How to Share Your Video Game's USP to the Press
by Game Marketing Genie, on 08-Oct-2020 09:19:20
Video games explore unfamiliar worlds and untold stories, guiding players to feel emotion and conflict, and if designed well, also have the capacity to engage players in a highly meaningful, memorable and influential way. But it is not all just escapist fun - receiving the right press coverage and creating hype to target the right audience for your game, forms one of the most crucial elements of all video game marketing strategies. The question is - how do you get the press coverage to effectively promote your game and pique your audience’s excitement?
But first things first, let's get an understanding of what makes your game unique and newsworthy.
Before we begin, here’s a brutal truth
No one pays attention to news that isn’t interesting. This is especially true for journalists. So unless you have an interesting hook or USP (unique selling proposition) for your video game, no one’s going to care. Developers need to think about their game in terms of marketability - a winning difference that sets them apart and makes them the only real choice for players. The brutal truth is that if you can’t think of a USP that sets your video game apart in comparison to other games, your PR efforts aren’t going to perform well.
What is a unique selling proposition?
Before you go about pitching your product to your target audience, you need to understand what makes it special. In marketing this is known as a USP. At its core, a USP should promptly answer a potential customer’s most immediate question: “What makes you different from the competition?”
The number of video games on the market has increased exponentially so how do you get yours to stand out and get your audience to play it? It's easier than you think - find your USP. Your USP should play to your strengths and should be based on what makes your game “uniquely valuable”, in terms of an aspect your target audience truly cares about. Even if what you sell is not 100% unique, the message you choose to focus on should be the one that your competition doesn't.
Finding, testing, refining the USP
Finding, testing and refining the right USP will give you a competitive edge. A good start would be to take these points into consideration – be assertive and make a conclusive case against your competition, target what your audience truly cares about, and come up with a value statement which communicates what sets your product apart. Once you have a good understanding of your target market, competition, and industry, you can start to narrow down your USP. Ask the following questions to gain further clarity:
- Who is your video game’s target audience, or, who is your game for?
- What makes your game so special, or, what does it offer better in comparison to other games in your niche?
- What inspired you to make this game?
- What does your video game add to the industry or your game’s genre that other games don’t?
- What sets you apart? Is it a unique story, soundtrack or a twist on gameplay mechanics?
Once you answer these questions, you can begin to develop your video game’s USP. Start by identifying all the potential differentiators of your video game and get specific. Research the competition well by deep diving to understand your competitors and their USPs, and identify gaps where you can introduce your game differently. Compare your most unique elements against your target audience's needs and identify any pain points that you can appeal to, especially the ones your competitors have left out. Finally, compile all the data you have collected. Take this information and sift through it to single out your strongest USPs, and don’t forget to weave it into different aspects of your business - brand, logo, slogan etc.
Refine your USP by ensuring that you highlight whatever makes your game special, and keep it simple so that people can easily understand and relate. The goal is to have hooks that showcase your game’s gameplay to impress game journalists and reviewers; plus a “bloggable” factor that any general blogger or reporter would find interesting. Your game marketing arsenal should include both elements before you start reaching out to the press.
Quick recap: USP cheat sheet
- List out what you know about your target audience.
- List out all the unique elements of your video game – these are all potential selling points. Screen them against trends and competitors.
- Eliminate the unique selling points that are already being met by competitors. You are looking for a gap in the market.
- List out all potential USPs and match each against what your game is especially good at.
- Survey a small group of people in your target market to pick the strongest USP for your game.
- Check your USP for - a strong benefit, uniqueness, good recall and right target segment.
- Monitor trends and new competitors that could affect how gamers see your USP.
Need inspiration? Consider this impactful USP example
The best way to understand what makes an impactful USP is through an example. Check out Saddleback Leather’s killer USP, and learn how they got it right.
Their tagline: “They’ll fight over it when you’re dead.”
Their tagline is a statement that instantly conveys the unique value of Saddleback’s products - this product is built so well that it will outlive its owner. The messaging also directly conveys their 100-year warranty, which again backs the promise that the products will last you a lifetime.
Considering the fact that Saddleback is a high-priced everyday carry product, longevity is definitely a unique selling point here against other brands which offer changing stylish trends and cheap solutions to an expensive look. Taking the “reasonably-priced, affordable” competition head-on, Saddleback Leather even took an opportunity to create a clever “how it’s made” video that reinforces the quality of their own craftsmanship.
Get ready, get noticed, get big
Your USP should drive the development of your gaming business and your marketing strategy, whether you are creating a website or a logo, or sharing it with the press. Always ask yourself if your USP clearly communicates the product you are offering. When sharing your game’s USP to the press make sure you include a gameplay trailer, high-resolution screenshots, logos, banners, a press release providing information about the game and details of the company releasing it. For preparing a complete package for the press, the secret is in preparing a good press kit.
Find out more about creating an amazing press kit in our blog How to Create a Video Game Marketing Press Kit.
Sharing your game’s USP with the press
Your game has to be news. And what exactly counts as news? Well, in order to answer this, consider these variables:
- Is it a new game?
- Does it boast of any game-changing new features or technology?
- Is there a special event?
- Are you announcing a partnership?
- Has new research been published?
- Did you get an award?
The basic structure of all mass media communication, from journalism to PR to marketing, packages three main elements – the lead, the body, and the tail. It’s fairly straightforward - you start with the most important information, and gradually work your way into the final details.
The lead typically includes the hook (or USP) and the most important information - who, what, where, when and why in about 40 words. The body contains the most crucial information including the story, background, details, logic, quotes, photos, video, and audio that supports the subject in about 300 words. The tail consists of any extra or related information in about 70 words. By following this basic structure within your press releases, you’re essentially providing a wholesome story for the Press and simultaneously moderating the content.
Get it out there
The creation and presentation of the pitch is one of the key elements for ensuring the success of any video game, yet it is routinely overlooked. Note that a successful pitch comes from being a good salesman. To become one, follow these guidelines and increase your success rate!
- Know your audience to find out what they are interested in, and play to their strengths. This will establish that you're a good fit for them and also help you narrow down the scope and style required for the pitch.
- Know your product to ensure that everyone on your team knows every aspect of what the game is going to be about. This is important because it reinforces the fact that the team knows the game and believes in it.
- Know your elevator pitch to spark the interest in what you're selling. A brief, persuasive speech, lasting no longer than the time it takes to get on and off an elevator ride, can convince the audience to invest in your idea. It needs to spark the imagination.
- Know your strengths and prepare something special. Remember, you need to make every element of your pitch walk towards that goal. The best way to get this done is to arrange for an interactive gameplay prototype followed by a non-interactive video presentation of gameplay, concept art and environment views cut like a short trailer. Finish with a presentation complimented with supporting materials.
You’ve taken the time to craft an appealing video game USP to share with the press, so what’s next? You’ll need to market it! The first step is to ascertain who to reach out to. To do this, you’ll have to engage in some research. Go to the same platform your game is or will be on, find similar games that are doing well, and make a list. Next, go through each game and research to find out which news platforms have covered it. Check the websites to figure out if getting a write-up from that news source would benefit your video game. If so, find the journalist that wrote the article and pen their details. Add the names that you find during this process to your official press list.
When you’re emailing your video game’s USP to the press, make each email pitch unique - add a personal touch. Address the journalists by their name in the email, reference a few previous articles they’ve written to establish that you’ve done your research and have a great newsworthy video game to pitch. Finally, keep your email short and include links to your game and press kit page on your website.
The final word - leave them wanting more! Promote the best aspects of the game, elaborate on the USP and offer the promise of the game being even better than what you've shown. Keep these in mind when you actually approach the press with it.
Everyone wants to stay ahead in the marketing game. It’s understandable - you want to beat the competition, attract more attention, and sell your game. Getting your game out there isn’t easy if you don’t know how to create a full-fledged marketing campaign. The team at Game Marketing Genie can help you effectively promote your game and make it newsworthy. We are the right choice gaming marketing agency to help you achieve your goals - and when it comes to coverage our formula is simple!
More coverage = more gamers, and more gamers = happy game devs!
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