositions) will not work. Also, the media can get hundreds of pitches every week, and they don't have the time to try out whole games. As a result, the duty lies on you to show things that make the media jump right in and start loving your game.
Find out more how to showcase why your game's special in How to Share Your Video Game's USP to the Press.
According to Muck Rack, 93% of journalists like to be pitched over email. So approach journalists via email, and:
- Write a compelling subject line
- Provide the essential facts about your game in bullet points (who, where, why, when)
- Keep your emails within 100 - 300 words
- Provide stunning visuals, screenshots, videos
- Personalize your pitches for every single journalist or media platform
- Include statistics in your pitch if possible
- Remember that the best time to pitch is in the morning
Get all the tips you need in our blog here: How to Create a Video Game Marketing Press Kit.
Incentives can help catch the attention of the media. Some simple techniques include providing early access, specific save locations that showcase your game's best features (like a demo), and game key giveaways. Some gaming companies even include influencer strategies like tournaments in their PR game marketing plan. Journalists may also be okay with a free exclusive t-shirt or a mention on your website. However, don't go for gifts over $50 as it puts the journalist in a tough position and can even raise accusations of bribery.
Build online presence
Start publicizing your game before you go for PR. Use various channels like social media and gaming forums to talk about your upcoming game. You can even share tidbits and updates on your development process. Channels like Discord and even Reddit can be a good way to improve accessibility and reach of your game to attract media houses and journalists.
Go for audience-focused tactics from the start
The whole goal of your PR efforts is to get your game out to your audience. You need to reach the audience and create a name for yourself. So, why not involve your audience right from the beginning?
Getting your audience involved can give you a head start for getting press coverage. Start building an online presence and try to create an active community around your game. Always focus on your audience and think about what could appeal to them best. Once you succeed in getting your audience in, the rest of the process can shift to autopilot. Your fans will start talking about your game, eager for every update or feature that you release. Soon, they will start creating their own posts and strengthening your presence online.
Media loves hype, and a thriving interest around your game is more than enough to rope in some journalist's interest. Work on growing your fans, as the more fans you have, the more coverage you will get. Try the following to get your audience engaged-
Create a great landing page: Your game website is your storefront. Make it as appealing and engaging as possible.
Develop communities: Steam, Discord, Twitch and similar platforms can be great to get gamers together. Take part in conversations and interact with your fans regularly. Learn more here: How to Grow a Gaming Community.
Create a social media strategy: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit- gamers exist everywhere. Find out where your audience is and create your social media presence.
Create and share content: Use screenshots, videos, updates, behind the scene stories, and more to get your audience hooked.
Go for influencers: influencers can provide a ready base of audience to boost your brand awareness. Work with influencers to increase the exposure of your game. Here are 7 Steps for Creating a Good Influencer Marketing Strategy for your game.
Time is of the essence
Don't wait till the very end to launch your PR campaign - that may be too late. Instead, start thinking about PR early on to get the most exposure. So, when should you start?
When should you consider PR?
PR helps you get the word out about your game and grow your brand image. So, the earlier you start considering it, the better your results will be. The best time to start thinking about it is when you are sure of how your game will appeal to your audience. If you have your plot, setting, characters, or gameplay ready, think of how you can attract journalists.
Note: If you are considering a time frame, 6 - 8-weeks prior to your launch is the latest you should get started.
Thinking about PR early can improve your game
Write one or two lines you want to use to hook journalists and see how they turn out. The pitch you write will tell you whether you have a good product or something too generic. Here are a few different versions of your pitch you can test out:
- "Our new game is just like GTA."
(Not interesting at all!)
- "We have a GTA developer working on our team to make a great game."
(Appealing to the media, but not your audience.)
- "Our game has 10 cities and 50 vehicles to try out, along with countless new weapons."
(Sounds great to journalists and gamers.)
If writing your pitch seems too difficult, you may need to improve your game or concept. Do you now see why it's never too early to think about PR?
If you understand why PR is essential but still need a few more pointers, check out our 10 Tips To Help You Run a Successful PR Campaign.
Running a PR campaign is challenging when you don't know how to get started. Finding the right contacts and getting journalists cover your game can take ages. Additionally, you need a solid PR plan for your game marketing strategy to create unmatched hype.
Our team at Game Marketing Genie can help you sort out your PR strategy to gain top exposure for your game. Join hands with our professional gaming marketing agency for expert guidance and complete resources to craft your PR strategy.
We even collaborate with popular influencers to grow your brand. Contact us today to discuss your game marketing strategies.